008 – Interview with Andrew Foster

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Episode Summary

Andrew Foster shares his fascinating journey from his home-schooled beginnings in Ohio, Arabic studies, and living in Jordan, (including meeting and training with Danny Ilabac in Cairo) to facing the dark challenge of losing everything- including his purpose in life. Starting renewed from his lowest point, on a mountaintop in Colorado, he describes finding new purpose and direction, bringing him full circle to his home town in Ohio.


Guest introduction

Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.

Andrew: And I’m Andrew Foster.

Craig:…and this is Parkour, They Said.

Andrew Foster is from Akron, Ohio. His childhood was steeped in classical music and philosophy, although he rebelled a little by dragging his mattress to the basement to learn flips when his parents weren’t home. He studied international studies with a focus on the Middle East, which took him and his wife to Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco before coming full circle back to Akron. He’s recently opened a Parkour gym in a local community called Akron Movement Family. [00:00:30] Along the way, he taught competitive gymnastics, failed badly at competitive soccer, and realized people and movement are his passions. Welcome, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you.

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.

How did your training begin? (part 2)

Craig: How did you go from being the underdog in sports to being the guy who founded the Miami University’s men’s gymnastic team?

Andrew: Yeah, that’s kind of weird. Honestly, it’s weird saying it like that, because I [00:05:30] never even thought I was going to be doing that. I didn’t mean to, it just happened. A guy in my dorm walking down the hall one day freshman year was like, “Hey, anyone interested in going to tryout the gymnastics team?” I was like, “Ooh, I can’t do gymnastics, but I’ve always wanted to do a back flip.” …and he’s like, “I’ll teach you a back flip, no problem.” I’m like, “Okay, I’m in. Let’s go.” We show up, he’s like … And we walk in, and it’s all women. He’s like, “Oh, yeah, it’s a women’s team.” I was like, “Wait.”

Craig: That’s when you discovered that they’re not actually allowed to tell men that they’re not allowed to [00:06:00] join.

Andrew: Yep. No rule against that technically, so I paid my dues and I was on the women’s team. I was hooked. I got the flip bug. I couldn’t quit. No coach or anything, I just taught myself, but I’d go in every day and try.

Craig: And of course, the guy who hooked you gave up after three weeks because it didn’t hold his interest and…

Andrew: Yeah, he’s long gone and I’m there by myself, literally over in a corner of the gym, just like, “Am I in anyone’s way? I’m going to try things over here.” Yeah, I started going to competitions, and I just … I had a rule I had to try a new skill [00:06:30] every meet on everything. I’d ask guys, the guy in front of me, be like, “Hey, how’d you do that?”

Craig: What was that move you did right there?

Andrew: “Because I’m going to try that in a second.”

Craig: I’m pretty sure there’s an unwritten rule in gymnastics that says you’re not supposed to try new moves at the competition, right?

Andrew: Yeah. Nobody does that. They were so confused. The judges are looking at me.

Craig: Where’s the one? How do I give a 1.5?

Andrew: Yeah, I got a 1.5. That happened. That’s really low. But I tried. It’s something about … Again, I was so bad [00:07:00] that I couldn’t quit. I was like, “I got to get better. I got to try.”

Craig: Yeah, but passionate, and passion is the thing that I’m picking up in all of our conversations, is that you wind up being so passionate about it then that everybody else is just like, “That looks like fun, even though you’re not doing so good.”

Andrew: Yeah. No, I went to a gymnastics meet. It was honestly terrible, but I was having so much fun I didn’t care. It would’ve been a joke, but it was so fun. People would be like, “Hey, he’s really enjoying it.”

Craig: What can you accomplish when you actually don’t care about winning? Why, you can have a lot of fun, and you can grow and learn [00:07:30] a lot.

Andrew: Yeah. I don’t know. I’m always the guy, if I’m doing something, I do it 100%. I don’t really usually do things halfway in most anything in life, I guess.

