What is parkour to me?! That’s a very hard question to answer. That’s like asking what is the meaning of life? Spoiler alert, the answer is parkour and love! Well OK that one was not that hard. But to answer the first question lets start at my background with sports and the arts.
I have always been a very active kid on the playground. Always finding new ways to climb and flip off the equipment. It was my natural state, in motion. My father was huge into karate and I always play fought with him. I did gymnastics in my young teens but it did not fit my personality. Then I got older, my attention shifted towards the arts. Most of my high school career was art classes and the same with my college classes.
Like a lot of people I first experienced parkour through TV and the internet. All these people moving around and with their environment. It blew my mind that someone was capable of moving so fluidly and with such precision. I have seen circus acts and gymnastics before but this was a whole new level. I was hooked! I felt the need to move, I felt inspired.
The beginning of my parkour career was just me moving around aimlessly. I did not even know it had a name or that there were techniques to land safe and climb correctly. Just me and my environment. I then found tutorials on YouTube. Most internet tutorials just did enough to get the point across but, I had to figure out what worked for me. Not everyone has the same body or mindset. I began breaking down skills so I could understand the ins and outs of them. I eventually turned that skill into coaching parkour and free running at a family owned gymnastics facility.
This is when I could see the benefits of parkour. My students started to see the beauty in everyday objects, and so did I. The world began to open up, nothing was just as it was. A wall became a challenge, the park bench next to it became a launch pad. When my students began to level up and grow as athletes, so did I. My coaching continually evolves with my students and their needs and goals with in parkour or free running While helping my students find their own paths, I was actually finding mine.
Only recently have I felt what parkour is to me and I have my students to thank for that. They have shown me that there are many ways to participate in a sport. You can be the starting quarterback, the goalie, the cheerleader, or the coach. They are all important, but for me being the coach is endlessly rewarding. Not only am I helping shape the life’s of my students but I am helping them paint their environment with their movements. I like to think of art as how we decorate the space around us and I feel that when we do parkour we are painting a masterpiece. I want to help everyone become an artist.
So what is parkour to me? Parkour is where I belong. Parkour is where I do not have to be the best athlete or the most inspiring, but I can still help mold the future of the sport. It’s art in motion.