The No.1 Parkour and Freerunning Man in China
You may have seen him in the most classic Parkour scene ever, standing in as Donnie Yen’s double in the movie ‘Bodyguards and Assassins’, an iconic Chinese film. A parkourer since 2006, Zhanglei is one of the world’s best known freerunners, nicknamed the “Little Leopard” for his speed, acceleration and acrobatic skills.
As he cartwheels, flips, jumps and runs around city streets, through desert hills, or in the gym, he rehearses his freestyle stunts 2-3 hours more than any parkour artist. And though Zhanglei practices a sport that make most people nervous. “I think humans have a desire to fly,” he explains, “and parkour allows us to achieve that dream.”
To him, Parkour is like floating in water. And though fans often ask if he ever feels nervous jumping off such high walls, he explains that he divides his fear into parts and then conquers them, one by one. “In fact, when you understand the sport, you will know it’s not that scary after all.”
He knows that Parkour is something that people are afraid of, and at the same time, curious about. When asked where he likes to Parkour, he will usually say the city is his favorite setting because it’s more popular and modern. “It also captures a lot more attention.”
But what has been the greatest impact the sport has had on Zhanglei’s life? “Many things in life share the same principle as parkour. It has given me an understanding of the world around me and now I try to see things from another perspective.” And the world does look kind of different when you’re flying through the sky.
“I am born to parkour,” he says, “and it chose me. So now, I must show it to more people and carry it forward.”