Self Talk

Naomi Honey:
Right. So, we just had the Women’s International Parkour Weekend in London. And I didn’t do it this year, but there were two years where I did run a session specifically on that, on self-talk and the impact that it has on your movement, and that was really interesting. So, really the best way is to just talk about that briefly of what we did. We paired people up, and they had a challenge to work on of something that they could …

Craig C:
A physical challenge, right?

Naomi Honey:
A physical challenge. Mix of physical, technical, but something that they couldn’t just do, but was within their reach with some work. But we started off and I said, “Okay, so we’re going to listen to those negative critical voices.” And so, one thing was they were like, “Yeah, bring them up. What do they want to say?”

Naomi Honey:
And the other thing was that actually the rule was they had to say them out loud, and not just they have to say them out loud, but they were with a partner and they had to direct it to their partner. And so, suddenly what you’re saying about you get arrested if you said it out loud, they were having to say it out loud. And they were saying the stuff they were thinking about themselves, but they were having to direct it to someone.

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Bite-size relationships

Naomi Honey:
Exactly. And so, learning to … It feels like learning to listen with my body, and learning to respond smoothly and instantly. And it’s so fascinating. And it’s so lovely, right? Because you know how parkour is brilliant, and you have a great time and it’s lovely and social, but it’s not a kind of evening party time sport. Whereas with this, I get to go out in the evening and go to a party and it’s lovely, but I’m still being active. Because I find sitting around in the pub, it’s nice sometimes.

Craig C:
There’s also a personal space in parkour. It’s not that people have a bubble, like 18 inches of clearance. But generally, people will avoid each other. So, there’s not normally physical contact between two people moving in this space. I was going to say, have you ever heard of a thing called parcon? So. there’s a group in New York city, Andrew Suseno, S-U-S-E-N-O I think it is. And they took … There’s a type of dance called the contact improv.

Craig C:
My understanding is this started in New York City. They rented a dance studio, filled it with crash pads, put one person in the center, and physically threw other dancers at them in random orientations Raggedy Ann doll style. And the person in the center try to receive the physical other person coming at them. And then together as a team, they would try to fall and move. So, it’s literally contact improv, like, “Incoming.”

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Three words to describe your practice

Craig C:
And of course, the final question, three words to describe your practice.

Naomi Honey:
That’s so tough. All right. Three words to describe my practice. I would say playful. I really like to play around and have fun and have a nice time. To me, that is more important than anything else.

Naomi Honey:
Enthusiastic. I’m so enthusiastic. I love moving, and that’s not just … That’s the dance as well and everything. I really, really enjoy it. Naomi Honey:
went what we say to ourselves has a huge impact. And also, we think it’s completely rational and fair, and it’s not.

Craig C:
And of course, the final question, three words to describe your practice.

Naomi Honey:
That’s so tough. All right. Three words to describe my practice. I would say playful. I really like to play around and have fun and have a nice time. To me, that is more important than anything else.

Naomi Honey:
Enthusiastic. I’m so enthusiastic. I love moving, and that’s not just … That’s the dance as well and everything. I really, really enjoy it.

The Cheerleader

Naomi Honey:
Yeah, absolutely. So, as a coach, I work with people really closely. We work one-on-one. And we look at, okay, what do they want in their lives? What are the changes that they want? And that can be practical, tangible goals, and it can be emotional stuff as well of … Sometimes my clients want more confidence, whether that’s in their personal life, at work, whatever. And so, the range of what we might work on is huge. But particularly I work with people who aren’t living the lives that they want. And often I work with a lot of professionals. So, part of my line is people who work too much and live too little, or people who are going through the motions rather than living fully. Craig’s looking very guilty here. And and I help people to really reset that balance.

Naomi Honey:
And with a very … The thing that a lot of people think is if I go and live more, live more fully, than my work will suffer and professionally it will suffer, and actually, it’s completely the opposite. Because when you are energizing yourself in between and doing all the things you need to do to feel really excited and inspired and well rested and all of that, then actually you bring your A game to everything rather than when you get dragged down and run down and you’re bringing your C game to everything. So, that’s what we work on. And it’s so much fun. I absolutely love it. And it’s a massive privilege because I get to hear people’s real thoughts, their really deep conversations. They’re much more fun than that sounds, but they’re really real conversations.

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An Authentic Connection



Andy Fisher:
Yeah, yeah, and that’s about authenticity as well. A long time ago I realized, I went down cynical, the pastoral route in teaching. Which is, I teach my subject, but I also, my career development has not been towards becoming a headmaster or a head of department. It’s been about being responsible for the pastoral care of the peoples I teach. For seven years, I was Housemaster, I had 116 kids who I was responsible for.

Andy Fisher:
And if there was a bereavement, or a divorce, or significant illness. I was the front-line of call for that family, and for that child, and you don’t have authentic connection, unless you come authentically yourself, and a good example of that is that during the last four or five years. My father had a very rapid onset of cancer, and he died, and rather than hide that from the kids, I bought that into my conversation in the room with them, we talked about death, and we talked about bereavement, and we… Because when you’re teaching literature those themes come up in time.

