By David Kavanagh WA’s first ever, purpose-built parkour gym has opened its doors in Bunbury as the sport continues to catch on quickly throughout the state. The gym, named X5 Academy, is the brainchild and passion project of a handful of young and experienced parkour enthusiasts from fitness groups Obfit and Freerun X5. Nineteen-year-old Will Tuck, a longtime member of Freerun X5, has been a dedicated parkour athlete for around five years. “I consider [parkour] to be the art of expressing yourself through movement,” he said. “Our ambition is to show more people this new lifestyle and get communities involved in what we think is a more healthy and innovative way to exercise or workout.” Obfit and Freerun X5 spent a year raising funds then designing and constructing the gym, while also hosting various freerunning events and gatherings. They intend to use the space to run classes that foster passion and teach the next generation of freerunning athletes the essentials. “It is the satisfaction of parents coming to us after lessons saying their five-year-old son’s motor skills have really improved and that they can now coordinate themselves to kick a football [that motivates us],” said Mr Tuck. Parkour as an athletic discipline has been quickly gaining popularity in WA since 2006 when the Australian Parkour Association was formed. Just last year, an APA collaboration with the City of Fremantle led to the construction of WA’s first outdoor parkour park at the Youth Esplanade Plaza in Fremantle. APA President Matthew Campbell said more than 1,500 people have participated in parkour classes in Perth over the last few years. “As [parkour] has become more acceptable, many more kids are doing it than used to,” Mr Campbell said. “Parkour can play a role by giving people a non-competitive way to be active and develop themselves physically and mentally.” If you want to give it a go, visit Perth Parkour for information about workshops and events.