First Take: Drop, Roll, Donít Stop Print

Drop, Roll, Don’t Stop

Tyson Cecka performing parkour in Hong Kong. Photos by Frosti.
On the UW campus, Tyson Cecka can get from point A to point B so fast the crows have started asking him for directions. Cecka is one of the region’s leading practitioners of parkour—an activity that combines gymnastics, dance, running, martial arts, rock-climbing and steeplechase. Invented 20 years ago in France, it challenges traceurs (as its participants call themselves) to get from one place to another as swiftly and efficiently as possible. “The founder of parkour, David Belle, used to train in his hometown by imagining his family in trouble somewhere nearby,” Cecka explains. Videos of Cecka sprinting, speed-vaulting, long-jumping, swinging, cat-grabbing and commando-rolling his way across the UW campus have made his Web site,, a popular destination for parkour enthusiasts. They’ve also helped create a demand for his services as a stuntman—such a demand, in fact, that he had to withdraw from the UW in order to honor all of his professional commitments. (He hopes to come back and complete his computer science degree in a year or two.) Cecka can currently be seen in a K-Swiss shoe commercial, vaulting over cars in a mad dash to meet up with Anna Kournikova. “She was nicer to me than most models I’ve met,” he reports.