How did your training begin?

Mentioned in this section:
The “first Tempest video
Jesse Danger
The Movement Creative

Craig: Tell me the story. You’re at school at NYU and you go to?

Jonny: Well, I didn’t go to NYU. [crosstalk 00:00:56] Let’s not make them think I’m a little smarter than I am.

Craig: I’m sorry. I keep saying it. We’re leaving that in.

Jonny: [00:01:00] I went to art school, so it’s about 27 notches down the ladder from NYU.

Craig: It’s still a Masters of Fine Art.

Jonny: Yeah, yeah. I do have a piece of paper that calls me a master. But, so I’m in art school in New York and I’m back home visiting family in Los Angeles when a friend of mine sends me the first Tempest video on YouTube. And I realized it was about a mile away from my mom’s house. [00:01:30] So I ran down there, took the class, stayed for open gym, and just went back every night for the rest of the trip. Went back to New York and just had this, like … It was like an alcoholic drying out, you know? I was just not about to go a day without doing this.

Craig: Where’s the gym?

Jonny: So, yeah, well so of course I’m out just exploring every park and there’s not too many sightings in the wild of traceurs, so I’ve got my eye open. I’m looking for anybody. Somebody even pushes [00:02:00] the crosswalk differently, I’m like, “Is he training? What is he doing over there?” I’m just looking for anything. Someone. And when that didn’t work, I couldn’t just roam the wilds of New York hoping to stumble across somebody, so I started doing some searching online and I found a community session called Get Strong, which is like conditioning for Parkour.

Craig: Right. And that’s run by?

Jonny: Jesse Danger.

Craig: Right. And the group is? Name drop.

Jonny: The Movement Creative.

Craig: Okey dokey. So I’ve always wondered, “How do these two guys know each other?” [00:02:30] That explains that. So you went to every one of those courses, I’m going to guess, every class.

Jonny: Oh, man. Yeah, I went there and found just a bunch of savages. I was like, “This is my world.” It felt like Fight Club. It felt like at night, I’m in there with these people that are doing just dangerous things that really aren’t actually dangerous, but you know what I mean. That feeling of living dangerously. Like, “Ooh, I’m not doing exactly what I’m supposed to do. I’m climbing up on this thing. I’m jumping off,” or whatever, but then it was also, it’s not like beautiful, sunny [00:03:00] Los Angeles. There was snow, and rain, and all kinds of other stuff going on.

Craig: Bubblegum and rain.

Jonny: These guys are out there doing it.

Craig: Broken fortune cookies, right.

Jonny: I’m seeing people throwing up, you know, I mean it was just intense and I was like, “This is it. I want to test myself.”

Craig: This is the Parkour scene in New York. Yes. I have caught glimpses of it.

Jonny: Yeah, there was no cushy trampolines or spring floor or any of that stuff. It was all pretty gritty and I was in love with it.

I made the greatest group of friends I could have ever known here in New York, from [00:03:30] training. That is actually the only common thread, is that we train. Other than that, our lives couldn’t be more disparate. And that’s in stark contrast to everything that I had known before that, where my friend groups were based around art or music or whatever, we were all living pretty similar lives.

Craig: Right, and that group, that community, even if it’s not living in the same place type of community, but that community of people, seems to me that you [00:04:00] meet artists, you’re doing similar things, but some people you just don’t like. You’re just like, “I do not like this person.” And the Parkour community, I don’t know, I’m curious what your experience has been, my experience is the exact opposite of that. Not just the Parkour-specifically named communities, but in anything that you would even classify vaguely as Parkour. Those people are very different from that community.

Jonny: I couldn’t agree more. Yeah. And it’s not specific to [00:04:30] any one city. That is definitely the community at large. So you can go to San Antonio, Texas, you can go to Beaverton, Oregon or wherever you want to go, and you’re gonna find a similar type of person to the one that you’ve been training with. To the type of person that you’ve connected with in your community, whatever it is. And I haven’t traveled abroad to do Parkour, so I can’t speak to the global community outside of what I know from videos and Facebook and stuff. But it appears to be that it’s very much a global commonality.

Craig: Yeah. And the people that you meet, [00:05:00] you might not become best friends with them, you might not click, where you’re, “Oh, wow, three hours have elapsed and we’re still in the corner talking.” It might not meet all the people like that, but you find that when it doesn’t click, the two of you were trying, it was like, “Oh, we didn’t really have a ton to talk about but I really kind of like that person even though I didn’t really click with them.” You know, those little, what was that from Fight Club, single serving-size friends on airplanes?

Jonny: Yes.

Craig: Which I love. So the single-serving-size friends, even single-serving-size Parkour friends, they’re actually a really pretty [00:05:30] good friendship, even for 30 seconds and you forget their name two minutes later.

Jonny: Yeah. I’ll even take it one step further. Even, a lot of times, those people who you’re not connecting with on a conversational level, you start moving together, though. And you find a very deep connection. All of a sudden you find, “Ooh, they look at things similar to the way I look at things,” or, “I love the way they look at things, it’s nothing like the way I look at things.” And now you’re moving in their world or they’re moving in yours, or whatever it is, but you found this other way to connect with somebody that you would have never known if you just worked with them or whatever the [00:06:00] case may be.

Craig: A completely different language. Right.