Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Academia Tracer - the first official Brazilian Parkour Gym

After a quick (relatively of course, 7 hours is short compared to 17) busride back to Salvador, I hopped right onto another bus to the airport so that I could fly to Sao Paulo.  Already familiar with the São Paulo Metro system after my last visit, I managed to get into the city in time to meet Diogo at the studio and see some of the dancers again.  Coming back to Sao Paulo was great, not only because I got to see Diogo, Danilo and some of the other guys again, but also because my visit coincided (not accidentally) with the opening ceremony of the first indoor parkour training facility in Brazil.  This project was Jean’s brainchild since he’d given me the projected date a few months earlier when we were planning my trip so I made sure to work it into the schedule.

Jean had been working on the gym for a number of months to prepare it for the opening and although the walls were still stark white and there was a very “new building” scent to everything, the gym was up and running and showed a lot of promise.  Talking with Jean about his plan for the gym, I was surprised to learn that plan is for the Academia Traceur to not only offer parkour and freerunning classes throughout the week but also courses in acrobatics, rhythmic gymnastics, and children’s gymnastics, with possible forays into martial arts once things get set up.  As with the APA’s Trace Facility, Jean also plans to have “open sessions” to allow the local traceurs with more experience to come in to train on their own using the equipment.  The fact that there is a large trampoline, lots of vault boxes and mats, scaffolding, and a climbing wall makes the gym a great place for the general parkour community to come train in during inclement weather or when they want to try things they’re not yet ready to perform over concrete.

The opening ceremony was a lot of fun, despite the fact that I was feeling pretty exhausted after coming directly from the 4th Encontro Nordestino in Aracaju.  A number of the local traceurs came out for the event, with particularly strong representation from the Generation Tracer guys.  There were also a number of “adults” attending, mostly friends and family of Jean and his girlfriend Carla (who has also been instrumental in the gym), but it was funny watch them staring at the guys (who, of course, started training and bouncing around as soon as they got in the door).

A fair amount of space to move around in on the main floor.

The trampoline is a great addition.

The view from the door.

The official "welcome committee".
Based on my discussions with Jean about his plans for the gym and the welcome that the São Paulo community gave the gym during my visit I’m very optimistic about it, despite the fairly strong “anti-established parkour” attitude that seems to be so prevalent in that part of Brasil.  I’m also looking forward to the cool training equipment that Jean is hoping to stock the gym with.  For more information on the facility, check out the site HERE.

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