The University of Pretoria has a great sporting heritage and is known for its success in rugby, football and athletics. However, a new sport known as parkour is fast becoming popular.

TuksParkour was formed in May this year, having been in a two-year “conceptual phase” prior to that. The society is not registered under TuksSport, but is registered with the SRC instead.

Several members of TuksParkour are part of Sabotage Elite Free-running, and have competed and won a number of competitions. Most recently, the Mr Price Pro Ballito Parkour competition saw Kenji Marupa, founder of TuksParkour and second-year BIS Publishing student, win the style event. Jose Chung, also part of TuksParkour, won the speed event, and society vice-chairperson Mark Modimola was the runner-up in both categories. Marupa has also been working with New Balance South Africa to promote parkour in Pretoria.

Parkour is a physical movement discipline focused on overcoming obstacles whilst in motion. Not to be confused with free-running, which involves mostly somersaults, flips and flare moves, parkour is described as a displacement art form with the aim being moving from one place to another as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

“On a personal basis, parkour has the physical benefit of making one stronger, fitter and more resilient. Mentally, it enables one to unlock higher levels of critical deduction, creativity and problem-solving, as well as modelling and learning abilities,” said Murapa.

Unlike most sports, parkour does not require any equipment other than light clothing and running shoes. Naturally, the sport is not without its risks and injuries are part and parcel of being a parkour athlete. “Cuts, bruises, grazes and sprains are all a part of everyday life. There is a unique degree of risk that comes with parkour and free-running, which usually only manifests as injury through incorrect practices and preparations,” Marupa told Perdeby.

Marupa has high hopes for the society he formed less than six months ago. “I would like it to be at the forefront of the parkour community development in South Africa, and to be a recognised global opinion leader in the art.”

Photos: Eleanor Harding

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