Author Topic: Charging for 'Lessons'  (Read 4408 times)

Offline Matt McK

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Charging for 'Lessons'
« on: May 31, 2011, 04:42:14 PM »
I was recently on Facebook and saw that in the advertisements that "thousands of people are looking for Parkour instructors." Naturally curious, I clicked on it, which led me to find that people, not even providing some sort of a gym membership, are teaching others for around $60, of course some ranged from $0-5, but I was wondering, what does everyone else here think of this?

Offline Gabe Arnold

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 05:37:35 PM »
I think it's a number of different of things. It could be A) people trying to make money doing what they love, and enough to live on. Or B) people trying to make a buck on a trendy activity. I know that the gym I help teach Parkour at, Pinnacle Fitness & Wellness, charges $69 for six weeks of hour long classes, as many classes as you can make in a week.

To answer the OP and his question about the instructors he saw, it's the progression of the discipline, for both better and worse. Better because it helps make us appear more legitimate and respectable for newcomers, worse because the over-chargers make it seem like you need expensive instruction to excel, which is not the case.  

Offline nuclearapplepie

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 09:20:47 PM »
I believe that you while you DO need an instructor in order to do parkour safetly and correctly, charging people sixty something dollars to do something that isn't necessarily safe is a little bit immoral. What if the student got seriously injured? Who's going to be responsible for that, since money has already involved in the first place? Better yet, who's going to KNOW that who's was responsible? I could just leave my student lay there dying 50 feet down a bridge and walk away with an easy 60 bucks.
People just don't know exactly where to look. You and I know well that there are groups that would happily take in newcomers for no charge at all. Parkour isn't exactly a sport(I mean who's REALLY going to look after you when you skate or jump out of an airplane?), it's more of a past-time or adrenaline activity. It advocates freedom, also it's fun and it's meant to be free and free of commercialization. I would love for it to stay that way.

Offline NOS - from Parkour Mumbai

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 10:28:38 PM »
It advocates freedom, also it's fun and it's meant to be free and free of commercialization. I would love for it to stay that way.
Would just like to pop in to say that there are two completely different dictionary definitions to the term 'free' as connotes to Freedom, and 'free' as connotes to Price. Please do not confuse the two just because they are homonyms. Just because Parkour is a discipline about Freedom or freeing your mind, does not automatically make Parkour something that should also be free of all prices in a social and economic activity.

Offline Sparklefish

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 10:57:19 PM »
@nuclearapplepie: That scenario seems a bit far-fetched.  It's part of the instructor's job to help you progress safely.  Whenever I've wanted to study a martial art, I've always understood that a good instructor is worth paying for.  There's value in a good coach.

youTube and training on your own can only take you so far.

I'm semi-self taught as when I started there was no one within an hour of me.  Now my friends from the early days and I teach classes together at a gym twice a week.  One of the other instructors just moved here, and we're all from the "self-taught" generation.  I regularly drove 1-4 hours on a weekly or monthly basis to get to people with more experience so I could learn.  The money I spent on gas qualifies as my dues, and I think it's perfectly justifiable to charge people for the expertise I slowly gained from that time until now. 

What took me six months or a year to get down, I can often teach people in just a few days.  The little money I make doesn't even come close to offsetting the expenses of driving to regional jams and flying to National Jams, where I learn from other instructors and community leaders and bring that knowledge back to my students.

Offline nuclearapplepie

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 11:28:06 AM »
I don't mean to disrespect(since your generation helped to inspire and get me started in the first place), but does it seem a little weird to pay to learn parkour? I mean parkour to me feels personal and there's this knowing that I am developing my own style and personal strength. One time I climbed up this building, looking down and can't help it but feel "Yeah, that's the stuff". Again, I don't mean to disrespect, but who am I doing parkour for? I could pay to go to a gym and learn to spin and flip and show off, but for me it's all boils down to a personal level.
It's hard to explain, but its probably just me. I feel that it is worth any price to pay for to be inspired by anything, but no more than that.

