Tag Archives: Freerunning

Zoom Park Singapore

Last Sunday, I went to the Zoom Park Singapore with a couple of friends, Saphira and Mark. Saph had brought along another two guys, Das and Zhen Yi, so we had a party of five.

Before I organized this outing, I did quite a bit of research and analysis, which I’m going to share before I actually talk about my experience at Zoom Park.

There are currently three trampoline parks in Singapore: Zoom Park, Amped @ Katong and Amped @ Jurong. I actually read an article in the newspaper about trampoline parks, which prompted me to start the ball rolling by asking my friends and doing the research.

Side note: I have a love/hate relationship with organising events. I like the planning, the anticipation of the outing and seeing my friends, the search for the most economical deal etc. But I have been burnt in the past when I don’t plan meticulously enough and take into account Murphy’s Law. So now I stick to small things like this trampoline park trip.

I started research with Amped @ Katong, because it was the closest to me. I figured that if I liked it, I could go back on my own in future. I actually went to check it out the Tuesday before we went to Zoom Park, but I was quite disappointed. It was hard to find (turned out be on the second level, with the entrance at the back), it was small and was closed when I went, even though I went during the opening hours.

Anyway, details of the places.

Amped @ Katong
-$9/hr on Mondays to Thursdays
-$12/hr on Friday 10am-6pm
-$15/hr on Friday 6pm-10pm, Weekends and Public Holidays

The prices for Amped @ Jurong are exactly $1 more for each slot, because it’s fully air-conditioned.

In comparison, Zoom Park is:
Mondays to Thursdays
-$14 for 1st hour or $26 for 1st two hours
-$7 for each additional half hour or $13 for each additional hour

Fridays to Sundays (and Public Holidays)
-$17 for 1st hour or $30 for 1st two hours
-$8 for each additional half hour or $15 for each additional hour

Facilities-wise, Zoom Park as a lot more cool stuff. Whereas Amped only has trampolines, Zoom Park has a rock climbing wall, a foam pit, high performance mats, a slam dunk court, two dodgeball courts, a main court and a tumble track. Shower facilities are available at Zoom Park and Amped @ Jurong, but not at Amped @ Katong.

So in conclusion, my recommendation would be to go to Zoom Park on a weekend for a two-hour period, since it’s the same price as Amped and has way more facilities. If you go on a weekday, then Amped @ Katong is better purely because the you save about 100% to 300% on weekdays than on weekends, which is better than the savings if you went to Zoom Park.

Right, on to the review of Zoom Park!

My expectation of Zoom Park was that it would be kind of like a pimped out warehouse. I’d imagined a large space, high ceiling and clear borders and walkways between the facilities, perhaps with queues snaking out from each one. As it turned out, it was pretty cramped, although it was relatively large. At least, it was bigger than Amped @ Katong.

When we arrived, we quickly filled out the waiver, registered and bought our grip socks. After we put our stuff in the free lockers (awesome!) we rushed in to the place, entering only slightly later than 4pm. We’d bought two hours (4-6pm), and we had some problems finding each other at Jurong East MRT, so I feared we would be late.

My friends and I headed into the main court and tumble tracks first. We had quite a bit of fun just jumping around and getting the feel of the trampolines by doing a few basic flips. I managed to do a few wall flips, a double back handspring and started getting the basics of a wall spin. I don’t really like the feel of a wall spin, but it looks so darn cool.

01 Main Court 1
This is the same Main Court as seen from two different angles, don’t think it’s so big!
02 Main Court 2

After just half an hour of jumping around my shirt was soaked with sweat. We decided to take a water break and since we bought the two-hour package, we were each entitled to a free bottle of water. So do remember to keep your receipt to claim your water.

03 Tumble Tracks
The tumble track where we spent a lot of our time racing each other and combining flip moves.

We rested for a couple of minutes, then hit the foam pit. There were three trampolines over the pit and the rock climbing wall was on the other side. See:
04 Rock Climbing Wall and Foam Pit

I didn’t really like this, partly because there were little kids and I kept having to wait for them to move a safe distance away before doing something big. Also, the trampoline didn’t feel as great as I thought it would. I ended up having more fun doing J-step gainers from between the trampolines, where it was a solid bar for me to launch myself off off. The rock climbing wall was also pretty meh.

So we moved on to the dodgeball courts. There were a lot of people, so we didn’t get to play when we first went there. The staff told us to come back at about 5.30pm, when the crowd disperses a little, so we headed back to the tumble tracks and main courts to play around some more.

Mark and I stopped by the slam dunk court, but we found it to be a lot harder than we thought it be. Also, the fun we got wasn’t worth the effort. It did show us how out of shape we were, though. XD Here’s what the court looks like:
05 Slam Dunk Court

The next stop was the high performance mats and, oh boy, were these high performance. The rebound was really strong and I had to control myself from jumping too high. It’s a lot harder to stop jumping on a trampoline when you’re so high and you can’t just land and roll on the trampoline, so it was a little scary for me.

06 High Performance Mats

I ended up trying to do the wall walks, where you keep landing on your back and try to walk up the wall to the top. I’ve seen it done before, but it’s so much harder than it looks. I probably looked like a fool who kept flopping on his back on the trampoline. Hmph.

When 5.30pm arrived, we decided to hang around the dodgeball area to see if we could get into the next game. The staff was right; the crowd had lessened and we didn’t wait two minutes before we were allowed to play. The balls we used were just foam balls, each about the size of a small watermelon. It was really hard to throw the balls and, while I didn’t get hit at all in the first game, I didn’t hit anyone else either.

