015 – Interview with Dylan Johanson

Episode Summary

Dylan Johanson is the owner and founder of Innate Movement Parkour in Kingston, New York. A practitioner for many years, Dylan talks about his origin story and the challenges surrounding building and then re-building his gym. Then he shares some thoughts on what advice he would give his younger self.

References

Dylan’s origin story

Craig: So let’s just start by putting you into the spatial picture a little bit. How did you get into parkour and how do you end up being a person who started Innate Movement and just like …

Dylan: Totally. Should I kinda do the whole origin story and then –

Craig: You can. I kind of avoid the origin stories, [00:01:00] but there are parts of your origin story that are gonna come in that are important, so whatever level you wanna bring in.

Dylan: Well I guess I first found parkour just by seeing one of the David Belle French news videos, and it just immediately resonated with me. I was like, I have to go do that. You know, I was one of those kind of monkey kids like many of us who were climbing on things always. As soon as I saw it, I was like, yes, I must go. But at the time I was very [00:01:30] kind of like, hippied out. I just got out of college and I didn’t want to train on concrete. I just wanted to train in the woods and feel connected to nature.

Craig: Ooh, that’s actually an interesting parallel to how they really started, right?

Dylan: Right, right, exactly. Like the Sarcelles situation, right? But so you know, I went out and I trained a little bit. This was in like, 2006 or 2007 for a few months. Then I actually broke my fibula and destroyed my ankle in like an old man flag football league.

Craig: Ow, I’m laughing ’cause they’re using the word old man.

Dylan: [00:02:00] Right, well, that’s how I thought about it at the time, and yeah, with that experience, I was like, oh, maybe I’m too old and fragile to do this. I can’t train parkour, parkour isn’t for me, which is just hilarious…

Craig: Right, you were over the hill and your life ended at what age?

Dylan: Exactly, I was like 23, which is hilarious now, you know, I’m almost …

Craig: And how much, you would give a leg to be 23 again?

Dylan: Exactly, yeah, as a person pushing 34, I was like, what are you talking about? I was like, you’re in the prime of your life. But so, at the time that’s how I thought about it so then I just let a lot of years go [00:02:30] by, and I really just kind of embraced the unhealthiness, and I sort of went for it just eating terrible things …

Craig: What’s the most comfortable sofa I can buy, right?

Dylan: Exactly, yeah, I was like this is all over, time to just … it was like hospice or something, it was time to just try to be, just make yourself comfortable and ride it out ’til the end, man.

So, a few years went by of that. At a certain point something flipped back on and I reprioritized becoming fit, and then around [00:03:00] 2013 parkour just came back across my field of view, just on the internet again, I imagine, and I was like, “You know what? No.” Like, “I can do that. I’m in the fittest, I’m in the best shape of my life.” I was like 29-

Craig: Rage quit the potato chips, right?

Dylan: Right, I was like, “I’m out of here.” Yes, I have to go do that immediately. So, the next day I just drove myself to uptown Kingston, and just started touching walls and stuff, just going into alleyways [00:03:30] and climbing on them, and just figuring it out. I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t really know how to start. Some of those early sessions were literally like, I would just park my car, stash my keys in the wheel well, and not have anything, and just run in a direction across the city, and just go.

Craig: Just go.

Dylan: Across everything that came, I pass, like jumping through people’s yards, and hopping over people’s dogs, and things I would never do now. Like, come on guys, you’re being very disrespectful.

Craig: Right. But Kingston is neat because the city [00:04:00] is just built up enough that it has a Main Street, and it has a bunch of shops, but then on Sunday it turns into a ghost town-

Dylan: Right.

Craig: So it’s like nobody’s looking, you can run through the backyard.

