NYC Parkour Community Profile: Brothers Who Balance School, Parkour and More

Meet Luca and Kalev Methot, two brothers who learned parkour together and continue to challenge and push one another. 

AGES: 13 (Luca) and 10 (Kalev)
PASSIONS: Luca: Physical Fitness and Parkour; Kalev: Football and Parkour

Luca & Kalev 2.png

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU FIRST DECIDE TO TRY PARKOUR? 

LUCA: We got into it about two and a half to three years ago. We both started around the same time and took our first class at The Brooklyn Beast. We instantly fell in love with parkour and met Jesse Danger early on; we have been training with him and The Movement Creative ever since. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO WORK ON?

LUCA: I love working on anything that has great flow to it. And sometimes that doesn't always come easy, so once I find something I like, I try to work on making it as smooth as possible.

KALEV: I like vaults the most because they are very useful when attempting to get over anything that's in my way.

WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES ARE YOU INVOLVED IN? HOW DO YOU BALANCE SCHOOL, TRAINING AND ALL OF YOUR OTHER INTERESTS? 

LUCA: Along with parkour, I also fence, play basketball, am a boy scout, and enjoy going to the gym. As for my schoolwork, it definitely has priority. No matter what, I always plan out my days ahead to incorporate plenty of time for schoolwork in between training.

KALEV: I'm involved in basketball. I’m also getting involved in football and capoeira. I manage to balance these by giving equal time to each activity. 

HOW HAS PARKOUR INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE SO FAR? 

"If I set my mind to it, I can overcome any obstacle in parkour and in life."

LUCA: Parkour has influenced me in such a large way. I have met so many great people from all corners of the world. I have learned so much, and looked at things from new perspectives that I would not have seen before. It is a positive and wonderful community to be a part of, and it has influenced me greatly. It has shown me that if I set my mind to it, I can overcome any obstacle in parkour and in life.  

Luca 1.png

HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAIN? WHAT INSPIRES YOU? 

LUCA: We try to train as often as possible. One of the awesome things about parkour is the fact that you can train just about anywhere. But we try to have at least one to two dedicated training sessions every week. I am often inspired by my music, trying new and scary things, and moving with other people.

KALEV: I'm inspired by my music and what I believe I can aspire to in the future.

IF YOU PICTURE YOUR LIFE IN 10, 20, 30 YEARS, DO YOU THINK YOU’LL STILL BE TRAINING? 

LUCA: I absolutely think that I will still be training. No doubt.

IMG_1029.JPG

IF SOMEONE TOLD YOU PARKOUR WAS DANGEROUS AND RECKLESS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

LUCA: I would say that it can be, if you don't train progressively. If you try to go for something before you're ready, you can hurt yourself. But it is not so dangerous once you know what you're doing. Like anything else, you must practice. The risk is worth it for me because of the feeling I get when I move freely.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER CAUSES YOU SUPPORT?

LUCA: We have gone to and participated in many charitable events but we have also started a few of our own. When I was about 11 and my brother was ten, we rode our bikes with our parents from our home on the Lower East Side to Canada. We raised a total of about $25,000 for the Huntington's Disease Society of America. This year, we started Pump for the Cure and we are going to start a Climb for the Cure in 2017 or 2018. Our goal is to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa!

Can I do parkour?

"Everyone who comes out to train comes out to discover their own personal limits. They then choose to grow past that limit just a little bit at a time."

This article is by community member Steve Leung.

"Can I do parkour?" 

This is a question I asked myself when I first discovered parkour 7 years ago when I was in my late 30’s.

The short answer is YES, you can do parkour. While your first impression of parkour may be of people who perform super-human feats on YouTube, I discovered that the heart of parkour is far from that. Parkour is fundamentally about personal growth. Through parkour you develop yourself so you can move better in ways that are new to you. You get to develop your body and attitude toward obstacles through parkour. And if you commit to ongoing, incremental growth, you may find yourself doing super-human movement too. 

So how does it work? In the parkour community there are a variety people at different fitness levels. Everyone who comes out to train comes out to discover their own personal limits. They then choose to grow past that limit just a little bit at a time. This is the fundamental truth of parkour. Discover YOUR limits and choose to GROW. Parkour practitioners are passionate about discovering and expanding their limits. We embrace new movement ideas constantly. There is no single way to do  anything because we are all different. 

