Craig: So I gather that movement has always been something that you’ve been drawn to. You don’t strike me as the kind of guy who suddenly discovered Capoeira, and then started moving.
Paul: No, definitely not. I’m the youngest of four by several years. So, as a tag a long little brother, I was always moving to [00:05:00] catch up with my siblings, as they receded into the distance on the bikes that they knew how to ride-
Craig: Literally trying to keep up.
Paul: Yeah, we got to live, my father was Air Force, lived remote for a year when I was three. I turned four there, 1986 and ’87. We lived in a mountainside in the rural Oneonta, Alabama and I got to run through the woods and play at age three and four. I’ve never really stopped doing that, climbing trees, running through the woods, playing in the water. In elementary school I always loved [00:05:30] everything to do with recess, that time. When I was in fifth grade a friend of mine gave me a Super Nintendo game for my birthday, but my mom would never have allowed us to own something like that, so we took it to Toys R Us, and exchanged it for Jeffrey Bucks, in store credit, because we didn’t have a receipt. I’m surprised they let us do it. I bought my first pair in-line skates. Roller derby in-line skates, black and purple, these beautiful things, and some pads. I’ve been skating ever since. Is a huge … That was my emotional escape, [00:06:00] my physical escape. Just going to you can’t stop, many, many miles. I think that’s really, it’s also a complete loaner activity. Always alone, I only had one or two friends that ever skated with me. I think that’s really what was in line … in line, ouch-
Craig: No, that’s good, I like it-
Paul: I’m only upset because I didn’t mean to do it. If I had meant to do it, I be really proud of myself right now. It was being able to say okay, here is another way that I can start exploring other things I like, [00:06:30] music, and dance, and things like that-
Craig: Right Capoeira, you mean when you discovered that.
Craig: And then, you divorced yourself from Capoeira, however you want to put that, and you moved on and discovered parkour. What was it about parkour that drew you in?
Paul: So in 2000, I don’t know, ‘1 or ‘2, I had just gotten into college, and I had a friend. We were outside playing around. We had climbed on the buildings at college, and all sorts of stuff, but if you’ll notice that date, it was several years pre YouTube. So one day we were out running around, and he ran and did a stall on his hand on a wall, and he was like, [00:07:00] “Freestyle walking, it’s like skateboarding without a skateboard!” That was the first time I ever heard of parkour. That right there, that moment.
Craig: I think there really is a thing called no-boarding. I think Julie Angel has a video on no-boarding. I think it’s people skateboarding with no skateboards.
Paul: But it was also like … I’m sure that was kind of a niche thing, because people were already doing movement outside. We were climbing buildings, we were playing Ninja Turtles, Jackie Chan. We already had examples of these things for ourselves, but I had not seen … Actually, [00:07:30] it was probably that long ago that we started seeing Joe Eigo I believe it was, and there were a couple of videos I remember seeing on the internet those days, again, pre YouTube, that were passed around of people doing really cool things.
Capoeira became my life, and so I thought it was really awesome once I started seeing videos, like ’06, ’07, the Dvinsk Clan, the free running, some of these other things. These videos were super cool, but I didn’t … I would try a few things, like, “Yeah, this is like those things they do, only way more so,” but I couldn’t divorce it … [00:08:00] I was so into Capoeira that I wasn’t going to take on another passion. It was like seven days a week, several hours a day. Where was I gonna fit it?
Eventually when I left Capoeira, I was like, “I’ve always wanted to try this.” And it turned out a friend’s sister was dating a guy that no one had ever heard of named Jereme Sanders. I had never heard of. I started going out to classes. A year or two later, I’m teaching the classes with him. A year or two later, I’m the director of member services of Parkour [00:08:30] Visions. A year later, I’m teaching Capoeira for movement at Art of Retreat in New York City. So yeah, it kind of snowballed from there. It escalated quickly, you might say.