Parkour law-breakers a 'small group', say enthusiasts
Parkour practitioners say fans of the sport tend to be sensible and well-meaning
Parkour may have a bad reputation as some enthusiasts break the law, but its practitioners here say flashy moves are only one part of the overall parkour training, which includes building physical and mental strength.
Parkour was in the spotlight last week when a police report was made about stunts done by a foreign parkour group in the Marina Bay area.
The Esplanade said on Tuesday it was investigating the Nov 2 incident with the police.
In a 12-minute video on YouTube, at least three members of the group were seen jumping across a gap between two flyovers and climbing onto beams of the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.
This was not the first time the sport has received unfavourable media attention. In September, a police report was made after an online video showed practitioners scaling the roof of Eastpoint Mall in Simei.
Such thrill-seekers and potential law-breakers are a small group and should not be taken as representative of the community as a whole, said parkour practitioners.
National University of Singapore undergraduate Nyan Lin Cho, 23, the president of Parkour Singapore, said: "Parkour Singapore was established to cultivate and govern the sport, and we do not condone practitioners who engage in law-breaking activities."
The group was set up in 2004 to promote the sport's values such as respect for other practitioners and public spaces. He estimates the community here to number 4,000.
Dr Derrick Siu, 44, director and founder of parkour academy Superfly Monkey Dragons, said there is no reason parkour and the community cannot co-exist harmoniously.
Despite its portrayal in movies like Casino Royale in 2006, showing athletes leaping from one building to another, such moves are not practised in Singapore as most parkour is done at ground level, he said.
He added: "Maybe it is due to a lack of understanding from less-experienced practitioners, but doing things like conditioning exercises and strength training are as important as practising the moves."
Parkour instructor Tan Chi Ying, 31, who runs academy A2 Movements, said parkour is about overcoming obstacles in the physical environment.
"Over the years, its practitioners have been seen as people of good sense who bear no ill-intention. Hence there isn't a need for over-regulation."
Said Dr Siu: "While we cannot control what other individuals or groups do in the name of parkour, what we try to do is to impart some of our guiding principles, including respecting our environment, other people, and having basic common sense and courtesy."