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. This week, Georgia Munroe explains her interest in music, and how that relates to her parkour practice as well as how she became interested in parkour. She discusses the challenges and goals she is working on before sharing her experiences with Motion Capture and Ninja Warrior. Georgia unpacks her thoughts on coaching, her personal journey on improving as a coach, and how coaching has affected her own parkour practice.
Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.
Georgia: Hi everyone, I’m Georgia.
Craig: Georgia Munroe is a professional art du deplacement and parkour athlete, coach, and performer. A coach with Esprit Concrete, she is passionate about movement and sharing the discipline. Georgia has competed in Ninja Warrior UK, done work for various films and video games, and enjoys several creative hobbies in addition to parkour and ADD. Welcome, Georgia.
Georgia: Thank you for having me, Craig.
Craig: Georgia, it strikes me that you have a couple of different creative hobbies, like sewing and piano and other things, and I always think it’s interesting to ask people how do those hobbies inform their movement practice?
Georgia: Ooh, that is a hard one. Looking at the hobbies I do, it’s kind of a hard one because I’ve never really thought about how it informs my practice. I think music definitely has had a big effect in my practice. Sewing, not so much, I think that’s just generally I enjoy making things. But music, it’s something that I’ve always been around. So ever since I was going to school and stuff like that, my dad always playing certain songs and my mom always playing music, there was always music around me. Then going into school, started to play piano. I really enjoyed the piano, it was everywhere, so I started playing that, started to learn classical music, and then I started studying it in school.
Georgia: So I think it’s definitely given me sort of a beat or a pattern to kind of follow when I’m doing movement, or I’m flowing, or anything I do. I always find a beat in my movement, or a rhythm. I feel this is something that’s just because I’ve always been around music. I’ve always enjoyed dancing, I’ve always enjoyed playing piano, so I’ve always been used to following a rhythm, following a pattern.
Georgia: That, in turn, has actually helped me a lot with even executing moves and getting the timing, to the point where I can use the move most efficiently. So in a jump, knowing when to take off. In certain moves like kongs and stuff, knowing when I need to pull, when I need to push. They all have their own patterns and their own rhythms to follow, and especially when you’re doing flow as well, you have this kind of rhythm you start to follow. It can be fast paced, it can be slow, but either way, sometimes I’ve even been making sounds, or the sounds I make, I’m listening to them as a rhythm.
Georgia: So I think definitely in terms of music as a hobby, that’s informed me in the way that it gives me a rhythm to follow in my movement, and it allows me to construct movement or time certain things to a rhythm, and that just helps me relax as well.
Craig: Have you ever thought about does it work the other way too? Have you discovered that your movement practice has changed the way you perform music? I don’t know if you’re writing for the piano, but has it changed the way that you experience playing?
Georgia: Hmm, now that one … yeah. Well, to start off, I never learned to read music. I self-taught by just listening to sounds, and then learning them.
Craig: Play by ear, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Georgia: Yeah. So in that sense, it’s help me practice muscle memory, or at least practice in that way.
Craig: Yeah, there’s a certain eye-hand coordination, right?
Georgia: Yeah, but in general as well, also just memorizing pattern, and memorizing beats, and memorizing this. I think that’s also helped, then, in the sense of when I learn something new, then I take that, or I find it easy to memorize that thing in that time so I find it quite easy to pick up on things quite easily.
Georgia: But in the terms of it changing my music, or changing the way I play, I can’t see any link to it. Or at least I haven’t thought about it. It’s definitely something to think about, actually. I definitely can see how I play music going into how I perform or how I move, but not the other way around. And I don’t know if that’s just because I don’t practice music as much as I do movement to see any changes.
Craig: Right. When you began parkour or art du deplacement depending on … I know when I started I called it parkour, and then I realized what I was actually doing-
Craig: … so the name changed, but to me it’s like one long practice from my personal experience. But when you started your personal practice, can you remember what you were like before you … And I don’t know if it’s like found it, got shown it, somebody drug you, like whatever the moment was, but can you remember what you were like before you found your movement practice that you have now? And of course, could you tell me what that person was like compared to now?
Georgia: This actually … Well, I can remember a bit more since I recently found one of my diaries in my drawer. So a lot of my stuff is in my mom’s house, and I was going through, and I found this little crumpled diary in the back of my drawer, so I started reading it. And actually, it was the points before and when I found parkour, when I started doing it. So I guess I can use some of that to help.
Georgia: First, a little bit of history about my family. I grew up, I was a daddy’s girl. I grew up around two older brothers, and they were both quite high performers in the sense of they were quite smart, they were very good in sports, and things like this. So as the youngest, I wanted to aspire to be better than them, or as strong as them, or anything like this.
Craig: Right, catch up and pass.
Georgia: Yeah. I very much wanted to compete with them or be at the same level as them in something. So for me, I did a lot of different things, including music. Anything I saw, I was like, “Aw, I want to do that thing now. I want to do that thing now. I’m going to pick up this thing.” I ended up bouncing between so many things, and so many sports, and just anything I could get my hands on. I was very greedy as a kid, so I just wanted lots of different things. “Oh, there’s football going on, I’m going to do that, there’s rugby going on, I’m going to do this. There’s music, I’m going to do that. There’s performing, I’m going to do that.” And I just filled my time with lots of things, but I found it very hard to stick with something.
Georgia: Football would be the longest. My dad has loved football all his life, so I grew up around that, and I wanted to do football. So I had been doing football since primary school, up to secondary school. Then I started doing rugby. And for me, I think what changed with football was when you go into secondary school, people start finding their social identities, and you start to have boundaries. When I was younger, I didn’t see myself, or at least in my eyes I wasn’t different to my brothers. I felt like just the younger sibling, and I need to work to be as strong as them. Then when I went into secondary school, girls started to follow social norms of what a girl is like, boys started to do that, and you started to have a lot of judgements on this.
Georgia: So for me, I was like, “Why can’t I play football?” And because a lot of the boys were doing it, the girls weren’t doing it. So I started to feel a bit, almost in a weird no-man’s-land, in the sense that I didn’t feel accepted by these group of people, but at the same time, I had this pressure from these group of people being like, “Oh, no, come do what we’re doing.” So I found it quite confusing at the time, and I think I started to get quite angry because then I started to feel like I wasn’t allowed to, almost, do these things, or it wasn’t accepted to try and strive for this.
