Whether you have kids who are on YouTube or you watch videos there yourself, you’ve probably seen those thrilling videos of skilled individuals jumping from one rooftop to the next.
This popular sport is called Parkour, but Parkour isn’t just designed for thrill-seekers. According to Gabe Sage, one of the owners at Mission Parkour Academy, Parkour is simply urban movement designed for anybody who wants to keep moving for the rest of their lives.
In July 2022, Gabe and his wife, Joy, opened Mission Parkour Academy in Oakland Park. They also have a sister gym, Miami Freerunning & Parkour Academy.
Gabe is a retired military veteran who originally wanted to get into Physical Education, but he saw what the school systems were offering and he wasn’t impressed. He eventually found Parkour, a type of urban movement where people move freely over various types of terrain using only the ability of their bodies. Running, jumping, climbing, and quadrupedal movement are all used in Parkour.
After meeting his wife at a different gym, who was coming in with her kids to do Parkour, Gabe and Joy started taking over the classes and programs at the gym. Ultimately, they decided that they wanted to have their own space that was specifically designed for Parkour, so they opened Mission Parkour Academy.
Not only is Mission Parkour Academy the only Parkour gym in Oakland Park, but it is the only one in the Broward County area.
Mission Parkour Academy currently offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes and welcomes all skill levels and age groups. Their athletes start at age 5 and up and the majority of current athletes are aged 8-12.
Parkour is also for young and older adults. As people get older, they stop doing the same physical activities that they used to because they think they can’t. They may recall going down a slide, doing a flip, or climbing up a ladder as a kid, but they feel as though they can’t do it anymore.
Gabe explains that “Parkour will allow your brain to understand that you’re still capable of moving no matter how old you get. It’s all about maintaining basic mobility. Parkour is functional, safe movement.”
Parkour is all about making the world your playground, but it’s also about doing so safely. Gabe explains that they help their athletes move correctly, drop correctly, and prevent injury by knowing how to fall, roll, and land safely.
Unlike gymnastics where you have to land a certain way or else lose points, there are no limitations in Parkour. You learn to flip the way that your unique body was designed so you can get stronger, stay fit, prevent injury, and keep moving as you age.
Mission Parkour Academy has fully certified coaches who have multiple different certifications, The equipment is built properly and safely, and they carry gymnastic style pads or soft mats that can be used as an added safety measure if a person is transitioning to a bigger move.
Gabe explains that “the idea is to progress into something larger by taking small steps. If the ultimate goal is to jump rooftops, we aren’t going to promote that. We will start them off by practicing a jump from one small block to another. Once they get comfortable, we slowly start raising elevation and increasing the distance.”
Another aspect of Parkour safety is awareness. Gabe and Joy train their athletes to look out for potential danger zones and be cautious of their surroundings so they are aware of potential obstacles and can figure out a way to move around them safely.
Gabe and Joy are warmly welcoming new athletes of all ages and skill levels who want to enjoy movement–whether that’s working toward jumping rooftops or relearning how to climb or flip like you used to. Their goal is to share the amazing benefits of the sport (balance, strength, coordination, and – their favorites – wisdom and overcoming fear) with as many people as possible.
Mission Parkour Academy is located at 4039 NE Tenth Ave, Oakland Park, FL 33334. They offer classes daily along with an open gym, private lessons, and birthday parties. Start embracing urban movement today by visiting them directly or going to their website at https://www.missionpka.com/.
Cassidy Webb is a Texas native and South Florida transplant. She grew up just outside of Dallas, TX, and moved to South Florida four years ago. She now considers Fort Lauderdale her home.
Cassidy is the project manager at a small digital marketing company and she enjoys freelance writing on the side. In her free time, you can catch her exploring local parks or taking long walks through the neighborhood with her dog, Bella.