Offline NOS - from Parkour Mumbai

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2011, 11:37:18 AM »
Well son, most of us go to school (and later college) for our own personal selves, to obtain learning and knowledge for our own selves. Atleast I did. I didn't care about the degrees or the promise of jobs it would obtain for me. I went there to learn, and for my own self-actualization.
Does it still feel weird for you to pay for your education then? ;)

Offline nuclearapplepie

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2011, 12:31:16 PM »
Well son, most of us go to school (and later college) for our own personal selves, to obtain learning and knowledge for our own selves. Atleast I did. I didn't care about the degrees or the promise of jobs it would obtain for me. I went there to learn, and for my own self-actualization.
Does it still feel weird for you to pay for your education then? ;)
well, some of us study for the hell of it. I do parkour for the hell of it(im a little bit of a junkie myself). It's hard to define what "ourselves" mean. There are many reason why people do parkour, and i guess i can't criticize that

Offline Sparklefish

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2011, 04:33:14 PM »
nuclearapplepie: It sounds to me like you're making generalizations about what's right or wrong for everyone based on your own personal experience.  That's pretty much how most people approach morality, so whatever.  I personally know that if I want to be the best me I can be, I need help from others, so I'm happy if I help them in return by paying for that help so that then they can spend more time training, learning about teaching, and perfecting their craft.

Nonetheless, when I started I felt more like you're saying you feel.  The good news is, in parkour, you can take either approach.  I just hope you don't condemn those who chose a different path from yours.

Offline Stevie Leifheit

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2011, 05:40:30 AM »
Removed a comment that didn't add a thing...
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Offline lethalbeef

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2011, 12:14:20 PM »
What's wrong with charging for lessons? I think the real question here is whether lessons should be available at all, and if the answer is in the affirmative, then the secondary question is whether anyone should charge money for anything. We're a money based society, professional services are compensated for by monetary exchange, and that's the way things are.

I think a lot of the backlash against lessons in general is because so many of us started in a situation where lessons where entirely unavailable and all we could do was look up videos and half-assed tutorials. Meanwhile, the original founders were already teaching (and charging for) lessons back on the Continent. However, since we were never allowed the opportunity to take lessons and had to learn so much on our own, there's the question of whether the content and ability that is taught formally is of the same quality as something that is learned entirely on one's own.

Ultimately this question is moot, because everything will trend to some degree toward the norm; as parkour becomes more popular, and it clearly is happening already, formal classes will be more readily available, and the quality will improve as well as a general standard. Personally, though, I think there is a lot of value in personal exploration of movement, and I really hope that there will continue to be people who train on their own. However, those who do take lessons to learn the foundations of movement before the train without instruction are going to advance much, much faster (and probably safer) than those who are entirely self-taught.

On the other hand, there's a little bit of the "old guard elitist" speaking through me, but I think those of us first generation self-taught guys are going to have a deeper connection and respect for the discipline than most.

Offline BryanG

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2011, 01:55:32 PM »
I don't neccessarily thing lessons are a good idea.

By taking lessons, people are simply given the solution to the obstacles presented, rather than having to think for themselves about how they're going to get over them. I thought this "thinking for yourself" was what parkour was all about, and to miss out on that process of trial and error is a very bad thing, in my opinion.

A good example is when I was learning the lazy vault. At first, I couldn't bring myself to do it, because it looked really risky and scary. But after much thought, I found the solution. I'd first practice my run up, and tap my first, leading foot onto the wall. I then built my confidence up, and after a couple of hours training, I managed to place my foot on the wall completely, and then vault over the rest of the way. I slowly sped up the process, using my foot less and less each time. Finally, after a lot of hard work, I got my first lazy vault. With lessons, you'll learn the lazy vault and possibly a couple of other techniques in a fraction of the time it took me, but you won't have developed the same mindset that is absolutely essential for progressing on your own.

In short, my point is this; lessons teach you to overcome the obstacle, but they don't teach you how to overcome the obstacle.

Offline DaveS

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2011, 02:09:53 PM »
I agree, the majority of people who call themselves 'Parkour coaches' do just teach people to move, instead of teaching them how to learn to move. However that's a symptom of bad Parkour coaching not all Parkour coaching.
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Offline Jereme Sanders

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2011, 02:15:22 PM »
My personal goals when training others are to ensure that they are learning safety and have access to all the information I've gathered in my training time, I make no qualms about "style" or anything like that because there is a lot in Parkour that is personal and once people have basic concepts for strength, flexibility and technique they can begin to grow on their own. Think the hard part is that lots of people have no idea the quality of teaching or training they may be getting if and when they look into a Parkour class.
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Offline nuclearapplepie