Craig: Yeah, not that there was an actual prohibition against it, but it’s like why should there be back pressure.
Georgia: Yeah, no one actually told me no, but the pressure alone, or the backlash, or the kind of chat around it, or even the jokes around it was just like, it made me very angry. And I wrote this a lot in my little diary. There was like one who page of ranting about, “Why do they get this and I can’t have this? I want to be like this.”
Craig: And I got to ask, how old were you when you wrote that diary?
Georgia: I think I was like 12, maybe 13.
Craig: Okay, that’s pretty-
Georgia: That’s pretty old. Yeah, it’s kind of old.
Craig: Yeah, no, I was going to say that’s pretty … advanced is the wrong word. That’s pretty astute for a 12 year old to bother to write that down. Most 12 year olds would’ve just ranted at their mom or something.
Georgia: That’s very-
Craig: Pro tip, save that journal. You will want to read that when you’re 50.
Georgia: It was definitely interesting to read. But yeah, I think I was very much this kind of person who wanted to be a hero or wanted to be the best of this. I was very, not driven in the sense of, “I’ll put in loads of hours and loads of work,” I just wanted a lot, and I wanted to be the best I could or the strongest I could, and I was very driven by that idea of finding greatness or finding strength in things.
Georgia: So when I heard that, I was very angry because I was like, “No, I want to do this stuff, and I want to do that stuff, and I want to be accepted in this way.”
Georgia: So for me, when I found parkour, and I remember the exact moment or the space that that was happening in, and that was when my brother was on the internet, he was looking at videos of stuff, and he told me to come over. He’s like, “Look at this, look at this.” Or at least I remember it this way. He said, “Look at this video.” And I think it was a compilation of like parkour guys doing stuff off the roof, and stuff like this, and for me, that was like a, “That’s what I want to do! That’s it!” Because I was a gamer as well at the time, so I liked to play lots of games. I loved that stuff.
Georgia: Literally, I liked to pick up hobbies that my brothers did. They always played games, so I didn’t have a PlayStation, so when I finally got my, I finally begged for one and I got one one Christmas, I was playing it a lot. And two games in particular were Mirror’s Edge, and Assassin’s Creed. But at the time, it was still like, “Oh yeah, that’s just what they do. That’s really cool stuff, but it’s not real.”
Georgia: So when I saw the video, I was like, “Oh, so it is, it is a thing.” I had never seen movement like that before. Everything was always either you’re in a field, you had certain limits, you had certain rules, you had to be this person only on your team, and all these kind of limits for me. Then I saw that, I was just like, “I want to do that.” I was just like, “Yeah, I want to do that.”
Georgia: Then it was kind of like, I think my brother said something along the lines of, “You can’t do that, these guys are really strong.” Something to say like it’s not within your reach, so obviously-
Craig: Which I’m guessing is exactly the correct thing to say to Georgia when you wanted to go after it, right?
Georgia: Yeah. Saying I can’t do something, that’s just like, “I’m going to do it now.” Yup, so that was, yeah.
Craig: What time is dinner? I’ll be right back.
Georgia: I’ll be right back. Then for me, that’s changed. I was just like, “I want to do this.” And always at the start of something I find new, there’s a lot of motivation and stuff. I really want to do this, and stuff, but it usually dies out. But for this one, it was something that felt just out of reach, always. With everything else, you join the club, it’s there at school, you do it, and you’re doing it, and that’s it. But for this, it always felt like it was just out of reach. Like, to get to that point, it was always just out of reach.
Georgia: I used to come back from school, I’d get on my kit, and stuff like that, and then I’d watch like … that was it, Damien Walters was one of my favorites at the time. I was like, “I want to be like him. He’s so cool.” I used to watch a video to inspire me after school, and then I’d go outside and find a wall, and scrape myself up, try rails and stuff like that. Really, all sorts of random stuff I was trying.
Craig: The [crosstalk 00:12:16]-
Georgia: I loved it. I felt really, I don’t know, I felt like some sort of renegade or something, like some hero training.
Craig: That’s a common theme in a lot of people’s experience of parkour and ADD is that the idea of the personal freedom, and then using that as like throwing it back in society’s face.
Craig: So how did it all work out? Did you end up sticking with it?
Georgia: Yeah, I did. I don’t know, what is parkour?
Craig: Yeah, let’s see, movies, motion capture, [inaudible 00:12:44], and it didn’t fade out. So that’s very interesting.
Georgia: Yup, and it ain’t fading out any time soon. But yeah, I think it’s always been, because there’s so much that it can offer, and so much … you just never quite reach-
Craig: I like the way you put it, like it’s just out of reach. And I’m wondering, are there any things that you’re currently struggling with?
Georgia: So much! We always struggle with so much, and I think it’s gotten more and more. Like when you first start, everything is fresh, everything is new. The only goal is to just turn up, and you get on with it.
Craig: Turn up and move.
Georgia: Especially classes, you meet people. And now, when you start to find your footing, you start to see your character in your movement, you also see your insecurities, you also see the things that are harder than other things to do. You also see what your fears are, and facing your fears or seeing your fears, you want to overcome them. It’s scary, and you don’t want to, but you want to at the same time.
Georgia: So there’s lots of things I struggle with, and I think a lot of it comes from not even the movement itself, it’s not in the sense of that I go, “Ah, I really want to learn this thing today. I want to learn that thing today.” Of course those are little milestones, but it’s not so much that, it’s more so, “I know I’m not ready for this yet. I know I feel too scared to do this yet. I want to not do that anymore. I want to be stronger than this. I want to manage this, but I want to have this characteristic. I want to build myself in this way.”
Georgia: Well, for me personally, I want to build that image, or find that image of myself that I know I can be. The best that I can be in the sense of my own hero. It’s a weird one. You can’t say there’s this one kind of character you want to be in parkour. But you know the more you train, the more you see what you could be, and then the more you want that, so the more you struggle.
Craig: It’s like a slippery slope in the right direction.
Georgia: Yeah. It is a very strange feeling, because I was also thinking what are my goals? And they only go up to year, they’re vivid ones, but it’s really hard to … Sometimes I don’t know exactly why.
Craig: I have a question for you.
Craig: What are your goals?
