Craig: Welcome to the Movers Mindset podcast, where I interview movement enthusiasts to find out who they are, what they do, and why they do it. Today, Amos Rendao reflects on what music means to him, flowing versus planning, and the benefits and importance of journaling. The conversation turns to the idea of success and what that means, before moving to aikido and information activism. Amos shares his insights on diet and nutrition, his journey with injuries and recovery, and how he manages self-talk.
Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.
Amos: What’s up, Craig?
Craig: Amos Rendao is a professional coach, athlete, entrepreneur, business manager, and co-founder of APEX School of Movement and Parkour EDU. He considers himself a movement scientist, and his experimentation and study of movement led him to create the Parkour Ukemi and Randori programs. Amos is an active member of both his local and national parkour communities, and a board member of USPK. Welcome, Amos.
Amos: Thanks, glad to be here.
Craig: Glad to be here, I’m happy that you invited me out to Boulder, Colorado. It is gorgeous, it’s dreary in Pennsylvania.
Amos: I bet it was nice to get out, you guys had your flight canceled, yeah?
Amos: This must be amazing.
Craig: We got blown out, the gusts were 60-miles-an-hour, and the pilot’s like, “Nope, we’re not going anywhere.” So we plundered the next day, but we did make it. So I want to start by saying, I understand that you’re really into music, and I always enjoy when the podcasts go where least expected. So my first thought is, I tried to give you a set of cheap-ass headphones, and you disappeared and came back with real headphones, so I’m like, “Oh wait, you’re into audio.” Can you tell me a little bit about what kinds of music do you create, how do you create it, or what is the thing about it that if you weren’t doing it, it would keep you up at night?
Amos: It’s unfortunately not a big part of my life right now, the last couple years have been pretty tough with APEX and Parkour EDU. But a long time ago, in another life, I was in rock bands.
Craig: In a galaxy far, far away.
Amos: Yeah. I was playing guitar and singing for a couple bands, and I was recording music on an 8-track recorder, this crappy piece of equipment.
Craig: I know what that is.
Amos: For listeners out there, old-school technology-
Craig: Who know what it means to roll down a window, right?
Amos: Yeah, I would just be sitting in my room, making the recordings, back in my late teens. And I love music, music is just such a beautiful part of being a human being. I’ve always been drawn to that. But my relationship’s a little rocky, broke up with music about 10 years ago, took a 10-year hiatus where I would play guitar here and there, and definitely fond, but I gave so much of myself to parkour and the businesses that I run. And just a couple years ago, I found enough space in my life to get back into it, and I put together a home studio, and I started recording some music and playing around with it. It’s been really fun.
Amos: The technology is insane now, which is cool, it really democratizes the space. Because now with a lot less money, you can still produce high quality sounds, as long as you’re dedicated to the details and you do a lot of research, and spend a lot of time tinkering with stuff. I started getting into that again, I guess to answer your question, what kind of music, a huge fan of house music. I love house music, dance, any kind of dance music really.
Craig: Because what I wanted to say is people don’t realize there’s stuff all over the floor here that we set up, and when I set up the recording gear for the podcast, Amos was looking at it like, “Oh, I have the other version of that same thing.” So I’m like, “Wait, what are you doing with a Zoom Recorder?” And you said you’re doing sampling. I’m like, “Oh wait, you’re not recording acoustic ballads, then that means you’re doing something else.” And you got into house music, so let’s quickly unpack, if I couldn’t spell house or music in a sentence, what is that and how does it work? And why are you sampling?
Amos: I think something I’m drawn to is just the sounds of life. And so I like having that little sampler in my backpack, because say I’m in some other country crossing the street, and some weird sound of that culture comes out, I want to be able to just sit down, record that really quick, and then bring that into a track if possible. But I actually don’t make a lot of house music, I love house music, I’m just too much of a noob at that. I have made a couple experimental tracks, but mostly just because of my background, I’ve been doing more so acoustic singer/songwriter type stuff. Just whatever’s been coming out of me when I’ve been playing, which is mostly just sad songs. I’m not sad, I went through a phase though.
Amos: If you hear these songs, you know what I mean, they’re pretty sad.
Craig: That brings up an interesting question of why are you making the music? You mentioned that you had a bad breakup with music 10 years ago or so, and I’m wondering, people, especially athletes, often talk about restorative practice, and things that they do. There are certain people I can think of who have a Tuesday rule, where every Tuesday they do whatever they have to do, if that means get a coffee, if that means foam-roll for three hours. And I’m just wondering, when you went back to music, did you go back as “I miss it, I want to go back to it.” Or were you searching for a way to do self healing, and then music fell back in? Let’s unpack how these two go back together.
Amos: That’s a great question. I think it was a mix of the both, I really missed music. I started to see the rewards of all this hard work, to actually be able to have some funds to put towards something that I love like this. And then also, there was definitely a time in my life where I was going through a lot of trauma, and I felt just so much therapy in sitting down with my guitar and singing, and just letting it come out of me. And then when I wrote my first song in 10 years, I was like, “I should probably record this.” And then I just started making some more tracks.
Amos: I didn’t answer your question about the house music, though.
Craig: You don’t have to answer my questions, that’s not my job. I always tell people this is two-man beach volleyball, only I swear I’ll keep my shirt on, because you don’t want to see that show. But two-man beach volleyball-
Amos: Take your shirt off, relax.
Craig: My job is to set, and you spike it wherever it needs to go. I might say, “Let’s talk about wales,” and they you’re talking about rap. All right, whatever. Don’t feel like if you don’t answer my question, I’m going to pull you back.
Craig: We’ve only just decided we were going to sit down, sometimes I do interviews where the guests and I talk a lot, it’s all recorded, but we’re talking just amongst ourselves about what we want to talk about. Then we share little vignettes, little sections of where I set something up, and then they go, and then it’s a little ping pong match back and forth, we have a little fun. And then when we run out, we just stop. But I enjoy doing these conversations, because it forces us to play. That’s the whole thing, if you want to really know somebody, fight them. If you want to really know somebody, try to do a live recording where you’re having a conversation.
Amos: Such a good way to get to know someone, for sure.
Craig: Now you’ve gone back to music, and I know that, I’m guessing USPK is a huge amount of time investment. I’m hoping that maybe you’re coming to the light at the end of the tunnel on that, so that you can, not put it to bed, but actually see people take the baton on the board and stuff. What else are you working on in terms of … People often ask me, people actually ask me questions, people often ask me, “What do athletes do?” They want me to ask an athlete, “Do you keep a training journal?” And that’s great, but that material’s easy to just write down and send your answers in. I’m just wondering, what do you do? You get up in the morning, I don’t want to pry into your personal life-
Amos: No, go for it.
Craig: If you get up and you have a free day, which maybe all eight of them, that’s awesome, if you get up and you have a free day, do you have “My goal is to be the emperor, so here’s my 12-year plan.” Or do you just “What do I want to do today?” Because I’ve been to Boulder enough to know there’s a different vibe here, I’m from the East Coast where I did a three-point-K-turn when I missed a thing, and I’m just like, “I’m doing the turn.” And everybody was like, “It’s all good, bro. Go ahead.” And I was just like, “Oh right, this is not the East Coast.” Do you set out with goals, or do you just go whichever way the wind blows you?
Amos: I see value in both, and I’m actually a huge fan of both. I won’t dodge it. I think back to something a lot of people don’t know about me, most of my 20s, I was homeless, and I lived on the street, I traveled on my bicycle, ate out of the trash. That whole gig, very different life.
Craig: I don’t know if it was a gig, but okay. We’ll call that a gig.
Amos: It was a very poor-paying gig.
Craig: I’ve actually done the dirt-bag climber thing, I glommed onto someone for two-and-a-half weeks in Boulder, and he was like, “We’re going to go to this gas station, because they’ll let us fill our water jug. And this Starbucks has a power outlet outside.” And he had a used Starbucks cup, so he could get in, but there was no coffee in it. Anyway, sorry.
Amos: The homeless resources, I know all about those.
Craig: Eating out of trashcans.
Amos: I look back at that time in my life, and one of the more valuable experiences I just absolutely loved from that is my freedom to wander. I really miss that, and I want to set myself up in the future to have some more windows of time for this. But I love not having a plan, and just letting my interactions with random strangers, or anything I see that draws me in, giving my time to those things, and letting them direct me to the next thing I do that day. I love that. Maybe I’m highly influenced by Zelda, I played Zelda: A Link to the Past as a young child.
Craig: It’s dangerous to go alone, take this.
Amos: Sometimes I look at my life in those situations, I’m like, “Oh my god, I’m just acting out this game.” I’ll go and find someone who needs help, I’ll help them, then they’ll give me some tool that helps me in my journey. I really value that, I love that. But also, I have to say that because of the trials I’ve faced over the last couple years, I’ve had to step up my game of organization and productivity to levels I didn’t even know existed, to save the business basically. And I’m so thoroughly happy with what I’m able to do now. I feel like I have found out how to alter time in my own reality, to get real trippy on you here all of a sudden.
Craig: Go for it.
Amos: Just through an ecosystem of systems of being organized, and having a plan, and setting goals. Whether it’s my sleep, my diet, how I exercise, all the journaling, the different ways that I track numbers on myself. Everything from time blocking and time management, to diet journals. I wear an Oura Ring, this is just a good example of how much of a nerd I am about this stuff.
Craig: I looked at those, I was like, “It’s on my list of things to look at.”
Amos: Totally. I feel like if you can measure these things about yourself, then you can manage them. I find that I’ve learned so much about myself, and how to accomplish … Who I was two years ago, you’d need 10 of them to do what I can do now. I’m all about organization, I’m such a nerd on it. But at the same time, I see so much value in those windows of just, hop in the no-plan van.
Craig: That’s a great way to say that.
Amos: I heard that recently, I love that.
Craig: You mentioned, what I’m stuck on is, oh my god, what are you, my evil twin separated at birth? If you saw some of the systems I have, some of the people who know me really well have seen some of my systems, and-
Amos: I want to know more about them now.