This idea may seems scary at first, but the great thing about parkour is the community. You don’t have to do this alone. When I joined my first community training session, I found that the community is filled with encouraging, supportive and high energy people who inspired me to push past my psychological limits of being too old or out of shape. Being surrounded by this energy is what I truly love about parkour. I may never release a YouTube video of myself doing super-human movements. What I do get every time I come out is a sense of personal growth and community. This feeling makes all the other obstacles in my life seem a little less overwhelming and solvable. This is what parkour can bring to anyone who simply shows up.  

If any of my words have caused you to become curious about parkour (or to feel more comfortable to give it a try), I highly encourage you to simply come out to a community session in your area and try it for yourself. For example, you can learn about weekly Tuesday evening sessions in NYC here.

NYC Parkour Community Profile: A Yoga-Parkour Practitioner

Our next featured community member is the always-smiling, always-willing-to-work-her-butt-off Shannon Spieler, who discovered parkour thanks to a book...

AGE: 32
PASSIONS: writing ridiculous novels, reading illicit books, ribs, cheeseburgers, pickles, video games, foreign languages, yoga – parkour

Catch Shannon's interview at 4:10 in this mini-documentary about parkour in NYC.

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU FIRST DECIDE TO TRY PARKOUR? 

I read Chris McDougall’s book Natural Born Heroes. I was inspired by the evolution of natural movement philosophy from Georges Hebert. In the early 20th century, Hebert believed that athletic competition inhibited people from the real goal of physical fitness: to be useful. His philosophy is both feminist and fun, and it was his book that indirectly led me to parkour and other natural movement disciplines. 

WHAT ARE YOUR TRAINING MOTIVATIONS, BARRIERS AND GOALS? 

The main thing is to have fun. If you don’t notice that you’re running around like a crazy person for two-plus hours, that’s the absolute best for heath and exercise. Scientific research supports this. :)

As far as barriers, parkour is the best for teaching you that your greatest obstacle is yourself. You think you can’t get your butt up over that bar but that’s just your EVIL BRAIN heckling you. So give it a try. Bruised shins are a badge of courage.

I have lots of little goals. Jumping better. Balance. Turning my hip flexors into rubber bands instead of sisal. Doing a hand stand off the wall for more than one single, teetering second…

HOW HAS PARKOUR INFLUENCED OTHER ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE? 

"...parkour is the best for teaching you that your greatest obstacle is yourself. You think you can’t get your butt up over that bar but that’s just your EVIL BRAIN heckling you. So give it a try."

Unexpectedly, parkour has had an impressive effect on my yoga practice. I went from being very far away from doing the more advanced inversions (headstand, handstand, crow) to being able to pop right into them with relative ease – after only a two-three month period. 

Our Tuesday sessions – always in a different part of the city – have given me a pretty great tour of so many of New York City’s parks that I would otherwise never have gone to. Also, I’ve found loads of great new food places. Otto’s Tacos comes to mind. And dumplings. Just dumplings. Anywhere.

AS A WOMAN, DID YOU EVER FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE IN THE MALE-DOMINATED PARKOUR COMMUNITY? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT TRYING PARKOUR BUT ARE HESITANT? 

I am very very nervous about trying any new activity, so simply showing up and meeting new people was my greatest hesitation. The fact that parkour had more dude than ladies wasn’t really a big deal.  Also, the guys in the Movement Creative are GREAT. Everyone is great and encouraging. 

To women who are considering parkour, don’t worry if jumping shows off your jiggles or your upper body strength tops off at imagining a push-up. Show up ready to laugh at yourself, maybe spit off a few good curses, and unleash your inner-play ground She-Rah, Princess of Power. As the saying goes… you don’t need to be strong to do parkour. Parkour makes you strong. 

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE MOVEMENT CREATIVE PARKOUR COMMUNITY?

"My absolute favorite activities that we do are the games. Playing zombie tag is hilarious. Half the reason I get caught is because I’m laughing so hard." 

There is endless creativity. Parkour is fearless about finding inspiration in all walks of life. Every session is different, especially with so many great teachers who bring in their own interests – dancing, boot camp, American Ninja warrior, martial arts. My absolute favorite activities that we do are the games. Playing zombie tag is hilarious. Half the reason I get caught is because I’m laughing so hard. 