Georgia: Well, so many goals. I don’t know what my end goals are. I really can’t piece them together, I just know I want to keep moving. It’s really weird. I want to keep moving. And I want to move more. I think for me, my shorter, it’s easier to see it in the shorter term goals. I think … It’s so hard.
Georgia: I think for me, my goals are to be able to have the confidence in myself to face the fears that I have, to manage them, and to also be okay to not fail. So my biggest fear for me as a person is fear of failure. As I said before, I always wanted lots of things, so I was very ambitious in that sense, “I want this, I want that. But not just that, I want to be the best in that.” I wanted to win this and that. So I was very competitive, and I very much enjoyed having things or getting things, or being strong enough. For me, the biggest fear as well was the fear of not getting that, the fear of failing, the fear of not getting that thing.
Georgia: But in the last, especially working with my team as well in the last two years, I’m starting to see a different idea of what it is to fail. For me, when I think of, or at least back then before I started to have a bit more of a conversation with this, was failure was I will never get there, so I was terrified, absolutely terrified of it. I think that’s also why I started to let go of things easily because I was like, “Oh, I can’t see myself being the best in this. I’m going to find something else and be the best in that.” It’s very easy for me to just go to something else.
Craig: Lateral pass movement, right?
Georgia: Yeah, and I was a fast learner, so I could easily go, “Right, now I’m going to be really good at this.” But then as soon as I was met with a hurdle in which I was like, “Ah, I may not get this,” then I was like, “Hmm, don’t want to fail, so I’ll do something else and be good at that.”
Georgia: But this is something that has very much become my life. So the fear of failure is always there, the fear that I might not get something, or I might not be good this time, or I might not be better this time, or I may never get that other goal I was talking about this year, terrifies me all the time. And I think that’s kind of the biggest goal for me is to, one, to actually motivate myself to put myself in that risk of, “I may not get there, but I sure as well will freaking try.” And by trying I mean really go for it, not just half-ass it, not just kind of, “I’ll put a little bit in, and if it doesn’t go, I’ll go to plan B.” But really go for something with the risk of it may not happen. I may not get there, I may not be the best I could be. I may not get that huge jump I really want to do that day. But to be okay with that and to still love myself for what I’ve accomplished, to know what I’ve accomplished, to know the support I have, and to be confident in myself, still respect myself even if I don’t get there.
Georgia: I think it kind of pieces down to those qualities of I want to be confident with myself, and I want to learn to love myself regardless, and also to be able to have the courage to push myself in the face of failure and the face of fear.
Craig: The next question that I have is when you’re getting to that place of fear or terror, and you decide, “No wait, I need to defeat this demon now. This level needs to be played,” what is your self-talk? Or do you have habits, or actions? How do you actually face the fear and move forward, figuratively and literally?
Georgia: There’s always ones where I’m like, “Okay, these are things … “
Craig: I mean, I could ask you really, really easy questions if you like.
Georgia: What day is it? Oh.
Craig: What’s your favorite song to play in the beginning?
Georgia: I think, trying to think of an experience, when I am scared of something, it really isn’t clear what’s in my head, or at least not now. It’s still very much something I’m still practicing a lot, and learning to talk to myself better. For me, when I’m met with fear, there’s always two voices in my head. One that’s trying to stop me, or trying to save me, in a way. And then the other one that knows better, that knows whether I’m really capable or not. I always find it hard to distinguish the two sometimes.
Georgia: So coming from a place of still not very high confidence in myself, I second guess myself a lot. So I may go, “Ah, okay, I’m scared of this. I’m scared of this.” Some days I will know in myself, “Ah, I know I’m scared of this, but I can do this. I can manage this.” And I’ll think of experiences. Other days, I cannot remember another experience that’s the same. And that’s when those around me come in as well.
Georgia: And especially, this is something that Kasturi and Yao helped me a lot with, is that the self-doubt that you hear in your head is so realistic sometimes it could be like anything from, “It’s raining right now, I can’t do this,” or, “That is definitely not in my grasp.” But perception I such a powerful thing that sometimes you really can’t get out of your head, you can’t see that it is something that you’re capable of, and it becomes a reality.
Georgia: I think that’s when having those around you who know you, who know what you’re capable of, and have the courage to tell you that comes in a lot. If I didn’t have the people I have around me to help me with this second guessing, it’d be a much longer process for me. So I also have to thank that part of the process, those around me, because that offers me almost a mirror to myself to go, “Ah, I’m doing this right now. I’m self-sabotaging right now.”
Georgia: But generally for me, it helps to take myself away from the emotions that come up, so again this anxiety, my hands sweat when I’m nervous, all these kind of things happen. Yeah. So to take myself out of that and to just see it as a body moving with the environment, especially if it’s a jump that I know the very first moment that you step to the challenge or whatever it is, is a really important moment because it almost tells you, okay, whether this is something you want, or you don’t want, is this something that you can do or you can’t do, and these questions all come in that tiny little moment.
Craig: It’s something subconscious that sorts that out real quick, and it brings like, “Hay, can we … Oh, we’ve already decided. The decision has already been made.”
Georgia: Exactly. So you get this kind of mixture. And a lot of the time, when it is something that I especially want to overcome, you get this mixture of fear and excitement. So sometimes, I start going, “Whoo, whoo,” because really it’s there, I want that, and then I’m also scared, like there’s this kind of, “Can I do this? Oh, but I really want to, I think I can.” It’s almost like the sight of it becomes blurred with those thoughts because I’ve been … sometimes can’t even tell if that’s something in my capability or not, and then you make the decision.
Georgia: I guess you make the decision at that very first point. Are you going to try this thing, or are you going to step back? And when you go to try this thing, then your brain starts going, “Okay, what can we do here? What are the risks right now? What are your steps? Have you done anything like this before? Can you go for this right now? Right now, as it is?” And then depending on which one I feel is best for me, I go for that.
Georgia: So the decisions are the most important thing, and that comes from that self-talk of, “Okay, this part of me is saying this. This part of me is saying this,” and I have to make the decision between the two as well. And then which one I decide to go with, then I start acting as it is. It also depends, though, what my most recent experiences are, and what my mood is that day.
Georgia: My training can very much, and this is something I’ve been working on a lot as I go through, it’s almost like a wave in my training. I have waves of I just feel like I can do anything, I’m flying. And then some waves I’ll be like, “I can’t do anything. I really don’t evil anything today.” So I go through these very much waves, and depending on where I am, I can just go. I’ll just go, I’ll jump, and I’m okay with the falling back, or the falling forward, but I can let my body go. Sometimes it’s almost like I’ll tell myself I need to do this, and my body, or I’ll literally hold myself in the middle of the air and it gets very frightening very quickly.
