For GW group, campus is an obstacle course

When looking for a hobby some people pick up reading or knitting, but junior Binny Seth, president of the GW Parkour, prefers spending his time jumping from rooftops and back flipping onto the ground.

Parkour is the art of moving from one point to another in the most efficient way possible. Parkour is meant to develop the mind and body of male participants – traceurs – and female participants – traceuses. Some practice parkour to learn how to overcome emergency obstacle situations, but others enjoy it because it provides entertainment and exercise.

Seth said he registered the GW Parkour during the first week of school and the club now has five members. Seth said the club has not started official meetings yet, but said he hopes to start within the coming weeks.

Practices will take place almost anywhere including urban areas, indoor facilities and open environments. The club will likely practice in rooms at the Lerner Health and Wellness center, Seth said.

Junior Simon Landau, the GW Parkour’s vice president, has only been practicing since September. Landau has learned all of his skills by watching videos of parkour and from advice that Seth has suggested.

“The first time was a little scary, but Binny obviously helped me out a lot,” said Landau. “It’s nice having other beginners practice with me because we are all on the same playing field.”

Of the five members, Seth, who has been a student of parkour since he was 17, is the most experienced and has taught the others about the basics of parkour.

Parkour is a made-up word that resembles the French word “parcours,” meaning “route.” It was developed in France by David Belle in the early 1990s and has become popular through online forums, said Seth.

Movements in parkour are not as defined as they would be in a sport like gymnastics or in an art like ballet, but there are some basic motions that involve leaps, vaults, rolls and landing, all with the goal of getting from one point to another in the most efficient way possible.

Junior Supin Jairath, the club’s treasurer and another beginner to the sport, said parkour is “an intense physical workout.”

“I’m exhausted by the end of the day,” Jairath said, although he thinks that anyone can join the club if they want, not just the physically fit.

“Your body usually recognizes when it’s ready to try something new,” Jairath said. “You always keep getting better.”

But Seth said parkour is more than just a physical outlet, giving and gives him a new perspective on everything around him.

“You get into this mindset. You look at the environment differently and feel like you can accomplish anything and everything,” he said.

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