It’s official: I’m now a certified parkour coach through APEX Movement! I attended the certification back in March (2013) at their NorCal gym, in Concord, CA and received my credential a few months later. The process entailed 3 days of classroom instruction, as well as hands-on coaching training, and was then followed-up by a video review of one’s teaching skills. Needless to say, a ton of material was covered and I learned a HUGE amount of information.
From the origins of parkour with Georges Herbert, Raymond Belle, and the Yamakasi, to movement philosophy and modern strength and conditioning principles, the course is designed to make sure that you are well versed in both the background of parkour and how to help beginners learn the basics. Personally, I learned a favorite new movement mantra to help stay focused during strenuous challenges: Posture, Rhythm, Relaxation. Learning that one mantra has been a huge blessing, and it’s something that I now share routinely with all athletes.
The course progresses in a developmental sequence, giving you the skills to teach those new to parkour how to roll, jump, vault, and climb safely. Aside from learning how to detect positional flaws and provide effective cues, the certification actually lays out how to provide a 10-class introduction to parkour. This is an awesome benefit and really sets you up to go out and start teaching in your community. In fact, shortly after receiving our certifications, another coach and I began teaching a 10-session course at a local CrossFit affiliate.
Next to gaining the skills and confidence to teach beginners parkour, the other benefit of the program is just the opportunity to hang out and learn from Ryan Ford and Amos Rendao, two major leaders in the parkour community. They had awesome anecdotes to share about their own experiences with coaching, and having them critique your rolling and climb-up skills is basically worth the entire cost of the certification.
Overall, whether you have aspirations of coaching parkour in your community or you just want to learn from some of the best out there, I would definitely recommend that you make the plunge to attend an APEX Movement certification.
However, beware that the APEX crew is extremely busy (competing, expanding their gym, instructing), and unless you are on top of your responsibilities within the program, your certificate will not just be handed out to you. You have to uphold your end of the bargain, fulfilling the required video analysis and responding to critique on time. If you’re not a self-starter, it’s likely that the certification process could drag on longer than you expected.
In fairness, I would like to compare the APEX Movement certification with the other programs out there, like the APK instructor certification or the WFPF certification. If you’ve attended either of those programs, I’d love to hear your feedback. Or… if you want to sponsor me, I’d gladly go check it out for you!