Let me take you back to the Spring of 2005. A 14 year old Adam enters the scene. By this time, I had earned my black belt in Martial Arts, and had a complete passion for training in Kung Fu and Karate. My closest friends were all from the martial arts community, the closest of which, was named Aaron.
Aaron and I did not wear the term ‘geek’ unearned. We loved The Matrix, played video games far too much, and were far too proud of our digital skill sets. Like any young geek, we were perfectly proficient within the internets, and I can recall spending much of my time utilizing websites like Metacafe and ebaumsworld to memorize card tricks, download music, and watch funny videos. It didn’t take terribly long before the ever-growing-in-popularity videos of ‘parkour” began to invade the internet. Remind you, this is pre-Youtube.
I can specifically recall a few videos that always stuck to mind.. such as David Belle’s Speed-Air Man, Oleg’s/Dvinsk Clan’s Le Parkour (Russian Climbing), Ermitage’s Evolution.. and many more. Whether it was destiny, or just my teenage hormones, I felt something when I watched these videos, that made me say “I’ve got to learn to do that”. My training [loose term] began alongside my martial arts friends, as we would wander around the town, seeking roofs to jump from, and railings to vault over. We went to the hardware store to buy Parkour gloves… and searched high and low for Parkour shoes. I bought cargo pants… seemingly the correct choice for parkour pants. It’s what all the cool people wore, anyways. Indeed, before long, we started producing our very own videos.
All good stories have a tragedy, and this is no exception. Months before achieving the full rank of Instructor at my martial arts school, and just as my passion for parkour alongside by friends developed, a big move was in store for my family. In summer of 2006, we all moved to the state of Hawaii, where my parents wished to retire and my sister wanted to attend college. I was the only one who had no want or desire to move to paradise, as I loved my Pennsylvania life. Despite the heartbreak, I quickly found a job in Hawaii, working on the Pearl Harbor base. After work, nearly every night and mostly out of solitude, I would go for a run around my neighborhood, continuing my parkour-like antics of jumping and climbing all over things I shouldn’t. Within a couple months of my Hawaiian residence, a strange fellow named Ozzi Quintero reached out to me via MySpace, and asked if I wanted to join a Parkour open gym session. Excited but nervous to meet these strangers, I could not say no. Little did I know that this tattoo’d Venezuelan would be among the greatest catalysts in my life to date.
By a stroke of luck, destiny, or grace, Ozzi was public-discovery away from being among the best Parkour coaches in the US at the time. He had a natural instinct for movement, progression, and technique. All on his own, on a literal island, Ozzi uncovered a healthy method to parkour coaching and training, and I was lucky enough to be alongside for the journey. Together we formed Urban Current Clan and produced popular tutorials that were famous for detailed breakdowns of technique and training method. (Most tutorials of the day were a movement in slow motion, and nothing more). Training alongside Ozzi re-ignited my purpose to teach and share, as we blossomed the Hawaii Parkour community and began to teach organized sessions. I went from a teenager jumping off roofs and showing off in front of a camera, to a developing coach who cared deeply for the health, well-being, and personal development of his students.
And the final twist to bring us to the finale of this story. Despite my family’s attempt to permanently move to Hawaii, this was the time of the housing market challenges, and our Pennsylvania house never sold; causing my family to pay rent in Hawaii and a mortgage in PA.. an impossible burden to carry in the long term. For this reason, all but my sister were forced to move back to Pennsylvania. While I was sad to leave my new Hawaiian friends, I was alive inside with a desire to take my new-found knowledge of the correct methodology of parkour training to my home town. In 2009, I began the Lehigh Valley Parkour community with an introductory seminar, and the rest is history.