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PEOPLE PROFILE edited by tom walker. email: tomwalker@leisuremedia.com


brad wendes


Gymnast, acrobat and a practitioner of ‘Le Parkour’, Wendes is also a founding member of the British Parkour Coaching Association and the National Trainer for SHOKK Parkour


How many years have you worked in the health and fi tness industry? I’ve always been involved in fi tness – my parents owned and ran an independent gym and my fi rst real job, when I was 16 years old, was at Fitness First. I stayed at Fitness fi rst until I was 19 and have since worked for Esporta and Virgin Active. I’m now 27 and run my own business.


Why parkour and acrobatics? I attended Chelmer Valley High School and got in their Blue Falcons Gymnastic Display Team, so gymnastics dominated much of my teenage years. One summer, I was skateboarding at my local park and saw some lads were doing fl ips and handstands. Ever the show-off, I ran over, did some fl ips and somersaults and ran off. One of the lads came over to me and we got talking about Parkour. He seemed like a nice lad, so I offered to take him to the gymnastic centre I trained at. In return, he took me to London that week to meet some Free Runners. It was an amazing day, back in 2004, meeting people and fi nding out about this new thing. I had found my passion again.


How has your career progressed? A Channel 4 documentary, called Jump Britain, aired in January 2005. By that time I’d made a bit of a name for myself in the UK Parkour community, so I was


in a great position to take advantage of the interest and exposure. Soon enough, I started performing professionally, with shows for Volvo, Renault and Red Bull. I travelled all over the UK to coach Parkour and Free Running and was involved in fi lms, TV adverts, music videos and live performances around the world. I even reached the semi-fi nal stage of Britain’s Got Talent in 2007 with Team Kinetix.


What do your current roles entail? I teach 12 weekly classes across three counties in term-time, and 10 classes a week – including workshops and tasters – in school holidays. We have many requests from schools and councils to deliver workshops and classes, and we can’t train staff quick enough to meet the demand. I still perform as a gymnast and acrobat at events and functions, but teaching is the big thing right now. Every day is different.


How important is the emergence of new ways of keeping fi t, such as parkour, in getting kids active? The fi tness sector should really place a bigger focus on providing activities for young people who aren’t interested in traditional sports. Matters aren’t helped, though, by the fact that community police offi cers and security guards stop kids jumping around – even when they’re doing it safely – while parents are afraid of letting young people outside alone in some areas. The popularity of computer games doesn’t help matters either.


What’s the number one weakness of the fi tness sector? The pursuit of fi nancial reward. Sadly, money comes before the health and happiness of clients and members.


Parkour’s popularity is on the rise august 2010 © cybertrek 2010


What’s your favourite life motto? It’ll be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.


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