NYC Parkour Community Profile: Film Maker and Sound Designer

Meet Cody Ball - a talented film maker and athlete who uses his parkour skills and vision to capture movement in cinematic and surreal ways. Check out two of his videos:

AGE: 23
OCCUPATION: Filmmaker, Sound Designer
PASSIONS: being active, the outdoors, learning new things
PERSONAL WEBSITE: badapplebox.com 

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU FIRST DECIDE TO TRY PARKOUR? 

I was bored on one rainy Saturday a couple of years ago, and for some reason I remembered a YouTube video I watched in like 2006 where this guy in Russia was climbing buildings, jumping to different ledges, and doing flips. As the rain poured down, I kept searching YouTube for more parkour, realizing “Hey I can climb! hey I can jump over things! hey I can sort of do a handstand!...Why the heck am I not doing parkour?” I guess my mind was stuck in the rut of using athleticism to be on a team and win a game, but at that moment watching youtube my mind was opened to using athleticism for just having fun and conquering fear.

WHAT ARE YOUR TRAINING MOTIVATIONS, BARRIERS AND GOALS? 

I’ve got a lot of hobbies because I’m always trying to be creative, but most of the time that creative energy is mental. Parkour is a way to let out physical creative energy, and that just feels really good. I’m still super new to parkour, but ultimately I just want to know what I’m fully capable of both physically and creatively. I can’t tell you how many times my mind stops me from doing something that my body is capable of. I want to overcome that. However, even if on any given day my mind isn’t in a spot to really push myself, I know that parkour can still be a good workout that I’ll enjoy it 40 times more than going to the gym.

YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN A LOT OF SPORTS. HOW IS PARKOUR DIFFERENT? HOW HAVE THOSE EXPERIENCES INFLUENCED YOUR TRAINING?

I’ve played sports forever: Basketball, soccer, golf, track...you name it. I also was really into skateboarding and snowboarding growing up. I think the biggest advantage that parkour has to all of these things is that you can do it right now, like seriously you could put your laptop down this second and find a creative way to vault over your couch and get your blood flowing. You don’t need money, a team, a ball, or a board; all you need is your body. Also, the things that I love about other sports (like competition, time limits, rules, etc.) can all be applied to parkour, the difference being that there isn’t a rulebook; instead you create your own challenges and boundaries. I will say confidently that other sports help you do parkour, and parkour helps you do other sports. Just because parkour is a more flexible activity doesn’t mean it’s the be-all-end-all to skills or fitness.

YOUR PARKOUR VIDEOS SHOWCASE MOVEMENT SO BEAUTIFULLY. TELL US MORE ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THOSE PROJECTS. 

"Real life makes you feel alive, but can a video? What I want to do with film is exploit the medium to help us experience (not just see, but actually feel) things we haven’t experienced before."

In this crazy era, we’re so over-saturated with media that we feel like we’ve seen everything and been everywhere. It takes about 5 seconds to search a video that transports you to the inside of a volcano or a tropical island, or to see someone do a triple backflip on a snowboard or jump through hoops of fire. We’ve seen it all, but we haven’t felt it all. These days, a backflip on a computer screen is like watching child’s play. A freerunner makes it look effortless and you’ve seen it a million times--but as some random youtube audience member, have you tried a backflip? Probably not, and you might never try one, but don’t you still want to know what it feels like? Feel the anxiety right before initiating the leap, feel your feet leave the ground and your mind get disoriented, then upon landing feel the surface that came up to greet you or feel that your breathing has intensified because blood is coursing through your veins.

Real life makes you feel alive, but can a video? What I want to do with film is exploit the medium to help us experience (not just see, but actually feel) things we haven’t experienced before. Everything from the shots I choose, to the editing techniques, to color, sound, and music are all helping to serve a complex experience, and ultimately that becomes a story with a beginning, middle, and end. In “Mercury”, for example, I wanted to get into the mind of Nikkie, showing that underneath fast-paced movements is a serious level of focus and creativity that puts everything together. I still have a lot to learn and to practice, but it’s nice to know that even at this level, people are really enjoying the finished products.

Doing parkour has absolutely helped these videos bloom, both in creative choices and also in my ability to balance in weird places while filming.

