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TRAINING

Parkour training facility opens in Rocklin's industrial park

An artistic way of staying fit
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Although parkour could be considered something new, it?s really been around since man first learned to run, jump, vault, dodge and climb. However, it has been refined and developed into what Free Flow Academy of Hybrid Arts in Rocklin offers today. Parkour originated in France and was developed from what the military has used for decades. It involves maneuvers much like the obstacle courses used for training and conditioning soldiers. The modern model now comes with trainers (or traceurs) and a program that is application based to fit what the trainee wants to derive from it. ?We try to direct our training to what you plan on using it for,? said Elle Beyer, one of the proprietors of Free Flow Academy. ?That?s what we mean by application based; you will learn a system. We try to personalize it and (dedicate) it to each individual member.? Housed in a 17,000-square-foot facility in Rocklin?s industrial complex off Tinker Road, it is located just across the parking lot from EPIC Indoor Skateboard Park. It officially opened April 28 using a space of 3,500 square feet. Beyer said as their membership grows so will the training area. Beyer and her husband Lon Beyer have spent years training in the martial arts. Their partner Corey Romines is a member of Simian Knights, the Sacramento region?s most well known parkour group. Their staff has grown considerably and they now have over a dozen trainers. However, Free Flow Academy of Hybrid Arts offers a myriad of ?fitness? programs. They go well beyond parkour into the martial arts, dance, music and even acting. Not only is Lon Beyer accomplished in martial arts but he is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a gifted musician. He and Elle spent several years in China training with Shaolin Warrior Monks. ?Everything we offer here is application based so even with the martial arts, with dance, with music our curriculums are based around what is most usable, most applicable,? Elle Beyer said. ?If you were to come here to parkour it would be a communiqu to us what you plan on using it for.? The appearance of Free Flow Academy on first entry is a myriad of punching bags, tumbling mats, monkey bars, large box-like structures and climbing walls. There?s also a piano in the back. One can get an idea of the activity that goes on there by visiting freeflowacademy.com and viewing the videos on the home page. Victor LoForte is one of the trainers at Free Flow Academy and has been doing parkour for about six years. He said when growing up he wasn?t particularly interested in the more traditional sports but found his passion when he discovered parkour. ?Everyone has a jet they just don?t take it out of the hanger,? said LoForte of the energy each has inside. ?They keep it on the ground. They don?t feel the freedom of it.? LoForte started his own parkour group in Sacramento and is now the ?Spider-man? of the Academy. He said in his bio that training should not only be for strength, endurance and technique, but also include learning to operate safely within one?s environment. ?The more cluttered and crazy it is the better it is,? said LoForte who likes the all-encompassing aspect of parkour. ?You can take it outside. You get used to using it, not just training it. It takes you places; that?s what I love. This is so human.? However, watching LoForte in action on the course does seem more spider than human. Free Flow Academy, like parkour, is perhaps the wave of the future. It doesn?t develop one for any particular thing although it can be used to focus on a person?s lifestyle or livelihood. Elle Beyer said it is great training for both firefighters and law enforcement personnel. She said the concept was actually developed by a firefighter. Elle Beyer said the academy hopes to expand in August and already has the equipment to do so. Although much of parkour appears to be for the young Beyer said it depends a lot on what one wants to get out of it. Although the trainers perform feats many wouldn?t consider, Beyer said there is no effort to try and make a ?Spider-man? out of everyone. She said with the wide variety of arts used by the academy virtually anyone can achieve the level of development each desires. ?You can practice. There are always trainers here who will always help you out if you?re working on a specific technique,? Elle Beyer said of the academy?s approach to each member. ?If you are so inclined and you (set your goals) really high and you want to be like ?Spider-man,? definitely our trainers here are qualified to get you to the professional level. ?If you want to have a really high caliber of challenge in the parkour arena or in any of the other areas that we offer,? Beyer continued, ?we also offer martial arts and dance as well as music and so it depends on what level you want to get to.? For those who want to get fit with an activity reminiscent of childhood romps through backyard alleys jumping garbage cans and climbing fences or leaping over hay bales and skipping across rocks in a creek, parkour, like LoForte described, is basic human activity. What we often don?t remember is what great shape we used to be in during those times. The atmosphere at Free Flow Academy is not only laid back, it?s artistic. As children, we may not have thought of ourselves as artistic but most did imagine themselves as Ninjas, dancers, actors, or even ?Spider-man? while simply enjoying the freedom of one?s own creativity. And, with a little practice, what our bodies could accomplish as well. The first class at Free Flow Academy is free. Give it a try and see if you don?t rediscover that ?jet? you had as a kid. Free Flow Academy of Hybrid Arts Parkour * Kung Fu * Dance * Music * Acting 1100 Tinker Road Industrial Park, Rocklin Telephone: (906) 759-3899/freeflowacademy.com