A friend in my freshman year of high school kept nagging me to check out this thing that was like ‘skateboarding without the board’. I was a skater at the time, and he thought it would be a good fit for me because of that and since I was already visiting the school roof for funsies.
He finally gets me to watch Oleg Vorslav’s “Russian Climbing” video, but I wasn’t convinced until they dragged me out to the outdoor seating to try some straddle vaults on a stone bench. As reluctant as I was to even consider I’d like anything better than skateboarding, it felt awesome to try and move past something with purpose.
At the time, my dad would pick me up from school and take me to his workplace for a couple hours before going home, so I started looking up different parkour techniques on the old Urban Freeflow website and practice them out back on lunch tables.
Eventually I met up with the local community based around the University of Georgia, and through them I learned more about how to train. Until that point, I’d basically just been practicing vaults every day. They were just then going through shin splint issues, so they were very big on teaching me about conditioning, good technique, and listening to my body. This was back around 2008/2009.