Parkour athlete jumps his way around town

Tamara Sevao, Staff Reporter

Flipping off ledges and jumping from statue to statue may seem dangerous to some people. However, one person in particular uses parkour as a coping mechanism.

Niko Selski, a CWU Sophomore and an Ellensburg local, has been interested in parkour since he was in elementary school. He originally got into parkour to challenge himself

“There were a lot of things that I never really committed to,” Selski said. “But parkour was the only thing I could never stop doing.”

In baseball, soccer and volleyball, Selski would get competitive and angry with opposing teams. He decided to take on parkour to target the anger to himself.

“It becomes a mental game against myself,” Selski said. “I end up feeling a lot better when I succeed in what I’m doing, rather than asserting myself over someone else.” 

Paneal Holland

When Selski was in eighth grade he moved to Minnesota where the parkour opportunities only grew. He said he really got into gymnastics and parkour gyms once he moved. YouTube videos became his best friend as he would watch them over and over to learn new tricks. 

“The learning process started snowballing and I started learning more stuff more quickly,” Selski said. “Because up until that point I had never really developed athletically.” 

Once he started parkour, he became more physically aware of his health. Selski said his ability to be less injury-prone got better. Before Selski starts parkour, he does a 30 minute to an hour warm-up which includes stretching. 

However, not every time will be accident free. Selski has dislocated his shoulder, torn his meniscus and received many more injuries from parkour. One time, he was out for six months and said it was the hardest time ever. 

Selski said parkour works as a way of meditation. In the split second he flips upside down, he can’t think about anything else other than what he is doing in that moment, otherwise he will fall. Parkour is a way for him to force a distraction on his mind.

Selski said he sees parkour opportunities everywhere and he is incapable of turning it off. He even envisions certain moves he can do in unique spots.

“It may seem like nothing is there,” Selski said. “But if you actually apply yourself and use your creativity, then that spot can become better than a well-known parkour spot.”

Since moving back to Ellensburg, Selski has not found any other people who enjoy going out to do parkour. He is constantly seeking out people who are willing to learn. For now, he enjoys bringing his friends to watch him. 

Chaliea Null, a friend of Selski, has gone with him multiple times to watch him do his thing. She said she doesn’t get nervous for him because he always appears confident in whatever move he does. She said there is always knowledge backing up what he does with his body.

“[Selski] is creative, silly and unique,” Null said. “There’s really nobody quite like [Selski].”

Collin Dragoo, another friend of Selski, also used to participate in parkour when he was younger. He understands the adrenaline that goes along with the sport. 

“It’s really cool because he’s doing it on his own,” Dragoo said. “He posts videos sometimes but he really doesn’t do it for the recognition. He does it because it’s what he wants to do.”

Selski currently works at Rodeo City Gymnastics where he coaches about nine young kids once a week. Selski said his students are braver than they appear. He sometimes has to hold them back from doing something too dangerous. 

“When I was younger, I realized I was the best coach I was going to ever have,” Selski said. “I not only want to be there for them if they need someone to talk to, but also to be the coach I never had.”

Selski plans to do parkour for as long as his body will allow him to. He enjoys expressing himself in a creative and artistic way.

“I think more than anything, my motivation is to live artfully,” Selski said. “I like to think of my life as just one really long and tedious art project. Every day is a different brush stroke.”