This year of 2013 has been quite the year. Even while struggling with an incapacitating back injury for 6 months I'm still amazed at some of the things I've been able to accomplish this year. I would just like to give you a brief summary of what this year has been like for me... but before I get started on that be sure to check out the latest video of my youtube channels best stunts from 2013:
2012 ended on such high note. Near the end of the year I appeared in 3 viral youtube videos featuring me as the assassin from Assassins Creed in videos made by DevinSuperTramp and FreddieW. I also has some amazing stunt job opportunities. One doing a commercial in L.A. for the tv show called Max Steel and a video trailer for a book called Prodigy. Because of the success I had had from those few months my youtube channel grew from 70 subscribers to 20,000 subscribers. I began working with a company called Consulting Virality (now called Contagious) early in January to help me with my channel and to get featured some high quality videos.
With the cold weather at the time we decided a winter free running video would be awesome. I had done parkour in winter and briefly on ice skates, and in that time I managed to learn some cool parkour tricks on ice skates as well a side flip. Watch that video below:
Around that same time the CBR Stunt Team invited me to be a part of their team so I started Training with them. They are some awesome free runners and stunt men and now are my good friends. Early February my back had been feeling great, better then it had in a while. (I struggled with lower back pain on and off for about a year) I was training hard and spending a lot of time with Chris Romrell and Robert Bennett from CBR. After one training session with them while we were practicing some fight choreography, I was left sore and beaten but still felt good. A few days pass and I notice a soreness in my glute that wasn't going away. I was still able to do parkour on it but for only couple weeks, because it was getting worse and worse. During those couple of weeks I was still able to film the Ice Parkour video as well as appear on Good Things Utah where I did some tricks on live television including flipping over the hostess...
Shortly after my appearance the pain in my glute spread to my back and leg. It reached the point where I was barely able to walk let alone do parkour because of the pain it caused me. After a lot of research and visits to different specialist I found out I had sciatica. From my research I was devastated because there are no proven cures for sciatica because of the different implications that can be involved and some people struggle with it their entire lives. Even surgeries usually aren't successful. There were a couple of weeks where I was bedridden because of how much pain I was in, and I was doing everything in power to not lose hope or sink into depression which wasn't always successful. I was finally living my dreams, but felt short lived at that point.
My wife Corrinn was very understanding during this time and did everything she could to support me and help me not feel worthless. (As a kid I really struggled with a low self esteem and parkour help give me the confidence that I could be something more) With parkour taken away those same feelings I had as a child began creeping into my mind. I was in to much pain to have a job, youtube videos were going to be more difficult because they rely on me being able to do parkour and I had to start turning down stunt jobs. A midst all of this my wife helped me realize I don't need parkour to be the best person I can be. That I can still accomplish great things. She loved me for who I was, not just because I became a famous parkour athlete on youtube. Check out my playlist of tutorials below.
Because parkour was my passion I decided I still had enough knowledge and experience to reach out to the many fans I had gained and continue to help them learn parkour in a safe manner. I began focusing on filming parkour tutorials, although I couldn't do a lot of movements my self I had friend and family who did parkour who were able to demonstrate the parkour moves while I talked on camera. Even though I wasn't the one doing parkour I began to filled with hope again, that even if I can help a kid from another country do something more with their life I would consider myself successful. (I have received many emails and messages from kids all around the world who have thanked me for inspiring them to start parkour, help them overcome fears, develop a desire for exercise. Even in extreme cases where kids who had been leading a life of drugs and other life detrimental habits they began to change because of their desire to learn parkour.
During this time along with filming tutorials I decided I would also try do produce some more higher quality video with Contagious. After some ideas and discussing we came up with the Zombie Parkour idea where the zombie's are capable of parkour. With stunt team of friends from CBR willing to help me out I was able to coordinate the awesome Zombie Parkour video that has now accumulated over 1 million views on my own channel. So early spring we found an awesome location and and edited the video. Check it out:
After the success of the video I decided I wanted to start being a coordinator for more productions. Even though I couldn't do stunts my self I loved being immersed in the scene of parkour, stunts and film. During spring I did a lot of the same, focusing on tutorials and doing exercises and stretches with the hope that my back would get better someday, taking way more ibuprofen then was probably good for me.