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2011, 02:52:51 PM »
By taking lessons, people are simply given the solution to the obstacles presented, rather than having to think for themselves about how they're going to get over them. I thought this "thinking for yourself" was what parkour was all about, and to miss out on that process of trial and error is a very bad thing, in my opinion.
Yeah parkour is something very personal; that what i was thinking also. Also, if parkour is ever going to be get popular to the point it is teached in dojos like martial arts, I don't think that the public is going to react to that well. Already I have received weird looks, got kicked out of places, got people calling cops on, that I have only trained for a little more than 3 months. People think of us as troublemakers and thrill-seekers; and I could imagine it is partly true.
I mean one could technically teach parkour, but I don't know how and in what way they will be able to pull that off

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2011, 03:20:03 PM »
Removed a comment that didn't add a thing...
It helped the person to differentiate from women or acquiring currency, which relates to the thread beacuse he or she is asking about acquiring currency about what he or she loves to do.

Offline max eisenberg

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2011, 06:35:16 PM »
I think it's a number of different of things. It could be A) people trying to make money doing what they love, and enough to live on. Or B) people trying to make a buck on a trendy activity. I know that the gym I help teach Parkour at, Pinnacle Fitness & Wellness, charges $69 for six weeks of hour long classes, as many classes as you can make in a week.

To answer the OP and his question about the instructors he saw, it's the progression of the discipline, for both better and worse. Better because it helps make us appear more legitimate and respectable for newcomers, worse because the over-chargers make it seem like you need expensive instruction to excel, which is not the case.  

this about sums it up. im pretty old school so i feel its an art that should be shared, not distributed. you dont get the same experience training with an experienced traceur that you would receive in a class, at least not all the time. i love the legitimate look it gives us but, its hard for me to accept it turning into karate. i dont want it to be a house hold name where its all about "kicks and punches and stuff".

it sort of feels like a lot of emphasis will be put on "the basics" instead of understanding the concept. before everyone goes " you need a foundation" i think the idea is to work with your natural foundation. we all jump the same, regardless of whether you were taught to do it like that or you just practiced enough so you figured it out. i like the little "hmm" i get after i do a move a new way. honestly, i think having jams is a great thing. its basically free lessons as well as a good time.

i knew it would get to this point eventually, ive been watching since the original UF site went up. it was in the cards from the first video the french guys put out. it was always destined to be the next more exciting, accessible skateboarding fad. i think we are already in that stage, i hope we can survive it with the original way intact.


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Offline Klope3

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2011, 07:23:02 PM »
I'm uneasy about the idea of people charging to teach parkour--although I'm also skeptical that anyone needs an official teacher. While I understand that potential teachers might like to earn a living doing what they love, and that those learning parkour want to learn safely, I can't accept that the establishment of official "parkour education" is necessary for either of these. If it is possible to learn the skills and nature of parkour independently, then one should allow it to be a personal journey, no matter how difficult it may be, so as to make it as meaningful an experience as possible. Meanwhile, one can find other fields related to parkour that might have the same potential for income.

I do believe that one does not need to make learning parkour be the same as learning math, reading, and writing. One can learn it on one's own, as long as patience and progression are used. And at any rate, it seems that lessons from others could only go so far in learning parkour, anyway. Can anyone *tell* you exactly where to jump, when to jump, and how to push with your arms in order to successfully execute a kong vault? No; no matter how many words they use, you have to practice it over and over in order to accomplish it and make it second nature. In practicing, you are learning, on your own, all these variables involved in executing a kong vault that cannot be effectively communicated in words. And since learning these variables is the most significant part of learning a new move, I wonder if a "teacher" can offer anything more than helpful tips. And I especially wonder whether one should *pay* for mere tips...

As a final note, taking a class would add too much structure for my taste. "Okay, guys, today we're going to learn monkey vaults...hey, over there, we're doing MONKEY vaults, not SPEED vaults, would you please focus?" In my mind, parkour should be a freeform art and a personal journey, not a school subject. You should be able to take everything at your own pace and preference, which a structure classroom setting just can't really provide.
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Offline Ryan Sannar

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2011, 07:49:10 PM »
Okay I want to say that this isn't meant to be egotistical or anything, but here goes.

I teach classes. Every Wednesday I drive 20 miles or so down to a not-so-local amphitheater to teach a class for two hours. I do not charge for this class. I have been teaching for more than a year. Due to work schedules changing I will no longer be teaching it. The person who will be taking it over has also decided not to charge. This was his and my choice.