07 Extreme Dodgeball Court

In the second game, as we raced to the center to grab our balls ammo, my left foot slipped and went into the crack of the trampoline. I scrambled back but my foot got twisted and I had to sit out the rest of the match. 😦

08 Ice Pack on Foot
The staff were nice enough to help me to the nearby bench and get me a pack of instant ice.

I rested for the rest of the session, before hobbling off at 6pm. I discovered a hole in my grip socks, so I threw them away. Looks like I jumped a lot more enthusiastically than the rest XD

09 Worn Out Sock

Before we left, we took a group photo with the Zoom Park logo.
10 Group Photo
Left to Right: Das, ZhenYi, Me, Saphira and Mark

Some Protips:
1) Wear contact lenses (if you’re visually challenged)
2) Wear ankle braces just in case
3) Don’t do anything stupid or try a new move until you only have 30mins left
4) Wear the grip socks!!
5) If you’re going into the foam pit, do a proper warm up. Your hip and groin muscles will kill you if you don’t.
6) Go with friends so they can block little kids from running into your path while you do a flip.

-Jace

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Old Brunei Hostel

I initially submitted this as a guest post to The London Traceur’s blog six weeks ago, but they haven’t replied at all, nor have they had a new post since May. Ah well, here it is anyway.

01 Old Brunei Hostel

This is Old Brunei Hostel, an abandoned location claimed back by nature’s grip. It may not be the first place you’d think of as a parkour spot in Singapore, but we make do with what we have. At least it’s out of the way of the disapproving eyes of most of the public.

This place caters to both nature lovers and people who prefer to navigate the concrete jungle. The grass is so overgrown that it provides a soft landing when you’re vaulting over railings and barriers and jumping down from higher levels. The dilapidated buildings provide much to explore, climb, run and jump about in.

02 Jump

It’s quite out of the way and I don’t go there very often myself. But it’s peaceful most of the time because barely anyone else goes. Even if there are others around, there’s always a spot to train at. You can leave your stuff in one part and explore the whole place at leisure without worrying too much about your things being stolen. I’m not saying you should do that, but you could if you wanted to.

Anyway, how to get there: It’s almost a straight walk up from Redhill MRT Station. It might be a bit far for some people to walk, but that does provide a nice warm up before you actually start training. Here’s a map.

03 How to get there

Old Brunei Hostel is really big and there’s so much space to explore. You could even have a picnic or camp out there, though I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s no electricity, no running water and barely any life nearby. Also, it’s quite creepy if you stay there after the sun goes down.

04 Creepy Building

See?

My personal favourite things to practice there are pop vaults, wall climbs and generally just running around, being as creative as I can while I run. This wall is about 1.6m and has a nice run up. It’s where I do my pop vaults and wall movements, a la Assassin’s Creed.

05 Pop Vault Area

There are also open air stair cases which allow you to practice climbs and drops, like this one.

06 Open Air Staircase

You’ll probably want to go there in the earlier half of the year, before the monsoon season when it’s hot and dry, as this place can become a mosquito breeding ground. There aren’t any caretakers as far as I know, so no one clears any stagnant water.

If you do visit, remember to bring lots of liquids as there are no nearby stalls to buy drinks or snacks from. Also, I promise that you will get dirty if you train hard there, so do bring a spare change of clothes. Track pants or sweat pants are recommended even if it isn’t mosquito season, as the pants will give you at least some protection from grazes and cuts. There are lots of plants, wooden doors and planks to get splinters from, so do bring a pair of gloves as well.

Have fun!

-Jace

The Bedok Maze

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.

01 The Bedok Maze
The Bedok Maze

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.

02 Me Myself and I
Just Me, Myself and I

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.

03 Hanging out at the bars
Hanging out at the bars

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.

04 Reach

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.

-Jace

Parkour vs Freerunning

This post was first published on my Tumblr on Aug 16, 2013, and is now updated with my experiences since then.

I’ve noticed that this is a fairly common dispute between practitioners of both, so I thought I’d share my two cents worth.

Note: The following is purely my opinions. Keep that in mind.

Some people say they’re totally different, some people say they’re the same thing, and some people don’t care. Just train, right?

The main difference I see is that freerunning involves all the cool stunts, flips and tricks, which are flashy but have no practical purpose. As you probably can guess, parkour is thought to be more conservative, making very efficient use of energy and maintaining a near-constant speed throughout a course.

One definition of parkour is “moving from point A to B in the shortest time possible”, which begs the question: Wouldn’t running in a straight line be considered parkour?

Well, my opinion on this is on a different level. I think that they’re different philosophically, but physically more or less the same.

They’re both about movement. Both sides require you to be physically strong, committed and disciplined. And both preach safety first. What is the first thing we all learn in Parkour/Freerunning? How to bail. How to roll out of a failed move and minimise injury.

The difference, I feel, is in my personal definitions of these terms.
Parkour: Mastery of your environment.
Freerunning: Mastery of yourself and your body.

Both go hand in hand with one another and they’re not mutually exclusive. The focus of each one is just a little different. With parkour, you do need some mastery of your body (duh) in order to land precision jumps, execute kongs and pull yourself up in wall passes. In freerunning, you don’t really need a particular environment to work in, just yourself. Practicing flips, springs and rolls don’t generally need obstacles. Just a simple floor or wall will suffice.

I likened these two points of view to the segregation of a human brain.

Parkour is the left brain, doing everything efficiently, planning ahead to see what the easiest/shortest route will be and using repetitive training to get your flow.

Freerunning is the right brain, creatively coming up with new flashy moves, seeing many different possibilities of doing something (like different ways of flipping over an obstacle), and using more of your body than just your hands and feet.

I only thought of this because this is what I like do. I like to draw definite lines around things, keep them neat and orderly and classified correctly. But to be honest, I belong in the “don’t care, just train” camp. I do both Parkour and Freerunning. I only know the names of moves when I want to ask how to learn it.

Otherwise, just keep training.

-Jace