Craig: So, one of the goals of our project is to connect people’s personal Parkour practice to the larger aspects of their life, their personal interpretation of their Parkour to the other things that they know. And I have a quote from you that I want to read, it’s not a trap, and the quote is:
The misconception is that there is one way to do it, or that once your discover balanced, you are done. What we learn from [00:01:00] Tai Chi and Qigong is that balance is a dynamic state of transformation that we must experience, adapt, and respond to, and experience again, and again. This is the practice of finding the infinite in the moment.
So, what I’d like to do is just have your thoughts on that, and maybe help me unpack that a little bit for everybody.
Thomas: It’s a good quote.
Craig: Thank you. I only copied it, I didn’t actually write it.
Thomas: Yeah, so I think the problem that everyone comes up against is that they seek balance [00:01:30] as a static state, as an arrival point, as an end game. And if you’ve ever balanced on anything, which is at least half of what we do in Parkour, the process is a constant micro-adjustment of the environment, and yourself. Right?
Craig: Your physical and internal process. So, why would I think that’s a static thing?
Thomas: I’d say to a listener right now, pick your right foot up off the ground, and tell me how calm it is to balance. [00:02:00] And the answer is, at first it’s not very calm, but once I stop thinking about everything else and just focus in on balancing, the amount of attention it takes to stay balanced allows you to obliterate all the other thoughts in your mind, and you get into this awake conscious state really fast. So, to be in any kind of balance state, especially if it’s new, is incredibly [00:02:30] valuable to bring you into this moment. And because the moment is in constant change, that’s why we call it infinite, right? There’s no, you can’t grab hold of it and then be there. The second you’re there, it’s gone and you’re in the next one, and that’s this awake kind of living. And balance is the fastest way to enter into that space.
Craig: But that’s also a space that you could conceivably enter into through martial arts practice. You could decide we’re going to perform this physical repetition over and over [00:03:00] and over until you lose yourself in it. There are other ways to get to that state. But balance is particularly fertile ground.
Thomas: Yeah, I mean, if you think of the term balance as a dynamic adaptation, it can be a conversation with your partner over like a difficult issue where you’re constantly both adjusting to try and balance each other’s viewpoint of this material in the middle. Like maybe when I’m on time, you think it’s late, you know, and all of the sudden you [00:03:30] realize that your projection into that moment changes the viewpoint of the information to balance with your partner, with another person is to link the two of you to a separate central balance point in the middle, and then you can play that game with another person. And it’s the same thing physically when you hold someone’s hand and both lean back.
Craig: Right, right. And you and I talked earlier about there’s that balance in just a very simple superficial level in conversation where if you say to your kids as they’re heading out into the streets, “Stop! Don’t…,” [00:04:00] and the communication can either be perceived as an aggressive one way transfer of energy or ideas. And you had pointed out that actually there’s a subtler, deeper level to the communication. Yeah, you’re actually saying things like, you know, “Don’t get injured, I love you, I want you to live,” not “Don’t cross the street.”
Thomas: Right, right.
Craig: And I’ve had situations in cars where people are arguing in the front seat, and the driver’s thinking we’re talking about the factual speed of the car, and the passenger is talking about you’re scaring me, and they’re disconnecting, and [00:04:30] they’re just not balanced there.
Thomas: Yeah, that hidden message that every time a parent screams at a child in any way to save them from something. Yeah, they’re screaming, “I love you, and I desperately want you to live like a happy, fulfilled life.”
Craig: Right, right. That’s an excellent point.
Thomas: Yeah it’s also, we talk about falling a lot in class, and that’s another thing that we like to do is to … And it’s funny because we just came out of class of falling yesterday. But, that process of being able to fall in all kinds [00:05:00] of ways. And as much as you can, at least, try to let go of a prescribed pattern to land in. That puts you in that space of new information all the time too. And that also throws you into the moment. So, any way that you can create an un-repetitive experience, yeah novel experience. Even if you’re doing a repetitive motion, right? Seek the novelty within the repetitive motion, and then you keep coming back into the moment, and that’s how you activate those [00:05:30] flow awareness states.