WOP class reviews – London Parkour (Owner: Andy Pearson)

Want to try parkour classes in London but don’t know where to start? World of Parkour (WOP)’s parkour class reviews will help you sift through London’s explosion of new parkour classes to find the class that’s right for YOU.

For our first EVER parkour class review, we pull on our brand-new squeaky trainers and head central to check out what ex-Parkour Generations coach Andy Pearson is doing to turn up the heat in the London parkour scene.
Disclaimer: Details are correct as of September 2018, times and details of classes liable to change. For the latest updates and information visit the London Parkour website, https://londonparkour.com/

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What
Parkour classes with an emphasis on military-style conditioning and team training.

When

Saturdays 10am – 12pm (outdoor class)
Sundays 10am – 12pm (outdoor class)
Sundays 12.30pm-2pm (youth class 8-12 years)
Alternate Saturdays 12pm-2pm (free conditioning class)
Wednesday’s 8pm-10pm (indoor class)

Where
Saturday and Sunday sessions take place in central London, exact location changes monthly. Wednesday sessions take place in Seven Islands Leisure Centre, Canada Water (location in Google maps).[/su_spoiler]
Cost
Only £10 for 2 hour Saturday/Sunday outdoor class. £10 for 2 hour indoor class. Free 1 hour 'conditioning' class (yes free!) This is some of the cheapest classes we've seen.

Who
Andy Pearson is a well established coach, who has been teaching youth with the international company Parkour Generations since 2007. This year he made his first move to start up his own company, London Parkour. He is renowned in the parkour world for his ‘tough coach’, military-style training, and for being one of the few people in the world to complete the 1000 muscle-up challenge!

Level
All sessions are appropriate for beginners – intermediates. A minimum intermediate level of fitness is advised, particularly for the conditioning class.

August 2018, Saturday Outdoor Class

The traceur dress code is subtle and hard to identify for the amateur parkour eye; however Andy Pearson's class were easy to spot thanks to the large 'London Parkour' banner to greet us at the exit of Kilburn station. Lining up with seven other beginner-intermediate traceurs balanced on a railing, we kicked-off the warm-up with some forwards and backwards rail-walking to engage our minds and focus. Following with the theme of 'precision', we moved onto some bollard-balancing and bollard-hopping - all essential skills in the parkour world.

Then Andy revealed to us that he was actually a choreographing-mastermind, and had us learn a series of 'lines' (sequence of parkour moves), that he eventually joined together in a circuit that had us dodging and jumping over each other in an epic parkour-dance routine. This type of parkour practice was entirely new to me, and I think the same could be said for many others who typically practise parkour as a solo activity. I greatly enjoyed it, and found myself engaging much more with spacial-awareness and flow.

In terms of general teaching method, I appreciated that Andy's instruction consisted mostly of finding methods to cross the obstacle, rather than checking off a list of named moves which I believe can inhibit creativity in parkour. I do believe though that there could definitely have been more time set aside for us to get creative with our own moves, and also to engage more with fear, which I think is an essential part of the parkour journey.

August 2018, Saturday Free conditioning Class

I thought I understood what conditioning was after puffing my way through the first Saturday class. Opting to stay for the following free class, I realised how very wrong I was. Since the class was free of charge, there was no parkour coaching involved; rather it ran more as a parkour-themed cross-fit class, focusing strongly on cardio and team effort. I was joined by two warriors who stayed on from the previous class and a couple of first-timers. Our team challenge was to complete a series of physical exercise challenges, where the number of reps we collected as a team gave us points. In total we had to reach 500 points through a series of running, squatting and jumping exercises - we didn't quite hit the mark so had a forfeit exercise. I am a common preacher of the conditioning gospel, as a supplement to parkour training - it is essential to prevent injury and progression. I believe it is important for beginners taking their first class here to know though, that there is much more to parkour than conditioning your body.

August 2018, Wednesday Indoor Class

Britain isn't renowned for its warm winter days; hence the opportunity to train indoors for only £10 in central London is a dream come true for many budding traceurs. Whilst facilities can hardly compare to a money-making parkour shrine such as Chainstore, it can boast a modest set of scaffolding bars, gymnastic beams and landing blocks. Enough to entertain a traceur for hours, essentially.

I was surprised to see we numbered a crowd of 20 or so, many more than the outdoor sessions despite the good weather. After an extremely intense warm-up, we split into 3 groups based largely on our parkour experience level (total beginner - beginner - intermediate). Each group then was then set a drill, consisting of either a parkour line or conditioning activity. Similar to my findings in the previous London Parkour classes I attended, my criticisms lie with the lack of opportunity to engage our brains in our own creativity and confronting our mental fears; aspects I personally find crucial in my parkour training. Whilst this is a negative for me, I can see how this safer approach to parkour may be more appealing for others. My only other desire is that Andy makes more use of the indoor facilities to teach flips; though I know this is not on his agenda for the moment. All in all I can honestly say, whilst flexing my biceps in the mirror that they definitely look bigger!

©World of Parkour 2018

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