Craig: So, I read about that course. I’m reading and reading, and I’m like, “Wait, what did that say? Did that just say what I think it said?” So… in fact, you tell the story. So you’re sitting in a meeting, and Jesse is pitching to a school, and they’re like, “We want to come in and we want to teach. Here’s how we run our programs…”
Jonny: Yeah, and they’re listening to these ideas, and I’m just seeing the stone face [00:09:30] of the lady on the other side of the desk, and she’s a very tough nut to crack. And she’s trying to explain to us all the reasons why these classes won’t flourish in this particular school.
Craig: Yeah, she’s just watching the pitches. Nope, nope, nope, nope.
Craig: Not swinging. Not swinging.
Jonny: And Jesse and I had talked about how cool it would be do to do this class that would involve drawing and anatomy in a Parkour setting.
Craig: I immediately picture people running with scissors and running with pencils. This is gonna work well! All right! It’s gotta be better than [00:10:00] that.
Jonny: It couldn’t be worse than that, let’s put it that way. So, threw it out there in the meeting and she bit. She was like, “Mmm. M’kay, write up a proposal. Let’s see what this looks like.” So I went home and kind of freaked out for a minute, then I was like, “Okay, no no, we can do this.”
Craig: Right, so we’re gonna teach kids. We’re gonna teach them how to … What is it, sketching, coloring?
Jonny: Just sketching.
Craig: Sketching. We’re gonna teach them sketching and anatomy and at the same time we’re going to teach them Parkour.
Craig: Okay, so just [00:10:30] give me a quick … How does this work?
Jonny: So, generally I’ll give them a little bit of an anatomy lesson at the beginning, with a little bit of demonstration. Up in the front, where I’m talking about, we don’t get into Latin names for muscles or anything like that, but I will talk about masses, like a ribcage, a head, a pelvis, things like that. The two types of opposing muscles, flexors and extensors. Supinators, pronators, things like that. And then kind of how to put that into play for yourself. So, [00:11:00] what keeps you balanced? How do we jump? Where is our center of gravity? What’s safe for rolling?
You know, things like that, that I think I wish I had known when I was a kid. I wish somebody had explained to me a little bit about my body. I think we’re all mildly freaked out about things that we should never be freaked out about when we’re kids because we just don’t know.
Craig: This did not come with a manual. Not that anybody would read the manual, but this didn’t come with a manual.
Jonny: I remember grabbing my Achilles tendon and thinking it was a bone, back there, when I was a kid. I just didn’t know, you know? Just, no clue.
Craig: Could I run faster if I cut that?
Jonny: So, I like teaching [00:11:30] them a little bit that I feel is going to be helpful for them and actually understand their movement practice better as well. So hopefully that they become their own teachers. They’re able to ask better questions, leading questions of themselves, and explore that with the information they get from this class.
Craig: Wow, okay. So now we have the instructor of the course, who’s, we didn’t mention this, but, he’s got many years of … How long was the course where you dissected cadavers in Philadelphia, right? I’m not making that up. So you have extensive [00:12:00] anatomical knowledge from both the aesthetic / analysis, you know, look at the painting. That’s a well-drawn figure. But also extensive analysis from a this bone is connected to that bone type thing. So you’re standing in front of these kids, you’re distilling out of thousands of years of physiological knowledge. You’re distilling out one relatively simple thread. You present this to them. You, I’m assuming, point to it, you know, like, “Here it is on me, and it makes my leg do this.”
Craig: And then you give them the scissors [00:12:30] and tell them to run?
Jonny: Then, I will introduce some sort of game that’s gonna force some new type of movement or movement challenge, and try to divide the class in half. So that half are spectators to this game and half are participating in this game. And the half of the class that’s spectating is now gonna try to draw what I’ve explained in the anatomical lesson. So that nobody’s bored. Everybody’s doing something and we have models and we have artists.
Craig: We have artists. So we have [00:13:00] eight kids who were doing some crazy, “stay under this lowering roof” Mission Impossible game and the other kids on the side are looking for where the three center of mass is or how are these people building stable triangles even though their masses aren’t stacked.
Craig: Spectacular. I’ve never heard or seen anything like that, and the description I read of the course doesn’t give any of that away either. It’s almost like, “What?” But that’s brilliant. I mean, that’s, to me, that’s the kind of thing, when you take two completely different skillsets, you know, painting with [00:13:30] a capital P, and mix that with movement. And then people go, “Well, how do you even connect those two dots?” Well, there you go. When you connect them, I think your Parkour practice would then be much more deeply informed. That’s your personal, like Jonny’s classes. Jonny’s personal practice is much more deeply informed. At one level you take it all apart, you’re thinking, “Where’s my head? Where’s my torso? What’s my pelvis doing?” And then you put it all back together and integrate it.
Jonny: Yeah. And drawing, alone, I think is a really neglected form of communication that [00:14:00] is super vital. Like in this class, we’re not worried about making pretty drawings in any way, shape, or form. We’re just drawing for understanding. In the same way that an architect can draw out a building, their passion isn’t drawing, they don’t sit at home practicing drawing from a model or anything, but they can convey an idea accurately. The same person that came up with an iPhone, I’m sure they had to draw it first, or they contracted someone that could think visually.
I think it benefits us all to understand visually what we see and we can translate it into some sort of communicable symbol on a piece of paper. [00:14:30] It doesn’t have to be your main passion, but I think it will inform just the way you look at the world and the way you think about things. I think it’s really important for kids.