Dylan: Exactly, exactly. And that’s how, the early parts of my training, that’s really what it was. During the week, I was working in an office, kind of Monday through Friday, nine to five thing, and so I would be doing push-ups and physical conditioning and hopping around in my kitchen and stuff during the week, and thinking about parkour, and reading about parkour, and being [00:04:30] obsessed with it. But the main training days would really be, yeah, those Sunday, just long sessions. Back in the day, every single time I trained was like the epic four, five hour long sessions. Like I said, that particular area of Kingston because of like some, you know, strange, one of those old-

Craig: Ordinance, city ordinance or something.

Dylan: City ordinances, exactly, where it’s like, “Oh, you’re supposed to be closed on Sunday.” So there was just no one there, and it was just this little piece of parkour paradise. It was also one of those like, security through obscurity things. No one knew what I was doing, and no one else trained, and I was the only one doing it, so-

Craig: Go in a different line every week, nobody knows [00:05:05]

Dylan: Exactly, yeah. It was just like ninja status, just in some alleyway, and no one would see me, no one knew it was happening. So, that’s obviously all different now. We need to be having more of a public face when we’re out training in groups and stuff, but back in those days it was just [00:05:20] the wild west, you had lone wolf status. But yeah, so I was doing that for a while. But yeah, I was getting a little banged up, getting sort of hurt, cause I didn’t know how to train, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know any of the techniques, really-

Craig: No recovery, right.

Dylan: Right. I reached out for resources, like community or coaching, in the area, and just came up totally blank. There just wasn’t anyone to train with, or who knew more than me to teach me stuff, and that’s when, eventually, just through Google searching and stuff, I found PK Gen (Parkour Generations), and through that, learned that there was an A.D.A.P.T. level one cert going on [00:06:00] in Pennsylvania, in your neck of the woods, that June. I signed up, just mainly, at the time, just to meet other people who trained. I just didn’t…

So, it was basically almost like, partly starting on the coaching journey, but also partly going to an intro parkour class. I had just, I had never met anyone who trained. So, went to that, learned a lot, and then started … At that point, I had just been [00:06:30] training with some friends, and trying to get it going, and just share with more and more people, so I just have buddies to train with.

Humble beginnings

Craig: Right. And one of the things that I think is interesting about your story, is that you’re on your one, two, third iteration of the gym. So, the gym started inside a gymnastics space, and then, I’ll let you tell the story, but you’ve moved through three iterations, which is pretty unique, I think. Most people are happy if they can pull it off once, so what I’m interested in really is, there is a huge, [00:07:00] I think, a huge number of people in America who are islands, just because of where they live. America is a big place, so I went to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, one time and there was a group of five people who were super into this, and we showed up and it wasn’t that they were better than I was, but it was…I did a weird climbing challenge and it was just like this seed idea and then they were off on it for forty-five minutes. I’m exhausted, and I moved on. So somehow you managed to go from a guy with this urge that drew you off the sofa… [00:07:30] and how did you get to opening the first gym and then…what’s the actual story with the second gym and then the third gym?

Dylan: The shift where I eventually started thinking that I might be able to share this discipline with others professionally was actually when I got invited to do the level two course. When that first happened and then when I went there and had that experience and it was so amazing, I started to think, “Oh, wow, if[00:08:00] other people who I respect so much can think of me in this way, that I might be in a position to share this with others then maybe I can think about myself in that way as well.”

Craig: Community pulling you up kind of concept.

Dylan: Right. A couple months after taking the level two course, I founded the organization, Innate Movement. At the beginning times, there was literally just a handful of us. But it did occur to me, there was the catch-22 that I think a lot of people face when they’re thinking about [00:08:30] building a gym or trying to build up a community. I’ve heard a lot of people ask, “Oh yeah, I want to create more of a community where I am, how do I go about starting it?” Because there’s the catch-22 of there’s some people who are down to come to their first parkour class outside, just meeting in a random park. That’s awesome. That is sort of self-selects for a certain type of person, which is maybe the most…people for whom parkour-

Craig: The stereotypical parkour practitioner-

Dylan: Right is the type of person who would do that-

Craig: Park in a random parking lot, show up with a bag, not know what’s going on, have the wrong [00:09:00] shoes, and still have fun.

