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A young man from Indian Brook credits an outdoor jumping and climbing activity called parkour for helping him overcome obesity and other personal struggles and says many other aboriginal youth could benefit from the practise.

Glenn Knockwood took up parkour about 12 years ago after seeing a segment about it on the television show Ripley's Believe it or Not.

"The way Ripley's made it seem was that it was impossible and no one could do it," he said.

"Then a few years later, I found 13-year-olds on the internet doing it and as soon as I saw that I was like 'ok anyone can do it' and I went out that night."

He said with parkour, you use an obstacle as a path to overcome.

"With parkour practise, parkour mentality, it is no longer something that will stop you in your tracks," he said. "You can find a way to overcome it."

'A sense of empowerment'

Knockwood has worked with youth at the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre for the past six years promoting parkour as a way to reconnect with nature.

"Especially for youth and especially aboriginal youth, a sense of empowerment is something that is greatly needed within the youth of this era," he said.

Parkour helped Knockwood overcome some personal obstacles. He said he weighed 159 kilograms as a teen. He also lost both his mother and sister at a young age.

"You can achieve the goals and direction that you have chosen for your life," he said

Now Knockwood is trying to start up an indoor parkour gym in Halifax called the Urban Playground. The funding is mostly in place, but he is having a difficult time finding appropriate space that is tall enough.

Ideally, he'd like to open in downtown Halifax, but suspects it will likely be located in the Bayers Lake or Burnside Industrial parks.

He wants to bring parkour to more youth.

"It looks more difficult than it is."

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