It’s less than three weeks until the 5 year anniversary of Firestorm Freerunning & Acrobatics. As I look back on the last half decade I am absolutely blown away by what our community has created and continues to cultivated. Firestorm has grown well beyond its humble beginnings and managed to overcome each challenge presented along the way. I never knew that together we could grow to such heights.
I’ve been asked by other Parkour gym managers, business owners, and practitioners how our gym and community has grown so rapidly. I believe the answer lies in the two fundamentals of Firestorm: the Coaching and the Culture. These two points stand as the foundation of what I believe makes Firestorm great. At another time I will describe in depth what sets our Coaches and our Coaching philosophy apart from other gyms and Coaches. But today I want to talk about the Culture of Firestorm.
I believe that if you want to make something great, you must have great people supporting you, and you must know what you stand for. Firestorm stands for more than just being a gym, getting a workout, or just learning some cool flips. We strive to Be more and Do more. The Culture of Firestorm rests upon three fundamental pillars: Community, Self-Improvement, and Play. Each of these pillars overlap and support one another, increasing their importance and impact.
Our community thrives from one of the most important expressions of humanity; Respect. With so many impressive, knowledgeable people, teaching so many unique skills sets, it’s truly amazing to see people humble themselves each day and learn from one another. Firestorm has housed Olympic gymnastics, Ninja Warrior finalists, the Red Bull Tricking world champion, Cirque Du Soleil acrobats, and professional stunt actors, and still this impressive assortment of athletes leaves the ego at the door, as they learn from one another and pass their knowledge onto the next generation of Athletes. The respect shown everyday in interactions between Coaches, students, participants, and community members helps keep our community bonds strong.
Having so many members with unique backgrounds, skill sets, and areas of expertise (and I mean you too parents!) that are happy to share their perspectives, advice, and knowledge has allowed each of us to grow in ways we had never originally anticipated. This is one of the primary reasons Open Gyms exist; so you can meet other members of your community, strengthen friendships, play, and work together to improve ourselves.
Never more has our community shown its true colors than when $7,000.00 was raised in a week to help support Coach Freelove following his ACL tear. Being a true community means we watch out for, help, and support each other, as individuals, and as a Family. I strive to make every member of our amazing community feel like Family.
Working for constant improvement in as many aspects of my life as possible has long been a foundation of who I strive to be. I believe that the more things we learn, the better decisions we can make. This takes many forms and can be expressed many ways, but I like the way the Boy Scouts of America say it best, “...to be physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
How lucky are we to be members of a community with so many talented Coaches who highly value the sharing of knowledge? It’s amazing to me, as someone who has been training for 26 years and professionally Coaching for 19, that I continue to learn something new from someone in our community nearly every day. I firmly believe that each of us has something unique we can teach to each other that will help improve that person's quality of life.
By realizing that each of us is both a teacher and a student, we can sharpen our skills both with continual training and by breaking down skills and teaching them to each other. When we teach a skill to others, we process information in a different way, attempting to mold the explanation into something that connects with that person, giving us an additional perspective and improving our understanding. Simply by helping others, we not only help them improve, but improve ourselves as well. At Firestorm, we will do our best to help you improve each time you visit, and we hope you will help us do the same.
You have to have fun. Fun keeps us moving, laughing, smiling, and improving. The easiest way to have fun is to get out and play. One rarely regrets having fun playing with friends. I know I sure don't.
For many of us, fun takes a back seat to priorities, and that is understandable. We all know we should work out. We know its good for us. But after a long day, it's hard to summon the willpower to do so. But it's not hard to play. We all look forward to doing things we enjoy and feel passionate about. This is why Firestorm offers so many unique classes, so you can find something that ignites your passion and puts a smile on your face. This is another reason why open gyms exist, so you can goof off and play with friends, teach and learn new skills with new people, or engage in games and shenanigans.
At the end of the day, Firestorm exists as a home to improve yourself and have fun playing with friends, not just to get an awesome workout.
I’m incredibly grateful to be a member of this diverse, weird, awesome, and a little bit crazy community. I’m grateful for the friends I have made and the new ones I continue to make. For the amazing new ideas and skills I get to see everyday. (Where else do you go where real life ninjas are doing double backflips everyday?) For the massive grin I get plastered on my face from bouncing with friends on the Trampwall to battling hordes of Foam Sword wielding Little Heroes.
Firestorm has become so much more than just a gym, its become a Family for so many. A Family that encompasses our Culture: “Having fun playing with friends while learning cool stuff.”
What does Firestorm mean to you? What do you consider to be a part of your Firestorm Culture? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Live Free, Train Hard
Programs Director, Firestorm Freerunning & Acrobatics