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VIDEO: Brooklyn’s first parkour gym Bklyn Beast is really off the wall!

The Brooklyn Paper

In some workouts you hit the wall — in this one you jump over it.

Bklyn Beast, the borough’s first parkour gym, will ramp up the athletic European subculture, which challenges practitioners to artfully use their bodies to leap over, duck under, and somersault across any obstacle in their paths.

Co-owner Shem Rajoon hopes the Bushwick training hub will serve as a gathering place and a learning center where aspiring “traceurs” can put in the hard work required to emulate the efficient movement and amazingly acrobatic feats depicted in online videos of the sport.

“Because of YouTube and people’s access to videos, they think it’s a lot of stunts,” said Rajoon, who started practicing parkour as a teen after he picked up circus tumbling and Capoeira, “You start at a fundamental level, and once you get that, you can do any of those other [stunts].”

The sport emerged in France during the 1990s and spread around the world in the following decade, building a young and adventurous following — which is not so surprising considering top athletes make the practice look like a chase scene from a martial arts flick.

Parkour and the related but even flashier practice of “freerunning” got lots of play in movies such as “Casino Royale,” sneaker deals with major shoemakers, and even a short-lived MTV show — but until now, the city’s tight-knit parkour scene has gotten by practicing outdoors in public areas.

The Bogart Street gym opened quietly for classes last week and will hold a grand opening on Jan. 26. There’s a main room with a hardwood floor and padded mats, a trampoline, obstacles for hurdling and vaulting, a curved wall that fans of the TV program “Ninja Warrior” might recognize, lots of gray paint and graffiti murals to create an urban aesthetic, and a foam pit that promises soft landings for those brave enough to leap from as high as 20 feet above.

The school also offers classes in Capoeira, breakdancing, and yoga — which share many similarities with parkour, according to Rajoon.

“They all have that same fundamental principle of using your body to navigate anything and overcome obstacles,” he said.

Capoeira instructor and parkour practicioner Aaron Anaya says the sport is perfectly safe so long as people train wisely and with the right supervision, and noted that Bklyn Beast will likely establish a wristband system to keep beginners from hurling themselves to the floor from the highest platforms like their more advanced counterparts.

Parkour aficionados such as Richie Rodriguez — who has been obsessed with the sport since picking it up in 2007 — are bouncing off the walls with excitement about the new gym.

“I can’t go a day without it,” said Rodriguez. “If I see something, I’m going to jump over it. There’s a monkey in me.”

Bklyn Beast [230 Bogart St. at Ten Eyck Street in Bushwick, bklynbeast.com, (347) 457–6290). Classes are $18; 10-class passes are $150; open training sessions are $15.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.r

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Reader Feedback

MeShawn from Cypress Hills says:
YEAY! looks to me likes a lawsuiet waitn to happen KID!
Jan. 8, 2013, 11:15 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
I hate to say this, but I am going to anyway: In my opinion, there is more to life than this. Pardon me for saying so, but I don't agree with this article.
Jan. 8, 2013, 11:20 am
Robert from Williamsburg says:
I personally think its an amazing step forward for the community! I want to check it out, where is it located?
Jan. 8, 2013, 11:55 am
Cut & Paste from Bklyn says:
Bklyn Beast [230 Bogart St. at Ten Eyck Street in Bushwick, bklynbeast.com, (347) 457–6290). Classes are $18; 10-class passes are $150; open training sessions are $15.
Jan. 8, 2013, 12:16 pm
Josh says:
thats okay because a gym like that doesnt want people with attitudes like MeShawn and John Wasserman around anyway. please stay away. part of the glory of a gym like this is it gives all skill levels of practitioner a safer outlet for their skills, and a place to get the appropriate training, safely, before taking to the streets where the consequences as well as the rewards are greater. I think this is a really great thing, and i look forward to making a trip to NYC to gather with the community up there and see what the parkour scene there is all about.
Jan. 8, 2013, 12:17 pm
Monk from Eastside low says:
Jack chan style !
Jan. 8, 2013, 4:10 pm
Zack from Queens says:
An awesome TED talk by a friend of mine to help enlighten peeps like MeShawn and Wasserman on the ever-expanding art of parkour (also a great vid in general for anyone interested in parkour or any other physical activities available at the Beast): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x-vqr3ZnZE
Jan. 9, 2013, 10:57 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Excuse me, but no, it isn't. For the record, I didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings with my above post.
Jan. 9, 2013, 3:43 pm
Chris says:
Can a 12 years old kid go train there?
Jan. 10, 2013, 4:48 pm
Zayna from Brooklyn says:
This is very welcoming to me...as a mother of a 14 year old boy, who watches youtube and is excited and curious about jumping from building to building,needless to say I was worried to death that he might just do it. Now with this gym he can jump in a safe and supervising atmosphere. Hopefully he is not to young to join.
Jan. 14, 2013, 4:23 pm
margo braxton from harlem says:
i saw this on the news and i would think this would be grate for my son elhadj he has more energy than ten men i will take him to the jym then i will post my comments,
March 8, 2013, 6:58 pm
Alejandro Santos from Brooklyn, Sunset Park says:
I heard about this BklynBeast while I was looking in google for Parkour Gyms but it only showed up in L.A . So I decided to see if there were any Parkour Gyms in Brooklyn and BklynBeast apeared. I got excited because I always wanted to learn how to parkour and I wish I could go to BklynBeast and learn everything of Parkour.
May 30, 2013, 12:03 am

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