BLIGH Park’s Daniel Walker is one of many who is taking up a new generation of sports, which are becoming more popular in Australia of late.
Walker is a warrior, or gym warrior to be precise, and it is a relatively new sport in the mould of Freerunning, Parkour and FreeG.
Parkour, for the uninitiated, developed from the military, and involves participants using the environment around them to get from point A to B, without assisted climbing gear, only their own athletic ability. Freerunning and FreeG are similar sports.
They require extreme fitness, strength and agility, and are certainly not for the faint hearted.
“You need to be strong and agile and have excellent body awareness. The main thing is your technique,” Walker said of gym warrior competitions.
Walker is not leaping between floors of unfinished construction sites like some parkour or free runners do, however, he is scaling obstacles courses inside gyms across Australia.
Warrior competitions essentially involve completing an obstacle course, without hitting the ground. “The floor is lava,” as Walker described it.
Walker said at his core, he was simply a big kid, and just liked the idea of climbing big obstacle courses.
Since getting started in the sport, he has become more and more involved, to the point where he is actually travelling across Australia to take part in competitions.
“This year I’ve competed in two events, and I’ve got one coming up in March,” he said.
“I've got a wedding anniversary coming up, but I'm going to meet up with some of my mates down in Melbourne. Only for one day but I'll do some training and competition down there too.”
The Melbourne competition doubles as a qualifier for the Australian championships as well. There was even an international competition in February, although Walker said he did not think he would ever be able to make that because had had young children to help care for along with his wife.
Walker takes it seriously. He was travelling into the city a few times a week to train for the sport, but Vision Gymsports in South Windsor now offers the facilities for him to train, which he said was a big relief.
He is even taking advantage of the fact the gym has a tumbling background, and has changed his style of training to see whether it makes him a better gym warrior.
“I was always doing strength and conditioning, but now I've gone to a ninja gym and worked on technique,” he said.
“I do a bit of bouldering but I've actually being doing a lot of gymnastics lately too. I'm training differently to get some different skills and see where they take me.”