Ryan Ford

Revisiting the MinInterviews

On the blog that was, lovely lurkers, I did a Magic Five Question Mini-Interview with a plethora of pretty awesome creatives. Since those have dissolved into the ether, I have decided to re-publish them at my discretion (and depending on which I still have in my document archives). Here’s the first in the rebooted series.   ~Jenn


5 questions: RYAN FORD              Interviewer: Jenn Zuko Boughn

1)      Why Parkour? Why not martial arts, gymnastics, or dance?

My athletic background consists of mostly team sports like soccer and football but also some individual sports like track and field and tennis. I never got into martial arts, dance, or gymnastics as a kid, but now I wish I did because of the application of similar body awareness skills in Parkour. While I never really considered most individual sports, Parkour was different because I could automatically relate to what was going on in the first videos I saw; climbing trees, jumping rocks, and exploring my surroundings were things that I always did. I think Parkour is so alluring because while it seems like something only superheroes do, there is a little part in all of us that relates it to the things we used to do as kids.

2)      What was the process like to open your successful Parkour studio? How were you able to open the Boulder branch? How are the schools different/same?

Opening a successful Parkour gym was definitely a labor of love. The hardest part of making it a reality was the lack of precedent. We were the 3rd Parkour gym in the world so it was difficult to find any guidance or models to help us learn how to make it work. After teaching out of other gyms for several years, we opened our own gym in downtown Denver with the money we had saved up. After a year of being downtown, we moved to a much bigger space in Englewood. Several months after that, we opened our gym in Boulder. The 2 schools are very much alike in equipment, curriculum, and other aspects because a core group of people have helped them grow and evolve together. Ford

3)      What is the difference between Parkour and Freerunning? (I’ve also heard “street gymnastics”)

Parkour is an art of movement in which you train the body and mind to overcome obstacles in an efficient manner. Freerunning is more creative and allows you to find your own path. Simply put, Freerunning is creative and aesthetic while Parkour focuses on efficiency and utility. It is good to know the differences, but they share many of the same movements, philosophies, and benefits. With APEX Movement, we try to teach them equally and also encourage people to explore all other kinds of movement related activities.

4)      Since I’m a stage combat/stunt fighting specialist, I have to notice and ask: have you noticed that most fight scenes in film have a Parkour aspect to them? How do you feel the two fields combine? Do you like or dislike the theatrical combat/Parkour correlation?

I think it is great to have them combined. Fight or flight go hand in hand so it makes sense to have the lines blur in Hollywood action scenes. In fact, I think it makes the action much better when there is a creative use of the environment. I would much rather watch Jackie Chan flowing through his environment while kicking ass than 2 thugs going at it in a hand to hand pummel-fest.

5)      So I’m a woman about to become 40* with bad knees and years of dance, martial arts, and aerial dance experience. Is it too late for me in Parkour?

It’s never too late to start Parkour. People ask me when did I start Parkour so I ask them, “When did you stop?” Parkour was in every single one of us as a kid. The core philosophies and movements are very instinctual and were what our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to do to stay alive. Parkour should be done by everyone, at varying scales, because it keeps you healthy and challenges your mind. It is not about comparing yourself to others, it is about establishing your current level, and improving your abilities from there. Whether it is through basics or advanced movement skills, there is something for everyone to accomplish and improve upon.


*I’m now about to turn 42. But then, that’s life, the universe and everything, so.