This year was the first year Pinnacle Parkour has hosted the Philadelphia National Jam, and it was a great success, with over 50 athletes of all ages and skill levels showing up to jump, clean, and hang out! Fun was had, tons of jumps were broken, and many memories were made over the course of the two day jam, and it’s a weekend none of us will soon forget!
For those unfamiliar with parkour jams, a jam is a gathering of practitioners. The purpose of jams is to bring athletes from far and wide to practice together. This conflux of talent and skill and different styles and perspectives brings the community closer together, in addition to providing every athlete with more complex challenges that may have never been noticed without an outside perspective. Hundreds of jams take place around the world every year, ranging from small local jams such as our Leave No Trace jam, to huge international jams like Lion City Gathering in Singapore. Jams date back to the very beginning of parkour, with many jams focused on giving back to the communities we practice in.
One aspect of parkour that can be neglected is the “Leave No Trace” principle. For those of us familiar with backpacking and community festivals, leave no trace isn’t a foreign concept. However, when it comes to parkour, LNT is often overlooked. The concept of this principle is pretty self explanatory; leaving the areas you train in as close to the same or in better condition than they were before you were there. It’s hard to get this across nowadays to people that train parkour largely indoors, so we try our best to promote it at every event we have. Our effort at Philly Nat was a cleanup initiative at Paine’s Skatepark, and our community filled up tons of trash bags and left the park better than ever!
Aside from the cleanup aspect, the jam itself was a joyride of fun jumps and challenges for all athletes involved. On Saturday, we started the jam at Markward Playground with warm-up games to get athletes moving as they trickled in, followed by a class to get everybody familiarized with the movement potential of the area. Once everybody had some time to train at the park, we gathered small breakout groups to go to pocket spots around the city. Later on, we headed to the skatepark for our cleanup hour before training, then we headed back to the gym for the indoor portion of the jam. Everybody was hyped up and full of energy (Probably from the free food and drinks provided by our sponsors; Bodyarmor and PopChips!) and training didn’t stop until we turned the lights out at 2AM! On our second and final day, after slowly arising from jump-induced hibernation, athletes travelled to the final outdoor location of the jam, Venice Island! It was incredible to see athletes from the ages of 4 to 40, from no experience to highly experienced, coming together and training with one another. The community really coalesced and made us proud to be a part of it. Athletes jammed around the area for a few hours before heading back home, completely sore, exhausted, and satisfied after an eventful weekend.
Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the way the event unfolded! We give our thanks to every athlete, participant, observer, volunteer, and parent that made it all happen. What was your favorite part of the jam? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out the bonus photos we posted as well!