There is more to the equation, but it’s fresh on my mind to briefly skim the surface of a couple ideas that have been instrumental in orchestrating a unique approach to life, movement and teaching.
Parkour was and is what helped direct…or guide this path I'm on…this path we’re all on. When it first came about it was as if I needed permission to jump around on stuff. Why wasn’t I doing this before? I quickly ended up with another beautiful container to take things out of and put in the new. It was immediately apparent to me that not only my friends and I, but the people around us, needed higher quality movement patterns. We needed more skills. And, it is was going to take some time, changing our habituation, if we were going to do it right.
I was coming from the corporate IT world of designing, building and maintaining computers, servers, networks and other pieces of a business’ infrastructure. I knew troubleshooting. Right away I started to break down the movements in my head the best I could the same way I would if I had to take apart a machine, or connect multiple offices together so they can communicate. I think I was able to put together a lot of the pieces of these new movements and vibe with the culture not only because of the then 10 years of IT experience and the crazy lifestyle I had before that, but also because of spending about 10 years with yoga and meditation, other sports before, etc. The flexibility and mindset I came in with helped and still helps a lot. But, of course, it wasn’t as good as I knew it could be, so I got to work. I was 30 at the time.
Very soon after starting to train this way I had the opportunity to go to a workshop in Austin being led by Art Du Deplacement (Parkour/Freeruning/Yamakasi) founders - Chau Belle, Laurent Piemontesi, and Yann Hnautra. Parkour became a part of me at that weekend. It was as if I could see the energy we were all sharing it was so immense. The time taken for each individual, the handshake, “we start together, we finish together”, their demeanor, their fluidity, and their ever present compassion to share their way. I had never really met anyone like that before. If I did, I wasn’t open to it when it happened. This time I was prepared. There was a connection made that remains and only gets stronger. I was rejuvenated by their sense of community.
A.D.A.P.T. came next. This is the only internationally recognized parkour teacher training certification. At the time, in the US, Parkour Horizons in Ohio was the only group hosting A.D.A.P.T. certifications and movement workshops with practitioners from all over the world. Even though it was, and still is, primarily a European-based qualification, it’s highly sought after in the States because of the time, effort and people behind it. I went to Ohio a few times, got certified, met, trained beside, and became friends with a lot of cool people through those experiences. One of them that has been a constant part of my life, and someone else good at putting puzzles together, Julie Angel.
The parkour certification helped tremendously, and so did Urban Movement flying in Parkour Generations and ADD Academy for workshops in Houston shortly after. Hosting our new friends, getting to know them more, getting along well, experiencing first hand how they managed big groups, played physical and mental games, broke jumps, and often set out on nearly unrealistic challenges… I don’t go there as often as I should or always in the same way that others do, but I have been there, I do go there, I’ve suffered, I know what it’s like to endure beyond what you think you’re capable of. The potential growth that's possible from pushing yourself like that is often indescribable. I learn something from them in every encounter. I had some teaching tools before, but they were all out on the table. A.D.A.P.T. became my teaching toolbox; now I had a place to put everything. The course was valuable reassurance that I had been fairly accurate with my teaching up until that point. It was also meaningful validation of what we were doing to get the blessing from PKG and the founders of the discipline that we were on the right path, that we understood their intentions, the spirit and principles, and that we were passing along the message well. We’ve since hosted A.D.A.P.T. Level 1 certifications, Level 2 Assessments, and I recently attended the first part of Level 2. I also have a dispensation for Level 2 so that I can qualify Level 1 candidate’s required, observed coaching hours.
A couple years passed, Urban Movement sheds its skin a few times, grows and starts to become something more recognizable. Then, out of nowhere, I get word from Julie that she has a friend in town and if I can help him get acquainted. I say yes, of course, and ended up offering him the spare bedroom I had at the time. “He” ended up being Vic Verdier, Director of MovNat. MovNat is the certification for the Natural Movement teaching methodology created by Erwan LeCorre. It’s a fitness and physical education system based on the full range of natural human movement skills. Shortly after, I found myself at the Level 1 & Level 2 MovNat certification at Washington Gym in Houston, TX. It was a perfect fit. I also did the MovNat Combatives teacher training, hosted the Aquatics portion, and assisted the first and only MovNat Level 3 course. Now I’m a MovNat certification team instructor traveling the world to lead courses and occasionally teaching directly beside Vic and Erwan.
Before MovNat it was kind of like I was walking on this path that I talk about, but I was mostly in the dark and only had some matches. When the MovNat methodology came into my life, it was as if I had stumbled upon a flashlight Swiss Army knife. All of a sudden, I could see and dissect movement more precisely. I was able to describe movement more clearly. The MovNat manual, movement principles, deconstructions, and other coaching and training guidance were a massive compliment to my existing arsenal. After getting qualified myself and having the opportunity to teach teachers, gym owners, all kinds of therapists, doctors and scientists, my capacity as a coach has increased exponentially. We could also look at it in the way of the previous metaphor. I had a tool box and I was reusing a lot of the same tools over and over again. If I were a handy man, and this toolbox was real, I went from being able to offer just a handful of services, to being confident to fix just about anything.