On common inspiration and Parkour across cultural boundaries

Craig: At college, how did you get into Arabic studies and wind up in Jordan?

Andrew: I had to take a language for my major, international studies, and I also had to pick a focus, so I picked a focus on the Middle East, and I picked Arabic. I guess I [00:08:00] have a fascination with that area and had always been interested in it. Then my professor, my Arabic professor, was from Jordan. One thing led to another, and I ended up in a study abroad program to study Arabic at the University of Jordan for a summer. I went over there for a two-month intensive Arabic program and fell in love with it over there and ended up telling my professor. At the end of two months, I was [00:08:30] like, “Hey, you know how we have a flight tomorrow?”

Craig: Yeah, I’m not going to be on that.

Andrew: “I’m not going to get on it.” I dropped out of college for a year, and I lived in the Middle East and stayed there. I loved it. I love the language. I love the culture. I love the food. I love the people. It was amazing.

Craig: While you were in Egypt, I understand that surreptitiously fell into a Parkour jam and then…

Andrew: Yeah, kind of crazy. Like I said, [00:09:00] it’s just one of those things that happens. I went out to this park to train. I was there for a few minutes training, and then I see a guy out of the corner of my eye do something like a jump, and I’m like, “Oh, got to check that out.”

Craig: I saw a precision!

Andrew: That looks like a precision. I see baggy sweatpants. I go running over there, and there’s a group of guys that are jamming. They got some hip-hop beats playing and they’re break-dancing. They got a little kicker. They’re chucking side flips. Five minutes later, I’m home, I’m with family, we’re all training.

Craig: [00:09:30] Walks up and says hello and does a back flip and in like Flint!

Andrew: Yeah. It’s awesome. You don’t even need to speak the same language. I spoke Arabic, but nonetheless, it’s just like you start training together. We trained that day, and then at the end of the day, they’re like, “Okay, meet back here tomorrow. Another training session.” I’m like, “Yes, all right.” More people show up the next day, and then we’re training, and one dude pulls out a cell phone and he’s talking on the phone. He says, “Hey, you want to meet Danny Ilabac?” I was like, “Yeah.”

Craig: Now you’re just pulling my leg, right?

Andrew: “Wouldn’t we all? Wouldn’t we all like to meet Danny?” He’s like, “No, for real. Danny Ilabaca [00:10:00] has a jam tomorrow.” It was like, “What? Wait, where? Here?”

Craig: …I just happen to be in Egypt…

Andrew: Yeah. It was crazy. Danny’s always traveling all over, I guess. It was so cool, yeah. Next thing I know, I’m in a taxi, and then we’re cruising through a market, and there’s donkeys everywhere, and then we’re at this jam. The whole Parkour community from the whole city of Cairo shows up. Danny’s there, and everybody’s jamming. It was amazing. It was such a cool experience to see the community show up and everyone’s so excited. [00:10:30] Danny’s such an inspirational figure for so many people. That’s also cool like … We grew up on other sides of the world, but these guys view Danny the same way. It’s like, “I know nothing about your life, and you know nothing about mine, but we have this same person that’s been a huge inspiration for us.”

Craig: Common inspiration, right.

Andrew: They’re like, “Danny Ilabaca.” I’m like, “Yeah, Danny Ilabaca.” They’re like, “Choose not to fall.” I’m like, “Choose not to fall. Yes!”

Craig: Right.

Andrew: That was great. It was a huge … Danny’s been a hug inspiration for me growing up. [00:11:00] Even, I remember showing my parents some of his videos, trying to convince them that Parkour was a good idea when he’s talking about how it’s changed and influenced his life. Getting to meet him, he’s like, “I took a picture with him.” I was like, “Sorry, I hate to be that guy, but I got to take a picture to show my brothers. They’re never going to believe I met.”

