Parkour Pro Interview: Kyle “Epic” Mendoza

Parkour Pro Interview: Kyle “Epic” Mendoza

by Thomas Tapp

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Kyle "Epic" Mendoza

Kyle “Epic” Mendoza is a guy I’ve been wanting to interview for a while.

He inspired me with his freerunning tutorial videos and showreels for years.

I was fortunate enough to meet and compete with him at the Red Bull Art of Motion Competition in Florida. His skills were WICKED!

His tricking/freeunning skills are extremely polished and he brings a lot of energy with his movement. He has very positive attitude and loves helping people. You have probably seen him on YouTube through one of his showreels or awesome PK/FR tutorial videos.

So when I had the chance to snag an interview with him, I was totally STOKED! You get to hear how Kyle began making tutorial videos, how he got started in parkour/tricking, how he was able to make the top 3 at RedBull AOM and much more!

Tell us some of your accomplishments
Kyle: Successfully running a positive influence based youtube channel using the principles of movement (specifically parkour, freerunning and tricking) through tutorials, scenic videos with narrated philosophies and montages of great people during great times. Also placing 3rd in america’s FIRST Red Bull art of motion as the highest scoring american.

How did you get into parkour/tricking?
Kyle: I started through martial arts and my ADD as a kid drove my sensei crazy.

So she decided to USE my high energy and teach me jumps and spins and fancy kicks and I LOVED it! So I played a bit more, and discovered Capoeira, which led me to tricking. Once I started tricking I was hooked on ANYTHING FLIPS! Shortly after I discovered Freerunning and Parkour as well as a local gymnastics center which offered OPEN GYM where I was allowed to use their equipment to practice the movements I saw on videos.

Since then, my skills skyrocketed and I would constantly imitate movements, always watching videos and studying the movements and breaking them down so I could learn to teach myself. That’s when I knew I had a strong passion for this new found “art” of movement.

You have some of the most watched tricking/parkour tutorials. Many of them exceed 500,000-1,000,000 views on YouTube. You have helped millions of people and are a living legend of teaching pk/fr/tricking moves. What got you to start filming tutorials and putting them online?
Kyle: I used to look up tutorials, and thought I may just join the group. I tossed up my own video tutorials online using a couple techniques I saw in other vids that helped me when I was learning and added my own insights.

The views began to rise and it seemed that a lot of people enjoyed’em and requested more. So I figured why not, i’ll LEARN the move, understand it, then teach it. Since then my tutorial has become one of the main sources for parkour, free running, and tricking tutorials.

I know you are a very spiritual person, what kind of impact has that on your training and other areas of your life?
Kyle: My spirituality is what makes anything more meaningful to me. And I mean that in a very hippie but also a very intellectual way.

Parkour to me is what martial arts is to the strongest of warriors. I have learned how to handle and adapt to certain situations. I’ve learned to see some of my most devastating predicaments as opportunities for self improvement. I take my training more seriously yet enjoy it more because not only some of the movements I train are practical, but also I get a strong sense of fulfillment.

Kyle “Epic” Mendoza’s 2011 Showreel.

What is the biggest mistake you see beginners make when first starting out in parkour or tricking?
Kyle: I feel that too many are rushing perfection. It seems everyone compares themselves so immensely to those they look up to and admire, they become in such a hurry to reach their inspirations’ levels and they forget the importance of the fundamentals.

Without basics, progression, control, understanding, and patience you may as well be tossing your body around, expecting to land on your feet and find yourself with a nice bump on your ass or your head depending on what crazy movement one may be attempting. I think if most beginners would at least indulge in understanding the importance of drilling, progression, basics, as well as having the patience to enjoy the journey of learning and not rush perfect.

They will find that their risk for injury decreases by far as well as their ability to control their body and learn new techniques quicker and with more efficiency.