Craig: I make people look at some of the crap I do, and go, “Oh my god, that’s insane.” I’ll share a fun one, I think you’ll love this, and I think this might now put people to sleep. I started journaling maybe in 2000-and … Maybe in the ’90s, but I started doing it, I’d go on a vacation, so I’d take a journal with me, and I’d take notes so I could remember it. And then over the years, I’m like, “That was actually cool.” And then I just got in the habit of doing it. For over 10 years, I’ve been basically journaling every day. And I do it mostly, a lot of times the journal will start with, “Why am I writing this? It’s always the same thing, I have nothing to say. It’s the same problems.” But then a page later, I’m actually thinking about something.
Craig: It’s really good, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff you can read about journaling, but here’s the point. I recently, a little over a year ago, 14 months ago I think, sat down and started reading the journals, because now I have years of journals.
Amos: Yes, love that.
Craig: I sit down every month, and I pick up, I said big bookmarks, they’re little Moleskines, and they’re across the bookshelf. I have a bookmark for six years ago, three years ago, and one year ago, and then every month I move them forward. I read these little journal entries, it’s like a novel. It’s this novel about this completely insane person who has problems with food, all these things. Six years ago, I’m screaming at the novel, “What are you doing? Don’t do that, oh my god, don’t get involved in that project, that’s going to eat your life.” And then it’s like I’m paying a novelist who doesn’t take his job seriously, I get these random entries, “Nothing to say.” Why am I paying you to write these journal entries?
Craig: But when I read over them, the six-year-ago me, the three-year-ago me, and the one-year-ago me, and I don’t want to say I’m awesome now, but compared to the dude from six years ago … So I really think, I’m going to actually put a bow on this, I think people mistake how much progress they actually make, because they have no point of reference. When you look over your shoulder, I’m in a room, I can see four-feet, but I can’t tell anything beyond the space that you’re currently in. So if there’s one thing you would do, the sound of my voice, start writing down something about how your day went. Some people do gratitude journaling, where they try to journal to make a change, and that’s a different animal, where you write down three things you’re thankful for, something you want to do tomorrow.
Craig: I’m just trying to capture my moods, and that’s one thing I learned, I’m crazy. My moods are like, if I could shave the top 10% off the highs, and stick it in the death valleys that go everywhere, my life would be much better. I think about that, I get to the bottom, the dark dog shows up, and I’m just like, “Oh. Hey, dog. What’s up? You’ll only be here a week or so, but we’re going to hang out.” I think that’s interesting that you mentioned the yin and yang of “Get on the no-plan van,” I’m stealing it, “Get on the no-plan van sometimes, and also know when to have processes.”
Amos: I’m a huge advocate for journaling, it is such an important way to develop a relationship with yourself. And all different types of journals, just the power to look back six months or six years. Because for me, once I hit my late 20s, time started moving real fast. If you don’t keep an eye on things, all of a sudden, years will fly by, and you’re like, “What even happened?”
Craig: How can it be winter again? I just did winter, and this is the reading season, and I haven’t finished the summer program.
Amos: Actually, I’ll throw out a hack for any listeners that struggle with journaling, because writing, it’s a task. Some people, they think about the idea of writing a page sitting down, and they’re like, “I don’t think I can do that.” So I started doing this thing a couple years ago, where it’s all shorthand. Just simply maybe one sentence that would capture a whole chunk of your day. And then building on top of that, every month, I’ll go through and pull the highlights. What are the things that matter to me that really stuck out, that I’m really happy that I did? And I’ll throw those highlights at the bottom, also with maybe a summary of what that month was for me.
Amos: And then the cool thing that this is all accumulating to, is then the whole year. You can actually look back at a year now, if you do this. And it takes two minutes a night. At the end of the year, you can actually have this summary of all your highlights. The craziest things that happened to you, the accomplishments that you’re so proud of. And then when you have that thought, where it’s just like, “Where did the year go? What am I even doing with my life?” You just take a look back, you can actually pluck out a month, or you can look at 2016, whatever it is, and you can be like, “Oh yeah, okay. I’m on track, I see what I’m doing.” Or I don’t like what I’m doing, I’m wasting my time here.
Craig: That’s a good experiment.
Amos: I need to make a change, that was a lesson for sure.
Craig: The challenge with just general conversations is like, “All right, that will be a nice pregnant pause where we could take a break,” but no. I’m wondering if you want to talk more about your plans for the future, or if maybe you don’t want to, like, “No, I’m in the back of the no-plan van. I don’t want to look forward.” Or if you want to think about what are you going to do. I’ll give you two options, one option would be let’s talk about the future and where you’re going. I’ll also point out that you are allowed to ask me questions, that was why I gave you some journaling information. The beauty of these is it’s two people talking, as opposed to me grilling you.
Craig: So future forward-looking would be one place that we could obviously go next, another one would be, I can ask you things like, who’s the first person that comes to mind when I say the word successful? Just the first person that comes to mind.
Amos: I’m drawing a blank actually. I don’t have a ton of mentors unfortunately.
Craig: First person that comes, successful.
Amos: I guess I don’t look up to a lot of people in my life right now, but if I were to think of successful in something …
Craig: It’s a tough question, because as soon as you pick somebody, we’re all going to pigeonhole you. “You’re money-grubbing, you’re about fame.” That’s why the question is so hard.
Amos: That is a really tricky question.
Craig: We can go onto something else. While you’re listening at home, when you hear the word successful, who’s the person that you think of. You are missing the blaringly obvious opportunity to say to me …
Amos: Craig, we can edit out the rest, just throw in Craig.
Craig: No, just say, “Craig, who’s the first person you think of?”
Amos: Actually, I do want to say this, I’m not going to, don’t worry, I’m not going to stroke your ego here too much, but I do-
Craig: I thought you were going to ask the question.
Amos: No, I just do want to say that this is my second podcast with you, and I’ve seen a huge level-up, huge level-up in your communication skills, how you organize everything, super fluid. I’m impressed.
Craig: You mean the other material that we recorded?
Amos: No. Yeah, like 10 minutes ago. You stepped it up in the last break here. No, not from that, the one we did out at …
Craig: Oh right, I’m sorry. I forgot all about that. I had the flu, and I was sick as a dog.
Amos: Don’t make excuses, I’m trying to give you a compliment.
Craig: Thank you very much. That was a fun project, Amos, for those of us who are like, “Wait, could we have the sub-note, the footnote?” I went to the Art of Retreat, what was that? I’m trying to put the year …
Amos: Last fall.
Craig: Last fall, so it would have been September of 2018. And of the people who organize Art of Retreat, Caitlin and Adam asked me to do small interviews with each of the presenters, and they’re calling them Spark Talks. I believed it’s on Relay FM, Relay.FM is where you can get that. You definitely should listen to it, because it’s not me jibber-jabbing, it’s the coach that’s talking. That was a fun project for me, because it’s different from what I would normally do. The goal wasn’t to strike conversations, the goal was to try to set as fast as I could, and then let the guests talk. That was very different for me, so that was fun. I’m not sure whether I’d be glad that you didn’t like it, or that you like this better.
Amos: I’m saying, you’re doing a great job now. You stepped your game up.
Craig: I think this is more typical of what I do, I had a hard time not engaging everybody so much, because they wanted shorter pieces. We had 24 people or something to do in two-and-a-half days.
Amos: Craig, you’re my successful pick, just take it.
Craig: No, I’m not taking it.
Amos: Here you are, you’re traveling, doing what you love. You’re living your passion right now, which is so important to walk your path. This is what gets you excited, in my book, that’s how I define success. Are you walking your path? Are you doing what you’re passionate about?
Craig: Am I doing what I’m passionate about? We’re going to shift, it’s going to get real. Close, I’m not quite on task.
Amos: So what’s the thing that is pulling you off of your path right now?
Craig: That’s also, that’s something that I’m not willing to share on a recording on the air.
Amos: It gets gnarly quick.
Craig: It gets gnarly quick, but the thing is I believe I know. The podcast project scratches an itch, I just can not shut up is the first problem, as everybody knows me would say. But just having the opportunity to talk to all, I’m sorry people, but I get to talk to all of the cool people. It’s getting to the point now where people are like, “Oh yeah, we totally …” They get excited when we ask them now, and now I’m having the problem where we have, knock on wood, we have too many, and we’re trying to figure out, do we release them twice a week? How are we going to keep up with this?
Craig: It’s getting out of hand in the logistical sense, but it is so cool to get lost in conversations like this, like with Amos. I haven’t had a chance to talk this much ever, so it’s fun to talk to people. In that sense, oh yes, absolutely succeeding, hitting it out of the park. Having a chance to talk to people, it is absolutely insane, some of the things that we have been doing to get interviews. Don, like, “Let’s drive in the car to DC four hours each way, and then spend nine hours behind microphones, and be home within 48 hours.” That’s a little much, but it is … I think I find my pace, and I do a lot of traveling just to go to parkour events and stuff. Not that I get in a lot of trouble everywhere, but I travel a significant amount.
Craig: What I’m working on now is trying to fit this in with what I’m already doing. You haven’t met Tracy, my wife Tracy also does parkour and travels with me, but she’s not heard in the podcast. We’re trying to coordinate, “Where should we go? Let’s go to Germany, because there are people to interview in Germany.” And then while we’re there, we’ll talk to people. So it’s not-
Amos: Living the dream.
Craig: It’s not making money, so if your definition of successful is income, it’s not making money.
Amos: No, it’s not. Actually, mine’s the reverse.
Craig: Same here. I wanted to get a chance to talk to, Brandon Douglas is on my list of people I want to talk to, because I have this feeling that he and I would just … It would become this two apes screaming about how much podcasting is a pain in the butt.
Amos: Just nerding-out hard.
Craig: Just total nerding-out.
Amos: That sounds fun.
Craig: I think it would be fun, because I think people would enjoy hearing some of the backstory.
Craig: Anyway, if you haven’t fast forward over that,, I don’t know what’s up with you. What do you, let’s lessen up on the success thing, is there anything else that you want to ask me, since we’re having this, this is going the other way now? It’s turning into the Amos show.
Amos: Let’s see, what do I want to ask you?
Craig: You know that I studied Akido too, do you know that?
Amos: Yeah, I remember hearing that. How long have you done aikido for?
Craig: 15 years.
Amos: 15 years? What?
