South East High School

Jaguars take on ‘nontraditional sport’

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Photos courtesy of Erick Gutierrez

Jaguars leap, they do flips, and twist midair—they are practicing parkour. A couple of South East High School students have been training parkour over the past year as a group called “Free Bird Parkour.”

“We practice [parkour] because it’s a sport that is… like a brotherhood where we all respect each other,” said Erick Gutierrez, a senior in the Business, Innovation & Leadership small school and co-founder of Free Bird Parkour.

The inspiration for this underground club came two years ago when Gutierrez and his friend Brandon Slayden, a senior in the Business, Innovation & Leadership small school, began practicing the sport and formed Free Bird Parkour to spread their knowledge of the sport. Parkour is a worldwide phenomenon, despite its only having a following of ten members from Free Bird Parkour at South East.

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According to the World Free Running Parkour Federation’s website, “the strictest definition [of] Parkour is the act of moving from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ using the obstacles in your path to increase your efficiency.” This website tracks parkour back to French origins as “a training program for French Special Forces” later reinvented by “David Belle… son of a Parcours Warrior… along with his comrades, the Yamakazi,[who] began the worldwide movement.”

At South East, Jaguars have had far more recent roots in practicing parkour, but are no less dedicated. Anywhere is their practice ground as they train in their group, but once a month, Free Bird Parkour visits Tempest Free Running Academy to hone their skills.

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“It’s hard at times, but if it’s practiced with the right group or friends it becomes fun and easy,” said Gutierrez.

This underground club has ten Jaguars. These members have embraced the nontraditional sport and dedicated their time to mastering it.

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