How did your training begin? (part 1)

Craig: Let’s start with your childhood. That’s the obvious place to begin. Just tell me a little bit about your home life and schooling.

Andrew: Yeah. I was homeschooled. My dad’s a professor at a university, and my mom homeschooled … I’m one of five kids. I’m the oldest son. [00:01:00] Kind of a different childhood than most people that I interact with. It’s always kind of been an identity for a long time. I guess as I’ve gotten older, childhood fades away and it’s not as much an identity as it used to be, but I used to … People asked me who I was. I’d say, “oh, I’m a home-schooled kid.”

Yeah, I was… A lot of times spent … My parents taught me very early on that it’s all about learning, it’s all about gaining knowledge. School was not about grades. I never even knew what my grades were. It was just about, “How much did you [00:01:30] learn? What information did you get out of it?” I did that a lot, just always reading, reading books, always family dinner table conversations, where discussions about philosophy or about … My dad’s a scientist, so we’re talking about the detailed mechanics of some scientific process or something.

Lots of that, and then my parents put a lot of value on music. We started music lessons really young. I started when I was six [00:02:00] and playing classical piano for all the way until I was a senior in high school, and then took up viola lessons, and then did a quartet with my siblings, and then played in an orchestra and was in a Brahms Allegro music club, piano competitions.

Craig: How did you get from there to here

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. It’s a bit of a switch, I guess. I started … My mom signed me up for swim team, [00:02:30] which I was so upset about at the time. I was like, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to have to wear a Speedo. This is horrifying.” But, it was weird. I was hating it, and then I was loving it. I was the worst kid on the team. I was terrible, but something about that was also like I couldn’t quit because I was-

Craig: The challenge.

Andrew: I was so bad, I couldn’t quit. I had to prove myself. I had to get better. I went from being, the first year, I was the worst kid on the team, to second year, I was not the best but I was best at one thing, and I was like, “I’ll [00:03:00] take that.”

Craig: I’ll take that thing! From swimming leads you to soccer…

Andrew: To soccer, yeah. I moved to soccer, and kind of the same story. I was terrible at soccer, honestly. I did a tryout for a premier team, and I was not remotely good enough. I showed up without cleats. I had completely the wrong outfit on, and I didn’t even know what any of the terms were they were using.

Craig: Like, “[inaudible 00:03:25]” you’re like, “What?” [crosstalk 00:03:25]

Andrew: No idea. It would be a complete [00:03:30] embarrassment, but I just didn’t know enough to be embarrassed.

Craig: Just took it as a challenge.

Andrew: I was like, “I don’t know.”

Craig: That’s a great mindset.

Andrew: I was just like, “Coach, what can I do better? How can I make it on the team?” He was like, “Work on your foot skills.” So I went home and spent a year juggling a soccer ball until I could do it a thousand times in a row, and I came back the next year and was like, “Okay, I can do it now.” They’re like, “You still don’t know what you’re doing, but-”

Craig: That’s a small part of the …

Andrew: The coach is like, “All right, you’re trying hard, so I’ll let you on.” Yeah, I definitely had this drive to be … Being [00:04:00] the underdog is something that motivates me.

Craig: So in that whole experience of swimming and soccer and philosophy and classical piano … Where does Parkour come in to all of this?

Andrew: It doesn’t. I was forbidden from doing Parkour. My parents were really opposed to it. They viewed it as being basically criminal-like activity. The way they read it was, “Oh, you’re jumping … You want to be jumping on roofs, and that’s illegal, so you can’t do that.” It was not a part of [00:04:30] my childhood really, except for when I would go and would try and train with my brothers. We started jumping over a picnic table one day and spent a long time just trying to do vaults over a picnic table. Then there’s a playground right by my parents’ house, where we would go and we would just try and do jumps.

Craig: Became an outlet, right?

Andrew: Yeah. We’d go over there every day and jump around and enjoy moving. It was a real relief. We were all very attached to that playground. It’s kind of our [00:05:00] home in many ways.

Craig: And it’s still there, it’s right around the corner from here.

Andrew: It is. It’s been partially torn down. I put up as much of a protest as I could to the city when they did that and made a video memorial and all these things. Still, half of it’s still there, enough to have fun. That’s something.