Defying Gravity: Sophomore starts parkour organization


He stretches out his arms, and takes a deep breath. The sun beams down on him as he readies himself. He goes through the motions in his head, making sure that everything will be perfect. One, two, three – he runs and leaps into the air, flipping before landing swiftly on the ground.

Sophomore Raven McCarthy is a freerunner – someone who participates in a form of parkour involving acrobatic stunts – and the founder of Parkour for a Purpose, a Dallas freerunning group that hosts clinics, workshops and shows for charity.

“I created a community of people who want to help teach other people how to do [parkour], and also support other causes,” McCarthy said.

At the age of 12, after nine years of training in gymnastics, McCarthy started learning parkour, a sport consisting of maneuvering obstacles as quickly as possible by running, jumping and climbing.

“I first got into it by watching a television show,” McCarthy said. “But then again, when I was a kid, I always wanted to be like a Power Ranger or a Ninja Turtle, so I kind of copied their moves and went from there.”

McCarthy tries to keep parkour positive, not letting his training interfere with his studies.

“It doesn’t affect me in a negative way like some sports,” McCarthy said. “Parkour is all about getting over an obstacle, or progressing to get over an obstacle, so it actually helps me in a positive way.”

He is not the only student developing parkour abilities. During block lunch, McCarthy and other freerunners gather to practice basic, as well as more difficult, parkour moves.

“I do parkour because it is so freeing,” freshman Eric Brem said. “I love the feeling of being in the air. Parkour is great because it helps me focus and become stronger.”

According to McCarthy, gymnastics and parkour are closely related, with a few key differences.

“Parkour is a lot more laid back and relaxed,” McCarthy said. “With gymnastics, it’s all about technique and form, but with parkour it’s much more about how efficient you can be.”

This efficient, laid-back style is what freerunners are known for.

“A thing that goes around in the parkour community, because we’re not so technically based, would be to defy gravity,” McCarthy said. “We like to call it defying gravity as a way of saying we don’t care how form is, we just like to defy gravity.”

Get in touch: Parkour for a Purpose Facebook page

Check out a video: