This week, the Greatist team put our street cred to the test with parkour, a less-than-traditional sport that has people jumping, somersaulting, and climbing over obstacles. But instead of taking to the sidewalks, railings, and staircases of NYC (we’re not pros yet), we hit the magical Field House at Chelsea Piers— home to springboards, foam pits, and mats of every shape, size, and squish.

Precision. Momentum. Stride. This was the mantra of Kyle “Epic” Mendoza as he coached us through some funky, francophone moves (oui, parkour hails from France). The key to clearing an object is driving forward without hesitation— something that seemed slightly counterintuitive for us beginners (so I put my left hand here and swing my right hip where?).

We learned the “lazy vault” which meant clearing a stack of mats by running and swinging our legs up and over, using our hands to propel us further. Then, it was on to the “cat jump” which had us leaping from a springboard— much like a cat would do— onto a vertical post (and grabbing on for dear life).

And then there was the foam pit. After scaling over a series of obstacles, the reward for the 7-year-old in all of us was a tumble, flip, (or face dive) into the sea of squishy blocks. Surprisingly, it was climbing out of the foam pit that seemed to be the most tiring move of the day.

Mendoza explained the sport of parkour is not a challenge against other parkour competitors, but a challenge against the course itself. Our final test: moving through a set of balance beams, bars, and mats as fast as possible. Using our creativity, instinct, and stellar core and arm strength, we moved in whichever way possible to precisely get from point A to point B. We were obviously victorious.

Chelsea Piers currently holds adult parkour classes every Wednesday and Sunday. Email instructor Kyle Mendoza for more information and to start hopping the rails!

Video by Cristoforo Magliozzi.

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