Then I got to … He invited me to have dinner with him, and we got to talk. I feel like he’s such a … He’s like a sage or a guru. [00:11:30] You don’t talk to him for very long before he’s picking you apart. He looks over at me. He’s like, “Hey, Andrew. Training with you, I just see something. You’ve got this potential, but you’re not realizing it.” I’m like, “Wait, what?” He’s like, “I watched you running up to that precision, and you were stutter stepping.” He’s like, “Stop looking ahead and thinking ahead. You need to be in the moment. Each step, have your mind in the moment.” I didn’t even know he’s watching me, and he’s breaking me down as a person.

Craig: Yeah, in one glance, right? He picked that apart.

Andrew: Yeah.

On losing everything and finding renewed purpose

Craig: The obvious question is, why are you not still in the Middle East [00:12:00] today?

Andrew: I thought I would be. That was the dream. I had this vision of my life and what I was doing. I thought I’d move there. I’d fallen in love with the culture. I talked my wife into-

Craig: Opportunities to help people out.

Andrew: Yeah. I wanted to start maybe a nonprofit or something, helping especially kids in difficult situations, maybe in Palestine or something. It all fell apart. Long story short, I ended up [00:12:30] back in the US and feeling like I lost everything. I’d lost my plan. I’d lost my vision for what I thought my life was going to be. I’d lost this purpose that I had. I lost relationships. I’d made promises to guys over there. I was like, “Hey, I’m going to come back. I’m going to open this gym. Ready to start this thing.”

Craig: Right. You had to walk away from that, right?

Andrew: Yeah, I felt crushed. Coming back, I’d spent all my money. My car had broken down. We’d gotten rid of our apartment my [00:13:00] wife and I had. I had nowhere to live. I had no money. I had no possessions. I’d given away the last of my money I could before we left the Middle East thinking I was coming back and getting a job. I didn’t have my job anymore. I’d quit that. It all really tumbled down and fell apart, and I ended up feeling really lost. I ended up, my brother and I, in a moment of desperation [00:13:30] and-

Craig: Yeah, a journey right, the quest…

Andrew: Yeah, just like, “I don’t know what else to do.” We get in a pickup truck, and we started driving west. Took a road map with us and that’s it and just, “Let’s see where we end up and see what happens.” We drove, and we just kept driving until we got to Colorado. I don’t know, something about the mountains, I guess. We drove there, and we ended up driving up into the mountains and parking the truck on the side of the road, and turning around [00:14:00] and looking up and we were like, “All right, which … Let’s climb that one,” which, honestly, is a terrible idea. To anyone out there listening, that’s not the way to climb a mountain.

Craig: Weather forecast? Nah.

Andrew: We did it late in the evening, so it was a just grueling climb up this mountain with rocks falling and nearly dying on cliffs that we should not … no business being on. Get to the top, and it was sunset. It was a terrible idea, but one of those adventures where it ends up perfect.

Craig: Yeah, could not have planned it better.

Andrew: Yeah. [00:14:30] My brother and I are up there, coming up over the crest and there’s maybe a half mile left to go, and it’s snow at this point, snow and these wildflowers. It was the beginning of summer. I don’t know. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I’m saying this on a podcast. I took all my clothes off and I just ran naked up the rest of the mountain. I felt like it was this moment, it was the right thing to do somehow. It was this … I don’t know if it was a metaphor for myself or if it was just how I was feeling that [00:15:00] I had nothing left.

Craig: Catharsis, right?

Andrew: On top of it all, I guess I didn’t mention, my knee was injured at this point, so I couldn’t do Parkour, either, and that’s something I wanted to be doing. I had nothing. I was like, “Okay, might as well take my clothes off, too. I guess I got nothing left.” I ran up this mountain naked, and was at the top. I come up over the crest, and the sun’s setting. Everything’s lit up. It’s all golden, and there’s just the Rockies spread out, just mountains, [00:15:30] as far as you can see. You feel like you’re on the top of the world. The sky’s so big when you’re up there. I don’t know. Here in Ohio, you drive through trees and buildings and whatnot, and the sky’s this blue thing up there.