You took 3rd place in the first ever Red Bull AOM here in the U.S. Being the only American in the top 3 for that comp. how did you train for the competition? What was your strategy for taking on the course?
Kyle: I honestly had no idea I was going to place 3rd.

Seeing all the guys who were also competing, I wasn’t expecting to even place in the top 8. I didn’t really train for it, I just showed up and showed off. If I’d of known I was that close I probably would’ve thrown more, but I was just having fun (as was everyone else.) With so many other talented athletes, I was quite intimidated by the awesomeness that filled the air. Nevertheless the experience alone is one I would gladly share again.

What was the most difficult move for you to learn in parkour?
Kyle: The MOST DIFFICULT move for has always been and still IS the INWARD RUDY. That move is one curly fried son of a monkey’s uncle to really master. The timing, the precision, the control, the understanding… it’s just unreal.

How did you get that move down?
Kyle: I started learning it the same way I teach anyone, by progressing from a basic progression to my skill level and working my way up. Started with a simple punch inward front. Then a punch inward half. I can’t do 360s so I had to base my 540 off of the height and timing of my half. And just decided to go for it after feeling comfortable with it. Sooner or later, I started landing it.

However it’s such an intense move for me, I have yet to be able to just walk in the gym, warm up, and throw it with ease.

What’s the worst injury you have suffered in parkour/tricking?
Kyle: The worst injury would prob. be my shoulder. I jumped off a roof too high for my level and did it ALL FOR THE VIDEO.

My ego knocked me good then. upon landing as I went for the roll, I hit my shoulder on the ground harder than it could handle and shifted my collarbone a good bit.

Since then I’ve had a little bump on my collarbone and it doesn’t hurt anymore unless I really ram it into something hard just right. I think this would be the weirdest move compared to sprained ankles and busting my head open and receiving 7 staples because it seemed to be the one that has affected me the longest. As when it hurts, I can still function and move, however I can’t do any fast or extreme movements for a week or so.

How does an average training day go for you?
Kyle: An average day of training for me is fair. I base my training off of my mood though. If I just want to move then I focus on flow as that seems to take the most effort for me. If I need to vent, then I just focus on constantly moving, whether back and forth, around and around or in unpredictable zigzags through the environment.

Other times I’m out to push myself and I’ll throw big tricks to test myself and drill movements over and over to make them more efficient and feel more comfortable with them on various surfaces. I don’t always train so hard that I can’t walk, though I always attempt to insure that I will be sore the next day.

What are some of your future plans in parkour?
Kyle: I don’t have any plans at the moment, however I do have dreams and I must confess, I would LOVE to travel and teach, or become a motivational speaker with parkour as my way of reaching through to the young teens and the youth of the nation. I love teaching and have always enjoyed spreading and sharing knowledge. I’ve always enjoyed helping others improve themselves. Perhaps I’ll open a gym or stunt academy, perhaps I’ll travel and teach and motivate. Either way, I would like to travel, meet, and share.

What advice do you have for some of us who are just getting into parkour?
Kyle: Learn the basics, and MASTER them. Open your mind to things. Don’t get into petty arguments over labels and definitions, just take it for what it is, and enjoy it for what it is. Always remember to CONTROL your movements. Allow parkour to be an eye opener to envision the countless possibilities you’re capable of in this lifetime. And above all… STAY POSITIVE!! ..

If you’re interested in learning more about Epic or watching his AWESOME tutorials, check out his YouTube channel and Facebook page!

Like Kyle’s Facebook Page HERE!:

Kyle’s EPIC YouTube Channel:

For more indepth video tutorials and articles over how to do parkour, Sign Up for my FREE Membership area where you get a FREE 5-Day Parkour Course! [Click HERE]

  • Thanks for the blog article.Much thanks again. Cool.

  • Really enjoyed this post.Thanks Again. Want more.

  • nemi lee

    dude if i could do all that you did i dare wouldn’t fear the cops. he ………………… thanks for the video, want more!!