Freedom in Motion’s founder Jimmy Davidson said he fell in love with the sport of parkour because it was fun and free.
“When I started doing parkour, there were no gyms, so we just sort of learned,” Davidson said. “I first discovered parkour 12-13 years ago but didn’t really start trying to be good at it until 10 years ago.”
Davidson’s first interest in parkour, the sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing, was through a video game called “Prince of Persia” that he played in middle school.
“I’m the only founder that’s still here,” he said, adding there was one other co-founder as well, but Davidson said he left a few years back.
“A couple of the original coaches who have been with us from the beginning now own a little bit of equity in the gym, so I’m not the only owner,” he said.
The gym has seen 15,000 people come through its doors since it opened in 2014 and currently has 400 active members.
“Something that’s kind of typical in parkour or in a lot of ‘you against yourself’ sports is you begin because it’s a lot of fun, and then you start to get better at it and you kind of want to be the best you can be,” Davidson said. “So you navigate away from doing this for fun and you enter a space of doing it to win or to prove something.”
Davidson said it’s important to remember why he fell in love with the sport.
“I fell in love with it because it was fun and free, so getting back to a place of going out and training with friends because it’s fun, not because I have to go and do something or achieve something.”
Before Davidson had the business to run, he was doing something active 6-7 days a week whether it was parkour, weightlifting or rock climbing. He also has a 4-year-old daughter to care for.
“I dedicate training to parkour maybe two, three times a week now,” he said, adding that he sometimes adds a strength training day like weightlifting, yoga or hiking. While he enjoys training in the gym, he said he does a good portion of his training outside.
“The outside world is such a bigger playground,” he said, adding that safety is an important aspect.
“You always want to check the surface of something, even if it’s a brick wall,” Davidson said. “A lot of times you’ll land on it and the bricks will fall out or the wall will be just generally poor, so you always want to check the integrity of the structures you’re incorporating into your training.”
That’s one of the main tips Davidson gave, as well as knowing the fall zone well.
“If I fall in this way, where will I have to go? If I land and roll, what is in that direction, and I’d say that encompasses 80% of what we’re doing and thinking about safety wise,” he said.
Hayden Mullinax, 17, is a coach at Freedom in Motion.
“I started when I was 8,” Mullinax said of parkour. “I’d like to get sponsored and become an international athlete and represent America.”
Mullinax first heard of parkour from one of his teacher’s assistants who knew that he liked to climb.
“I looked around, and there was a gym right in my center, so I went over there, did that for a few years and then I moved here and started doing it here,” he said.
Lucas Harralson, 23, is also a coach at Freedom in Motion.
A friend told him he had found some cool stuff online called parkour and suggested he’d be good at it, Harralson said.
“I started training with my friend a long time ago, back when I lived in Missouri,” he said. “I practice probably three to four days out of the week.
“The hardest trick I’ve ever pulled is called palm trapdoor, what it means is you jump to a wall hit it with your hands first, and then hit it with your feet and then do a backflip with a 360 spin. It’s pretty gnarly,” he said, laughing.
Harralson said he eventually wants to become a gym owner.
“I want to literally be the best parkour coach in the world,” he said. “I want people to send their kids to me to become gods, and I’m worried about what 50 year old Coach Lucas knows because 50 year old Coach Lucas is going to be one dope guy.”
Harralson has competed in Florida, Oregon, Arizona and all over California, but he said he would like to travel more and meet new people.
“The parkour community is super dope,” he said.
For more information on Freedom in Motion, visit www.freedominmotiongym.com.
“Definitely try to give it a shot and try to train safely,” Mullinax said. “It’s easy to plateau, and when you do, you’ve just gotta keep going and push through it and you’ll start learning a lot of new, cool stuff.”
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.