5 minutes with Fluidity Freerun

Johnson Reed
3m read

The UK’s biggest bespoke freerunning park, Fludity Freerun, has just opened its doors in Cardiff. We find five minutes to catch up with Director, Frazer Meek, to discuss the trials and tribulations of getting freerunning recognised as an official sport, and now, a business.

So for the people out there who are new to freerunning, what is it?

Freerunning, also known as Parkour, is an artform using your body and the environment around you, with emphasis on being strong and efficient. This could be for use in emergencies, with the idea of being physically and mentally prepared to overcome obstacles at the heart of the philosophy.  In recent years, many different art forms have lent itself to freerunning, to create a looser, creative way of training. This incorporates things like acrobatics, dance, and more stylised movements.

You’ve been open just a couple of weeks. How are you getting on? 

It’s been pretty busy. Our opening day had a couple of hundred people through the doors to try out parkour in our workshops, watch performances and demonstrations, and to jam on the new course!

What made you decide to open your own site? 

We have been performing, teaching and working with parkour for around a decade now. Coaching and trying to further push parkour out to the communities became our priority . With this, we knew we needed our own space. Parks like ours started opening up overseas, and in the UK there are only a few as it is very hard to obtain funding and spaces like we wanted. We finally struck luck and quite a few things fell into place, and now we are finally here with the UK’s biggest bespoke park!

Freerunning is still a fairly niche activity and can look quite dangerous to the uninitiated! How do you ease beginners into the activity? 

We deal with public misconceptions daily. Unfortunately, the majority of parkour the public see happen to be of very high level professionals after years of training, performing what are very calculated and well thought-out movements. As well as that, due to YouTube and adverts, the public see a lot of daring and intense feats, which can give off the wrong impression about what is a ground based practise- it’s got nothing to do with being on roofs! When we first start teaching someone, we are going through basic movements; teaching balance, co-ordination and helping the participant to figure out their capability. With this an eye for possibility will grow, and we can nurture creativity as they will start to explore more into their confidence and capabilities. The fundamentals of parkour include skills such as climbing, vaulting, traversing, jumping, accuracy and flow!  A while after this the participant will be at a standard where they can start combining these movements, and pushing to start making the movements bigger. Jumps start very small, and only with good practice comes the ability to see the big jumps and huge runs you see people doing.

Why did you opt for alternative finance to acquire your equipment? 

We have a national governing body, ParkourUK, who have been working to get it recognised as a sport with a board of directors, meetings and qualifications and we have come a long way. As a relatively new art in the world, we haven’t been a fundable sport and to secure a warehouse and equipment has been a bit too out of reach for us (and many others). Luckily we were able to strike an awesome partnership with Infinity Trampoline Park and acquired a space that they previously were using. After this, we sought to find some finance, and they recommended Johnson Reed, who were able to finance the amount we felt we needed for our equipment to start up!

You worked with Paula at Johnson Reed throughout the project. How did you find the process? 

Working with Johnson Reed has been very straight forward. We have been taken through the whole process by Paula who has been an absolute star; very efficient, speedy and so much help with everything we haven’t fully understood. It’s been such a minefield for us and we have had to learn quick. Luckily Paula has made that as easy as possible and has devoted so much time and help to us. It’s been brilliant and we couldn’t think of anything else we could have been offered!