True Life: Shyam Deolalikar

True Life: Shyam Deolalikar


Back in June of 2011 I got the following email:

“Hey Salil,
I am a complete beginner to parkour I was inspired by this guy. I am 243 pounds 6 feet tall recently lost 12 pounds but have alot more to go
about 17% body fat. I am 18 years old finished with Highschool
so alot of free time now. I have been practicing rolls lately
and have been improving my fitness through weight loss and
change of diet. When do you think I can stop by for one of the
beginning seminars?
I understand Parkour requires a high level of physical fitness
and discipline but I have to start somewhere you know. I have
been played highschool rugby for the last 3 year and do weight
lifting(barbell excercises) 3 times a week to gain optimal
strength levels. If you feel my current fitness is lacking I
Thank you,
Shyam Deolalikar” 
I emailed him back and told him he should come train with us, and that he shouldn’t worry too much about the shape he was in; what was important was that he was already reaching into himself and finding that motivation to get moving.
Over the course of the next several months, Shyam came by and trained with us whenever he could. He left for college, but he always made a point to stay in touch with us, and to stop by UE whenever he was back in town. It’s been great watching him progress as a student, and I’m pleased to call him a friend, as well.
Today, I’m very very very proud to share this video with you that Shyam made to document his progress since June of 2011. I should be honest and say that we can’t take too much credit for all this; Shyam is a highly motivated person, and if he hadn’t found UE, I’m confident he’d have made huge progress regardless. But I’m happy he did it with us: it’s given us a chance to get to know a very great guy. And so we’re happy to show you his “progress reel” as of April 2012. Enjoy!

Name:  Shyam Avinash Deolalikar

Age:  19


Hometown:  Bethesda, Maryland


When did you start training in Parkour?

June 2011

When did you join the UE community? Why?

I joined the UE community last June, inspired to learn Parkour/Freerunning  by a traceur from New Zealand named Sam Hight. His “big guy parkour” videos on YouTube showed how he could move regardless of his weight and inspired me to start training. Prior to joining UE, I practiced some movement but I was totally uncoordinated and confused.   Urban Evolution built the foundation needed for me to grow, I learned how to practice parkour/free running. At Urban Evolution, I faced my first challenges and eventually overcame them.

What are the greatest changes that Parkour has pushed on you?

Parkour has changed how I see the world and how I view myself. Every time I go on a run or do some flow I enter a state of bliss. I love any movement and I cannot stop. The reason I love movement is because it is meditative.  I feel in a state of peace when I train. When I moved to Tulane University in New Orleans, I started other disciplines such as judo, Capoeira, and Aikido. While training for parkour, I have incorporated some elements of movements into my routine. In Capoeira you learn fluid ground based movements that flow from one in other. In Judo and Aikido you learn how to take impact from different types of falls.  They all exercise your mind as well as your body, just like parkour/freerunning.

What are your accomplishments since you started Parkour?

I lost a total of 60 pounds in the last year.  I conditioned my body to get stronger. I can do things that I could not imagine doing. I am in the best shape of my life.

I am much faster than I was before. I can train longer and at much higher intensity. I just feel so happy every time train.

What do you like about training in Parkour at Urban Evolution?

The mentality of the instructors – every instructor has their own style to share with you and there is always something new to learn. I love how Urban Evolution puts emphasis on the basics because without that I never would have a good training mentality. The lessons I have learned through my experience at Urban Evolution will always stay with me.

What do you like about training outdoors?

My love for training outdoors is the main reason why I love Parkour/Freerunning. I have gained a much deeper respect for the environment around me. The more I train the more I realize that the mentality that I develop through training is almost a reflection of how I feel at that moment – truly happy.

 Every railing, pole, wall, tree branch, bar, patch of grass, or mound of dirt has something to teach me. You learn to use your imagination to shape your training and to meet your own goals. There are endless possibilities in one’s environment. I love learning more about myself every time train. Training has truly changed the way I look at my life and how I want to live my life.

Almost a year later I still do Parkour because…

–          I love the little successes that keep me going.

–          I love every moment I go out to train

–          It changed the way I feel about myself.

Do you have any advice for UE members?

Find your own way. Be creative. Go out there and have fun. Do not care about what others think of you. The only person in control of your life is you. Approach each challenge with an overwhelming desire to achieve your goal. Also approach each challenge logically, thinking it through but not thinking too much; when you’re ready you will know and you will just do it without any second thoughts.

Every challenge is going to test you and it will be a constant battle. Regardless of how many times you fall, you’re the one who must decide whether you will come back to it.

The reason I lost weight is because I focused on getting fit; I strengthened my body,  and since I focused on getting strong first, my fitness improved and new successes in Parkour occurred at a breathtaking pace.

Learn from others – don’t take others advice as an insult – just learn and reap the benefits of knowledge.

Train with your friends, it will make every moment memorable.



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