Parkour Ambassador Reaches New Heights
Allerton Grange Year 11 student, Joe Byron, has achieved the highest grade available in the emerging sport of parkour and has become ambassador for his club.
For those who don’t know what parkour is (don’t worry, a lot of us oldies didn’t either!), it’s a sport that sees its practitioners balance, run and jump off things found in the urban landscape such as benches, walls and steps, requiring a mixture of strength and agility. Parkour athletes progress by acquiring new skills which are then assessed and graded; beginners start at a white band and can move on to green, orange, blue, red and finally black. Popular with children and adults alike, parkour garners a collaborative and learning environment, focused on creativity and learning new skills, rather than the traditional competitive structure of most sports.
Joe has been practicing parkour since Year 7 and was initially self-taught. Since then, he has joined classes with Singlebound, based at Fearnville Leisure Centre, before they moved to a brand new, purpose-built space at the Level Up Academy in South Leeds, where he trains weekly. The converted industrial unit is an open area with mats, trampolines, blocks, bars and a foam pit and the academy offers a range of sports suited to the space, from parkour to cheerleading.
Joe has won a Junior Winter Jam title before, and plans to attend more jams in the future, where athletes take turns in performing their moves and tricks to the group of ‘jamees’ and spectators. These events are judged with 1st, 2nd and 3rd places awarded, but are also used as a learning experience for those involved. In the long term, Joe would like to follow a professional career as a stuntman where he hopes to utilise his parkour skills.
Headteacher at Allerton Grange, Mr Roper, said “It’s always wonderful to see our students reaching the highest levels of their chosen passion, and Joe is leading the way in this new and exciting sport. His commitment to training has paid off and he will be a fantastic ambassador for Level Up, and the wider sport in general, helping to interest more young people in giving parkour a go.”