Craig: My teacher is an unaffiliated organization, so he started training with [Suji Mariama 00:21:48], which is the Kokikai group, when Suji Mariama was in Philadelphia. He trained with him for decades, and then he wound up striking out on his own. So all of my ranks are unregistered with Aikikai, but I have been to a couple of Aikikai dojo in Japan, and …
Amos: Hombu Dojo, I got a chance to train there as well.
Craig: I haven’t been to Hombu. Anyway, people are like, “What are they talking about?” Now we’re geeking-out about a particular martial art. But I saw there’s an aikido dojo, I was like, “Hey.”
Amos: Yes, Aikido Sensei’s.
Craig: Is that where he teaches?
Craig: I should have brought my Iaidogi.
Amos: Yeah, seriously. I highly recommend.
Craig: I haven’t been on the map now in a couple years, I retired. For my teacher, I built a school in the town … I don’t know why I’m telling all these stories. Built a school in the town where my teacher said … The dojo kept moving, and then a bunch of us got together and built it, and I was the person, like you were saying before we started talking, I was the person who was like, “We have this need.” And I filled all the little extra needs, and then when I wanted to retire, which I basically retired from training and retired from teaching, when I wanted to retire, it was this perfect moment where everybody else was like, “All right.” And they all picked up with it, and the dojo is still there.
Craig: Quite frankly, it’s doing better than it was when I was basically in charge of it, because they got rid of insane Craig and they do things their way. The kids program is growing, now I’m …
Amos: So you’re good at falling, then.
Craig: Yeah, oh yeah.
Amos: Sorry. Aikido plays a huge role in my parkour journey, and my experience.
Craig: Every time I see you do that, I’m just having flashbacks, I should put my [inaudible 00:23:14] on and do those rolls.
Amos: Some bad habits though, some bad habits come from aikido.
Craig: The dead fish foot, I got that from aikido.
Amos: The fish foot, the scoop, slapping-out the entrance on the forward roll, the slapping-out on break falls.
Craig: I broke all those habits pretty quick. I don’t normally collect parkour origin stories, but the way that I met Adam McClellan, which is the guy who I started training with, he did a martial arts’ demonstration at a sporting festival for the Kung Fu school that he was teaching at. And I did an aikido demonstration, either right before them or after them, at the same thing. So I come off the stage, and he literally goes to me, he’s like, “Hey, I see you’re pretty good at those rolls, you should come out and try parkour with this community that I’m starting.” And I was like, “All right. That’s cool.”
Craig: We knew each other from some Tai Chi classes that I had taken at the place where he teaches, so it was just this serendipitous. The rolling is a total hook, they’re like, “You roll really well.” I’m like, “Yeah, but that’s only one small part of it.” Then you have to go learn to jump and lose 40 pounds, and all the rest of the stuff.
Amos: Actually, that’s where I first heard about parkour, was an aikido dojo. One of the guys was talking about this French art, and he was showing someone else how they do their rolls different. Looking back on the memory, he was so wrong. What he was showing the other guy was so wrong, but he mentioned the name parkour, and it immediately intrigued me. That’s where I first heard about it.
Craig: I started going to parkour classes outdoors, of course, because where else would you train. We went outdoors, and I trained, every week I would go to class. And then at the time, I think I started when I was 40 or 41, and all my connected tissue, it wasn’t shot, but it wasn’t up to snuff for training on hard surfaces, I’m used to being on mats. And I would go to class for two hours, and then I would spend six days just in agony, walking backwards downstairs. But as I started to get into shape, then I started taking, for warm-ups and stuff, I would take sick parkour-derived QM drills and stuff into the dojo. I’d be teaching class, and I’d be like, “We’re going to do this.” And they’d all be like, “What is that?” None of them could do it.
Craig: Our teacher would come in like, “What are you guys doing?” We’re like, “We’re just doing physical exercise.” It’s this whole meta-meta, trying to drill parkour to people without even telling them what it is.
Amos: Yes, I like that. Nice.
Craig: Very [ariminagi 00:25:28].
Amos: You just lost most of your audience.
Craig: That’s okay. You know exactly what I meant. Have you ever trained in any Kokikai? Kokikai, when my teacher started, it used to be a very hard style, very direct, very functional.
Amos: That’s more the kind I lean towards, because of course, mastery at the highest echelon is soft and precise. But I’m not going to get there in my lifetime, and so for me, I want to be prepared for the miscalculations and bodies clashing, and more of the rough side of aikido. That’s what I’m drawn to.
Craig: Now we’re off talking about martial arts. Let’s see, I also mentioned we could talk about the future. I have a whole toolbox full of fun questions.
Amos: Yeah, throw them at me.
Craig: I don’t like, some of them are a little kitschy. One of the ones I like, and you can’t ask me this question, because I’ve already done the answer, it’s episode-25. But one of the questions that I find very interesting is to ask people what’s a lesson that their father taught them, that has really stuck with them? And you can substitute mother, if it really works better, if you talk about your mom instead, but generally because you’re a guy, I ask guys about their father, and I ask women about their mother.
Amos: If I were to think about a lesson my father taught me-
Craig: That stuck with you.
Amos: That stuck with me, I would say, because me and my father are very different people, we have very different value systems, but I will say that one thing that we share in common that I think he taught me was just baseline respect for other human beings. A certain awareness of how are you actions affecting others. And at a young age, if I did something dumb, he’d always make sure I know pretty quick. I think his success in that wasn’t just yelling at me, or punishing me, but informing me about being respectful to others. And so he was always really on top of that, and I think growing up that just gave me this awareness of what is another person around me feeling, and baseline respect.
Amos: I don’t have to agree with this person, I could be in opposition to this person, they could be the closest thing to an enemy to me, but still a baseline amount of respect for them being a human being. Just being a human being, as you know …
Craig: Challenging enough.
Amos: It’s crazy what we have to go through in this world, it is nuts. Sometimes I’ll stop and think about that, most people don’t talk about this, or think about it, but it is crazy what we face as individuals. Just how many unknowns there are, and the society that we were born into, and the problems that we face, some of the gnarly things that happen around this planet. And I think that just right there, that should be a baseline level of compassion for any human being. And just to have that respect for even someone that you’re working against, have that baseline respect.
Craig: That’s a really good answer, amen. Without repeating my whole story in episode-25, go listen, I’ll tell you later, I don’t want to rerecord it every time I ask that question. Another question that I had just thought of … Which there are two signs of old age, the first sign of old age, you start to forget things, and the second sign of old age is … Because I actually forgot the question I was going to ask, I was going to say-
Amos: No, that was authentic?
Craig: That’s a joke, that’s like, there’s only two rules to success, don’t tell everybody everything you know. Right. So I was going to ask another question-
Amos: But you actually forgot?
Craig: I have actually forgotten the question, yes. I have too many ideas in my head. Let’s unpack some meta, I think I mentioned this before, I know I mentioned it in episode-25, because Kristen asked me all the questions about how we do the podcast. But I often distract myself, because I’m trying to think about people who are listening, and trying to gauge at what point I should just shut-up, or what did you just say that we want to continue. I was rerunning over what you said to decide if I wanted to dig, and I’m like, “No. He really wrapped that up nice.” And after a little pause, it was good enough. So I tend to distract myself.
Amos: No worries, man.
Craig: ADD. I have a joke, I turned my Attention Deficit Disorder into art du deplacement. Other fun questions like, now I’m drawing a blank on what other question.
Amos: It’s pronounced, art du deplacement
Craig: art du deplacement
Amos: That was close, actually.
Craig: Parlez-vous Francais?
Amos: [French 00:29:39]
Craig: [French 00:29:39]
Amos: [French 00:29:39]
Craig: Your accent is way better than my accent is. I was joking. Actually, now speaking French reminds me of an interview with Stany Mallet, do you know Stany?
Amos: Yeah, actually I met him in Nantes.
Craig: If you speak French, the S is silent, it’s not Nantes. Nantes, N-A-N-T-E-S.
Amos: That’s right, I forget, long time. No, actually, I met him in Paris.
Craig: That’s also very likely, if you’re training. I had a chance to sit down and interview him, and this is actually related to you saying, “You’re living the dream.” And I said, “No, what it really is, is really cool conversations.” So I had a chance to sit down with Stany, and we’ve been talking for like a year-and-a-half, “We should do an interview.” And it was just one of these, his wife was there and his daughter, and everything was crazy, but then there was this little window of time opened up, and I have this image burned in my head of me and Stany sitting in the lawn under a tree in the coach’s housing in the corner of the property, way out, quiet. And just having this conversation with the breeze and the sun, near the end of Gerlev.
Craig: And you’d never know this, but Tracy and his wife are standing there, so the four of us are having this, they’re not talking, but there’s this four-person conversation. His daughter, I apologize, her name escapes me, was running around in the grass, it was this really cool moment. And that to me is what I enjoy most about interviews, the meta part of being privileged enough to be in those conversations with those people, like yourself, who share their time.
Amos: Thank you.
Craig: What other questions do you have?
Amos: I’m a little unprepared.
Craig: Join the club. I come prepared.
Amos: I have a question, so Stany wasn’t talking, you guys were all just in silence?
Craig: No, Stany was talking, it was me and Stany having a conversation.
Amos: I thought you were just having a quiet connection.
Craig: Gerlev can be a very busy noisy place, because the school, and you have 100-some people there. Then it’s also a parkour event, and the dancing, there’s all kinds of things. And the coaching housing is off in a corner, it’s a school, it’s an estate, so it’s down over a little hill, so there’s nothing going on back there. You’re by yourself.
Amos: I just thought maybe Stany had led you to believe he doesn’t speak English.
Craig: I know him way too well for that, I know him way too well to know that. I was just glad he was doing the interview in English, actually, his English is really good.
Amos: Yeah, really good.
Craig: Have you ever met his dog?
Craig: He’s got a dog named Dude, he named his dog Dude.
Amos: I love that.
Craig: I guess it was his first trip to London, or maybe even to America, and he just heard the English word Dude.
Amos: That’s a great French dog name, for sure.
Craig: He’s like, “I regret it now.” Because you really can’t change a dog’s name, once they learn their name, they learn it. So now I’m like, “What’s your dog’s name?” He’s like, “Dude.” Then I’m like, “Dude, did you really name your dog Dude?” He’s like, “Oh yes.” Sorry, Stany. But his dog is very nice, he has a very pleasant dog. What other questions should we trot off for Amos?