Georgia: So I guess there’s no one way of saying it, and that kind of conversation in your brain depends on also how much you’re willing to get something, compared to how much you’re willing to safeguard yourself. Yeah, so I can’t exactly answer the question. There’s so many different things that come into mind!
Craig: I think you answered it exactly. I think that was a really good answer. Georgia, let’s change gears a little bit, and I’m just kind of personally curious about motion capture and video games. I haven’t played a lot of video games since I rage quit them a while ago.
Georgia: Oh, the rage quit.
Craig: I highly recommend it, but I’m not going to pass judgment.
Georgia: Pretty experiences.
Craig: I rage quit video games. Anyway, what I’m getting at is the motion capture part of it is really interesting. There’s a combination of like the technology, but yet, “Oh, sorry, this only works if we actually bring a real human into the process.” And that fascinates me. You might think that’s the boring part, I don’t know, I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on motion capture and like what your experience was with that, and open up a little bit of that world for us.
Georgia: It’s so funny, I haven’t had much experience with motion capture, but from the experiences I’ve had, I would say it’s definitely a strange one. You’re usually in a room with nothing, or just something quite … it’s very plain. It’s a very plain scene for you. But it also, it’s usually … I’m just thinking of the time where I was covered in [inaudible 00:25:36] balls, these little round balls that they stick on you and stuff. I find it quite strange because you start to almost subconsciously try to make your movement artificial, in a way, because you know its for this, and you know it’s for that, and they do want to capture the movement as it is. They don’t exactly want you to change it in a certain way or anything like that because obviously it’s digitalized and all this.
Georgia: But you feel strange. Compared to moving in your environment, now you’re in this plain room with everything very plain. You also feel kind of artificial in a way.
Craig: I was going to say dehumanized?
Georgia: Yeah. It’s kind of strange. Yeah, I definitely felt quite weird in it. I felt like I needed to act more than move. But that wasn’t the case. They just want you to move, and they get it. I don’t know, there’s really not much I can say about it.
Craig: When you saw the … Have you seen the product of the works? Have you seen your movement?
Craig: When you see the avatar move with your geometry, is it recognizably you?
Craig: Did you look at it an go, “That’s a doppelganger”?
Georgia: That was strange, yeah. So the avatar, obviously it’s a mixture of different people, so me and another athlete called Benny. We were both doing the parkour movements, so it was almost like, kind of like our-
Craig: Like a Jenny.
Georgia: Yeah, it was like our made version of it. So it was weird when I saw it, I felt like … It’s so strange because you can see your movement in it. This avatar is moving in the way that you move, even to the point where you’re walking and stuff like that, and you’re like, “Oh, that’s my hip swing there. Oh, that’s my roll. Oh, that’s Benny’s roll. Oh, that’s my jump there.” It is very exciting to see how much of it they capture compared to if you just see a random avatar and you’re like, “Yeah, okay, cool.” You don’t really take much attention to it, you don’t put much attention to it. But when you see it’s a product of kind of your movement as well as others, but you can identify it as well. It’s very strange to yourself as something else, of someone else.
Craig: Yeah, I was super curious to hear what you had to say about that because, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, I’m sure you have, people making eye contact with you at rather large distances. It’s patently obvious when somebody is looking directly at you versus like a foot to one side or the other.
Craig: And my hypothesis is it comes from our predatorial history. I was wondering how that would subtly trip that … There’s a thing called the uncanny valley in robotics. So if you have a robot that’s just a complete machine with basic pivots, it doesn’t weird anybody out. It’s clearly a robot. And if you have a perfectly human-like robot, it’s perfectly fine, just you forget that it’s a machine, and you’re like, “Oh, it’s a human.” Then there’s this huge space in the middle they call the uncanny valley where it doesn’t work at all, it starts to be sort of human but it isn’t, and people just like, “No way, I aint getting anywhere near that thing.” It doesn’t work in any capacity.
Craig: And I was wondering, it’s definitely, the thing that they’ve created is going to be on the successful side of the uncanny valley because they basically imaged human beings, but then I’m wondering, I bet there’d be something in there like it computer manipulated that and then you’d pick up on that. I’ve always thought video game geometries have looked a little weird, and I was just wondering what’s it like to see your own persona inside the movements? It’s interesting to hear how you unpack that.
Georgia: It felt quite personal, I guess, looking at something that was your persona.
Craig: Did it feel like theft in a way, like, “What are you doing with my body?” Or is it just … Because what I don’t know is I’ve never seen … like I’ve seen video of myself in motion, and I find it horrifying to look and say, “Oh my, don’t ever, don’t do that again.” But it’s clearly me. It’s clearly somebody pointed a camera at me and that’s just my fault for letting it happen. But I’m wondering, did you feel like, “Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have done that”? Or is it just like you’re just super proud of the creation?
Georgia: Hmm. I think for that one in particular, it was less of a, “Oh no, why’d I do that,” or, “That’s weird,” and more of just a, I don’t know, it kind of felt like it was you but it isn’t you, so I had this kind of weird personal feeling towards it. I was like, “Oh, there I am. Oh, there I am.” What I found strange is obviously depending on the button you click, it suddenly goes into it, it suddenly does that. That was where I was just like, “Oh, okay, there it is. Oh, there.” It was quite strange to see that. But it felt very much like you’re just going, “Oh, there’s me, jumping over a cliff. Ah, look, there I go. I’m gone now.”
Georgia: I think for that particular game, it was less of a feeling of like, “Hey,” like the theft feeling, and more of just you felt more attached to it than you would with, usually when you’re in the character you start to play the character and you start to see yourself as it, but it was very much someone else was playing it, but it was me moving, but they’re pressing the button to make me move.
Georgia: Yeah, it’s a very strange feeling, but I don’t think it freaked me out too much with that particular game.
Craig: Georgia, I mentioned in the beginning that you were in Ninja Warrior, and it’s actually you’ve been in multiple different versions of the series. So you’ve done testing in New York, and you’ve been to Vegas, and you’ve been to the one in U.K. It’s not often that I get the chance to talk to someone who has actually been in that project and had the chance to see it from behind the scenes. I’m wondering if you have any takeaways from it, or maybe are you going to go back? Or if you aren’t going back, why did you stop?
