“With great power comes great responsibility.” Traceurs are surely familiar with these words of advice. And in a way, many active participants in parkour communities the world over do act responsibly in how they promote and grow our sport.
Joe Sotomayor, an artist hailing from Hernando County Florida, has been an active member in his parkour community since he started training parkour a year ago with the Shinobi School at their very first class. Joe met Shinobi while voicing Spider-Man at a script reading for a super hero comedy show. Just like Peter Parker, Joe sometimes deals with struggles while choosing to give back in any way he can, like playing the friendly neighborhood webslinger at charity events.
He regularly makes an hour long drive to be an active member of the school. He even designed their cool logo and does his best to promote the gym and parkour any chance he gets – even at comic cons; where he sells fan art prints and interest in learning parkour is at an all time high.
Joe was lucky to have an uncle Ben figure in his life – his Grandfather.
“My Grandfather was a good man and kind of the corner stone of our family. He was always humble and would be willing to go without just to help someone. He also told me ‘You do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. You don’t do it for money. You don’t do it for a pat on the back. You do it because you have the ability to do so.'”
This advice is perfect for any traceur – training to better yourself is its own reward. Joe’s grandfather also taught him how to draw at the age of five. Joe has some bigger projects coming up to relate parkour and art.
It’s no surprise that Joe started doing parkour – seeing as how he is creative and inspired by Spider-Man from a young age
“He was my childhood hero. He was a source of inspiration for years. Being the hard luck hero that he was and still kinda is, he showed that you didn’t have to be the strongest, or have lots of money to do the right thing, to keep pressing”
Parkour has given Joe the opportunity to live up to his heroes. “The Parkour community has contributed to me by giving me new goals to try for and giving me confidence. I can see my progress with every class and [I] surprise myself by doing things I never thought I could.”
Joe has mainly trained at some of the great urban spots in Tampa any Ybor City. “Since I’m still new to Parkour, I haven’t traveled much for training. But that’s going to change very soon.”
As traceurs, we may not have webs, the ability to stick to walls, or superhuman strength, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to be spectacular, amazing, sensational, or ultimate in our movement.
By APK Ambassador Keith Mylett