Amos: We could talk about anything, we could go into the past a little bit deeper. I guess your audience is mostly parkour related.
Craig: Most parkour related?
Amos: What do you think most people around the country are curious about? That too?
Craig: I can’t read that far.
Amos: Information activism, that not really as parkour related, but yeah.
Craig: Do you want to try to go …
Amos: Sure, I’m down to go down that.
Craig: Okay, so how about information activism?
Amos: Information activism.
Craig: What is that?
Amos: I guess I should just explain that right off the bat. Information activism, I might not even be using this correctly, I use this term my own way, and there might be other ways that people use this, but it’s the idea of trying to fix the overwhelming problems we face with information these days. We talked about this a little bit in the USPK interview, we live in a world where it’s hard to trust information. You’ve got big organizations throwing tons of money just at duping us, from all angles. You’ve got people putting out disinformation, you’ve got misinformation, everything’s fueled by Facebook just being, this stuff just proliferated through echo chambers.
Amos: We live in a world today where it’s very difficult to be a citizen, to make responsible decisions, and be informed. And this initially became a passion of mine in my early 20s when I saw some of the effects that hit close to home, just even with my father, and some relationships I had in my life. I saw people, relationships parting because this person regurgitating Fox News, this person’s regurgitating CNN.
Craig: In their own bubbles.
Amos: And they’re not even discussing the facts, they’re causing harm to their relationships, and they down here in the mud, not actually discussing anything that was going to push anybody in a direction towards a place of learning or making a good decision for society. So information activism for me started to become a passion, something I would do a lot of research about and read about, and track my ideas for. I’ve got a lot I want to do with that, but the same thing that happened with music, like I said, I took a 10-year hiatus, that’s because I gave a lot of myself to parkour and our businesses. That goes for the same with information activism.
Amos: I try to make myself more informed, more aware, and learn more about it. And I’ll still work on projects within that from time to time, but I haven’t really been freed up to go hard in the dirt with that.
Craig: Do you see that as something that you, clearly it’s important to you, as something that you want to embody and that you want to see actioned in the world? In your actions. But do you also see it as, like there’s a meta project there, which is to create other acolytes who would also go out and do the work as well?
Craig: There might be three or four people listening, so how do you tell other people to go out and do that? What’s a good first actionable? Because if you say, “Quit your TV,” that’s not going to be so easy for people to do. I’m just wondering, how can we bring people on board?
Amos: Almost like the drop soda and fast food of nutrition analogy.
Craig: You definitely should do that.
Amos: But it’s the top tier, at least do this, that’s the first thing you should do. I guess when it comes to your information diet, I would say one of the first things you should probably drop is mass media.
Craig: Anything that you see on Facebook. Anything I see on Facebook is entertainment, so don’t think you’re getting news if you’re just following your Facebook bubble.
Amos: Yeah, I would say, at the same time it’s difficult, it’s not easy. You can cut mass mainstream media out of your diet, but you’re going to encounter information on a regular basis throughout your day, whether you like it or not. We all get pummeled with it. And I’m not cynical either, it’s hard. I don’t even have a family, I imagine a man with a family and a full-time job, they come home from work, they’re tired. Last thing you want to do is research something they saw on Facebook. And the amount of time it actually takes to do that research, and be fair on it, is no easy task.
Amos: I’m not a cynic, I know it’s very hard for people, but at least trying to be more balanced in your consumption of where you get information. Make sure you’re putting in the effort to evaluate your sources, so that the regular information you’re consuming is coming from more probably accurate sources, is a good first step.
Craig: I once heard someone describe, the phrase is hang together. I didn’t realize I was doing this, but when I hear something that I think is new, my first reaction isn’t whether or not … I don’t look at something and go, “Is that true or not?” My first reaction is like, “How does it fit with everything else that I know?” And if something is really exceptional, then I want exceptional information behind it. The bootstrap problem is if my entire universe is whacked, then anything that’s really interesting and true wouldn’t hang with the rest of the whackness. You might need to be careful that you’re building in the longterm as well, but I think that’s an interesting test to pay attention to one’s first reaction to some new bit of information.
Craig: Is my immediate reaction one of resistance, or of “Yes, I like that idea.” Or do I feel like I want to push it away? And I first notice that, and then ask the question, “Why am I attracted to that? Or why do I want to push it away?” That might be a way to drive … I read a good article one time that says “How the hammer fails you.” It was a metaphor of trying to smash an entire barn with a sledgehammer. And you could spend a lot of time doing that, but it’s much easier to go there with a crowbar and slowly peel off the boards, and take it apart. So maybe a place to get a wedge in to start looking at your reactions to new pieces of information.
Amos: Absolutely. Actually, that’s another thing I would say, if a listener is like, “I have those sentiments, I’ve had relationships destroyed over silly arguments. I feel like I can’t connect to my family members because of their belief systems, and maybe the tribalism they’re falling victim to.” I would say another first step you could take is be science literate. A lot of people, even people that have degrees that are going down that route, a lot of people aren’t just scientifically literate, know how to conduct good science. Then on top of that, just knowing about what your biases are.
Amos: How you were pointing out there, understand how confirmation bias works. Understand your tendencies, so that you can have those red flags go off for you, so you don’t fall victim to certain information that maybe is going to make you look silly down the road. Those are some important things too.
Craig: If you had a time machine, and you could go back and talk to yourself, let’s just presume that yourself would sit down and actually listen, I think I would just run screaming, but assuming you can go back in time, and you can talk to yourself, and that yourself will listen, where would you go back in time? And give me a quick picture of where you would be, and what message would you want to deliver. Then what I’m looking for is a change that you can see that you’ve experienced, and usually what you’re doing is trying to go back and speed that up. Like, “I wish I knew that five years ago.” So time machine, back in time, you don’t have to convince me why you’d listen, and what would the lesson be? And what were you trying to change?
Amos: That’s physically impossible, so …
Craig: You let me set that all up, and you’re going to play that card.
Amos: I let you go on for a while. No, actually I will say this, even though it is probably physically impossible, I would say that I probably wouldn’t. At this point in my life, if you asked me maybe six months ago, I’d probably have a different answer. But at this point in my life, I would actually say that I am exactly where I need to be, my future self now is not visiting me now for the same reasons. And I think I needed to learn those lessons.
Craig: Absolutely. You wouldn’t be who you are today, I wouldn’t. Because if you asked me the question, just pretend you did, my answer would be, yeah, I would have gone back in time. But now what I’d actually like to do, there’s about five maybe, just picking a number, mistakes that I made, that I’m like, “I should figure out someway to either get over it, or something.” But I’m not going to go back and fix the mistakes, because I learned really important lessons from those mistakes.
Amos: I can talk about mistakes, I got those.
Craig: We probably don’t want to go there. What’s the statute of limitations in Idaho on auto theft? You don’t want to have to do all that research.
Amos: That’s true, I’ve done a lot of illegal stuff, so let’s not talk about that.
Craig: Not talking about that, moving on. Other questions, I don’t know. I’m drawing a blank. Part of the problem is, I’ve been up a long time, and there’s this nice breeze coming in the door, so I’m just like-
Amos: Doesn’t it feel so nice? This is the best podcast ever. It feels really good.
Amos: Don’t get too excited, the breeze is really nice, the sun coming through the window.
Craig: I once work with, I’ve worked with several people, but I once worked with a guy who was, he still is, but at the time, he’s this super passionate programmer. And he would come in to my little office, and he’d basically come in the door, and he’d be like, “Oh my god …” He’d be so excited, and I would listen, because I love ideas, and he would give me the whole idea. And then I just couldn’t help it, I’d have this, “But there’s this problem with the thing.” And I would be, I’ve learned now to be nicer, “That’s a really good idea, did you think about …” But I would always, and I apologize, I shouldn’t have done this, but I would always start with the problem.
Craig: “That’s not going to work, because … That’s not going to work.” And eventually, he would go like, “Ugh,” and just get deflated. And eventually, he would run in, and pause, and I would go, this is a sight gag, I would go, “Pop,” like I was popping a balloon with a pin. And he would deflate, “But let me tell you anyway.” And then he would tell me his idea anyway. And eventually he started coming in, after a couple years, he would come in with ideas, and I’d be like, “Dude, I got nothing. All I can say is that’s a good idea.” It was really fun, we had a really good relationship.
Amos: You know what the problem with that is though?
Craig: What? I missed it, I’m sorry. You forgot to go, “Pop.”
Amos: I don’t know if I can make that sound. It’s a new one for me.
Craig: Sound effects.
Amos: What do you like to talk about? That’s what I’ll say.
Craig: What do I like to talk about?
Amos: Do you like to talk about humanity, you love food? I’m a foodie.
Craig: Me and food, we’re like this.
Amos: I love food so much, but I have a terrible relationship with food right now.
Craig: My relationship is so dysfunctional, it’s codependent, and I’m being abused.
Amos: You hate yourself after every meal.
Craig: Literally. I’m codependent and I’m being abused. I don’t mean to make light of people who have physical disorders, but my relationship with food is not optimal. But I have an Italian mother, I go to my mom’s house, and she’s like, “I made you this.”
Amos: Oh my god, I would have to leave the family.
Craig: Right. She’s like, “I made …” all the things that she makes, I’m not going to name recipes, but she’s like, “I made all this food.” And I’m just like, “I’ll just train harder this week.” Remember the scene from Gladiator, “Hold the line,” as they’re running through the woods trying to stay in a straight line. That’s what I’m thinking when I’m at my mom’s house eating, just try to hold the line.
Craig: No, it’s not nice. It’s completely dysfunctional.
Amos: My relationship’s not like that.
Craig: You feel better, because I’m messed up.
Amos: Actually, that’s funny, because the first thing we did is we went out to eat when you got here. I leaned over to you guys, I’m like, “Don’t worry, the whole restaurant’s gluten free and everything’s organic.” Then I realized what that might have sounded like to you, I was like, “Welcome to Boulder.”
Craig: I was expecting that, which by the way, it was really good. Did you notice, now looking back, did you notice I was really excited about the Brussels sprout chiffonade salad with-
Amos: Yeah, you were really excited.
Craig: Whichever it was, did you notice I was really excited about that? That was really good.