Georgia: For the show? Actually in the show?
Craig: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Georgia: Yeah. So Ninja Warrior, I think it was season … Are they on season five now, or season six? I don’t know.
Craig: I don’t know. I don’t watch the tele.
Georgia: I don’t remember. That is actually a massive part of what’s happened to me in the last two years in terms of just a big event that happened for me. I think when I first went for it, I didn’t know what to expect, I hadn’t really been on TV in that way, it was always being work-related. I was always just performing, so you have the camera, you can rehearse, it was all there. This was the first time for me of going on a show and actually just going and competing. I don’t usually do, or I haven’t done competitions. In fact, I think it was a few weeks ago, it was my first speed contest, that’s the first time I’ve done something with parkour in that sense, a competition.
Georgia: So when I was going for it, I was the same idea of like, “Ooh, something new, I want it.”
Georgia: Yeah, give me now. So I was like, “Yeah, I need to do it.” I was really surprised that they had contacted me. I was like, “Oh my god, opportunity. I want to do it.” So I just got someone on my team, I was like, “I really want to go, I really want to go,” and they’re like, “Okay, go for it, go for it.” I didn’t know what to expect, and when I turned up to the … They do the casting first, which is they take you through fitness things and stuff like that, I was really nervous. I had to travel a bit, like further out of London, or I think on the edge of London somewhere.
Georgia: We did these fitness tests, so I was really going for it. I was like, “Oh, this is going to be really tough.” Get through it, then I was waiting, I was waiting. I was like, that second voice was going, “Oh, you probably didn’t get it. Those are strong people. You know ti went well, but you probably didn’t do it well.” And then I got the email going, “Yeah, you’ve been shortlisted.” And then I got the, “Yup, you’re definitely going to be on. This is it!”
Georgia: I was really much so nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. And when I went up, yeah, I’ve never been that terrible! I was so overwhelmed, I just had no idea what that would be like. You’re waiting in the room, and all these other athletes that some have been on there before and all this kind of stuff, I saw a few familiar faces, which helped. I think Seb was in the first one, the first time I did it, as well, so that was nice to see people. But I was like-
Craig: At least familiar faces.
Georgia: Yeah. So at first, they show you around the obstacles, just so you get a demo of it. And I was just like, “Oh, [inaudible 00:33:57].” So when I saw the obstacles, I was just like, “Oh, they’re big. That’s strange, there’s water below.” And I’ve never been used to obstacles like this. My first thing was like, “Oh god, I have no idea what these feel like, or it’s going to be like. There’s water below. They’re really high. It’s huge. There’s lights everywhere.”
Georgia: So I was just like, “Okay, here comes the fear.” Then you sit there, and you’re waiting, and they have the TV up so you can see all the contestants who go first. It starts from like, “I can’t wait to be here. Oh, are you ready guys?” And then it slowly gets more and more nervous, and you’re watching everyone on the TV, and you start to go, “Okay, loads of people failed on this one. What’s going to happen here? If loads of people failed on this one … “
Georgia: You start to just, “That TV, god damn it.” It’s better to not look at the TV sometimes because one, you aren’t getting hints at what you need to focus on or what techniques work and don’t, the other it’s just feeding into the fear of what’s going to go wrong or where are you going to fall, all things.
Georgia: Then you’re waiting around the back, and you hear the audience yelling, and screaming, the lights are going on, and the producers and everything, and just so much goes on. Then the assistant will come up and be like, “You’re next.” And I’m getting nervous right now because I remember exactly what it feels like. You get the knots in your stomach and start to feel sick.
Georgia: So you’re going up the steps now, and everyone is yelling, and they’re like, “Georgia Munroe!” And you’re like, “Oh … ” I was just thinking, “I don’t want to go now. Can I just go home?” But it’s too late, you go up, and your mind kind of goes blank. The first time, it was such a blur. I think my stage fright was so big, as soon as the boop, boop, boop, beep, I was just like, “Go!” I think I held my breath for god knows how long. I get to the last one, and I remember getting off the platform, I finally got to like the fifth obstacle on the course, everything was a blur this whole time, there was just lights and things to grab, and you just jump, and you get there.
Georgia: Then I stopped. As soon as I landed, I just went to throw up. I didn’t throw up, luckily, but I just went … and I stayed there. I was like, “Oh my god,” and I felt so dizzy, I felt so sick. Everything was just, it was really, really terrifying. Then I got to the last obstacle, I just went straight on it. I was just like, “Okay, just go, just go.” It was something I had never seen before. I think it was ring toss to like a slider. So you slide down the rings, but I had never done the movement before, and I remember getting to the second thing, and I was like, “Oh, what was this movement? Why can’t I get over the top of this thing?” Then I started to freak out because the whole time I’d be auto-pilot, but then I got stopped.
Georgia: So now I was just like, “Oh no, I’m pumping out.” Then the only thing I could think of is, “Okay, what would I do if I was in parkour? I would swing.” So I tried to swing, but it’s not the same, so I bounce off and go into the pool. Then everything relaxes. I was like, “Okay, that’s me. I’m out. I didn’t win. I didn’t get to the buzzer, should I say.” And I was like, “Okay, it’s done, it’s done.” So I start relaxing and just letting the kind of all these fears and stuff fall down. It was very relieving to be in the pool, and then, “I think I can go home.”
Georgia: So I go home, and I was slightly disappointed, but at the same time I was just happy to be off that term. Then I get an email, and it’s like, “Oh yeah, you’re through to the next round!” And I was like, “Oh no.”
Craig: Oh no!
Georgia: So it was both a, “Oh, really?” And also just a, “Oh god, I’ve got to relive that!” Then I guess I decided after, like I told my team, I felt so horrible, I felt sick, it was horrible, just terrified. And they told me, “Try to this time just make that goal, just to be relaxed in it.” So when it came to the second time, that’s what I made the decision to do this time, was to relax, or try to relax.
Georgia: So the second time, I went on the stage, again, yelling, the cameras in your face, it’s hot out there, you’re feeling nervous. Then I remember just standing there, I was like, “Okay, my goal isn’t to get to that buzzer anymore. I don’t know these obstacles again, everything is new. But what I can control is what I’m looking at, what I’m taking in.” I started to look around at the crowd, I started to look at the cameras this time. Before, I was trying to avoid them, I was looking away, I was just trying to look at the course.
