October 31, 2017
If the world is your oyster, then it can also be your playground.
“Parkour is really about moving through any sort of environment with some creativity, and for me, it’s about having fun and making the world your playground,” said sophomore mathematics major Matt Hadley.
“It’s something that you do with your friends and it’s not competitive by nature.”
Hadley has practiced parkour as a hobby for the last eight years, training on and off campus to use his creativity to get around obstacles and practice tumbling.
Parkour, a sport that uses gymnastic vaults, flips and other movements, has grown in popularity since 2006, according to Apex Movement.
Hadley was first introduced to the concept of parkour when he and his older brother watched an MTV special on the ultimate parkour challenge.
“It looked really fun, so we started looking up YouTube videos and then just started jumping around outside,” he said.
Alongside his own athletic ventures, Hadley has also instructed parkour for five years, coaching children agaes four to 17 and adults ages 50 and older, and works professionally with the Denver Nuggets as an acrobat.
“I’m on the elevation dunk squad, so we perform during third quarters of games, and we go out to do special performances too,” he said.
“That has definitely become a huge career opportunity that I’m really excited about. I would like to work my way up from a coach, to a supervisor, and eventually the director of parkour company.”
Because of parkour, Hadley can’t help but look for the next stunt to try or the next obstacle to conquer.
“Parkour has changed my life. The reason why I really like it is because there are really no limits to it,” he said.
“It just changes the way you see the world, even just walking by a staircase with different railings and ledges, you were are immediately imagining all the different ways you could do parkour tricks.”
Not only has this activity been a great stress reliever and fun hobby for Hadley, but it has also benefited him in his personal and academic life.
“There’s all sorts of obstacles that you face in life and understanding your body not only on the physical level, but also knowing how much you can take whether it’s emotionally, with stress or trying to learn a new math concept. I know my limits and that there are certain things that I need to work on,” said Hadley.
Hadley has started the Urban Club on campus where members can train and practice various urban movements such as tumbling with some parkour aspects.
Another way that parkour has grown in popularity is through popular movie or television action sequences and choreography, according to Hadley. In “Wonder Woman,” Gal Gadot performed a reverse-180-dive-roll, a parkour trick that Hadley himself has seen and done numerous times.
“As soon as it happened, I knew exactly what it was and how she did it. It was so cool to see it actually tie into this fight scene and the choreography,” he said.
“I think as more people see parkour as really fun and cool, it will lead to new job opportunities for me, like performing,” said Hadley.
For more information on the Urban Club, visit Mountain Lion Connect.