How did your training begin?

I started training randomly in 2009! I was playing a soccer game with a couple of friends back in Italy and since I kicked the ball out of the field I offered myself to go get it back, in front of me there was a huge wall that i wallran with no problems, when I came back with ball eveybody froze from the surpising action and asked me if I ever trained parkour…I answered asking what that was? And a couple of people took me to the main training spot and since then I never stopped.

Back in Naples I had a routine of going for a jog at 6 AM (mostly weekends), right across the street where I lived in a huge park in a circular shape. I would do a couple of laps until getting tired to then condition until 11-12 and then go back to sleep ! I would wake up with my father since he had to go to work around that time. In the weekdays instead if I had no school I would train at least 5 hours at day with my little community there. I had the bad habit of burning fats as soon as I would assume them, I always had urge to move and train eventhough I just had an incredible meal ! (don’t make the same mistake xD )

How did your training begin?

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.

How did your training begin?

My training began in the spring/summer of 2013. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact time, because I had a gradual introduction. I met Andy Keller, and through the course of our conversation he explained to me what parkour was, and invited me to come try it with him and a group of people with whom he trained. I decided to give it a shot, so I met them at Long’s Park for one of their Monday night training sessions. The first couple times that I went I felt so out of place because everyone else there was so good, and they were all great friends, and I was just this random girl. But I didn’t want to quit (despite crying in the shower when I got home), so I just kept showing up.

Eventually I got to know people, I learned that they had been training for quite a while, and I didn’t feel quite so out of place when I showed up to their training sessions. Three years later, I’m still training, and I really don’t know what my life would’ve been like if I had quit after my first day at the park.

How did your training begin?

I was introduced to parkour in the Fall of 2014 when a friend was attempting to give me break dance lessons. I wanted to learn how to break dance as a way to connect with inner city kids and also as part of a feature movie project I was producing. My friend and I got a little side tracked from basic break dancing and he started teaching me a little parkour at the gym (which was an extremely padded and soft gymnastics gym). Since I have no rhythmic feel and was making painfully slow progress in dancing, I decided I enjoyed the parkour aspects of our “lessons” way more and might should focus on that and leave dancing behind. I also saw parkour as a unique element that could replace the dance story line of my movie project and increase the market value of the finished product.

If I was going to produce and act in a movie with parkour, I figured I should explore this world before production started (which was set for Summer 2015). I began frequently making the 2 hour trip from my small East Texas area into Dallas for classes at a real parkour gym (Fugitive Fitness). The coaches at Fugitive Fitness welcomed me with open arms and launched me on an exciting adventure! My eyes were opened as I saw people in real life doing things I had watched on YouTube and I continued to get excited about so many elements of parkour. The movie’s filming got pushed back to Summer 2016 and I took advantage of the extra time to learn and explore parkour in order to influence the script and acting portrayals to be authentic to what parkour really is. Somehow, I thought after a year of exploring and training in this area I would be all set to film an authentic parkour movie ;P . (Now I keep realizing how in depth and broad the scope of parkour and its lifestyle is, so no more ambitions to quickly learn all about it!).

In April of 2015, a child in East Texas expressed interested in parkour classes. Realizing I didn’t know much at all of what I was doing with parkour, but not wanting to tell the child no, I decided I should attend a coaching class. With limited knowledge about parkour certification programs, I searched online and explored websites. All of which I struggled to no end to find any available local classes. Apparently most of the parkour certification programs were having website issues (or I was using the websites wrong ;P ). I found broken calendars and classes offered in the UK (I didn’t realize there was a separate sight for PKGAmericas). I messaged the info help account from Parkour Generations and finally got connected to a people in America who were very helpful! A few weeks later I attended ADAPT Level 1 in Tulsa lead by Andy Keller, Andy Pearson, and Adam McClellan. I was excited to see how deep and influential into other parts of life parkour could reach besides just physical fitness. I also really appreciated the passion for the discipline the coaches exhibited. I was encouraged to keep exploring parkour and working on adjusting the script of the movie. Realizing I still had no idea what I was doing with parkour and that I had no idea what I should research about it, I embarked on a crazy adventure of quickly completing my Level 1 required coaching hours and attending ADAPT Level 2 several weeks later in Kutztown. During the Level 2 course, I learned a lot about the mindset of parkour and many different elements. I was introduced to elements of training such as breaking jumps and extremely long endurance activities. At one particular moment, after being told we would QM way more than I ever had attempted, I was about to raise my hand and tell Andy Pearson, “I don’t do stuff like that”. But he beat me to it and told us if it seems difficult, it’s supposed to be. He left no room for excuses :). After this intense research trip, I returned to Texas to continue training and working on the movie.

In the Fall of 2015, due to several set backs in the movie production process, I realized it would be best to stop rushing the project and take time for more development and research and rewriting. But I got hooked in the process. I am excited to learn about the discipline of parkour so I can soon take what I learn to inner city kids. Also, in a few years when the time is right, I look forward to completing the movie which started my journey:)!

How did your training begin?

