The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle



Not many people view the world as a playground. A building, staircase, sidewalk and bench are exactly what they seem – not interesting or compelling at all. Unless this same world is seen through the eyes of a freerunner, then the everyday layout of cities across the world are transformed into enormous jungle gyms used to perfect the craft of parkour.

On Feb. 24, the CSUSM campus was utilized in a way possibly never seen before. World-renowned parkour athlete Ryan Doyle stopped by during his Red Bull tour of college campuses to demonstrate exactly what he does.

Freerunning, also known to some as parkour, is a discipline based upon the successful, swift and energy-efficient traversing of one’s surrounding environment via the practical application of techniques.

Doyle has been a parkour ambassador for Red Bull since 2007, stemming from his win in the Red Bull Art of Motion competition in Vienna that same year. This big win, which launched Doyle into the free running limelight, didn’t come without a price. While attempting a dangerous flip from 12 feet high, Doyle shattered his shin bone on impact leading to an extensive surgery in hopes to reconstruct his leg.  Doyle now has a titanium plate, a 30 centimeter rod and 14 screws holding his fibula together.

At 26, Doyle has a very extensive list of accomplishments ranging from winning MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge, running a parkour school in the UK called Airborn Entertainment, to being a stunt double for Ellen DeGeneres on “The Ellen Show” among many other things as well.

Doyle has been doing his unique blend of parkour and free running for 11 years, though he states that it has been something he was drawn towards his entire life.

“As a kid I was always climbing trees and I just never stopped,” Doyle said. “I grew up watching the Power Rangers and Jackie Chan movies and thought to myself — I want to do that.” After receiving his first-degree black belt in Kuk-Sool-Won, a Korean style martial art, as a teenager, he realized that’s not exactly what he wanted to do. This led Doyle to try out gymnastics, which was also something that he did not enjoy. “If you look at gymnastics, individuality is not rewarded. All gymnasts are genetically similar — same height, same weight, and same build, there is just too much structure,” Doyle said.

With finding his path in the art of free running, Doyle has become a staple in the world of parkour. “Doyle was one of the first free runners to implement tricking and martial arts into his style,” said Travis Wong, co-host of MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge. “Doyle’s YouTube video ‘Crazy Park Day’ is one of my favorites because of the sheer number of difficulty of the tricks and the number of them thrown all within one place,” Wong said. This video has currently over 261,000 views.

Doyle’s extreme talent was unmistakable as he made his way through CSUSM’s campus. From back flipping off the main staircase handrail to doing a handstand on the ledge of the sixth floor of Craven Hall, Doyle made his mark at CSUSM.

With growing popularity in the states and tons of job offers for Hollywood stunt work, Doyle seemed content with living in Liverpool and teaching hundreds of kids per week the beauty of parkour.

Most people would wonder why Doyle would turn down such lucrative work, but Doyle said, “I like to be recognized for what I do. I want to look right into the camera after doing a stunt, point to my face and say that’s me.”

Photos courtesy of

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