I always wanted to do a sweet parkour video in Goblin Valley and we had made plans a few months earlier to do one in June with the hopes my back would be better by then. Sadly it wasn't but because of all of the planning that had already taken place I decided to continue with it but find some back up friends who could do it. I contacted some local friends in St. George who are awesome parkour athletes and they happen to be available to do it. This was actually my first video to hit 1 millions views on my channel. Thanks to Jeremy Carpenter and Sinjin Cooper for being the athletes in this video featuring Jedi's performing wicked parkour stunts on which appears to be a foreign planet.
It was shortly after the release of this video that something remarkable happened. My sciatica started improving. I was able to start doing basic vaults and precision jumps again, and over the next couple of weeks I would be able to do basic flips again. During the six months that I was out of commission I would constantly research and experiment to see what worked best for my body and nothing seemed to work, it's because I was looking in the wrong direction. In the summer I reached a point where I just had to do some parkour movement again even if it hurt, and it hurt, but my sciatica would start feeling better after I went through the pain. I learned after lots of trial and error that causing pain to the pinched nerve wouldn't make it worse, only doing things that caused pain to my lower back made it worse. So I started to push myself, only doing things that caused pain to the pinched nerve and slowly building up the strength in my lower back. It was hard, hard training and doing things that caused so much pain but in the long run after every painful work out I felt less pain. Week by week I was able to start doing more and more. Being able to do parkour again and knowing all hope wasn't lost filled me with more joy and passion then I can describe. I became more motivated to be successful then I ever have at any point in my life before. This was my first video of properly training again.
I was also able to start performing with the CBR Stunt Team again.
A few months earlier I had met Bret and Sam Seegmiller. Two brothers I met at youtube convention Devin Graham held. We finally started making plans to work together on some videos and it was with them I was able to make some cool videos like Parkour Express, which was my first real "story" parkour video since having recovered from my condition.
I also began work with a popular youtube channel called Warialasky, and I was invited to do a video with them featuring our favorite video game character Mario and Luigi. I was Luigi while my good friend Christian Russell was Mario.
I still wasn't back to 100% yet but I was getting there and I was progressing which was the most important thing. By the beginning of fall I was working and training really hard, I started teaching parkour at a local gymnastics gym on the side, and daily began working on tutorials and other awesome parkour videos.
Halloween came around so to fit the season I met up with the Seegmiller brothers at b2c pictures to do a sweet Slender Man Parkour video. In this video I had to use my parkour skills to escape from Slender Man as well as figure out how to destroy him once and for all. Or did I?
I was contacted by Alfa Romeo in November (A sports car company in Europe) and they loved my ice parkour video so they wanted me to do something similar but against a car. So they flew me out to London for a few days to do this video. There I was able to perform some sweet tricks in a car park as well as some cool tricks on ice skates head to head vs their cars. This was a huge opportunity and awakening for me as this was my first big stunt job since recovering from my sciatica and it was my first job out of the country, which I love to travel and to experience new places so I am excited to see where I end up. While I was out there I got to explore some various areas with the limited time had and had a blast. I had the opportunity to meet Chase Armitage as well, an awesome free runner from the popular free running team 3run. I followed him for a long time and have always looked up to him as hero and was excited for that opportunity to meet him.
To end the year I went out with a bang with my Santa Parkour video. My first high production marketed video since my back injury recovery featuring me! It was also my first video on my own channel to hit 1 million views in the first 2 weeks. It was a lot of fun filming this video, to read more of my experience in making this video be sure to read my blog here.
A lot has happened this year and I'm grateful for all the things I was able to experience. I look forward to this following year to see what is in store for my youtube channel as well as my stunt work. Just to give you a sneak peak, I may be living in Hong Kong for 3-4 months so expect some awesome videos filmed there. I also must thank all of you who support me by watching my videos and following me in my parkour and free running journey. It's because of all of you I am able to do this full time and I do my best to give back. Thanks you, and have an awesome new year! This is the year to train and become the best traceur or free runner you can be. Have fun!