This post was first published on The London Traceur’s blog on May 02, 2014. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.
One of my favourite places to train in Singapore is the Bedok Maze. Just look at this place! The walls are all about knee or waist high, so it’s wonderful to train precision jumps, vaults and overall flow. It also helps that this is just a five minute walk from my home, so I can just drop (and roll) by anytime I want. The bricks also give it a sort of rustic feel to it, as if this place was built explicitly for parkour and freerunning a very long time ago. The surrounding buildings are residential and sometimes we have elderly people scold us because they think parkour is dangerous and that we should be studying instead.
Sometimes jams are held here on the weekends and it’s great to see experienced traceurs teaching the beginners. It’s also not uncommon to see groups of teens training here even on weekday afternoons after school. Personally, I like to avoid the crowd so I usually come here on weekday mornings to train. Or at least, I used to before I was conscripted enlisted to serve my National Service. It’s not that I don’t like training with others, it’s just that I prefer being alone or with just a few friends. For me, training time is also partly reflection time and it’s easier to focus and work through my personal problems and obstacles alone, rather than having a bunch of rowdy strangers around.
One of my personal favourite things to do here is navigating the maze on my hands. So far I haven’t been able to hold the handstand until I reached the end, but I’ve progressed a lot ever since I first started. It’s difficult to train because handstands are so intensive for me and I can barely do two to three walks before I tire out. I usually move on to precision jumps. There are varying distances between any two ledges in the maze, so it’s pretty easy to find a spot that caters to your current jump limit. Once you’re ready to increase that distance, another pair of wider ledges are conveniently waiting to be discovered nearby.
Just beside the maze is a small exercise spot with monkey bars, rings, pull up bar, sit up bench, etc. It’s a great spot for switching to conditioning training when you’re done with vaults and jumps, or for some floor work on the rubber surface.
If you need to work on vertical wall runs, there are pipes on the surrounding buildings about three to four meters above the ground. The pipes are at a pretty decent height which I used to be able to grab with ease, but the lack of training recently has left me only just able to touch the pipe. The run up is quite short, so this really makes me rely more on muscles and technique rather than on momentum.
I usually put in only an hour or two of training in any one sitting, but the various activities make me use all my muscles so I always wake up with my whole body aching the next day. It’s a good ache and makes me feel like I actually did work out, more so than going for a run or skate.