Amos: You shoveled that down, it was all over the front of your shirt.
Craig: No, it wasn’t. I’m wearing the same shirt. You are rough.
Amos: You enjoyed it, I saw that.
Craig: Atemi, I see this now, you do know what atemi is, all right. People can go look it up, A-T-E-M-I.
Amos: But no, my relationship with food, I’m definitely on a legit diet right now. I’ve been experimenting with my diet for many years, but just out of a need for necessity and efficiency of my time. I’m doing new things, like I drink Soylent every day, which I’m not happy about.
Craig: I love the idea of Soylent.
Amos: It’s a beautiful idea, isn’t it?
Craig: Soylent Green is made from people. You’ve seen the original movie, right?
Amos: I guess I need to know this.
Craig: Oh my god. There is a movie with Charlton Heston.
Amos: Is it Fahrenheit?
Craig: No. It’s called Soylent Green, the product is named after Soylent from the movie.
Amos: That’s right, I heard something about that.
Craig: The movie is pretty bad, it’s Charlton Heston, it’s so over the top, it’s so kitsch. It’s from 1960-whatever, ’78 or something. But it’s basically a story about a post apocalyptic dystopian world, people are starving to death, and there’s a company called Soylent, and they make the products, they’re just named colors. And these little things look like Cheez-Its or something, and they’re different colors, and they’re basically protein food. So the Soylent Green is made from algae, but when you watch the movie, you find out it isn’t made from algae.
Amos: Actually, I always think about the Matrix when I’m drinking it, I’m like, “This is just the goop in the Matrix. I’m going to put it in my body, so I can immediately go to the next task that I have to do.”
Craig: I love food too much to do that.
Amos: I do too, but I’ve become accustomed to it. It’s not too bad. I’ve gotten to a point where I really enjoy how quick I kick-start my day. I just chug a Soylent, a couple minutes, and I’m on to my first task. Boom-boom-boom.
Craig: Soylent, we’ll be contacting you, and you can provide me a large check, or we’re going to bleep out every one of those words. But let’s talk about food.
Amos: I’m just fishing for a Soylent sponsor right now. I actually don’t want that, that would alter my life in a way that I don’t want, because that’s another reason I use it, is because it’s very cheap.
Craig: They’d make you get off the no-plan van.
Amos: But if they offered it to me for free, I’m never going to get back to the diet I want to be on. I actually do, my next big experiment is keto. Surprisingly, I’ve never tried keto. It seems like a controversial topic, I can see the look on your face.
Craig: I started doing intermittent fasting, which is, I don’t want to attribute all my success to it, but I started doing 16/8s. If you don’t know what this is, just look it up IF. But the basic idea is that I don’t eat after 7:30, and I don’t eat before 11:30 in the morning. My definitely of breakfast is when I break my fast at lunch time. Most people would never notice, because unless you would be around when I have breakfast, you wouldn’t notice that I haven’t eaten. I get up at, time zone shift, I got up at 4:00 in the morning today, so that would have been 13 hours ago, no, 15 hours ago. And I ate about, when you saw me, that was the first, I had one little snack about an hour before that, but that was the first that I ate.
Craig: And when I first started doing that, people hear you say, “You didn’t eat for 18 hours?” And I’ve been on planes and using computers and driving cars, I’m like, “You develop the ability to use fat, and the byproducts of burning the fat produce ketones.”
Amos: Different experience altogether.
Craig: Yes, it’s a whole thing. I have never gone as far as, there’s a guy named Dr. Peter Attia, A-T-T-I-A. If you’re at all interested in ketosis, ketone bodies, or any of the biology, go look up Peter Attia. He’s got some podcasts which are unbelievable. The only podcast I slow down and listen to, three-hour things, multiple times. But he talks a lot about exogenous ketones, which is where you basically try to eat them.
Amos: I’m so interested in that.
Craig: There’s a lot of interesting, I haven’t gone that far, I’ve just been playing with intermittent. By playing, I mean doing it nonstop for five years, intermittent fasting.
Amos: Have you tried the fasting, I actually got this from Kamilo, Tarzan, he’s known as in the parkour community. Just shredded, so strong.
Craig: I have six-pack abs, they’re underneath.
Amos: Then you’ve been doing this too then, I take it. Tarzan, he would not eat every third day. And he told me this a few years ago, and it always struck me as like, “Whoa, that’s really interesting.” I’m very scientific when it comes to what I add in my life, a lot of people just change a bunch of stuff, and they’re like, “I feel good.” But for me, I will actually put things on delay, so that I can isolate something new in my life. So I have this long list of experiments I want to run on myself, I can’t even get to them fast enough.
Craig: You need to look up Attia’s stuff, because he’s done some cool-
Craig: He did a thing called the nothing burger, which just picture a burger with nothing in the middle. And the nothing burger was, he did a one-week true ketosis, where he was very particular about what he ate, so his blood ketones were above 5 mmol or something, truly in ketosis the whole time. And then the nothing burger in the middle was a seven-day water-only fast, followed by a seven-day ramp-out with ketosis only. And he was measuring his blood numbers twice a day, and him and I think it’s Dom D’Agostino, so him and Dom I think it was, did this huge … He’s reading blood numbers, and you can go look at the YouTube videos, and he really does a lot of those experiments on himself to try to figure out how your blood markers change.
Amos: I wish I could afford some of those markers, some of them are so expensive. But I will say this though, you can still learn a lot from the journaling aspect, and tracking all your own numbers. Even using things like an Oura Ring, it’s not incredible, but still you can track your resting heart rate, how your sleep’s going.
Craig: Attia uses one to track his sleep.
Amos: And so I’ve been experimenting with this every third day, not eating here and there, and whoa, that is powerful for sure. It’s definitely more difficult than the 16-hour, but I highly recommend, if anyone hasn’t tried that, just one day off. You save a third of your food costs, too.
Craig: Yes. I think from what I’ve been reading about longer fasts, when you do an intermittent fast, you’re fiddling with the basic fuel source, but you’re not really fundamentally changing how your body operates. When you do more extended fasts, or more regular longer fasts like that, I think from my understanding, you’re kicking off autophagy, so your cells begin to look at … As a kid, I thought there was one mitochondria in each cell, there actually can be thousands or tens-of-thousands. It’s like, “If these mitochondria aren’t working so good, we’ll just shoot them in the head, stuff them in the shredder, and make new ones.”
Craig: I think that when you do those longer fasts, I’ve actually been thinking about doing one-day, and then trying a three, and then going longer and longer to see how far I can push water-only fasts. And then that would have a huge benefit on DNA repair, and mitochondria function.
Amos: The science I’ve read makes me a little eerie of going past a day, but oh my goodness, that day it was hard at first to get through, and I definitely didn’t feel like I was at my maximum capacity physically or mentally. But the next day after that, insane. I feel like my body is a new body, it’s pretty wild. I recommend that. I’ve done versions of keto, not the full thing yet. I’m right there with you, this is the backbone in my opinion, one of the best things you can do for yourself is be scientific about what you put in your body, and dial that in. It will change your reality, it’s crazy.
Craig: There’s tons of resources for how to do it, and how to experiment on yourself. I don’t mean in a crazy way, but to run an experiment. I’m going to change this, and I’m going to write down how I felt every morning.
Amos: Totally. And actually, I’m such a huge advocate of that, because there is too much information out there, and there is also too much bullshit. Nutrition is a young science, there are so many people trying to sell you products, and you shouldn’t be out there just taking a bunch of supplements and on the latest fad diet. Everyone’s got different blood types, different genetic backgrounds, lifestyles, you need to be able to isolate a certain diet and be able to journal that, take a bunch of numbers, look that back, cross reference that with other diets. If you really want to know yourself, and know what works for your body, you’ve got to do that.
Amos: Because for me, I know for sure, alcohol is not good. Gluten, sugar, a lot of these things I’ve discovered. But other people can thrive off those things, so I don’t judge.
Craig: Or they seem to at their current rate.
Amos: Yeah, right.
Craig: I think that is a really key point, in some sense it doesn’t matter what the scientific studies say. What really matters is when I put this food in my face, what happens to me. That’s really what matters. I don’t recommend doing really crazy insane things. I haven’t done full ketosis, but when I first started trying, I started doing parkour, then I realized you literally can’t outrun your fork. And I started doing things, which can lead to dark places, like do you want to eat that? You have to carry it over the wall, those kinds of things. But that became like an inserted, it became a break point in the routine of eating.
Craig: Where it’d be like, “Would you like a piece of cake?” And then I started getting picky, I’m like, “Cake really isn’t my thing, so, no thank you. I really wouldn’t because I have to do climb-ups tomorrow,” whatever. Sometimes it really helps if you can manage to do something lightly, so you can mange to insert those break points. I found that I read a ton, I read everything there was to know about ketosis, and then I started thinking about ketosis. And what happened was I thought about food differently. I didn’t actually try to do ketosis, but I was like, “I don’t really need that muffin.” And I just started, “I’m not really going to eat this, maybe I’ll stop.” And it just changed the way I was eating, which is all I wanted to do anyway.
Craig: My mom makes really wicked Italian food, which I will take the heart attack for, if I can eat that at Christmas dinner. It’s a limited supply of that. I think it’s important that your food supports you physically, biologically at a certain level, but it’s also really important that … Food for Western cultures, Eastern cultures, everybody, it’s a social thing. The first thing we did when we got here was we met at whatever that place was, and had food. It’s a very, breaking bread, although we didn’t have any bread, I noticed none of us ate bread.
Amos: I think that’s definitely tricky, because a lot of people, their argument is “I want to enjoy my life.” What I’d say to those people who really want to see a change, and they still struggle with giving up certain foods, or they make these excuses, or they have these certain things they tell themselves, it’s all about a relationship with different parts of yourself. For me, let’s say I see a croissant, that’s my advice, I would be walking by, see something like that, and I think I just have so many attachments to the culture and just the idea of it.
Craig: You know the three secrets to French cooking, right? Butter, butter, and butter. It’s all in the cow’s eating good grass, making good butter. Sorry, you were saying croissant.
