Ryan Doyle and his remarkable freerunning journey

WE TALK to the inspirational Ryan Doyle about his freerunning career and what it is about the sport that makes him tick.

Ryan Doyle

Ryan Doyle is a world champion freerunner who is sponsored by Red Bull.


Ryan Doyle is a freerunner, martial artist, coach and actor from Liverpool, England, and is a founding athlete of the World Freerunning and Parkour Federation. He is one of the most decorated freerunners in the world and has practised and competed in the sport in more countries than he can remember.


In this exclusive interview we talk to Ryan about his many successes in parkour and learn of how his first passion was for martial arts. Read on to find out about his academy in Liverpool and his work as an actor and his exciting role in a new film out this summer. 


To find out more about Ryan and the many projects he’s involved in visit www.ryandoyle.co.uk.


When did you start freerunning and what inspired you to give it a go?


Freerunning has grown dramatically over the last ten years, but originally I was a tricking champion who took my style to levels.


I’m sure when you were young, you used to climb trees and jump off walls too, right? Most kids learn to crawl, walk, run, jump and that’s about it. Only a handful carry on to explore more creative movements without even knowing why. I guess I was one of those. I watched a lot of Jackie Chan movies, learning to using your environment in a unique way, to your advantage and capturing it for others to see.


Tony Hawk

Skateboarder Tony Hawk and Red Bull Athlete Ryan Doyle perform a parkour trick at Circuit de Monaco in Monte-Carlo, Monaco in May 2013.


Tell us about some of your career highlights in martial arts and how much has this helped you with parkour?


I was dedicated to a traditional Korean style called KUK SOOL WON. It wasn’t so much about the fighting, but the movements. I wanted to broaden my skill base. After winning gold medals and achieving 1st degree black belt, I combined the martial art with self-taught acrobatics to create modern day ‘tricking’. I defended my title 4x as a national martial arts tricking champion before becoming a freerunner.


The only major crossover from martial arts to parkour is the roll. Everything from martial arts tricking will defiantly benefit my freerunning. Remember parkour is efficient A-B movements and freerunning is more creative.


Ryan Doyle

Ryan poses for a portrait in Hong Kong in November 2014




You’ve had phenomenal success in the sport. What have been some of the highlights and where in the world has free running taken you?


I have had the most amazing adventures in this game, a lot of ups and downs. It has been a roller coaster, from becoming the first World Champion, first RedBull Athlete, suffering a horrific accident, snapping my left leg, to making a full dramatic come-back to winning third place in London, second place in Kuwait, first place again in Sao Paulo, Brazil and the Sick-Trick award, I’ve pretty much taken all the available awards to the point where freerunning has taken me way further than I ever expected to, going to countries I can’t even pronounce correctly. It’s probably easier to list where freerunning hasn’t taken me haha.


Hosting my own series at the 7 world wonders was a treat. I’ve lived in LA, lived in New York, Dubai. There is a video called ‘Never Left Home’ listing all the places I’ve been to.


Red Bull Air Race

Ryan Doyle performs during a side act of the third stage of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Chiba, Japan on June 4, 2016


What is it about free running that makes you tick?


It’s the feeling, like a sense of hidden power. The ability to escape or see opportunities that others don’t. To train your aerial-awareness to the level that you can throw yourself from anything in any way, any shape and yet you can smile while you fly because you know… you know exactly how to land, how to re-direct the energy and how to be safe.


Ryan Doyle

Ryan Doyle performing in Hong Kong.


It’s not about mastering movements, it’s about mastering yourself, if you learn how your body works you will have full control over what it can do. It’s not dangerous, it’s about being safe enough to do it right. If you have this type of training, then you are safer than the average person on a roof.


Red Bull Air Race Lucerne

Ryan performs during Red Bull X-Run – A Night at the Museum at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, Switzerland in September, 2013.


How much of your career as a freerunner involves the promoting the sport and are you involved with coaching and mentoring others at all?


Everything I do is in the category of promoting the sport. I am a freerunner by lifestyle.


I have built the UK’s largest urban sports academy to grow the sport/art even faster. Airborn Academy is in Liverpool, it is the perfect environment to recreate simple setups safely (www.AirbornAcademy.com). I regularly train in the academy and people can also book for private coaching sessions with me.


Ryan Doyle

To find out more about Ryan and his career visit www.ryandoyle.co.uk.


Where can we learn more about you and watch some of your videos?


My YouTube channel is www.youtube.com/ryandoyle and my website  www.ryandoyle.co.uk. These are the most effective ways to find out more about my experience and projects.


For daily action clips and training shots go to instagram.com/ryan_doylefacebook.com/RyanDoyleI or find me on Twitter @Ryan_Doyle.


This summer, there is a cinema release of Warner Bro’s new action SciFi DXM. I played a paralysed movement-master who undergoes a dangerous quantum-science experiment to walk again.

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