What does your practice mean to you?

Craig: [00:20:30] So, one of the things that I find I have to work on a lot is learning how to accept assistance from people. I don’t mean like the physical lift up on a wall climb up or something, I’m great at that, “Here, give me a push.” But when people try to help me and I feel like I should know this material myself, and that’s something that I struggle with. When people want to just cheer you on or offer you some words of encouragement, I have trouble accepting that.

Thomas: Yeah, many of us do. I think for me it’s [00:21:00] not only that but also, as much as I don’t want to, I do walk around with a chip on my shoulder that I know a bunch of things or something, and like all of us I’ll often make assumptions about other people. I’ve had that experience, I remember once I was in class, and I’m 53 years old almost, in a month, and most of the people are about 30 years younger than me or more –

Craig: Right.

Thomas: … and we were doing [00:21:30] something, it was one of those day when I remember my son –

Craig: C-word?

Thomas: … asked me if, he looked at me like he was worried I was going to die or something because I was breathing so hard.

Craig: oh, yeah, we were doing conditioning. Right.

Thomas: And this other young guy came over to me and said, “Oh, you know if you breath in through your nose and out through your mouth, it’ll help you to recover faster,” and you know, for like a micro-second I had rage, and that I was followed up by, as quick as I could turn [00:22:00] it around from, who do you think you’re talking to? I know what I’m doing, to, oh, here’s this kid in this system of movement that instead of promoting competition or separation –

Craig: Yeah, he didn’t laugh at you.

Thomas: … he turned so to someone who’s 40 years older than him. I must look like a grandpa, practically, to him, and he was like, “I wonder if I could help this guy.” And that’s one of the cool things about Parkour versus almost all other systems that I’ve experienced of like these kind of sports, [00:22:30] like marital arts and all those things, is that the group teaches itself, right. Everybody reaches a hand out to someone and –

Craig: Yeah, it’s like a tribe, where we’re all living outdoors.

Thomas: Yeah, the intent! Yeah, it reminds me of like… Tribe’s a great term actually, because it reminds me of that even though there’s the elder, and even though this one’s the best hunter, and this one’s the best scout, and this one’s … Everybody has something, and everybody’s something is encouraged to come into the soup of the [00:23:00] group environment. They have this great phrase, which you love to say in French, which I don’t know how to say in French.

Craig: On commençe ensemble, on finit ensemble. We start together, we finish together.

Thomas: Right. And that experience of having that was like a huge ego crush for me because I think every time we did conditioning I was always the last person, even yesterday I was the last person and the finally Josh said, “Well, I think you can finish now,” or something like that.

Craig: And then you feel cheated, you’re like “Aww.”

Thomas: But that process of like, you know, you’re in your pushups [00:23:30] and you’re all alone, and then like someone gets down on each of side you and starts doing pushups with you to finish it out. There’s this feeling of like, I mean it’s almost like the Marines where there’s like no man left behind.

Craig: Right. They literally, a lot of people say that, that we don’t leave each other behind. For me personally, I’m always in the back. But now I find that if I am not dead last, my train of thought is, “Oops. What did I do wrong? That I made this exercise so easy on my lazy self that I left somebody behind.” I’m like, “I remember how [00:24:00] hard I worked on the first day. I don’t work that hard anymore. I don’t think I’ve seen many people who work as hard as they did on their first day. They work smarter now.” So, I always, if I’m the guy who doubles back to help someone, I’m always thinking like, “I’m sorry I left you behind,” not “Why are you so slow?” And from the other side of that, when I was the guy at the very end, I felt bad that people were coming to help me, and now I realize that that’s actually done out of like a big open heart. And they would hug me and lift me up if they knew, except they know that I would feel [00:24:30] cheated like, “No, I wanted to do the pushup.” So, I really think that community is … I don’t know that it’s unique, I’ve only done a certain number of other things, but it really is exceptional when you encounter that in Parkour.

Thomas: Yeah. I think it exists in other places depending on the culture that’s being developed by the leader of that group.

Craig: Yeah, that’s a good point about that.

Thomas: But it seems more built into the infrastructure of Parkour, at least in that language.

Craig: Yeah, it seems to generate those cultures. Yeah.

Thomas: And everybody eventually falls and does something to [00:25:00] themselves that’s quite painful and nobody’s immune to that, and I think that’s also known in the group that kind of the playing field’s level no matter what your skill level is.

Craig: Everybody’s human.