Amos: You’re going to make this harder to say. What I’ve been able to do is, and this goes for lots of things that humans struggle with as vices, is we have this idea part of the time where we’re like, “I don’t do that, I know that’s bad for me.” You have this long list of reasons you don’t do whatever that thing is, but then before, you forget these things. And you justify it, and you’re like, “I want to enjoy my life.” And for me, closing the gap between the two cells has been extremely powerful. I’ve developed this relationship with my after-self, the one who has the foggy mind.
Craig: Has to live with the results of what the before self did on Friday, right?
Amos: Like diarrhea in my pants, all the things that happen with croissants.
Craig: That’s just … Sorry, total non sequitur, there was a funny noise there, and I was like, “What was that sound?”
Amos: Funny timing. But I would develop this relationship with my after-self that knows exactly what that feeling is like, and also through all the diet experimentation of just dialing in what my body wants to thrive at optimal level, I know what those two feel like so well that I can look at a croissant, and I can “I’ll just take a whiff. I’ll let the gluten seep into my nose for a second.” But I know that’s not the person I want to be, and so most of the time I won’t do that. That doesn’t mean that I don’t allow myself a little bit of sugar here and there, and cheat. Actually, it makes those experiences amazing. Because before, when I lived in France, it was disgusting. I would eat a croissant every day for breakfast, maybe even two. It was out of control.
Amos: I didn’t even enjoy it anymore, I was just going through the steps. I would eat a croissant and then be like, “What did I just do? I didn’t even enjoy that.” Now if I were to have a croissant, it would be the highlight of my month. Every bite, I would just have a weird look on my face.
Craig: I’m taking you to the Rose Bakery up on … I have an exact bakery I have to take you to.
Amos: If you’ll deal with me afterwards, being in a foggy, not diarrhea, that’s a joke.
Craig: I’m not dealing with that, I’ll make sure you get home safe.
Amos: No, I like to do that actually. Sometimes I will sugar crash myself into a gooey food coma nap, I love that. But the thing is, now that I know my balances, and I know what brings me to my optimal self, it’s just so much easier to pick. To look at that thing, and be like, “It’s not as good as being on a high frequency, and just dialed in, and feeling like I’m on my path.” So anyone struggling with food, because I know most people in my life that I know have that struggle, where they’re like, “I want to enjoy my life.”
Amos: Actually, another element is this, my taste buds have evolved. At first, it was really difficult to give up sugar, but now … When I was younger, fruit was this tart gross thing that was not as good as candy. And now, I almost can’t even eat certain fruits, because it’s such a blast of flavor in my mouth, I’m overcome. I’ll be standing in public, probably I should do that in private, just eating strawberries or something. Now it changes the way I experience food, and now I look forward to, there’s so many options, even on a very restrictive diet. One of my favorites, the most success I’ve ever had is with Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser, the intro 30-day cleanse diet that he kicks that book off with.
Amos: There’s so many options, and they taste amazing to me now. Whereas before, it was a little bit hard, but that comes in time. Now I actually enjoy the food I eat, the only reason I have a bad relationship with food right now is just because of efficiency, I’m drinking Soylent and shit.
Craig: I was going to say, there’s two people in our household, and we share cooking duties, but it’s still a challenge. If both people are tired, it’s tough to do food. I think that’s a situation where, I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but in the culture that I grew up in, the families used to be bigger, and you would have multi-generations. There were plenty of hands, and it was easy for one person to feed nine. But my mom did all the normal cooking, there’s only three of us, I’m an only child, so it was just my mom and dad and me. But my mom did all the cooking, and I didn’t realize how awesome that was until I grew up and was like, “Oh, it’s Tuesday, I’ve got to make dinner. It’s Wednesday, I’ve got to make dinner. It’s Thursday …”
Craig: After a couple years, you just felt like “I’ll get the microwave rice.” Somebody, it might have even been Attia, somebody said something like, “Quickest tip for going to the supermarket is only buy food, food is easy to identify, it does not have a label on it. If it has a label that lists the ingredients, you are not buying food, you are buying processed food.” That’s really good, you’re like, “None of this stuff is food.” And then you begin to get really picky, and you can go nuts like, “I’m only buying organic hand-crushed peanut butter.” You can find things like that, which are food, but have a label, but the vast majority of stuff …
Craig: I go in the breakfast, I was raised on breakfast cereal, I was a latchkey child home after school. I go in the breakfast food aisle, I’m like, “Whoa, I’m in the wrong aisle.” I look at it, there’s like 700 kinds of sugar in processed grains.
Amos: Now I get it, I look back, and I slept through high school. It was ridiculous. I would walk into class, and the second the teacher started talking, I just put my head on my desk. I don’t know how I got through high school, it was ridiculous. Now I see these younger parkour people, and they’re eating the most ridiculous stuff, and they’re young, they can get away with it a little bit, but the fact is, I think their bodies still can handle that. But I don’t think their minds can, and I think a lot of younger parkour people, they think, “I don’t have to worry about that, eat whatever.” But if only they knew how different life can be, just your relationships, having the passion to go after projects. It is insane, the mental-
Craig: The dots that just suddenly connect, this is obvious, this goes with that. You should talk to this person, then things you …
Amos: It’s like operating on another speed. Again, everyone’s different, but that’s one of the most important things human beings can do. That right there would make the world a better place, if people ate better. Put things in their body that were good for their body and mind, that would be huge.
Craig: Let’s see, takeaways. One of my pet peeves is I always feel like I’m wasting people’s time with conversations and interviews, I’m like, “What’s the takeaway, Craig?” So I’m thinking some good things to do would be go look up stuff, you mentioned Chris Kresser, he has a podcast too. Chris Kresser, that’s K-R-E-S-S-L-E-R, I think it is.
Amos: I think there’s no L.
Craig: K-R-E-S-S-E-R. He’s a good person to listen to, his podcast are the same size, and he’s also got great blog material. There’s another guy, Stephan, I think it’s Guyunet, G-U-Y-U-N-E-T, it’s a French last name. His website, it’s called Health Correlator, it’s actually a blog-spot. It’s an old, you’re like, “Whoa, people still use these.” You never hear from him for like eight months, and then he puts out like, “Whoa, I’m going to take eight months to have to read the thing.” Heath Correlator is another good one where he talks a lot about the physiology of things. Peter Attia, I mentioned. So there’s a lot of stuff you can dig into if you want to go read about that material.
Amos: The way I actually, you were saying before, we were talking about self experimentation, the way I feel about that is it doesn’t mean don’t listen to the science out there. It just means that, like I was saying before, the information activism and the reason I’m so passionate is that there are so many abuses in this world, and we get barraged. We can’t look through it all. Do your best to find the people that are trustworthy in the space, that are probably putting out good information, and let that be a little torch in the cave to guide you. But ultimately, I would say, after you go to these people, you’ve got to journal, you’ve got to do your own experiments. You have to be scientifically literate to run these things, which is very difficult.
Amos: Being a human being, there’s so many factors in your life, like sleep, stress levels, so many other things that affect your outcome. So you have to just be super scientific, but also use these people as a guide.
Craig: I was just, as you were talking, I was just thinking I actually skipped the whole step where before I started parkour, I would say I wasn’t actually self aware. If you’re not self aware, you can’t do self assessments. So I didn’t set out with this grand plan like, “I’m going to fix myself in 15 years,” but for a long convoluted story, I realized that I didn’t like who I was in certain situations. There are a couple different ones, I won’t go into details. I don’t mean I became a gangster and robbed banks, I just mean generally, I’d look back and the after-me would go, “What’d you do that for? Now you have to, that’s weird.”
Craig: So I started trying to notice when I was doing things I didn’t like, so for example, my mother has 27 first cousins, so I have 250 second cousins. So we all like to get together, and we get together around food, and we get together around wine. Everybody’s adults with kids and stuff, and it gets out of hand. Not like bad things happen, but just everybody starts drinking, and then somebody tells a joke, or I make a comment like, “That’s not nice to say about my cousin, Amy.” So you know what, I think I’m going to stop drinking alcohol when I’m also eating. It’s just a random thing, now I fake it. You have to have a glass of wine, you have to hold wine, but they don’t really notice if you only sip your way through half of the first one.
Craig: And then I found that I was enjoying the evenings more, and I was having just as much fun as if I had been drinking. So little things like that, find something in your life that you want to change. Maybe you feel foggy headed, and then figure out how to put a wedge in that. You might have to do your research, but find one thing. And for me, the first thing was, I need to be able to build habits. How do you build habits? And I found a wonderful article about how Ben Franklin did it, and started keeping little notebooks of weight, and what time I was going to bed. I need to get more sleep, so I started working on that, I just started picking at these little threads one by one. I still think I’m a deeply flawed human being, but there are a lot of things-
Amos: You’re moving in the right direction, you’re being aware.
Craig: Let’s turn this into a whole show of references, there’s a blogger name Leo Babauta, B-A-B-A-U-T-A. Leo writes a bunch of zen stuff, but applied, it’s zen-ish, so it’s called ZenHabits.net, I think it is. Leo wrote an article, I think it’s called the Downward Spiral, and he’s talking about, “If everything you’re doing is just slowly leading you …” I have this picture of a vulture just on this long glide. And I didn’t realize it at the time, because I found the article later, but I had made little changes. Like work on my self awareness, work on my self perception, work on my self assessment.
Craig: And then the things that bother you, it’s easy to fix things that bother you. But it’s impossible to fix things you can’t even see, so I started even earlier than trying to keep a journal. I was just like, “I don’t like that version of me,” so I need to spot that when that version, when Jekyll, Hyde, whatever it is, coming out of the box.
Amos: It gets hard to pull stuff out of your shadow sometimes that you can’t see, and it takes, sometimes methods and systems to do so. I like what you said about the social pressure also that keeps people in these things. I’ve actually done the same thing as you, but here’s how I get around it. I just order water on ice, with a lime in it, and it looks like tequila. Because it’s so funny, and I get it, it’s almost like they want you on the same vibe, and if someone’s not on that vibe, they feel self conscious. So it’s a group cohesion thing. But as long as you look like you’re drinking, people just …
Craig: And having fun, you’re in.
Amos: But now I just gave my secret, so anyone who heard this, they’re on to me.
Craig: There’s only one person listening.
Amos: How do you feel, what do you think your audience wants to know about things that are maybe more intertwined, crossed over with parkour? Whether it’s about APEX or Parkour EDU, or falling.