My training began when I was 15/16 years old during a summer in California in 2010/2011. I had been looking up stuff about parkour and bodyweight training before I actually started moving/training. I was exposed to parkour by the game Assassin’s Creed. It was the first time I know of the word “parkour” and became interested in it.

My first actual training day consisted of only precision jumps because I do not have a place to do vaults. I did a lot of research first and watched a lot of tutorials (i.e. Jesse LaFlair’s famous tutorials) before my first actual training day.

-z

How did your training begin?

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.

How did your training begin?

This is the story of how I gained a new hobby, became much stronger, and generally made my life incalculably better by wasting time on the internet.

It all started with Splinter Cell, a game my teenage self was very fond of, in which you play NSA ninja Sam Fisher, and save the world with your expertise in hacking, killing, sabotaging, and most importantly, sneaking your way through dark facilities run by enemies of the United States (also, as I later learned with utter nerdy excitement, the inspiration for a Parkour game called Sentry). I dreamed of being as stealthy, strong, and agile as Sam Fisher, although looking back, there wasn’t a whole lot of actual Parkour in the game, besides unrealistic tic tacs and VERY impressive wall traversing.

I had always been a pretty agile and strong kid, and I always had loved to jump and climb on things, one of many facets of my quirkiness that I am verrrryyyy slowly managing to reign in. The signature move in the game was the split jump, in which the character jumped up, kicked off a wall and landed in a full split six or seven feet off the ground, perfect for ambushing an unsuspecting enemy walking underneath. I knew I wasn’t capable of the split yet, but I used to awkwardly stand next to walls and ineffectively jump straight up and try to kick off them, unaware that the the takeoff in the game was totally wrong.

Anyway:

One night I was so bored that I actually started reading the fictional character biography for Sam Fisher on Wikipedia. Then one paragraph caught my eye. It said he was an expert in Krav Maga and Parkour, an Israeli martial art and some sort of French sport that seemed to involve a lot of jumping, respectively. “I’d better look these up” I thought to myself, figuring that It would behoove me to know how to fight and move like a ninja if men in black with night vision goggles, AK-47s, and generic Eastern European accents busted down my door. Then my world changed. I started looking up videos of Parkour. What I saw seemed nothing less than superhuman, I had never even thought humans were capable of moving this way. Such strength and agility blew my mind, but it also set it to daring purpose. I decided that I too would learn how to be Spider-man.

I forget how long it was between when I discovered Parkour and actually started doing it. But I eventually found a place that taught classes: Lehigh Valley Parkour. I was oblivious to how fortunate I was to live within a reasonable distance to a qualified teacher at the time, something I am still grateful for. Parkour isn’t like Karate where there’s a school on every street corner.

I was 17 and didn’t have my licence yet, so my dad dropped me off at a class one Sunday in with my brother. I nervously approached a group of fit looking young people seemingly led my a guy with an impressive voice named Adam McClellan. And that is how, on a bright, warm, September afternoon, I started my Parkour journey, and discovered a group of people I have immense respect for. I was not used to such complete and all encompassing physical activity, so I fell flat on my back, almost threw up, and could barely stand up straight the next day, but I was hooked for good. Now, I no longer I need to pretend to move like ninja. I do it for real.

How did your training begin?

My training started back in 2010/2011 when a friend of mine came over to my house and said “hey! Go look up parkour!”. Back then we kinda just copied whatever we saw off YouTube but one fateful day about 6 months into training I asked a certain Andy Keller if he wanted to train with us. It’s been a growing friendship ever since and he has shown me a much different, better side to training.

How did your training begin?

I knew nothing about Parkour when I started in the spring of 2012. I had met Adam McClellan during a martial arts demonstration and he talked me into coming out to play with the growing Lehigh Valley Parkour community.

I initially thought I could simply jump into training being my usual self. But two pushups into my first class, I was stripped of my delusions of grandeur. Two minutes in, and I figured out that I was an out-of-shape pile of bacon. After two hours of trying to do something — anything — and failing and sweating and flailing and sweating more… Well, I realized it was going to be grueling work. As it turns out, it’s also extremely rewarding work!

I’ve changed so much, it’s hard for me to summarize. I’ve made huge progress in losing weight, eating a better diet, sleeping, recovery work (rest, stretching, yoga), learning to run, and learning to train (that is to say, set goals and work towards them). Parkour is a huge piece of the foundation on which I have rebuilt myself.

Along the way I pushed my limits. First, I simply committed to regular weekly classes and spent each week trying to recover in time for the next class (40-year-old, neglected Achilles tendons require a bit of work). I pushed myself by going to events where I knew I’d be uncomfortable; uncomfortable with my age, with my body size, with my lack of ability. Early on, I went all the way to London, on a whim, to attend Winterval; I knew no one, nearly froze and it was awesome. I began going to events like American Rendezvous in Boston. I started traveling to visit groups of people to train with them and sponge off their knowledge.

…and that’s where I find myself today: On a great journey. I’ve taken a thousand steps, and am delighted to see countless steps beckoning me onward.