HOW HAS PARKOUR INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE? 

"Claustrophobia doesn’t exist when you can simply climb over the walls enclosing you."

I’ve had trouble in the past with feeling boxed in, especially in New York. Whenever I used to get stressed out, I would try to find something really high (like a huge staircase or a rooftop) so I could look out over buildings to feel like I was bigger than whatever system, deadline, or person that was getting me down. Parkour conjures up that same high by making me feel like nothing is restricting me--claustrophobia doesn’t exist when you can simply climb over the walls enclosing you.

It’s also really nice to take a parkour mindset and apply it to something else. I’m now always asking myself, “How can I do this differently? How can this be more efficient? How can I make this more creative and more fun?”

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE MOVEMENT CREATIVE PARKOUR COMMUNITY?

The Movement Creative is seriously the best thing ever. I think my favorite thing about it is simply the people. I’ve made great, unexpected friendships and have felt incredibly supported by people in the community. It’s awesome training with other people who push you to try things differently and get out of your comfort zone, but it’s even better when those people are also just there to have a good time and be good friends. Plus, when you’re just hanging out together NOT doing parkour, all that creative energy always makes for a ridiculously unpredictable day...in the best way possible.

NYC Parkour Community Profile: Illustrator & Animator

We're kicking off a series of posts to highlight the awesome people who are part of our Movement Creative community, doing and learning parkour in and around New York City. Most of all, we want to show that those who do parkour are NOT a uniform group, but an eclectic mix of people of different backgrounds, ages, interests and training styles. Our first post is about our student Ivan Alkhovskiy - an artist and traceur who uses his creativity in many different ways. 

Here's Ivan rocking a shirt we printed with his design. You can get one too. All purchases support our social good projects. 


Here's Ivan rocking a shirt we printed with his design. You can get one too. All purchases support our social good projects. 

AGE: 25
OCCUPATION: Illustrator, Animator, Graphic Designer & Web Developer
PASSIONS: parkour, wood carving, soccer
PERSONAL SITE: ForestElk.com

When and why did you first decide to try parkour? 

To me parkour was always this unreachable thing I adored watching from the computer screen and thinking how cool it would be to know how to make those crazy tricks. So it happened back in December 2013 when my wife grabbed me and brought me to the trampoline class in one of those gymnastic gyms. There, in the gym, I realized that these amazing gymnasts are here, in New York City and it would be very stupid of me not to take advantage and learn parkour myself. 

What inspires you to continue doing parkour on a regular basis? 

Well, it is all about the people I meet at parkour sessions. Being honest, I wouldn't come to one of those rainy or freezing, dark Tuesdays if I didn’t know there are these cool guys and girls outside ready to practice movement. When it comes to any sports, I'm usually not that kind of a dedicated guy. However, when I know there is a team of awesome people on the street who I can join, I can't resist!

In terms of parkour, what are your favorite things to work on?

I love add-on games, working on vaults, going over and under rails, climbing the city walls or rocks in Central Park - these are my favorite things.

You’re an artist and a traceur. You created a series of ILLUSTRATIONS that showcases parkour movements. Tell us a little more about that project: what WAS YOUR goal and WHAT inspired you?

It started during one of those training sessions at Tompkins Square Park. I was jumping over bars and was unfortunate enough to hit my knee twice within one minute. I was hurt and decided to stop training for the day. While I was sitting on the train heading home, I was so mad at those stupid bars and my awkwardness, that I started to scribble a caricature in my notebook. When I stepped out of the train, the pain was gone but it left me with an image in my sketch pad. As it usually happens, the final image turned out to be something different from the initial idea but it was still good and recognizable to anyone who has ever trained at Tompkins. That is basically when I decided that it might be a good idea to illustrate parkour training in different New York City parks. So, that is the project - to illustrate parkour in different areas of the city.

How has parkour influenced your life? HAS IT helped you discover ANYTHING about yourself or the world?

As I mentioned before, people I meet in parkour classes are amazing. I wouldn’t have had a chance to meet so many bright individuals with so many different backgrounds and interests without these sessions. And when it comes to my art, parkour is an interesting source of all kinds of movements that I use in works that are not even related to sports but that have a desperate need for unusual motion. This kind of motion makes an image more attractive and more interesting for a viewer.