But driving that far costs money. On a limited salary with bills and etc... that's not easy. Good feelings are great and all, but they don't replace the air in my gas tank.

I'm not complaining on this, just explaining where someone would want to charge. Are there people out there who are greedy or who are looking to make a little more than the class is worth? Yes, most definitely yes. We are all human and that means that we all have our own "sins" and etc... Now does deciding to charge make someone into that. No. Because everyone needs a living. Everyone has a reason for doing what they are doing and that included charging to teach parkour.

Do these kids need a person to teach them parkour. No. Do they want someone. Yes. Does it help. I think so.

What I'm trying to say is that there is no yes or no answers in parkour, people don't seem to get that. Its about freedom and creativity. Yes and no are a little to defining for my taste.

I will at one time charge for lessons. I am content with that.

The question to you is: Are you going to hate me and judge me for it, which slows you down, not me? Or are you going to realize that as an American I have the right to do that and you are not required to attend for the same reason? Because if you let it go, that's less baggage slowing you down on your "run" through life. Just a thought
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Offline BryanG

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Re: Charging for 'Lessons'
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2011, 11:26:07 PM »
I agree, the majority of people who call themselves 'Parkour coaches' do just teach people to move, instead of teaching them how to learn to move. However that's a symptom of bad Parkour coaching not all Parkour coaching.

My personal goals when training others are to ensure that they are learning safety and have access to all the information I've gathered in my training time, I make no qualms about "style" or anything like that because there is a lot in Parkour that is personal and once people have basic concepts for strength, flexibility and technique they can begin to grow on their own. Think the hard part is that lots of people have no idea the quality of teaching or training they may be getting if and when they look into a Parkour class.

These two points just about sum up what I didn't think about; there is more than one way to teach parkour. Whilst the majority of teachers out there do practice "bad" parkour coaching, I'm sure there are some who are doing it right.

I mean, learning on your own is the best way forward in my opinion, simply because it presents you with the hardest obstacles to overcome, but if someone has not yet grasped the concept of parkour, and just wants to jump off of high stuff, then maybe coaching such as described above is the way forward.

I pursued parkour at the beginning because I enjoyed overcoming obstacles and improving myself. If I had pursued it for pretty much any other reason, I can almost guarantee that it wouldn't be a safe practice for me. I guess it's pretty naiive to think that everyone does it for the same reason, so parkour coaching can be a good thing, if done properly.

Okay I want to say that this isn't meant to be egotistical or anything, but here goes.

I teach classes. Every Wednesday I drive 20 miles or so down to a not-so-local amphitheater to teach a class for two hours. I do not charge for this class. I have been teaching for more than a year. Due to work schedules changing I will no longer be teaching it. The person who will be taking it over has also decided not to charge. This was his and my choice.

But driving that far costs money. On a limited salary with bills and etc... that's not easy. Good feelings are great and all, but they don't replace the air in my gas tank.

I'm not complaining on this, just explaining where someone would want to charge. Are there people out there who are greedy or who are looking to make a little more than the class is worth? Yes, most definitely yes. We are all human and that means that we all have our own "sins" and etc... Now does deciding to charge make someone into that. No. Because everyone needs a living. Everyone has a reason for doing what they are doing and that included charging to teach parkour.

Do these kids need a person to teach them parkour. No. Do they want someone. Yes. Does it help. I think so.

What I'm trying to say is that there is no yes or no answers in parkour, people don't seem to get that. Its about freedom and creativity. Yes and no are a little to defining for my taste.

I will at one time charge for lessons. I am content with that.

The question to you is: Are you going to hate me and judge me for it, which slows you down, not me? Or are you going to realize that as an American I have the right to do that and you are not required to attend for the same reason? Because if you let it go, that's less baggage slowing you down on your "run" through life. Just a thought


My view on charging for parkour is this;

A lot of people are in the same boat as you, in the sense that they may need to charge. Now, I am completely, 100% ok with that, because, well, they have no other choice.

As for charging more than is required; I find that quite ironic, to be honest. If you want them to charge less, then in effect you want to save more of your own money. So you can't complain that these coaches are greedy, because by doing so you become greedy yourself.

"Letting go" is what no-one seems to be able to do anymore. Sure, I think we should definately do something about the bad side of coaching, becaause it's a bad thing and the world should be a good place, but there's nothing wrong with doing it properly, nor charging for it.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 11:27:41 PM by BryanG »