Craig: Yeah, overhead, not all around.

Andrew: Yeah. You get on top of a mountain, you’re like, “No, the sky’s almost to your feet.” You’re just in this huge dome of the universe, and you feel so small. Just looking out at it all, I just threw my fist to the sky and [00:16:00] let out a yell of … I don’t know, of anger, frustration, of hurt.

Craig: Final fling of a- the last bit of a thing you were holding onto.

Andrew: Just shaking my fist at God and saying, “Why? Why is this? Why am I here? Why have I lost everything?” It’s weird. That moment was rock bottom for me, but it’s also the beginning of moving up, of a change.

Craig: Yeah, the new journey. From there, [00:16:30] you have two choices. You have the dark abyss on one side, literally, and then you have the journey that you chose.

Andrew: Yeah, I did. I felt like I had a choice, and I had to look and choose. Do I go into nothingness, I give up, I quit, I walk off the cliff ahead of me, I just run off it and scream and that’s it, or do I accept that, okay, everything’s been taken from me, but it was never mine to begin with? We come from dust, and we return to dust. We don’t have anything except what we’re given, and it’s a gift. [00:17:00] Life is a gift. Everything, every breath I have is a gift. Every step I take is a gift. If I only get to train Parkour one more time in my life, that’s a gift. It’s not a horrible thing. It’s a beautiful thing. If I’m paralyzed tomorrow, I still have been given so much. I guess in that moment, I had so much clarity of realizing I’ve been looking at life backwards this whole time. I’d been putting my motivation … Finding my motivation in, and putting my hope in, [00:17:30] all these things that I had, all these Parkour abilities-

Craig: Everything’s anchored in the future that way if you’re always thinking-

Andrew: Yeah. My plans for what I thought I was going to do with my life, how I thought things were going to pan out and all these things, and realizing … Yeah, it’s funny. Thinking back to the Daniel Ilabaca‘s words to me about, “Stop focusing on the future. You’re stutter stepping. You’re losing your strength.” I was running up to a precision jump, and I couldn’t hit it because I wasn’t putting my power into each moment, each step. I was [00:18:00] looking ahead of the jump. It’s so true. In that moment, I guess I hit that point of realizing that I can’t put my hope in all these other things because they all pass away eventually.

Craig: Sure. There’s no guarantee.

Andrew: I had to find something else to live for. I chose life. Between the two choices — the darkness, the abyss, and I think faith or [00:18:30] hope or something — I chose that. I said, “Okay, I’m going to believe that I think God has a purpose for me, that’s there some value for my life, that there’s something that was worth living for. I just have to try and seek that out and find what it is.” I put my clothes back on, and had a snowball fight with my brother, and drove back.

Craig: That’s the perfect ending, I was thinking, “I bet there was a snowball fight.”

Andrew: There was. There was a snowball fight. [00:19:00] I came back to Ohio and decided, “Okay, I’m going to be here…

Craig: Be here now for my family, for my community-

Andrew: Yeah, and not for myself and not for my plans and not for what I thought I was going to be done. It was weird. It was a weird moment. It’s all gone, so now it’s a blank slate. I’m here. What do I do? I feel like the answer that I got was, “love people.” You’re here in this place. Why [00:19:30] live here? Why not live somewhere else? It’s not for the weather, and it’s not for the training spots, or it’s not for any of these other reasons. Ultimately-

Craig: Sometimes it’s easy to fall back on and get complacent and say, “I live in this place. The sunset is gorgeous every day, and there are all these things,” and in some ways, the living in an environment where you don’t have any assistance, where things are just natural, just normal, that [00:20:00] requires you to rise to the occasion. You have to find the meaning in the moments.

