BAM Academy, parkour for athletes of all ages and abilities
Source: BAM Academy
What is Parkour?
When you hear the word “parkour”, you may think of American Ninja Warrior or of the many viral YouTube videos of teenagers flipping on concrete. However, parkour is actually a widespread practice that originated from the French military. George Hebert, a French naval lieutenant in the early 1900s, revolutionized military training with the idea of “the natural method” that trained soldiers to overcome obstacles in their environment. Soldier Raymond Belle taught these methods to his son David in the 1980s, and David went on to create the modern sport of parkour that is practiced today.
Parkour is a movement-based training discipline centered around challenge, exploration, adaptation, and physical/mental functionality. Athletes train to be able to overcome obstacles (both natural and man-made) as efficiently as possible without equipment. The technique used in parkour minimizes both energy use and stress on the body when performing such movements.
Source: BAM Academy
Typical parkour “moves” include rolling, jumping, vaulting, and climbing over various obstacles. Once an athlete reaches a more advanced level, they can move on to more complex leaps and climbs like wall runs and tacs, cat passes, bar swings, and dynamic top outs. Parkour training combines agility drills with strength and conditioning for a full-body workout that benefits both mental and physical health.
Here is a video of some BAM Academy athletes performing typical parkour and gymnastics skills:
What are the benefits of Parkour?
Parkour is an intense workout that requires use of every part of the body. However, because of its emphasis on energy efficiency, the sport is generally safe for the body and can be adapted for people of all ages. In fact, parkour is known to not only build cardiovascular strength and endurance but also improve bone density and ligament/tendon strength.
In addition to the physical benefits of parkour, the sport also sharpens athletes’ quick-thinking abilities and encourages creativity. Sports are great, especially for kids and teens as they develop, because they can build confidence and self-esteem and help a kid find a sense of friendship and community.
Parkour-efficient movement is less explosive than that of many other sports, and this puts less stress on the joints and improves balance and agility. Because of this, parkour is a great option for cross-training. Every type of athlete would benefit from the balance and agility drills in a parkour training regimen, and the exercises could be easily incorporated into one’s strength and conditioning program.
Image Source: Parkour in PE
What is BAM Academy?
BAM Academy was founded 4 years ago, and it has since grown to teach hundreds of children and adults. It was originally founded by Matthew Lee Willis, who has a background of gymnastics and parkour training, and he was soon joined by Ruben Olguin.
Ruben is an ex-paratrooper with 15-20 years of military and bodybuilding experience, and he was planning to get back into fitness and open his own gym when he met Matt. Ruben had never heard of parkour before, but he quickly found a connection with the discipline’s similarities to military and mixed martial arts training. He liked the emphasis that parkour placed on tactical movement and efficiency when overcoming obstacles. Deciding to join Matt in creating BAM Academy, Ruben took the agility drills he knew and adapted them to create a strength and conditioning portion of BAM’s parkour curriculum.
BAM has now grown to hold not only parkour classes but also birthday parties, camps, and special events. In addition to parkour, the curriculum has expanded to tumbling, aerial sports, and even lightsaber classes. At BAM, athletes advance through 5 levels: body, mind, heart, spirit, and community. As an athlete progresses through each level, they practice skills with increasing difficulty and also focus on continuing personal development.
What makes BAM Academy different?
BAM Academy has become the premier parkour gym in Texas, and it sets itself apart with its curriculum that focuses on the passion and altruism behind parkour. The coaches follow the motto of creating strength through movement while also building the individual characters of the athletes.
BAM also sets itself apart due to its community involvement. They regularly participate in volunteer activities, and they are partnered with It’s Time Texas to promote a healthy community. BAM Academy is a partner and promoter of the Choose Healthier app, which helps makes finding health information in local Texas communities fast and easy.
Source: BAM Academy
Introducing BAM Academy’s Teen Jam
BAM Academy is holding a camp from July 23rd - 27th just for teens! This camp will be structured like an East Coast Jam, a community meetup where athletes of all ages practice parkour together in public parks. These jams build a sense of closeness between the athletes as they share ideas and spark each other’s creativity, and BAM wants to bring this community aspect to their teen camp.
This camp will be for a smaller group of athletes so they can focus on working together and honing in on their technique. Signing up for the full-day camp is encouraged to promote group bonding and allow the teens to experience all aspects of a “jam”, including filming and media.
The daily schedule includes:
15-20 minute warm up
2 hours of training, re-enforcing safe, efficient movement
Sabers, tumbling, and other activities special for teen camp
Time for free movement, grouped based on ability for games and activities
Two 20 minute snacks, 60 minute lunch
30 minute cool-down/stretch
This is a 5 day camp, where days 1-3 will be spent learning and improving skills, day 4 is for team-based challenges, and day 5 consists of an obstacle and speed course to test skills and a timed team obstacle course.
There are only 10 spaces left, so sign up before it’s too late! Visit Kwaddle for more information.
Bonus: Lace Up Tour
Professional Freerunner Jesse La Flair and a rotating roster of professional parkour athletes are touring the United States in the Lace Up Tour, hoping to bring all skill levels together to promote the sport of parkour and strengthen its community. They will be stopping at BAM Academy on July 26th, and it’s something you won’t want to miss!
The event includes an introduction by Pros, a Jam out, product tosses, Q&As, competitions and challenges with prizes, and time to highlight local athletes. Sponsored by Tempest Freerunning parkour shoes, the tour has ticket options for general admission or a VIP package that lets you meet the pros!
Sign up for the Teen Camp on Kwaddle and receive a ticket to the Lace Up Tour, or visit the Lace Up Tour website for more options.