Quals Story – Part I

Part 1

Hi, my name is Ross. I´m an Australian Parkour Association qualified instructor with a Level 3 Qualification. At the time of writing that name is being revised along with many aspects of the qualification, but it´s the highest level qualification run by the APA.


I´ve decided to write a wee anecdote. A story of how I became qualified. I hope it will help APA instructors on their own journey through the qualification process, even though everyone´s journey will be different. The qualification system itself is changing fast from what I experienced and by the sounds of it, it shouldn´t be quite so confronting or daunting. But maybe this story will answer some questions about the process and how to navigate it.


The super short tl:dr version is if you´re wanting to do the quals, be prepared. Do the research, the reading and the training yourself. Ask others for help, involve your community in your process, but don´t depend on them doing anything for you. It’s an assessment of YOU.


Now for the long version in 5 parts… stay tuned.




I started to teach parkour a few years after I started training. In those days the process was simple. You were an instructor as long as your APA committee state representative said you were.


South Australian Parkour Association school workshop in 2012


I was part of the team of four that began APA classes in our city, Adelaide. We all attended an intense week of instructor training in Melbourne run by Matthew `Chippa´ Campbell and learned enough that we felt comfortable running public classes. The spiritual successor of these instructor weeks are run semi-regularly now by the APA and I have had the honour to run one with Travis Ransom in Adelaide. Check the APA website for information on instructor intensives. https://parkour.asn.au/

APA Instructor Intensive 2017 crew

—–Fast forward a few years—–


In 2012 I heard that the APA were creating our first instructor qualification system. We would have a national standard that linked us across our wide country and I liked the idea because it meant that it could no longer be a boy´s club where mates gave their mates a qualification just because they were mates and potentially barred people they didnt like. I also saw it as a good opportunity to step up to a higher standard.


I was on a university exchange in Japan at the time when the polished draft of the qual tests came up online at http://qualify.parkour.asn.au/ . That became my primary resource and guide all the way through and there weren´t many other tools, aids, or helplines. Just me and a document. To start with I read it and realised I was physically miles away from the standard. Some elements seemed impossible to me and most of them I could not do. Some I didn´t even know whether I could do them or not!

Proud of myself after one of my solo run through attempts


So I printed out the full physical test and started to train for it. I picked specific weak points and worked on 5 elements in each training session. I planned out spots so that I could try run throughs of the test. My dorm mates thought I was mad, going out alone several days a week with my wad of paper and only coming back hours later. I don´t remember giving the Theoretical, Practical, and Written elements of the test more than a cursory look then. I dismissed them as not a concern.


I trained hard for the physical that winter but never came close to completing a full run through. In fact as I remember I never came close to the wallsit, the 200m sprint, the rail squats, the rail precisions, the shimmy and hang, the muscle up, and many other parts… but I kept coming closer. I did my first muscle up in Japan.


But once I came back I realised that in my overseas isolation I had thought it a bigger deal than the community did. Nobody had paid much attention or trained for the test. So the APA delayed the requirement of qualification. They couldn´t just cut off their whole instructor base.


—–Fast forward a few years—–


The pressure for the quals had died off. Every year they were postponed. I didn´t train for it anymore without the urgency. Maybe I was a bit annoyed that I had tried and nobody else seemed to. I can´t remember really but quals-wise nothing happened until NatGat 2014.


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