Parkour Practitioners, Team Reality

Engaging The Community & Challenging Public Perception – Team Reality (Member Highlight)

TEAM REALITY LTD are Parkour UK Afilliate+ members based in Grimsby.

Team Reality is a parkour team first formed in 2007 originating from the Grimsby/Cleethorpes area, founded by the duo of Jake Harris and Neil Huston. Since 2010, Team Reality have been coaching their own parkour sessions to a range of individuals of all ages within their community.

Fast forward 12 years and Team Reality is thriving. They have a new partnership with Sidney Sussex Park, a group that is based within a local park who have been putting on events, functions, and activity days for the local community. 

I spoke to Jake Harris at Team Reality about the partnership, asking him about the partnership, who approached whom, and what the steps moving forward were.

Jake states:

They reached out to us. We’ve worked within the local community for many years. I think there were some mutual friends and connections, and we were recommended.  

Throughout the summer, we had the opportunity to join them for some fun in the park and give the local area around the park the chance to try parkour or just explore movement in a way they may not have before. 

This partnership wasn’t just for the summer holidays. Team Reality runs its own indoor facility, where they teach over 100 participants a week. Because of the access to this space, Team Reality has continued the partnership into the winter months.

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As the weather has started to turn, we have been fortunate enough to bring the local community to our own facility to progress on the introduction to parkour and give them a greater experience in the sport. It also brings the community together, keeping warm and dry within our academy. 

Jake, and the other Team Reality coaches, have a very clear and passionate drive to want to make a positive change in their community, whilst also tackling the public’s general perception of parkour. Back in September, an article was published on the Grimsby Telegraph website about a group of individuals practicing parkour on the rooftops of the local area. (Read Here.)

A few days later, one of the Team Reality students, who was pictured in the article, approached the Grimsby Telegraph to explain his side of the story. (Read Here.)

The 15-year-old student highlights the positive change the Team Reality guys have made in his life growing up and in others in the community.

I’ve been coached by people with 20 years of experience in the sport and it’s a great way to become involved in a community. Everyone supports one another and we get on really well as a group.

I started at six and only got to where I am with the help of my coach’s constructive criticism. It boosted me in the sport and as a person in the long run.

In a further follow-up to this article, Team Reality took the responsibility of inviting a Grimsby Telegraph reporter down to their indoor facility for a day of parkour training. This was to help individuals outside of the sport gain a deeper understanding of how the sport is practiced at ground level and in a safe environment, before taking things up to height.

Jake states:

There was an article about ‘youths jumping roof gaps’ which happened to be one of our older experienced students. They then did an article with him about parkour and now they are coming to us to have a go

The article highlights Team Reality’s passion for instructing parkour to anyone at any age and tells the story of the reporter trying parkour for the first time. You can read this article here.

Parkour is still an incredibly new sport. It is also the only sport where you don’t need equipment, a facility, or an instructor to really go out and give it a try. It is also one of the first new sports to grow up in tandem with social media. Because of this, videos of people jumping off rooftops are attention-grabbing and tend to go viral, which, in turn, makes experienced parkour practitioners (traceurs – the French term) look like adrenaline junkies with very little prior experience.

The publics view is definitely more positive than its ever been, but we can always do our part to help educate others on the sport. Every sport has dangerous elements and we want to shine a light on the hard work that goes into practicing parkour correctly, and it’s not just about the danger.

It is people like the Team Reality team who are challenging the public’s perception of parkour by offering the local community new, exciting, and engaging ways to challenge the environment around them, promoting a sense of community, self-progression, and exercise.

To finish, I have linked Team Reality’s YouTube channel, where they upload weekly videos of their training, as well as highlight some of the students from their classes.