Craig:
They’re in there, right.

Andy Fisher:
Yeah, you can either pretend that you are not a human being, going through what you’re going through, or you can take the risk of saying this is where I’m at, and this is what I… You know, guys if I’m struggling a bit at the moment, this is why. What was remarkable about that, was the degree of compassion that they bought to that relationship. I’ll always stand by the idea that I’ve learned more from my kids than I’ve taught them, and any decent teacher I think that’s the case. Because these young people are remarkable in terms of their integrity, and their openness, and their willingness to embrace [crosstalk 00:09:05] change.

Craig:
In a variety, there’s so much difference.

Andy Fisher:
Yeah, and it’s really easy to adopt this idea of. I’m older, I’m the teacher, they’re the child, they don’t know anything, and my God when you get into their worlds, and the things they’ve gone through. It’s really humbling that they’re able to turn up, some of these guys, and be in the classroom at all.

Craig:
Right.

Andy Fisher:
In that sense yeah, It’s a career that’s a privilege, and the challenge of teaching these days is all of the politics, and the hoop-jumping that you need to do in order to get the grades that they’re required to have, but I think of my teaching as, my subject matter is a closed source, upon which I hand the important stuff. Which is, having an authentic connection with these young people, and becoming a role model in the truest sense, and that not a model of how to get it right, but a model of what you do when you get it wrong as well, you know.

Andy Fisher:
I love it, it’s a great job.

Reaching beyond the self


Andy Fisher:
Yeah exactly, and that’s still there to an extent. Dan’s got this great distinction between the training session, and the challenge. If you don’t know whether you can complete it, it’s a challenge, but if you know that you can do this, it’s not a challenge, it’s just training. I’ve always tried to push the envelope and embrace challenges. I, a couple of years back I did as many burpees as I could within six hours, to raise money for charity.

Andy Fisher:
It was to raise money to have a well dug in the Congo for the Pygmy peoples there, who were suffering dysentery unnecessarily. I didn’t know how many I could do, and rendezvous it happened the week before, and I was a guest instructor there teaching self-defense, and I dislocated a finger, whilst I was instructing it, and somebody just collided, and I popped it back in. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Craig:
You still have soft tissue damage.

Andy Fisher:
Exactly, I knew I had 1500 burpees to do in the six hours. I had no idea whether I could do that, but it’s just a nice round number, and…

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Three words to describe your practice

Craig:
Forgot about the tide, and of course the final question. Three words to describe your practice.

Andy Fisher:
Okay, I’m going to work on the assumption that my practice is defined by more than my physical movement, it’s my philosophy or approach in general. I have a tattoo on my right arm, and the top, it’s the date of my marriage, and at the bottom, it’s the date of my son’s birth, and in between, there are three phrases, and it’s basically the summation of my philosophy in life. It’s hard to read because it’s in Elvish. But essentially it says, ‘Be here now, Speak softly, or tread softly, speak kindly.’ Of those three, I think, ‘Be here now’ Would be my philosophy.

Craig:
Thank you very much. Andy, it’s been a pleasure.

Andy Fisher:
Thank you, it’s been great fun.

The Hero Forge




Andy Fisher:
Exactly, Dan was invited as a guest speaker to the Hero Roundtable, run by Matt Langdon. It’s a great event, it happens a couple of… Well, now more than a couple of times a year in different parts of the world. They were coming to the UK, and Matt had asked Dan, “Do you know anybody who might be to contribute to this? And given the weirdness of my journey, and the fact that Dan and I often sit down and talk philosophy, and all kinds of things, he put me forward.

Andy Fisher:
And I didn’t know what I had to say about heroism. I have no idea, what do you want me to talk about? And Dan said, “Well you’re going to have to figure that out, just go away and put…” The Hero Forge the book, was a book I wrote to figure out what I wanted to say on that stage in a five to 10-minute talk. Now it became far more than that, but that was the impetus. I need to write to figure out what I have to say. It came at a really poignant point in my life, in that I become a dad, and I became a dad quite late. I was 44, when my dad had me, he was 26, and my father was dying of cancer.

Andy Fisher:
It came at this point where I realized that the chances are that I won’t be able to mentor my son all the way through adulthood, in the way that my father had with me. Because I started later- and who knows how short Your life is you know, things change. I started thinking, ‘What would be the legacy, the message that I’d want to leave Kit, my son, on what it is to be a good man, and to lead a good life, and to make a difference? The Hero Forge became the instruction manual that I’d want to leave to my son of here’s what I figured out. Not necessarily that I embody or live, but what I think are some of the answers to living a life where you are able to look back and go, “I’m comfortable without it.”

Craig:
Life well lived.

Andy Fisher:
Exactly, yeah, and heroism for me has always been a verb, not a noun. It’s a doing thing, and it’s transitory, and so it was about how do you conduct yourself on this journey through life.

Andy Fisher:
I wrote the book, I wrote what I had to say, and then I went along and delivered this talk at the Barbican in London. Which we’re not too far away from now actually.

Craig:
I’m like, “Hey, well that’s where we-“

Andy Fisher:
Isn’t that strange? Yeah, we’ve come full circle.

