December 12, 2023 is the date of the last parkour class I plan to teach at the Mukwonago YMCA. I have taught parkour with that wonderful organization for over 10 years. As it comes to a close, the question arises: why are you stopping classes? The answer is not a simple or easy one.
The summer of 2023 was challenging for me in terms of my personal health. Doctors were unable to find anything wrong with me and all tests came back negative. I was forced to routinely lay prone nearly every evening just to alleviate abdominal pain. Eating was difficult and I lost a lot of weight and muscle. Many of my close friends were trying to help me, and after 3 months I tried one last thing and switched to eating just meat. By God’s grace this fixed nearly all my issues, but most importantly the habitual pain was gone. I’m currently reintroducing foods slowly, but for now my body is quite happy with no sugar, carbs, fruits, or vegetables. Being so much out of training for the entire summer definitely has taken the wind out of my sails.
Discovery, adaptation, and exploration are pillars of what makes parkour so enjoyable. 10 years of teaching in the same place with the same equipment has become more of a chore than a joy for me. Please don’t get me wrong, I love teaching all of the youth there. It has been an incredible opportunity to work in the community and be part of so many families. However, my passion for being in that space has come to an end. As many of you know, the complete experience of parkour includes the season, temperature, light, sounds, and surfaces. I miss training in the quiet of the night, the cool of the fall, the silence of the snow, the chaos of the city, and I see that longing drying up my enthusiasm for teaching.
Finally, God has been placing more and more responsibility onto my shoulders, and I have decided to intentionally make myself more available to the people that are asking for help. First and foremost, this attention will be redirected to my wife and children. I currently am not planning to start any additional classes to fill those Tuesday evenings, but that doesn’t mean that won’t change.
This is not easy for me and I have given it a lot of thought. I have been called the “Parkour Guy” for a long time, and I think I’ve allowed that to shape my identity. The problem is that it’s an impossible status to maintain forever. Though subtle, I’m trying to rephrase that identity from “I do Parkour” to “I use Parkour”. God has undeniably given me a gift to jump and teach others, and I want to be sure that I’m using parkour as a tool and not elevating it to an identity. My boys are getting older, and I’m entering into a phase of life where I’m needed more and more by them. It’s been a blessing to serve and teach so many of you over so many years. Thank you.