Spring of 2011, my last year of high school, we were going to perform the musical “Cats” and the director wanted us to be jumping around on stage and in the audience. She knew Andy Keller who had graduated two years ago and invited him to come back. The very first thing I learned was how to QM like a cat. The second was how to mount and dismount the stage in a roll. I wasn’t an athletic kid, but it was the seed that started a wild adventure. That summer Andy invited those of us that trained with him during the spring to a park for a big group session. It was my first outdoor experience and introduced me to the possibilities of human movement. I wasn’t anywhere close to their level but I loved simple vaulting and balancing on rails.
I trained once more that summer before going to college at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. At this point I am by no means a traceur, just someone who enjoys running, jumping, and climbing. However, as a new college freshman who is being introduced to entirely new people, “I do Parkour” makes me look cool. Conveniently, I ended up meeting a girl on my floor during orientation who also did Parkour. At this point, I was locked into actually doing Parkour. I had told everyone I did Parkour and I had someone else who wanted to train with me. It also helped that I had a crush on this girl and I had enjoyed Parkour in the past so it’s not like I was really complaining. We started a club at the school together and trained weekly during the year. I still wasn’t very good; it was basically the blind leading the blind. We had fun but nobody besides the two of us were really interested in the Parkour lifestyle and mindset.
The following summer I improved more than I ever have in such a short time period. I trained with Andy and the gang in Lancaster at least once a week and was able to learn how they trained. I came back to Pittsburgh changed. I saw jumps and routes I had never even considered before and had gained a new teaching style. We partnered with the neighboring club at the University of Pittsburgh and began training more often. It would take another year before our club took off and had people truly interested in Parkour. When it happened, I underwent another period of serious improvement. There were several people who began coming regularly who were more naturally athletic than me. The only advantage I had was experience and technique, a gap that was quickly fading.
After graduation, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin and met up with Wisconsin Parkour. I began teaching classes with them in the spring of 2016 and also met people at my workplace who train.