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Art Of Parkour Helps New Yorkers Jump Through Central Park

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Daily practitioners of "parkour," a European physical discipline of training to climb and dash over urban settings, has caught on in Central Park and throughout the city. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Parkour is a physical discipline that seems to combine gymnastics, climbing on buildings and the monkey bars. It started in France more than 20 years, looked ultra-cool in the James Bond flick "Casino Royale" and was lampooned on the sitcom "The Office."

There's also a group of practitioners called New York Parkour that trains in parks around town. But what exactly is parkour?

"Simply put, it's a way to basically train your body to overcome obstacles," says "Owais," a New York Parkour member.

Parkour practitioners call it a way to get from Point A to Point B in the most creative way possible. NY1 caught up with the local group in Central Park by the Bethesda Fountain, when there are plenty of obstacles like walls and rails for them to conquer. Members compare it to disciplines like martial arts.

"My favorite thing about parkour is that I can just go out whenever I want and when I feel like it. I can do what I want, there's no real structure to it," says Thomas Dolan of New York Parkour.

Despite that, those who practice parkour say it can be a great workout...

"A lot of parkour is just kind of dynamic calisthenics sort of, and everyone exercises together, everyone pushes each other," says member Mike Araujo.

It does look a little on the dangerous side, but members say practitioners should stay within their own physical limits.

"As long as you progress slowly and listen to your body," says Araujo. "You have to know when to push yourself and know when to be like, 'Maybe I should hold off until I'm a little bit stronger for that."

While it looks very physical, parkour devotees say there is another side to it.

"Now looking at life, I know that there is always a way to overcome every obstacle, no matter what it is," says "Vertical," a New York Parkour member.

New York Parkour offers classes every Sunday. For more information, visit www.nyparkour.com.

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