Georgia: So this time, I looked, and for the first time in that experience, when I went, when the sound went off, I started going, each point I got to, I stopped, but not to catch my breath and try and go again in this nervousness. I stopped to look around, and it was the strangest feeling. Before I felt terrified of the crowd, everything was almost like an attack on my senses. This time, it was more encouraging. I looked around at the crowd and they were going, “Yes! Come on! You can do it!” And all these kind of things.
Georgia: Then I started to feel good. It was really good. I was like, “Ah, yeah. Look at the people. They’re out there. Hey! Oh, thank you! Yeah.” And the camera is there, I was like, “Okay, whatever, the camera is on in my way. Let’s think this through.” And then I think I came off at the wind chimes, which was the fifth again. Thought again, “Yeah, all right.” I was happy with myself because I had relaxed this time, and I enjoyed it. So I was like, “Yeah, I want to go on, and it will be it. It will be fine now.”
Georgia: Then I got through again! So I was like, “Okay, now this is just ridiculous.” But I was just like, “You know what? Whatever,” by the third point, because I kept going, “Oh all right, I’m happy now.” I was just like, “I’m just going to have fun now.” So it changed from like try to relax and enjoy it, to just have fun. And I did, and I got through, and I finally got up to the freaking wall, and I pressed the buzzer, and I was like, “Yeah!” I high fived, and things, and then I just got in the locker and I fell over. I just remember swimming through the pool like, “Yeah, I’m happy today!”
Georgia: It went from one of the most terrifying things I’ve done, or the most terrifying kind of experiences, to just this kind of relaxed feeling, like so nice and just enjoying that. It’s always, no matter what, because I went to America as well, huge stage. The obstacles are massive. But it was almost a training in itself of … I’m not usually going there to try to get to the end, and I need to do this. I’m always terrified of these obstacles. But it’s always now become the thing of when I’m there, it’s just to kind of just relax and try and take in what’s going on for you. It’s an excellent place to just give yourself to the obstacle and just go, because if you don’t, if you half-ass, you’re going in the pool, and you don’t really want to go in the pool and get cold and wet. So you go!
Georgia: But yeah, behind the scenes is terrifying too! You just wait, you wait for that one time to go on the … Yeah, I guess I kind of just told a story, then, didn’t I?
Craig: Georgia, is there anything else that you want to talk about? I know we haven’t gotten to Esprit Concrete, and we haven’t gotten to coaching, and a couple of other things we haven’t gotten to.
Georgia: I think it would be a nice one to talk a bit about coaching and kind to my experience as well with my team. Yeah, that would be nice.
Craig: So would you like to talk about your coaching? Go ahead.
Georgia: It’s been … Wait, how many years? This year was, what, I can proudly say now I’ve passed the test, and I am a level two coach. So whoo! So it’s definitely a big year for me this year, and we have a lot of workshops coming up, and workshops that have happened already. But it has been something that … Well, I’ve always enjoyed performing, I’ve always loved to perform and do things like stunts, or do video games, and motion capture, and things like this.
Georgia: Coaching has been a journey on its own. Before I used to think coaching was quite simple, you get on with it. I’ve been around a lot of coaches, and I think, “Oh yeah, yeah, that’s good, you can do it.” And assistant coaching, you can easily just tap into things and add.
Craig: Yeah, it’s a whole different-
Georgia: That’s not the case! That is so not the case! With performing, it is very much about yourself in that sense. You may work with a team, and things like this, and especially in stunts, usually you have a stunt group, and it’s much more team based. But in a lot of performance jobs, it’s been about you. You do it, you get your job done, you know what you can do, you know your limits.
Georgia: Coaching is so much more. It’s no longer about you. You have these other practitioners who come to you who want to learn something from you, and want to learn something about themselves, or at least I hope. So now you’ve got to think about who are these people. They have their own lives, they have their own experiences, they have their own limitations, their own fears, all these kind of things that you’ve been managing, you had other people managing for you, or you’ve been managing yourself, and/or, should I say. But now you are in that position to do that for someone else, and it’s a feat on its own of, “How do I help this person? What do they need right now? Can I give that to them? Am I the person that can actually help them right now? Do they want that help?”
Georgia: In the assistant coaching I did before I was with Esprit Concrete, it was very much about technique. You ask any practitioner, they know that there’s a mental side to it, and there’s a physical side to training, and these two things go hand in hand. We have a lot of mental obstacles, and we have a lot of physical obstacles in our training. But the general way of coaching parkour has been mostly on the physical side. Well, it’s the technique, you teach them this. And you can still help them on the mental side, but it never had quite as much focus on it.
Georgia: Then when … Yao was my mentor when I first started. He took me in, and he trained me up. Then when him and Kasturi made Esprit Concrete, I joined them. I wanted to go with my mentor. That’s where I really started to understand, or started to learn what a coach should be, or what a coach should value in their training as a coach, or how they should value their students and how they should hep them. We focus a lot more on the mental aspect of it as well.
Georgia: So I started to meet students that I never would’ve met before. We’ve worked with all sorts. We’ve worked with charities, we’ve worked with different students of all sorts, there’s so many to speak about. It has been a whole new education on its own for me, because it also changed the way I thought about myself, or how I managed myself. Seeing so many similarities in the struggles and the fears the students had, it gave me motivation to work on these things myself, because if I couldn’t manage it myself, if I couldn’t face that fear myself, how could help that student do it? It didn’t feel right.
Georgia: And this is something I came to understand, is that to help your student, you also need to be able to help yourself, and manage yourself. Also, you can’t do the two in the session, so you need to be managing yourself at your own point in order to make sure that student gets what they need in that session, and you’re not part of that, but you’re there to help. You can offer that. And it required a lot of self-reflection. There’s been times where I’ve come back from a session, I’ve cried, because I’m just like, “What about … We discussed this. I can’t believe I’ve done this. I haven’t helped this way. This didn’t work.” It was also a lot of self-reflection on myself of, “Wow, there’s so much I need to work on, and these habits come into place, and I want to be a good coach for our students.”
