What does your practice mean to you?

At this point in my training, and my coaching career, my practice to me means “humility”.

I got into parkour relatively young; fourteen, to be exact. Soon enough I had been practicing parkour for 1 year.. 3 years.. 5 years. Now I’m approaching 10 years. That must mean that I’m really good at parkour, right?

I thought so for many years. “I’ve been practicing parkour for over twice as long as most of these people, they should listen to me.” And while it is true that I’ve learned so many life lessons during my practice, I was stagnating in my ability both as a practitioner and as a coach.

During college, I started an unofficial parkour club and made many friends that way. They looked to me as a leader, and in many ways I was a leader, but as time progressed, I became complacent with both my technical skill, physical ability, and mental strength.

Stagnation. I didn’t realize I was stagnating until I started traveling to various parkour events around the United States, such as American Rendezvous and doing my ADAPT level 1 coaching certification.

I’ve been to the American Rendezvous when it was located in Columbus, Ohio; and completed my ADAPT level 1 coaching certification shortly after. I met so many amazing people there. I continued to go to events at various universities, the ADD Academy in Quebec City, the American Rendezvous in Boston, and continued to meet so many great people.

Meeting people. Where am I going with this train of thought? I’ve met all these very cool people. And I’ve continued to see them over the years as I’ve went to more and more events. All the people who I thought should listen to me since I’ve been doing parkour for so many years… were beginning to surpass me.

Being surpassed typically isn’t a great feeling. I definitely felt a pang of jealousy as the years went by. Long story short, I went through a condensed version of the 5 stages of grief. I really only hit “denial”, “depression”, and “acceptance”. In hindsight, this is all part of growing up.

As I grew up emotionally, I took what was once jealousy and transformed it into pride. Not pride in myself, but instead I am proud of the people who really work hard at the thing they love so much, and the thing that I love so much.

Now I live in a location where there is no parkour community. I’ve been working so hard to start one here.

Unlike my college club, I’m approaching this new community with a little more humility. Even though I am a teacher and a coach, I remain a student and look up to people that I consider to be great mentors.