Craig: I have no idea what the audience wants, there’s an audience?
Amos: You just fooled me, you’re like, “I want to talk to you with headphones on.” This is a nice way to talk.
Craig: I didn’t press record. I did that once on the very first episode, I’m going to air quote, “When you learn to podcast,” which I never did. When you learn, everybody says, “You’ll forget to press record.” I’m like, “No, I’m detail oriented.” And I talked for 13 minutes to someone, before I went, “Oh.” And I said to them, “When I told you that I wanted to use you as the first guest, and I said I was going to screw up …” He goes, “Yeah?” I said, “I screwed up, I didn’t press record.” We are actually recording.
Amos: That’s good to know.
Craig: I don’t have any idea what the audience wants.
Amos: What do you want?
Craig: What do I want? I was going to actually say, which fits the answer to that, what I want is I want the podcast, each individual episode, I want each episode to be successful. My definition of success is the following, that if whoever listens to the episode then feels more comfortable talking to either me or talk to the guest, then that’s my definition of success. So if one person listens, I’m not implying that all million people who can hear me should run to Amos’ no-plan van and hitch a ride, I’m not saying all dog-pile on Amos. But if you have the chance to talk to him, and when you walk up to him at some event, and then you say, “You were talking about blah, and I tried this,” and then suddenly, hey look, common ground.
Craig: That’s my definition of success for the podcast. So when before we were talking about who springs to mind when you say successful, and you said to me, “I think you’re successful,” I was going to unpack that idea. I don’t know if I’m successful, because I have a very particular definition for these.
Amos: I could talk about success, even though I don’t have someone who pops out immediately.
Craig: What I was going to say is, I have no idea what the audience is thinking, so I would be most interested, the way I do this, is I go, “I don’t know, what do you want to talk about?” Then I point a microphone at people like this. We have different mics, we have separate mics. But anyway, I just let people talk about what they want to talk about.
Amos: We would be clever with the mic, if this was one mic the whole time.
Craig: Especially if we’re talking at the same time. Now it’s a traveling show.
Amos: Cheek-to-cheek right now.
Craig: That’s a good Frank Sinatra song. How does that go? I’m not singing, no. I almost went there, I’m not going.
Amos: That was close. Success.
Craig: You were asking about, success is one thing, but you were about to say, before I interrupted you, cross-overs and tie-ins to parkour. Food is clearly one.
Craig: Training methodology, I don’t get this, people always want to talk about “I want to know how so-and-so trains, if they keep a journal.” I’m going to guess that you’re not training like you have a schedule, like “From 8:00 to 10:00, I’m doing this. And next week, I’m doing climb-ups.”
Amos: My training has been very different recently, because unfortunately the last three years I’ve been injured. That’s also something not many people know about me. It’s definitely been a rough ride, but like most things in my life, I’m very grateful for where I’m at. I have a working body, I’m so happy with what I have. But my training did change, before that, I would just play a lot. But then if I ever had a project in mind, I was pretty methodical. I’d spend a lot of time working certain lines. So I had two dance injuries, one, I don’t know if I can call one of them dance, it was like goofing off. I was trying to make this girl laugh, and I fell in weird way, and got my foot caught on this wall. I just fell in an odd way, and it hurt my knee, and I ended up sustaining a year-and-a-half injury from it. She didn’t even laugh.
Craig: I hope you learned a very important lesson there.
Amos: I’m not trying to make girls laugh anymore, that’s ridiculous. But let’s see, that lasted about a year-and-a-half, which was definitely devastating, as most people who are listening, and I’m sure you guys have experienced as well. There’s something about being limited, not being able to do parkour the way you want that is just such a heavy thing for parkour people. This is how we express ourselves.
Craig: How we think.
Amos: Yeah. It’s even how we think.
Craig: One podcast guest said, “I used to have ideas, and then tried to act them out, make them become physical reality.” He says, “Now I do things, I do physical reality, and have ideas.” That’s a brilliant way of putting it, I think by moving.
Amos: It’s so intertwined with our lives and who we are as individuals, so even identity issues came about, because I had never sustained an injury that long. In all my parkour experience, I have had one serious injury, and when I say that, it was spraining my foot. 11 years of parkour, one sprained foot. And outside of that, it’s just been such a safe experience, I’ve had very little downtime, steady progression. And then when this happened, it was just heavy to deal with. Because the way that I wanted to move, luckily I have some other passions, like dance and martial arts that are outlets for me, that were saviors for sure.
Amos: Then I had about a week of being 100%, and …
Craig: Didn’t you say there were two injuries.
Amos: It was a golden week, too bad I didn’t film anything. I was going wild, I was having a great time. I was so happy to be back, I almost felt like myself again. And it wasn’t that I re-injured the same spot, my first one was in my left knee, my second was from, I was just doing a lot of contemporary dance, and hurt my right knee. Almost in the same way, it was odd. It was just something out here on the outside, the articular cartilage is what I found, is what I injured. And that took about a year-and-a-half, I’m only now just coming out of that. After tons of physical therapy, and research, I’ve tried lots of crazy stuff. I’ve even gone as far as sticking myself with BPC 157, if you’ve ever heard of that.
Craig: BPC, biphenyl …
Amos: It’s a human, or no, HPC, is that what I said?
Craig: I thought you said B as in boy.
Amos: Oh sorry, BPC, body protection something. It’s a substance from your gut, a peptide, it’s not FDA approved, I do not recommend it to anybody. But I found out about it through some other podcasts, and also a friend of mine who is very scientific, and he had used it to heal his back. This is just one example of how far I took it, I saw multiple physical therapists, multiple doctors, I had an MRI, I took it pretty far. And I went so far as sticking myself with a needle with some substance that’s not FDA approved to see if I could get back to 100%. That didn’t work for me, because I actually ran an experiment on my climber’s elbow first.
Amos: I’m not going to knock BPC 157, it just didn’t work for my elbow. And then during that time, I just so happened to be healing up from my knee and coming out of that. So I’m at a point where I’m trying to contain the happiness, and I want to push it, but I’m going to go very slow back into parkour. But I’ve missed it, I haven’t been able to train the way I like to train for a long time now.
Craig: One question that I have, it’s a question for myself, but I might as well ask you. You can say, “No comment.” What is your self-talk like? How do you walk the … I can’t hide from myself, myself knows all, myself knows what I’m thinking, myself knows what I did. “You said you were going to do this, and you didn’t do it.” It can be your best ally, but it’s your worst nightmare, because it knows everything. I’m wondering, for me it’s a huge problem, if anybody said to me the things that I said to me, it wouldn’t be good. I’m wondering, is that a thing for anybody else other than me? And if it is a thing for you, how do you …
Craig: Like the morning where you’re like, “What I should do today is all just recovery and go for a nice walk, and have a good meal. But in the back of my head I really want to run, I’m going to go play, because I haven’t done that in a week, and I feel like a slacker, and I really should move more.” Do you have those moments where, I don’t want to say self doubt, but moments where you’re talking to yourself? How do you rein that person back in, and convince them this is what we should be doing now?
Amos: Yeah, I think I’ve gone through some major phases recently even that have given me a much better understanding of my own self talk. That is, when I’m not in alignment with myself, when I’m not on my path, if I’m not doing the things that are of the upmost importance to me in this life, I find that there’s a disconnect. So the self-talk becomes this dissonance, and across multiple voices, and that’s where maybe self doubt would creep in. But when I am in a place where I’m in alignment, my thoughts, my actions, my beliefs, and I know I’m on my path, I know I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing to live a life that I find value in, that’s when the self-talk quiets.
Amos: It’s more so, it allows me to be more in the moment, and just authentic and spontaneous. I wouldn’t say one’s better than the other, I like to have conversations with myself. And definitely, when I’m in productivity mode, I might be thinking and talking about certain things I need to get done.
Craig: Explaining to yourself and looking for holes.
Amos: But at the same time, I think this is part of the reason that I’ve done a lot of experimentation with meditation, because I do want that quiet. I want to be able to listen closely, I want to be able to express myself fully. And to be able to do that for me, I can’t have a lot going on in there. And so when I’m in more alignment, it’s quieter, and it’s nicer. Because not too long ago, I went through some rough patches that were mainly fueled by the injury, APEX has been through the wringer, this has been two of the hardest years of my life, hands down. I’ve been through the fire.
Amos: And I’ve had some moments of weakness in those times where I definitely had shitty self-talk, and lots of self doubt, some dark times for sure.
Craig: I’m over here nodding, not that I know what you’re thinking, I’m thinking, “Yes, I agree. I do that too, I still do that.” Totally a thing. And that’s circling back to journaling, what little bit of traction or little bit of progress I’ve made on that I think is due to journaling. Because sometimes I will force the inner critique to shut-up and write it down, like, “Here, you have the pen.” And I’ll write a rant on myself, my handwriting goes to hell. Then I come back to that later, and I’m like, “Whoa, that guy is not nice.” That gives me that perspective to not pay it as much attention.
Amos: Totally. I think a lot of people are scared to admit that the way consciousness functions is not a single voice. Consciousness is almost born out of a feedback loop, and the way the human brain works is often many of us have these different parts of ourselves. We don’t like to talk about that, because that sounds schizophrenic, so most people keep that on the down-low. But the fact is, I think acknowledging that and finding harmony among all yourselves is more powerful than just acting like, “I’m not crazy.”
Craig: And definitely being able to circle back and know that when this happens, I know that if I do this or eat this, those things, then you don’t feel out of control. Even if you just decide you’re going to ride, I always call it the black dog, if you’re being depressed and the black dog shows up, then okay, it’s a black dog. If I just try to make it go for a walk, it won’t work, but I know it’s not going to be here forever. You become comfortable with understanding how yourself is going to work, how the process will play out.
Amos: Actually, it’s funny you brought that up, the journaling, because that’s another way that I find that I’m able to quiet a lot of self chatter. That is, if I’m very organized about my priorities, and what my path is, and what I know I need to be doing, then I can always self check, “Am I don’t that?” If I’m not, get on that. It’s when I stray my path, and I’m not … For instance, one thing that I’ve been doing recently that’s really powerful is every day I write down three things that if I can do those three things by the end of the day, I’m going to feel good about this day. And that being my North Star for the day, I don’t have so much chatter, because I know when I’m working on it, this is what I want to do. I’ve already decided that, this is top priority.