Andy Fisher:
And it went down well, and then I stayed in touch with Matt, and I realized that the most useful thing. Well, the thing I enjoyed most about that journey, was actually meeting other people who I’d talked to about this, and they were remarkable people, and I thought. ‘Well, maybe this is the, it could be the beginning of an ongoing conversation [crosstalk 00:28:48] not the end of it.’ The podcast emerged out of that, and yeah, I never intended it to be something that went on forever.

Andy Fisher:
It was going to go on for as long as the energy was there, and I felt that I had something of value to add to it, and I interviewed just remarkable people, and it was as you say, it was, I didn’t realize that the pace I was setting was by most people’s standards, unrealistic. It was just once a week I committed to put something out, It had to happen in the evenings and weekends, and usually, the people I was talking to were in different time zones. All the production of that was all a one-man team, the social media, everything I did myself. I came to a natural end at that point, I went out with Dan again, we both presented a Roundtable in San Francisco, which was April last year I think.

Craig:
I believe so, I seriously considered getting a plane ticket. I was like, “Oh.” But I was really busy in April.

Andy Fisher:
It was wonderful, and I got to meet Phil Zimbardo, and it just… Incredible people, we had a wonderful time, I went to Alcatraz, and I had a couple of days of being at a play there as well, and when I came back, I just had this feeling like, ‘I think I’m probably done on this now. I think, what I had to say, and what I had to contribute.’

060. Andy Fisher: Full Transcript

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, Andy Fisher discusses being a teacher, why he loves it, and how his pursuit of his passions relates to the classroom. He shares his unique and unexpected movement journey before explaining how all of that relates to the passion projects he regularly pursues, such as the Thronin and Hero Forge projects. Andy discusses his thoughts on efficacy, his current struggles, and how he manages and works towards overcoming them. But before we begin, I’d like to ask. Have you noticed there are little Easter eggs at the very end of each episode?

Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.

Andy: Hi, I’m Andy Fisher.

Craig: Andy Fisher is a teacher, photographer, author, husband, and father, among many other things. A man of many talents, Andy is also an obstacle course racer, a wilderness survival instructor, and has been a longtime teacher of practical self-protection skills. In addition to survival, and protection, Andy also teaches English at a secondary school in Norwich, and finds that to be the most dangerous job he’s yet experienced. Welcome, Andy.

Andy: Thanks, I’m looking forward to the conversation.

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Curiosity

Kasturi:
Over time and lots of experiences with other people, lots of other people inputting into my learning, lots of exposure to Yao and what he thought about things and also really requiring a research idea. We came together and we kind of talked about starting Esprit Concrete and I guess the question that that leads into is how did Esprit Concrete Method begin, and I think the answer to that is that kind of has always probably been but linked in to Parkour that day that I tried it or based on actually the principles of Art du deplacement, which I funnily enough found after I found Parkour.

Craig:
Is there some particular topic like… because I want to ask you more fun things like for example, is there any particular lesson that you’ve learned from your mother or your father or both that stuck with you your entire life.

Kasturi:
One. Wow. I mean as an overarching idea, everything I am is because of them. The reason I say that is because I’ve had to learn a lot from things that maybe I spent a long time criticizing. We’re quite an open family I’d say in one sense because we require ourselves to reflect. I think reflection is something I learned from them but very indirectly because if they were sitting here they would say they didn’t reflect on themselves the way that I am learning too, so I think it’s something that I learned from them that they didn’t do that they’ve always wanted me to do, which I’m very grateful for.

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Three words to describe your practice

 
Craig:
And of course, the final question. Three words to describe your practice.

Kasturi:
Who am I? I think those three words… I took my sister to an exhibition that I believe was at the British Library and it was Alice in Wonderland and I’ve always found that children’s… supposedly what’s for children. Their animations, especially at the moment are geared towards concepts that are so hard for us to understand and explain and even as somebody who’s supposed to be able to, I guess, have some way of formulating things, there are certain things that are really, really hard to describe and I think that children’s films allow us to relate to coming of age things that in retrospect we realize was so hard, but we did it through constantly just changing. So, who am I? Those three words for me, I guess is something that needs to be asked before we do anything rather than every year.

Kasturi:
I set resolutions like everyone else, but I think, who am I today? Who am I now? Who was I yesterday? Those kinds of questions I find really important to normalize that we’re going to be different and manage expectations that we have of ourselves and of others and Alice in Wonderland for me was this massive journey of discovery with the most craziest of things that you could ever imagine and I’ll never forget the fat caterpillar that was just smoking there in the background making O’s and everything felt magical even though it was kind of really dark as well and lonely and scary and there was that duality of this fantastic piece of work, this fantastic book that took us somewhere else to ask the question that inherently I find is the cost of a lot of angst for everyone and a lot of my clients, so yeah.

Kasturi:
I think if we can make that question as magical, as exciting and as unpredictable as Alice in Wonderland and normalize that then maybe we won’t be so scared of the answer or the lack of the answer because sometimes we don’t know and that needs to be okay I guess.