Write Up March 28th Beginners Parkour Workshop In Rochester

Rochester Parkour hosted their first “Beginner’s Parkour Workshop” in December. 35 people attended, mostly regulars. On Saturday, March 28th, Rochester Parkour hosted their second “Beginner’s Parkour Workshop.” There was no definitive count, but the lower estimate was 100 people, mostly newcomers. During the first workshop, it was in the low 30s and starting to snow. This time, it was in the high 60s, sunny, and a beautiful day.

Rochester Parkour Beginner Parkour Workshop
This picture was taken at the end of the workshop, after approximately half the group had left.

The workshop was scheduled to start at 2:30, but Zac decided to go a little bit early. When he got there at 2:00, there was already a handful of people waiting. After some introductions and idle chit-chat, Zac noticed a police car pulling up and parking nearby. After watching for a bit, the officers got out of their car and started walking over. At this point, Zac was convinced that the workshop was going to get broken up 25 minutes before it even started! He started walking toward the officers to introduce himself. After a brief exchange of introductions, the officers asked if this was the Parkour thing they saw on the RNews (the local news station). Reluctantly, Zac replied that it was. At this point, everyone else was silent and staring. There was a ten second awkward silence, then one officer laughed and said “You guys aren’t in trouble! We just thought it was cool and wanted to check it out. We’re not even from around here, we’re from the next district over.”

Everyone talked with the officers for a bit, and they even said they’d try to stop back again during the workshop (although they weren’t able to). It was a stressful, but overall positive indication of how the day was going to go!

Over the course of the next 25 minutes, more and more people showed up. Introductions were made, a Frisbee game broke out. A lot of teenage boys were coming, but there was also at least 10 girls who came out to participate! There were some adults, and even a few families that came out to give it a try! There was a husband and a wife, and their three young children who did a fantastic job! People just kept pouring over the hill and onto the field, until it was about 2:40, and it was definitely time to get started. A quick estimate of the turnout resulted in over 100 people!

Zac led everyone to the field, and we started off with a brief discussion. Zac explained what was, and what wasn’t, parkour, and what was going to be covered in the workshop. Then random people in the audience were asked “Why are you here today? Why did you come to this workshop?” Everyone gave a different answer, ranging from “It’s better than sitting inside” to “I’ve watched a lot of videos, and I wanted to learn how to do that, but safely.” After the Q&A session… it was time to get started!

With 100+ people, the warm up was interesting. We ended up doing two laps around the field, alternating between running forwards, backwards, and side to side – all while trying really hard not to trample anyone. Everyone then lined up and was taught basic QM, forwards and backwards. Seeing 100 people on their hands and feet crawling across a field is quite the sight! Landings were next, and Zac used his step-by-step progression to teach everyone the basics fairly quickly.

From here, the best way to deal with 100 people is to make them… not 100 people. So Charles Moreland took 1/3rd of the group to practice precisions, local traceur Zachary Leo took another 1/3rd to work on rolling and QM, and Zac Cohn took the last 1/3rd to learn basic vaults. The vaulting group started with the safety vault. After most people were comfortable with that, those who were ready learned reverse safety vaults. This was a bit different, but it ended up working really well. Benches were being used to vault over, so it was very easy to progress safely. The vault section ended with the Speed vault for those who were comfortable with the Safety vault, and that pretty much took up the rest of the time until the groups rotated.

After everyone hit every station, it was “free time.” People were free to work on whatever they felt they were weak in, or whatever was the most fun! Zac led a wallrun workshop, while his roommate Artem Sivak worked with people on climbups. This was a wildly successful station, with almost half the group coming over to learn.

After the free time was over, it was time for a game of Follow the Leader. Charles Moreland took the advanced/experienced group, while Zac led the beginners. QM, vaults, precisions, and some climbing were all utilized to give people a good workout, and to teach them about exploring their environment in new and interesting ways. Both games of Follow the Leader ended on the field, where everyone stretched out and chatted with their new friends.

All in all, there was beautiful weather, a huge and diverse turn out, and everyone had a ton of fun. There were many photographer’s there, and a news crew from the RIT ESPN Sports Zone. Check out more information on Rochester Parkour, and check out Michael McGowan’s photo gallery of the website.

Written on January 4, 2009