Georgia: So it has been a lot of self-reflection, and a lot of pushing in the sense of, one, to push for the anxiety … So I get a lot of anxiety, or I have a lot of anxiety, especially when having to focus on a big group, or being in front of a big group, which is kind of strange for performing, but yeah. So I had to battle that anxiety, and manage that in order to think clearly, and then in order to then help my students or be there for my students when they needed me.
Georgia: Then it went from assistant coaching, to being trained to be a lead coach, and that was another huge step. With assistant coach, I always had my mentor, or I had Kasturi or another coach, depending on where we were, who was the head coach. I could assist, I could add to the pieces, but I could feed off of them, and I knew that they were the main people in charge, or had the responsibility of the group.
Georgia: So when they started training me for lead coach, then there was a whole new wave of anxiety. I’m like, “Okay, now I need to think about my class. I’m planning the classes now. I need to think, “What do I want to work on? What’s the theme today? What are my students like? Which ones are coming? What do they have with them? What habits, what fears? How can I battle these? Or how can I help them manage these? What can I teach them?” Then for that to happen, I also had to then self-reflect on, “Okay, what do I usually do? Is this helpful? What could I do to make this more helpful?”
Georgia: That was a huge, huge, and it was a really long kind of journey. Last year, I went for level two, and I failed. I failed the coaching, and I failed the written assessment. Written one, I just freak out because I’m not great with tests, let’s just say. But the coaching one, it exposed a huge flaw, or a huge thing that I needed to work on, which was finding how to manage my anxiety so I could actually act in the moment.
Georgia: I was always, because I was so self-doubtful, I had to plan everything, I had to be in control of everything. And that was even in movement. I needed to be in control, I needed to have these habits in place, like make sure this is right, I need to check everything. So when I couldn’t do that, because what happened was we got kicked off the spot we were supposed to coach in, really annoying, so it was just like, “All right, well, you still got to teach a 30 minute session. Go.” So I was like, “Oh my god.” And even though I did manage to teach the session, it was very clear for … and it was Chris who he was the level two instructor.
Craig: [crosstalk 00:48:07]
Georgia: Yeah. So it was very clear for him to see just how much the anxiety and the self-doubt affected me. It was very clear, because that also then feeds to the students. If your lead coach is not confident in themself and you can see they’re scared, or worried, or not sure, or not in the moment, it affects the students. So it wasn’t just what you give to them, but it was also how you acted as a person with them, because they see you as their leader.
Georgia: Then we spent the year working on that aspect of, it would be like, “Okay, I’ll get to the session,” thinking I’m assisting, and then Yao would be like, “You’re leading the class today.” I’d be like, “Oh no, what do I do?” It used to be like, “Okay, I got to think about this, but what if I do this? Where can we do? What can we do?” All these little thought about what could go wrong happen. But we kept going, we kept going, we kept going. There’s been some really tough ones where the lass didn’t go well, and I really freaked out, and I was just like, “Oh, what have I done? I can’t do this.” There’s other times where I proved myself, “Ah, actually, I can lead this. This is fine. I feel comfortable in this position.”
Georgia: Then it got to this year, and we were like, “Okay, so are you going to be retaking? When is this happening?” Then I checked up, I was really, really procrastinating, and I kept thinking, “Oh, let me just get on with my other tasks. We have these other things. Maybe later on in the year I’ll retry, I’ll retry.” I kept pushing it back, kept pushing it back. And one of the other coaches who did the level two with me, he also failed as well last year, and then he messaged me, I can’t remember when, he was just like, “Hey G! How’s it going? How’s everything going? Guess what? I did it again, I have done it! I’ve got my level two!” I was like, “Ah, he’s already taken the opportunity.”
Georgia: It made me think like, “Wow, they are already going for it, and he’s just succeeded now. Where am I? I haven’t tried again. I’m still too freaked out to go for it, and it’s that fear of failure. I don’t want to fail again. I don’t want to prove again to myself that I’m not good enough for that role.” So it was very much this kind of like, “Okay, okay.” And then one day it was just like, “All right,” I just went on it, I was like, “Okay, there’s one now. Apply.”
Georgia: Click. But I think this time, it was very much I had seen the difference between what hard work could do, and what talent could do. So before I relied a lot on talent, and that’s why I picked up things quite easily. That’s not because I worked hard for them, it’s because it was a talent, multi-talented, or whatever you call it. You pick up skills easily. So I used my talent a lot. I’m naturally powerful, so I’d go for those kind of things. It was a very much relying on the natural talents I had, or the natural intuition. But when it became the point where I needed to work for the new skills or work for the new thing, I usually just backed off or went somewhere else, stayed there.
Georgia: So very much a part of that training, and I used to hate it, sometimes I used to be like, “Why am I getting so much critics?” It was just lots of stuff. It’s because that’s what hard work is.
Georgia: It is like kind of putting in hours and hours, and all day, and you’re thinking, “What the hell am I doing? I want to go train, but I need to do all this work.” It’s like all these kind of like lesson plans. I felt so tired, and I was like, “Where is this going? I’m not seeing immediate results. What’s happening?” But we kept going, we kept going. And it really, it was a huge event in the sense of it finally showed me, “Okay, when you work for something, and you really just go for it, and you live more in the process of actually those hours you’ve got in the day, those little minutes you have in the day,” and I started to try and get up earlier as well.
Georgia: So that was another thing, Yao sent me like a morning run, so I used to get up, I would get up at 7:30, do my morning run, start doing conditioning, do these kind of things, then started getting into that habit rather than the habit of procrastinating and putting things off to the end, I started trying to work hard in the sense of we have these things, I get these done before I enjoy my day, and I get these things before I go and do whatever I like.
Craig: Right, priorities.
Georgia: Yeah. The more stuff where you’re just like, “Oh, I don’t want to do this,” but it paid off. And I remember, the two weeks coming up to it, I just remember studying every day. I was trying to study, study, study, went through the level two [inaudible 00:52:25], other friends were like, “Ah, don’t worry, it’ll be easy, you’ll be fine,” they’re like, “Come relax.”
Craig: Nope. No, no, no, no.
Georgia: And I was like, “No, no, no, no. Got to keep going, got to keep going. Stop pestering me.” I was like, “Okay, let me lead this class this week. I’m going to lead this class this week. I’m going to lead this class this week.” And even when I had a bad class, the first one where I did it and I felt really ashamed, I was like, “Ugh, I can’t do it! This was a bad class. What am I going to do? I’m going to … ” But we kept going, we kept going.