Amos: But the days where I’m letting myself get distracted, then I’ll hear the other voices like, “What about this? Don’t forget to do this.” And so I’m glad you brought that up, the journaling as well.
Craig: You mentioned the three things, people talk about, eat the frog, do the hardest, biggest thing, or make sure it’s scheduled. I have crazies, I don’t do them when I’m traveling, I take little mini vacations, but when I’m at home, I start every day by creating what’s effectively a sheet for the day, I mark off what I’m supposed to do. And I discovered that when you first start doing that, it’s hugely useful, because you’re like, “These are the things I want …” I’m not poo-pooing your idea, but I did that. And I wind up basically coming up with a plan for the day, but I’ll tell you what happens, if I finish everything, I’m like, “You slacker, you could have done more.”
Craig: And if I don’t finish everything, then it turns into this, the goals are too high. Day after day, it’s like, fail, fail, fail. But I found that when I’m always looking forward, you never, if we’re talking to parkour people, nobody sets goals that are easy. So if you reach the goal, “Oh duh, that was a waste.” We always move the goals just out of reach, so every day I’m looking forward at a goal that I’m always short. Guess where this leads to, just the simple idea, back to journaling, turn around and look at what you’ve accomplished. You’re like, “Whoa, okay. That’s pretty cool.” I really like the idea of writing down three, but I caution people, don’t get sucked into goals, goals, goals. It’s vicious.
Amos: Don’t worry, I have layers of task management. I’ll never finish, that’s the life of an entrepreneur. Early on, people that are starting to get out into the parkour business and run businesses, whatnot, they have this idea that to-do lists can be done. No, they’re never ending. What I have is the three things are attainable, and I know are my path, but behind that, I have actually layers of top priorities that are structured in various ways for the order that I would do them in. I even have secondary priorities. I would never finish those lists, and I guess that’s well said, you don’t want to set a goal that you’ll either go short on or over too much, because it can affect you psychologically.
Amos: It’s good to have some other system in place so you’re still pushing yourself.
Craig: The way I started, the way I tell it to myself is I think of goals as a constellation, I don’t mean like an astronomical, but like a physical arrangement of things that are off in front of me in the woods. And either they’re pulling me, or I’m drawn to them, I don’t care what metaphor you use. But I’m heading for them, and I’m looking backwards at the path, is what I’m doing. I’m never trying to reach the goals, I’m just going this way. But I’m looking over my shoulder, so the progress is always, “Wow, look at all the progress.” Then when I look back and go, “Why is the path going through the weeds?” I move the goals over a little bit, so I never reach the goals, that’s totally cool, that’s not what they’re for. I’m trying it.
Amos: I love that, because I can identify with that so much. I used to do this thing where people would always ask me, “What are your goals? What’s your direction in life?” I would always just say, “I don’t have goals, I just have themes.” That used to be really powerful for me, but now after what I’ve been through with the business, that can’t always function for me personally. The only reason that I was able to come out of all this is because I was very organized with goals, and specific things that had to happen on certain dates. So I’m somewhere in the middle, I like that idea though, having your goals just the direction you’re moving. Make sure you look back behind you, if you’re in the weeds, adjust the goals.
Craig: In the entrepreneurial context, which I have also done, in that context as well, you’re totally right about, there’s happy fun time, and then there’s … I’m notorious for saying, “There’s two modes, there’s success and there’s failure. What we are currently doing is failure.” And then people go, “No, there’s the possibility …” No, no, the definition of success is … We go though it like, “This, this, you like this?” Until everybody goes, “Yes, that’s success.” Is that where we are? No, then we’re failing. And sometimes, being able to say that, then people are like, “Wow. Yeah.”
Craig: Then I say things like, “If you all want to convince me that we are in the process of succeeding, then I want you to point to metrics, things, show me trends, guesses, hints, smoke signals that show me why you think this fact that says that we’re failing is actually leading toward …” And it can be painful for people who aren’t used to that, but if somebody comes in the room with that level of reality check, then I can say things like, “Four, if you can get this number to be four, that’s success.” And then suddenly everything becomes really clear, that’s the way I look at it. I’m also certifiably insane, too many ideas in my head.
Craig: Another, don’t talk about how the sausage gets made, we have been talking for about an hour-and-25-minutes. There are two things that I love to do in the podcast, one of them is I love to say, “I personally love to collect stories.” This is patently obvious, if you hear someone tell a story, we’ve told a few already, that gives you glimpses, not into how they tell stories and how passionate they are, but the types of stories that they choose to share in formats tells you a lot about a person. So I love collecting stories, so Amos, is there a story that you would like to share? That’s one thing, I’ll let you sit on it for a second, while you think.
Craig: The other one is …
Amos: This is a stretch.
Craig: Are you stretching? I thought he was doing the Gladiator thumb-down on my idea. I’m like, “Whoa, that’s cold.” [crosstalk 01:22:35] The other idea is, I would love to end with my stock question, which is three words to describe your practice. I’d love to end there, I’ll ask you that question, you can give me whatever you want, then we’ll just stop, because I hate when things don’t have an end. So is there a story you’d like to share, and then, no is a valid answer. And then we’ll do three words, and then we’ll press the stop button and let everybody who is still listening go on with their lives. Is there a story you’d like to share?
Amos: Give me, I have so many stories, I’ve gotten a little out of control in my life. Like I said, I basically said no to crappy jobs, and decided I wasn’t going to let my soul be sapped. And I left the normal society in my early 20s, and hopped on a bicycle, lived on a bicycle, traveled all around the world, and got myself into a lot of crazy stuff. I don’t know, already stories are coming to the surface, just in that. Then I’m thinking about aikido. Maybe I’ve got some stories for you.
Amos: I’m thinking travel, I’m thinking aikido. My first bicycle trip, just before it, let’s see, not just before it, but before it, I had this altercation in a park with some friends. This homeless guy was yelling at us, we were just having a picnic, and he was yelling something violent to us. So they’re like, “Oh, we should probably go.” So they start packing up stuff and were walking away, and then he storms towards us. I had been doing aikido I think for a few years at this point, so I didn’t feel any fear, I felt like I knew what I needed to do to protect my friends. So I just handed my phone to my friend, because I didn’t want to break it, and I actually had a flip-phone at the time, which is pretty funny.
Amos: And I just stepped out in front of them, and put my roots in the ground, and locked eyes with him. And something crazy happened, he just stopped in his tracks. You’ll understand this, like our centers connected. I don’t even know how long that moment lasted, we just locked eyes and there was this strange connection. And then the next thing I heard was my friends say, “We should get out of here.” And I walked away. And I was caught off guard by the experience, but I didn’t think too much of it. And then on that bicycle trip, when I was riding from Denver, we were headed towards Costa Rica at the time, I had another experience that was almost just like it, but with a dog, which also was just very stunning for me.
Amos: I remember I was calling my mom for the first time in a few weeks, I should be ashamed, she was probably so worried, and as I was on the phone with her this random, it looked like a wild dog I think somewhere in Texas, came out from behind the dumpster. It was a dark back alley of this restaurant we were at, and just snarling, teeth out and growling, walking towards me. And I don’t know why I reacted like this, I really do, I believe this is why martial arts is so powerful, is that I’ve never been in a fight since I started, but the confidence it can give you so you can be the person you want to be in violent situations is just extremely powerful. I really give it, I chalk it up to my martial arts training. I didn’t feel any fear, I didn’t even break the conversation with my mom on the phone.
Amos: I just turned around, looked the dog dead in the eyes, and it walked away with its tail between its legs, like whimpering. Again, I almost watched that happen, and then afterwards I’m like, “What was that? That’s crazy.” And then a third one, these things just kept piling up, a third one was not too far out, maybe a few months later. I was back in California, riding my bicycle towards Denver, and one night I was just laying by the fire and I heard some rustling. I looked over to my left, and maybe 20 feet away a mountain lion was walking through my camping area. And I got up real quick, and again, everything just froze up and we both locked eyes, and then I reached down to grab a rock just in case things got messy. And I think partially because I just showed zero fear, and partially because I stepped forward to grab something, the mountain lion ran away.
Amos: After these three experiences that had lined up, where I was just like, “What is going on here? This is so strange, this whole connection through the eyes. I feel like I’m almost taking their balance, I’m connecting with their center.” Not too soon after that, I went to an aikido retreat in the mountains, have you ever been to Aikido in the Rockies, I think it’s called?
Amos: The man who brought aikido to the US from Japan, Ikeda Sensei-Sensei was leading one of the sections. And the entire thing he led the section on was taking the balance through the eyes, and connecting before you even have a physical contact. I remember some of the other students were like, “This is such lame mystical stuff, why are we doing this?”
Craig: You haven’t experienced it.
Amos: And for me, it was just so insane to hear that this was such a common experience I’d had. It was just the synchronicity of all these things aligning, and I remember walking away from that just feeling like vindicated, and also feeling like I understand something deeper about reality and being a human being, and martial arts. So that’s my bringing together of aikido, traveling, some of the stuff we talked about.
Craig: Thanks for sharing. And of course, the final question, three words to describe your practice.
Amos: I would say for me, the experiences that just stick so far beyond the rest of my experience with parkour are those days where there’s no pressure to go work on some project, you’re not trying to film anything, you’re not trying to teach some group. It’s just going out with your friends, it’s a beautiful day, maybe the sun’s going down, there’s a nice breeze. And you’re laughing, and just trying things that you’ve never done before, and it gives you a sense of empowerment and leveling-up. But at the same time, you’re being goofy about it. There’s just no pressure, and it’s just pure enjoyment of moving one’s body and challenging one’s mind.
Amos: And so I think out of my wide ranging experience of parkour, if I said three words that would capture my ideal parkour experience, it would be passion, love, and laughter.
Craig: Thank you very much, Amos. It’s been a pleasure.
Amos: Yeah, man. It’s been a pleasure.
Craig: This was episode-48, for more information, go to MoversMindset.com/48. And there’s more to the Movers Mindset Project than just this podcast, visit our website for more free content, to sign up for our newsletter, or to join the Movers Mindset community. Thanks for listening.