Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Parkour and free-running organization works toward becoming an official club

Monday, October 1, 2012
Sophomore Kyle Thies, president and founder of the Parkour and Free-Running Club, shows off his skills by doing a back flip off the fountain in front of Dempster Hall. Photo by Ashley Reed

Parkour involves movement from point A to point B in the fastest, most efficient way possible, sometimes by jumping or climbing over obstacles.

Kyle Thies, a Southeast Missouri State University sophomore and founder of the Parkour and Free-Running Club on campus, sees it a little differently.

"I think of parkour in the same way that I would think of a martial art," Thies said. "It's human nature that in any state of stress, we will resort to our basic instinct of fight or flight. A martial arts' goal is to teach you the art of fight. I believe that the purpose of parkour is to teach you the art of flight."

The group is including free-running because of its similarities to parkour. Thies, who has been participating in parkour for two and a half years, believes that both should be included because they are both an art of movement. Free-running is less about immediacy and more about tricks and acrobatics.

"In other words," Thies said, "parkour is for practicality and efficiency, and free-running is for fun."

The Parkour and Free-Running Club adviser is Zachary Singleton, the Towers West hall director. Singleton explained that a group such as this will take a while to officially get started.

According to Singleton, to be considered an official club on campus, the group needs at least five students to participate, a constitution that must be approved by the student government and, because of the risks involved with this type of activity, the group will need someone who is CPR certified.

The club's first unofficial meeting was Sept. 25 at the Student Recreation Center-North. Its goal for the meetings as of now are organizing and building a name for themselves as an established group on campus.

"I do not do parkour, but I do like what parkour is all about," Singleton said. "Parkour does not stand for showing off or being reckless, but instead being respectful of the space and people that are around you. It also is a great way of getting people out and exercising and building stamina. ... We would like to invite all out to try it, whether you have heard of it until now or not, it will be lots of fun."

Thies and Singleton said that no experience is required to join the club. For more information on the developing club, contact Thies at

"When you start doing parkour, there's a lot of progression, there's a lot of failure, and there's a lot of success," Thies said. "You may start completely incapable of doing anything, but when you actually try and when you actually practice, you will gain confidence and will begin to lose any sense of fear that you started off with. When you become more advanced, you always feel like you're in control, you no longer have any fear and you gain an unbreakable sense of confidence."