Teacher training review.
Wed, 2008-08-20 22:58
Teacher Training - Day One.
Early on Monday morning the collective of twenty traceurs, myself included, arrived at High Street Kensington, central London, to start our first day alongside the legendary PKGen director and coach, Forrest. After some introductions and greetings we all ambled down to the Holland park cafe for our introduction on the actual teaching techniques that we would be learning and implementing during the day. Although I've recently had the good fortune to be able to assist on some teaching for Parkour Generations, I had no idea on the amount of aspects that had to be considered and understood before you can even step into the role of a teacher. Forrest was very thorough over the following hour and covered many topics that have served him well over his professional career.
Then came 'practical' time. We were all led to a small enclosed seated area within the park that would become our initial training ground for our oncoming lesson. Individually or in pairs we were selected at random to take a short five minute warm-up to instruct the rest of the group while trying to use the tips explained to us in the cafe. To begin with, most of us were halted within 15 seconds of starting because we had already forgotten crucial points of the introduction such as safety, the 'Powerful- Angle', clarity of instructions, adaption to our environment, etc... Slowly but surely everyone started to learn not to make the previous persons mistake and try and get through a warm-up successfully. Alas, Forrest made all of us see and understand how much more difficult being a Parkour teacher really is.
After lunch our education continued with each of us starting another warm-up, main session or warm-down to show what we had absorbed from the mornings exercises. Even though all of us were still far from perfect, you could definitely see the improvements in the approach from the earlier session and it was clear that Forrest had successfully passed on his wisdom to each one of the group. Finally, after we had all completed the twenty sets of classes, Forrest took a short abdominal session, just to demonstrate how a class should be run. For those not used to Forrests’ notorious sessions, the familiar groans of agony started to ring out...
"With twenty people, it was interesting to witness so many different styles of movement and thought processes being employed to create the routes."
As the evening came around, the regular Monday indoor class was to be hijacked by some of the course members as instructed by Forrest. It was interesting to see so many different concepts and styles being implemented into the class that I'm sure a few will be used in future sessions! Once the training wrapped-up, it was evident that the regulars had really enjoyed the evening and that the guest teachers had made a good effort.
The day wrapped up with a final talk from Forrest about the class and his thoughts on the day. It was apparent that even though everyone was exhausted from a long day, every single person would walk away with the knowledge of what it takes to be a true Parkour Generations coach.
After getting an excellent night’s sleep (Forrest’s' training session will do that to you!) the second day was going to consist of spending some quality parkour time with two of the foremost practitioners in the world; Stephane and Johann Vigroux. Located at one of Parkour Generations training hotspots, Latimer Road set the scene for a slightly more physical day intended to let both Stephane and Johann a glimpse of what each of us was like personally. This would allow them to assess whether we possessed and could successfully demonstrate the spirit of Art du Deplacement.
After arriving we were instructed that we had ten minutes to create a short parkour route in the surrounding area and that most of the day would consist of everyone running everyone else’s creation. On each run, either Steph or Johann would assess how you performed the route and recorded notes for the future assessment and feedback.
Once the 10 minutes was up, one-by-one we started to run the course shown by that particular class member. To begin, most of us were very slow on the up-take and didn't really show much get-up-and-go, but after a little kick-up-the-butt from the Vigroux brothers, people started to put real effort into running the routes. There were some very interesting combinations of obstacles that had a touch of creative flair behind them, and others that were slightly more sedate, but overall it was enjoyable and fun to experiment our parkour on all of them. With twenty people, it was interesting to witness so many different styles of movement and thought processes being employed to create the routes.
Just before lunch the team huddled around to hear our individual assessments on the strengths and weaknesses that had been witnessed. This also included what level of Instructor we should realistically look towards as a goal, and what we need to do to achieve that qualification.
The final part of the day was a private one-to-one with both of the Vigroux brothers where they would ask a few questions to each of us regarding the reasons behind our training and desire to become a teacher. I felt reassured that both Stephane and Johann were personally taking the time to listen to our stories and making sure that the discipline would be passed onto individuals who shared the similar vision of Parkour Generations and Majestic Force.
Reflecting back on the course, it was an amazing two days that had been very well structured and thought out. Obviously the instructors could only spend a limited time with each one of us, but it felt like everyone was getting the personal touch. I'm so happy on the amount of help and advice that I recieved over the two days and feel that one step closer to becoming what I want to be. I also met a lot of great new traceurs from various parts of the globe that I look forward to seeing again in the near future. I also feel extremely lucky to be part of the first class of the Parkour Generations/Majestic Force A.D.A.P.T Teacher Training Course.
Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who was involved with the two days, especially Forrest, Stephane and Johann who shared so much of their time with all of us.