Georgia: Then I tried to actually, and I wrote down, this time I wrote down what did I do well, and instead of the negatives where usually I use that to just say that’s how bad you are, I used them in the sense of I wrote down what was negative, then I wrote down how to make it better. And I just kept that, and I kept doing it for each lesson I did. I kept going, “Yao, give me feedback. Yao, give me feedback. I need feedback.” And to Kasturi and being like, “Look, I felt this way. These are the things that I need to do to manage, right?” And I started to try and trust in that more and more.
Georgia: Then when it came to the day of the coaching assessment, we thought, so last time it was you know your spot, you plan and you do that, we got there, two days before that I went to the spot twice so I could check out. I was checking all the areas, and like, “I’ll do this, I’ll do that,” and I had a few class plans. We get there, and he’s like, “Okay, so we’re going to move over there.” And I was like, “Oh, so we’re not in this area,” so I freaked out again. I was like, “Oh, god I’ve planned and it’s not working.”
Georgia: But all the stuff that I did still came into play. They were like, “Okay, you get an hour to check the area, whatever you want to do, and then when you’re ready, it’s your time.” I remember getting to the spot, and I was like, “Okay, I don’t have a class planned for this.” And I spent 10 minutes, and it was just like, “Okay, I’m going to teach this. I’m going to do this, I’m going to check my area.” I talked to myself a bit, I was like, sometimes it’s easy for me to talk out how the plan is, so I went over it twice, twice.
Georgia: And I just felt really calm. I knew what I was going to do, and it just felt like auto-mode, but not in the sense of I don’t know what was going on, it was just like, “Ah, this is like class. We’ve been teaching. I’ve been teaching. I’ve been leading.” Those kind of experiences all came in to that one point. And when it was my time, I was just like, “You ready Chris? You ready?” I think it was Dan Tims with all of us, I can’t remember. I was like, “Yup, okay, clock. Great, guys, so we’re going to … “
Georgia: It was just a brilliant 30 minutes. I kept the time right, I was like, “Yeah, okay there’s the time,” and made sure I talked about this, all this stuff. I invested in, “Okay, these are the people I have,” and I could give personal feedback. It was just such a lovely moment of as soon as it started, I knew I was all right. Before I was like, “What do I do? Where is this?” I didn’t care that there was someone. I completely forgot about them being there, in fact. It was just teaching. I just focused on the students, and they were my priority, and nothing else mattered except for the time, which I’d check sometimes.”
Georgia: Then I remember after that, then I was nervous, and then we were going to the other students and stuff like that, and they were doing their classes, and I felt nervous for them because we knew each other. Then at the end of the day, they were like, “Okay, so you’re going to sit over here.” We went to Starbucks, and were sitting around, and the two coaches are over there, and they’re like, “We’ll call you out one by one and let you know the results.”
Georgia: One person went before me, I think, and then, “Georgia, come over here.” So now I’m really freaking out, “Okay, okay, here we go. I felt so good, but is it right?” The second voice was going, “Oh, was it okay, though?” And as soon as I sat down, I remember just, he went, “Yeah, you passed, go ahead.” I was like … and I remember just staring blankly at him, and he was like, “You’re not going to have any reaction? Or you’re just going to … ” I was like, “Well,” and I think a good two minutes passed before I actually took it in, I was like, “Yes!” I was just like, “Ah.”
Georgia: Yeah, it was amazing because in that moment it was finally like, “Okay, you listened to that voice that doesn’t tell you everything is going to be, it’s all going to go wrong, just put it off, put it off, don’t think about it.” It was the voice of like, “You don’t want to put in the work, do it. You don’t want to get up early, do it. You don’t want to do the run. It’s raining, it’s cold, or it’s snowing. Do it.” And it was just like, I was so happy, really proud of myself, but also grateful for everyone who had actually helped me in that process. Everything just kind of came into that point, and I felt like crying, but I didn’t. I was just relaxed.
Georgia: So I think, yeah, that was, it was a big turning point, but also, I didn’t feel like, “Okay, because I’ve got it, now I’m a good coach.” It still very much feels like the journey is going. But yeah, it showed me just what hard work can do, compared to just relying on skill and talent. And also, the kind of true price that comes with that, and the kind of gratefulness that you feel from that kind of thing.
Georgia: So I think coaching has taught me more than performing could have ever taught me. Performing is fun, but coaching has taught me so much about what it means to give, and take from someone, what it means to reflect on yourself, and the actual hard work it takes to be that kind of role model for someone, or to be able to give to someone, first you have to work so much on yourself. So as much as it is about giving to others, it’s such a personal journey as well.
Georgia: Yeah, so that’s my … yeah. That’s coaching for me, I think.
Craig: And of course, the final question, three words to describe your practice.
Georgia: Struggle. Yes, struggle. Love. I know it sounds cheesy, but love not in the sense of just loving yourself, but also the love I’ve found in it, the people, the actual community of people I’ve met. There’s a lot of people that I’ve met that you just feel like, I’ve met so many people with so many connections, but I’ve made a family through it, I’ve had a partner through it, I’ve had some of my best friends through it. So love is definitely something I’ve found.
Georgia: Then the third word, and this is more so to describe the sensation I feel when I let myself be, is flying. So when that sometimes comes up a lot when we’re training and stuff like that, or when someone will be talking about a movement or a jump I’m doing, and it’s like, I look back and you’re like, “Ah, I feel like I’m flying.” It’s not the sense of just because I’ve done a big jump or something like that, but when you feel that feeling of you are you, you’ve decided to do something, you’re going for it, and you’ve let yourself go in it, you feel like you’re flying.
Georgia: I’m getting goosebumps saying that now. Yeah, that’s the feeling! So yeah, struggle, it’s always a struggle, you always find the struggles. Love in the people that you’ve met, as well as learning to love yourself through those struggles, and then flying is the feeling when I let myself be in that moment, and when I let myself go and I just go with what I have.
Craig: Thank you very much, Georgia. It’s been a pleasure.
Georgia: Thank you.
Craig: This was Episode 58. For more information, go to moversmindset.com/58. And there’s more to the Movers Mindset Project than just this podcast, visit our website for more free content, to join our email list, or to read about how you can support this project. And I’ll leave you with a final thought from Oscar Wilde. True friends stab you in the front. Thanks for listening!