Andrew: Yeah, I definitely was like, “Okay, I’ve said I’m in this place, so what do I do in this place?” I guess there’s people here, and there’s beautiful people here. They have value. I believe that they’re created with an inherent value. Each person is unique and beautiful, so I felt this calling to devote myself to that, that I should … [00:20:30] in as much as I had lost everything else to live for, that I’d found a purpose in living for love, that I found that I feel that I have been loved. That moment of realizing, “I’ve been given so much-”

Craig: Yeah, look at everything I have. Everything’s been taken away, but I still have all of this, right?

Andrew: Yeah. It’s a gift of, if nothing else, breathing. I’ve been given this gift, so in return, as much as I’ve been loved by God, how can I love others? [00:21:00] That really started digging me into the idea of community here in this place with these people. How can I-

Craig: How can I be a good father? How can I be a good husband? How can I be a good community member? What would that look like?

Andrew: Right, yeah. How can I do that … Even if it’s hard, even if it’s not … Sometimes I feel like people aren’t participating or they’re even fighting me in a way. Sometimes people hurt you in relationships. Sometimes you’re trying … I feel like I’m trying [00:21:30] to build a community and people are almost fighting against me in that, but I think that’s part of it. I think that’s part of loving people, is being able to take whatever they throw at you.

Craig: Right.

On starting a new community

Craig: When you’re deciding to actually create a space like the Akron Movement Family, you’re automatically going to face this contention because your normal community members are outdoor Parkour people; they’ve been in parks, they’ve been on sidewalks, and the standard things we think of, and now you’re saying [00:22:00] to them, “I’m going to make this space, and we’re going to train here.” In my experiences, I’ve seen a lot of struggle with people trying to bring their community indoors, and they tend to resist.

Andrew: Yeah. There’s resistance, I think. I’ve been told that there’s really two separate communities, and I’m finding the truth to that as I’ve tried to start a community and then be a gym owner. I had this vision. At the beginning, I thought the way it was going to work is I was going to build this community, and it was happening. I [00:22:30] was seeing this community build. I had this tight-knit group of guys. We would train every day, and it was growing. People were adding onto it. I think people saw the beauty in that group and wanted to be a part of it. Then that faded a little bit, and people moved away, and things happened. I ended up with the opportunity to start this gym, and I thought … I had always thought that I would build an outdoor community first and that we would have this tight-knit group, [00:23:00] and then we’d all come together and we’d make it happen.

Craig: Create this anchor point around which our community will then grow outward, right.

Andrew: Yeah. I had this vision. I remember seeing footage from Australia of the Owls Gang Parliament. I think it was those guys. They had a gym, and it was in a garage and with a bunch of janky stuff in a tiny little place, and everything’s grimy and everything’s a mess. I was like, “Yeah, that’s what I want.”

Craig: It’s a tool. It’s literally a tool that accomplishes their goal. It’s not shiny.

Andrew: I was like, if it’s that then you know it’s all heart. It’s no money, it’s no business. [00:23:30] That’s what I wanted, because I don’t want to be a businessman. Yeah, it didn’t really work that way. I thought that the community would come together and all do this together, but I’ve found that it’s hard. You have to fight through sometimes on your own and that outdoor community comes and goes, and they do their thing, but starting a Parkour gym is really starting a new community. We’ve had to start over from square one trying [00:24:00] to find people, find the people that we know are out there that would love this and would want to be a part of it and do it.

I guess thinking about trying to live out this new realization I had or this new purpose is … It all started with coming up with a name and a reason for what I was doing. It ended up being Akron Movement Family. I put a lot of thought into that name because I wanted it to represent what I was trying to do [00:24:30] and what I wanted to be and who I wanted to help. My sister and I, we were training together a lot at this point and decided to try and work together on this project. Talking things through and thinking about it, we really wanted it to be about community. We wanted the heart of it to be community, so we feel like the name had to be local. Akron had to be in there. [00:25:00] We wanted it to be about movement. I think I started to realize that movement is so central to life. It’s a strange thing because it seems like an abstract thought, “movement,” like what is movement or why do we move, but it seems to be the heart.

