I'm excited to be writing my first article for Parkour Ways/ ADD Chicago, for Parkour Ways Cebu! It's been a long time that Kurt Gowan and I have known each other, and have come to be more than just good friends, more than just team mates, but brothers. I'm super happy about the direction our individual work is going, and even more happy that we're finally working together in two separate areas, to create a strong link between two different worlds, united through (and over and under) this lifestyle of parkour.
My name is John Conway, and I'm currently investing my energies in a large community of people on a small island in the middle of the Philippines - Cebu. There are oh so many reasons as to why I enjoy Cebu, but nothing tops the #1 reason as to why I chose Cebu as my home base: the people. I get asked many times by the Cebuanos why I love it here, and I always say it's the people. They're used to hearing that answer, to be honest, but it's the truth! The passion of the Cebuano is truly amazing.
I'm here in Cebu to build a parkour community. Simple as that. It's my dream to introduce parkour to a new area of the world, sustain it, and make it last so that when the time comes, others can take the leadership position. I think in more ways than one Cebu has so much potential, outstanding energy, and a never-ending source of hope, love, and passion that creating a strong parkour community infused with the classic ideals of altruism, strength, community, creativity and challenge is by no means a difficult mission.
There's one thing that truly struck me as unusual when I first started teaching here. That was the dedication to a serious, safe, and healthy training style! I've taught in many places around the world, but no location has yet captivated me as to how determined those interested in parkour are to serious, wholesome training: forget the flips, give me the fitness. What a beautiful thing. Any instructor can tell you how miraculous that truly is. And that's just another reason why I enjoy teaching in Cebu so much - I know that those who show up to class, whether it's a first time or tenth, that they are there for fun, serious self-development...always with a smile!
Cebu certainly has it's own challenges. For instance, I haven't trained on a normal hand rail in 3 months - they're just not around; the dust makes even the most precise of precisions a bit questionable (my favorite move is the precision); and the heat of the day makes it almost unsafe to train at anytime other than late evening to night.
Given the challenges, however, nothing comes close to the joy that is so apparent on the faces of those who come to learn parkour in Cebu. There is a certain innocence, or perhaps inherent understanding, that what parkour is about is not the crazy things we see on YouTube, but about the joy of working hard, and working together, to have a stronger life.
And that's why I love Cebu. That's why I love the Cebuano. And that's why I love teaching parkour here - even with the environmental challenges, there is a deep desire to push past even those to finally begin the unique discipline that is parkour, and to face those challenges as well. There are many mountains on this island, and it seems every one is faced with a smile.
I look forward to writing and sharing more about my time here in Cebu (and it will be a long time) and to further develop Parkour Ways Cebu, in alliance with my brother, my best friend and international team mate Kurt Gowan running Parkor Ways / ADD Chicago. I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to make my dream a reality.