Students pushed to the limit

Dance instructor by day, Parkour enthusiast at night, Carissa Gowe has been impressed by what Parkour classes gives her.

Students pushed to the limit

Dance instructor by day, Parkour enthusiast at night, Carissa Gowe has been impressed by what Parkour classes gives her.

“It’s good. It helps with dance a lot,” said Gowe, a dancer since age two and instructor at Fit Kidz Gymnastics Club. “It helps with different things I want to work on and improves my dancing.”

While dance is about movement, Gowe said Parkour, which mixes gymnastics, dance, urban dance and martial arts, is more physical. During a recent session, she worked on balancing her body in a twisted position while her hands and arms acted as a stabilizer. She also worked on flexibility as she curled her body in a U shape before extending her legs to the air and using her arms to maintain the position.

Parkour is definitely no walk in the park, but the students love the rewards.

It’s the physical challenges that Kody Hald, 16, loves and keeps him coming back for more.

“I have been doing it for a year-and-a-half now,” he said. “It’s the thing I’ve sticked with the longest.”

Hald enjoys the fitness he gains from the class and that he’s able to run around while being flexible. As he put it, Parkour keeps him in shape.

“The Instructors (Jake Evans and assistant Tim Card) are really good,” he said. “They do their best to help you. I push myself as far as I can go. It’s something I really like and I want to get good at it.”

Card said the challenge Parkour offers is that it’s demanding and students learn their core strength and learn about balance.

While students put their inner core strength to the test with a floor vault, they also do training on a balance beam and build up speed as they hit a trampoline that launches them into the air. While in the air for a nano second, their creative juices flow out as they pull a trick prior to landing.

Hald is challenged but he still has a fear of doing certain things, especially going over his head in a back flip.

“I have troubles with that,” he said. “And just conquering the fear.”

The Fit Kidz Gymnastics Club is located on Commercial Way and the classes are in a building that would remind anyone of gym class, but what stands out about the environment of the class is that it’s a low-key, no pressure playground.

“I love it, that is the coolest thing about it,” said Evans, who referred to himself as the Jake of all trades and a teacher by nature. “With the hockey team you have to get into the playoffs, with dance, put on a wicked year-end show or do a competition. Right now it’s so grass roots. So laid back.”

Evans wants to see the group build up balance, strength, flexibility and confidence to eventually take their skills to the street.

Every Thursday night there is an average of 12 students who are aged 12 and older that push their own limits.

“We do want to expose it and generate interest and business, but for now it’s perfect,” said Evans, who also rides BMX, skateboards, snowboards and dances. “At least it’s a good work out and that’s never bad.”

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Anton Crowley appears to have his balancing act down to perfection during a Parkour class at Fit Kidz Gymnastics Club.