Craig: It seems to be deeply ingrained in the human experience. You go places, and you do some work on bars with people, and people [00:25:30] that you don’t know, maybe no common language, in a split second, you can tell whether they’re comfortable or whether they’re uncomfortable with bars. Is this the first time they’ve had their feet on a bar? There’s just so much in movement. It’s very intimate and very human.

Andrew: I had this thought I went through and became really fascinated with the idea that I think movement is life. Movement is life in so many different layers, both that … It’s kind [00:26:00] of the definition of life at a cellular level. A moving cell is living, whether that’s a tree or that’s an animal or that’s a human. That’s life, but then also thinking about water. Tracers often talk about the Bruce Lee quote, “flow like water,” but I think there’s even something more to that, which is so cool. My dad made a comment one time about moving water, the sound of moving water being so beautiful, and it started me thinking, “Well-”

Craig: What is it about that? Why are we drawn to [00:26:30] moving water?

Andrew: Everyone loves being at a river. People love water, but water is the basis of life. We’d die without water. Moving water is life. Stagnant water-

Craig: Yeah, stagnant water, probably not a good thing.

Andrew: It’s death. You drink that, you’re getting some kind of disease or something. That’s basic survival skills. We find beauty and we find life and purpose in moving, living water. If you don’t move, you’re dead, and I think that applies to us as humans, [00:27:00] how we live our lives, whether that is in relationships or that that’s just being physically, obviously, like are you just sitting all day. Are you just sitting in your car? What are you doing?

Craig: We’ve found ways to sit while moving.

Andrew: Yeah, we have. We somehow managed to do that. We got to get back to the point of remembering that if you’re not moving you’re dying. You sit long enough, you’ll die, literally from sitting. Your body will fall apart. It rots away. The same’s true [00:27:30] as … For me, as a person, am I moving somewhere? Am I progressing? Am I growing? Am I maturing, or am I stagnating? Am I sitting still and rotting in place? I think we have to be moving, and Akron Movement Family needs to be about that. It needs to be about movement.

Also, the third part of the name is family. I was really motivated [00:28:00] by different experiences through my life and really caring about kids and wanting to see a community that could be that, could be a family to people as … The more I live, the longer I live, the more I see that everyone’s struggling with something. Just because you made a kid that’s got a smile on their face doesn’t mean they’re not going through something horrible at home.

Craig: Right.

Andrew: My sister and I really came up with this vision to create a place where kids and [00:28:30] adults could come and have a space where they were safe and where they were loved, where they knew they were loved and cared about, and that they would feel … Whether they had this anywhere else in their life or not, that they would feel they had a family, and their family being people that love and care for them and are going to be faithful to them and be there for them, whatever they’re going through. Akron Movement Family was my attempt at trying to begin that [00:29:00] vision.

Three words to describe your practice?

Craig: The final question, three words to describe your practice?

Andrew: Three words. I think that I would say movement. I’ve talked about that a little bit, but just the value and the deep and raw nature of how connected we as humans are in a movement.

Then I would say love. I think that if you’re not moving with love that you’re [00:29:30] not really experiencing the full depth of movement and what it can be. I move … I like the quote from a famous runner, Eric Liddell. When asked about his running, he said he runs to feel the pleasure of God, and I think that the meaning of that may be confusing but that it’s this idea that [00:30:00] there is a deep value and purpose in doing things beautifully and doing them lovingly. When I train, I want to move with love towards others, towards myself, towards God.

Then my third word would be family. My family has meant a lot to me. I started Parkour with my brothers and sister. I’ve always trained with them. But also the family in [00:30:30] a bigger concept of the community, that my hope and my dream is that you could come back to Akron Movement Family in a couple years and you would walk in and find that there’s a family here, a family of community that has come together around Parkour and trains together, but more than trains together, that we care about each other, that we love each other, that we support each other and are here for each other.

Craig: Thank you very much, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you.