Craig: We often on the podcast ask people what they’re working on. And I know the answer to this, I’m just going to plug it right out. One of the things you’ve been working on is your recent book. It’s your first book as I far as I know, right? Unless you made one and then threw it out. And The Parkour Road Map [00:05:00] is now out, and if you haven’t read it, shame on you. We will link it. The book is, if you’ve read it, I hope you’ll agree, the book is scholarly yet approachable. And what I mean by that is it’s got references. You need to stop reading and go spend an hour and then oops I spent my whole day off on this one side track. And he says right in front in the introduction that it’s meant to be a road map. You’re meant to take those little side journeys. So it’s scholarly and approachable, and you hit that one out of the park.
Max: Thank you.
Craig: So I really [00:05:30] loved the section on the history of Parkour because it links off to so many of the fun and … They’re still innovative, but really were innovative at the time, those videos. So it actually gives people a history lesson without it being a boring history lesson. And that in and of itself would make the book worth while, but that’s just the beginning. So, again, people really want to go look at that. One of the things that I want to throw out is … I want to just … I’m going to read a piece of your book to you.
Max: Okay. Uh-oh.
Craig: No, this is good. This is good. So [00:06:00] in the podcast, I have been asking people deeper, more philosophical questions about where is Parkour going? And things like that. And you specifically said, page 124 if you want to look it up that: “Paying attention to what you’re doing is one of the most important things you can do in your everyday life and the most important thing iN Parkour. Studies have been done linking mindfullness mediation to an increase in one’s ability to recruit higher-order pre-frontal cortex regions in order to down-regulate lower-order brain activity. [00:06:30] In short, by paying attention, you can train your brain to bypass the knee-jerk fight or flight response when reacting to stress. This means you’ll experience few responses, sweaty palms, elevated heart rate, decrease in fine motor … when assessing a challenge. Which is a nice thing to have at your disposal if you’re deciding whether or not it’s safe to commit to a jump.”
So I just want to bring this paragraph in because this is not Max sat down and wrote 50 pages of anecdotes. He also goes into some of the science behind this and talks about things that are done. So I’m wondering if you can [00:07:00] unpack a little bit of why you think, as I believe you do, why you think Parkour is unqiue in that it inherently brings people to that lesson, that lesson of the paragraph that I was just reading?
Max: I don’t think that it’s unique. I think that there are a couple of other sports, like climbing for instance which was something we were talking about earlier.
Craig: Yeah, at length.
Max: Before the podcast. Yeah, so anybody that doesn’t know, I’m very into rock climbing and bouldering and so is Craig. So we had a good conversation about that. Actually, one of the links in there is from an article about Alex’s Honald’s brain. [inaudible 00:07:30] [00:07:30] So Alex Honald, the free soloist, who does every other [crosstalk 00:07:34].
Craig: That’s a good book to read, too. If you’re really into this kind of cerebral aspect of Parkour, go read Alex’s book. That’s a good [crosstalk 00:07:40].
Max: Alone on the Wall. Excellent read. Actually one of the articles that I linked in that section though was about a study that was done on his brain. And basically it was his … His amigdala was essentially conditioned to not fire as quickly or as powerfully when [crosstalk 00:07:56].
Craig: They stuck him in a magnetic resonance imaging system and then [00:08:00] showed him images that would make a normal person’s brain light up a certain way as fight or flight. And they show these pictures to him, and he’s just like, “Yeah. Okay.”
Craig: Which makes sense. Because if you’ve seen the kind of climbing that he does …
Max: And so it’s like a process of habituation which is something that we are all constantly exposing ourselves to stimulus and then we habituate. We get used to it and we’re like, “Oh, cool. This isn’t scary anymore.” And for Parkour, the best thing about it is, it’s not like climbing where you have to sometimes do that 700 [00:08:30] feet up in the air. It’s accessible in the sense that … When I started training, when I was fourteen, I remember going up on a 5 foot wall and thinking about jumping off and it terrified me. I couldn’t do it. I was like, “Nope. This is too hard.” And so for me, it was like … Balancing on a 3 foot rail was the limit of my extent … [crosstalk 00:08:50] It was the extent of my comfort zone. And then I just gradually kept pushing it a little bit every single day, and that’s something that I think a lot of Parkour practitioners talk [00:09:00] about. Is pushing that envelope slightly every single day. And with Parkour, there are so many ways that you can do that, right?
Max: I think the other thing, too, that’s cool about Parkour … Is just really quick that it … Because it’s so diverse, you kind of learn to abstract that concept of fear; breaking down a challenge to everything.
Craig: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Max: Whereas in a lot of other sports, it’s very specific. It’s like, “Climb this.” If you’re not climbing, now it’s like, “Oh, I’m scared of jumping into water from 10 meters up.” It’s kind of a different thing. [00:09:30] Whereas in Parkour, we do it with so many different things. Like, “I want to balance on this. I want to jump here. Now I’m jumping to my hands. Now I’m jumping to one foot. Do a rail. Now I’m falling.” [crosstalk 00:09:38]
Craig: You can jump to your hands. I’m not jumping to my hands.
Max: Yeah. So I think …
Craig: But I get your point.
Max: I think you learn to kind of abstract that more quickly than you might in other sports.