The Art of Parkour: Physically and Mentally Overcoming Obstacles - Ryan Ford #46

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Ryan Ford — leading parkour athlete and coach — defines parkour as the "art of movement in which we’re training our body and mind to overcome obstacles efficiently." I've found — and Ryan speaks to this in the interview as well — that training to easily overcome physical obstacles directly relates to my ability to easily overcome mental challenges in life. I even did a video series on this very subject awhile back called the "Obstacles as a Metaphor" series. Find it in the show notes below!

In this episode, Ryan gives us a peak inside the world of parkour — explaining its roots in natural movement, real life applications and tips for getting started.

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” -Frank A. Clark

Episode Breakdown:

  • Origins of parkour
  • Physically and mentally overcoming obstacles
  • "Parkour vision"
  • Parallels of skateboarding and parkour
  • Training under pressure
  • Olympic Parkour
  • Who can parkour?
  • The importance of progression
  • Ryan’s parkour school — Apex Movement
  • Learning to fall
  • Two parkour skills to possess for emergency situations
  • Ryan’s optimal movement strategy
  • Developing your unique movement style
  • Living your passion
  • Analyzing modern children’s playgrounds
Parkour is an art of movement in which we’re training our body and mind to overcome obstacles efficiently. Tweet it!
Parkour is returning people to their natural movement, their roots. Tweet it!

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Meet Ryan

Ryan graduated in 2009 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After starting parkour in 2004, Ryan is now known internationally as a top parkour athlete and coach. He has performed around the world for organizations such as the U.S. Embassy, Cisco, Nokia, HP, BET, and K-Swiss. Also, Ryan has been featured by media giants including the New Yorker, TIME, and ESPN.

In addition to founding APEX Movement, the world's largest parkour gym network, and ParkourEDU, an online education platform, Ryan also has a renowned parkour training video series on YouTube called Demon Drills, with over 5 million views and 32,000 subscribers. Although Ryan’s specialty is parkour, he has continued his movement education through certifications in areas such as CrossFit, pole fitness, and barefoot running. One of’s 50 hottest trainers in 2013, Ryan was invited into YouTube's prestigious Next Trainer program and soon thereafter, joined the prominent FitFluential group as a fitness ambassador. Currently, Ryan is sponsored by Bulletproof, VIVOBAREFOOT, and Illegal Pete’s.