Dylan: Right, exactly. But then there’s the rest of everybody who would much prefer to come to a space that seems very official and padded. So there is that catch-22. Basically the way it was is it started with a regular outdoor class, and then started renting space in the corner of, like you said, a gymnastics gym. At that time, I set it up with them where I was like, “Okay, I’m going to give you 50% [00:09:30] of everything I make, so if I make eight dollars this month, I’ll give you four, and it’s all good.” I was still working full-time and just doing it on the evenings and weekends, and in the early times, one of the important clutch things was just having a few ringers at the classes, like my now wife, Rayna, would come to every single class, and my dad. Just so that it wouldn’t be weird and awkward when a new person would come and be like-

Craig: Wait, wait, why are you running, come back!

Dylan: Exactly, “It’s just me and you in this room, and like, it’s not weird, come back, please!” Yeah, so, we would-

Craig: Just somebody [00:10:00] balancing changes the whole dynamic.

Dylan: Right, exactly, just someone else in the room training so people feel like, “Oh, this is something that’s happening I can get involved with.” It was one of those fake-it til you make it things in a way-

Craig: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, that’s what we call a duck.

Dylan: Right, exactly. Then, slowly but surely, some people started getting involved and a few months into that initial process, the fellow who had had the gymnastics place that we were renting time out of [00:10:30] announced, “I’m not gonna do this anymore, I’m just gonna close up shop and you have a couple weeks, so good luck.” It was this really existential crisis moment where the organization faced dying in the crib type of thing. At that point we looked around for other spaces, and we hadn’t grown enough where it really made sense to get somewhere huge. I was just too scared by promising to give someone so much money for five years-

Craig: 35 hundred square feet is a lot of money to sign up for five years.

A place of their own

Dylan: [00:11:00] Right, yeah. So we found a tiny, little, we would joke it was like a boutique parkour gym it was like 900 square feet, and we-

Craig: I love that thing, you walked in and it was like, “Oh, it’s got an L, it goes around the corner,” and when you filled it up with stuff it actually got bigger for some reason.

Dylan: Yeah, exactly, it is hilarious when we designed it the way you would design a ship or an airplane or something where there’s no wasted…it’s not just the dining room table, it’s also the bed, so we [00:11:30] tried to be really creative in use of the space and the interaction of the obstacles and I did love that gym. But it was hilarious when we did move recently, just January first we opened to our much bigger space, like four times the size. When we had gotten all the stuff out and I just looked at the… I just stood there alone in the room, I was like, “What crazy person thought he could do a parkour gym in this thing?” It was so little!

Craig: Wasn’t it some kind of art thing on the other side of the wall? Was there an art studio or a gallery-

Dylan: Right, that whole building was mostly artist spaces and stuff [00:12:00] like that, so it was like the size, the guy who had it before me was like a sculptor. It was just him alone and a wheel. There was enough room for that, and then I was like, “I could build a parkour gym, it will be fine.”

Craig: We’ll hang five sets of rings from the ceiling…

Dylan: Right, exactly. So I guess a couple years went by in that much smaller space, and at that point we started to… I guess we were doing something right because it was growing a lot, and a lot of interest. The buzz was starting to form and starting to reach that tipping point in the community where enough people knew about [00:12:30] us that when someone was interested in this type of thing, they would be like, “Oh, I know there is a thing like that around here, go check it out.” So we kind of grew to the point where we were like, “We’ve gotta get out of here-”

Craig: Bursting at the seams…

Dylan: Right, there’s too many people-

Craig: I can’t get in the door to get my bag down to turn right-

Bigger and better things

Dylan: Exactly, so that’s when we started looking for bigger spaces, found the one that we found now, and we’ve been there since January first. That’s kind of the story of how I went from [00:13:00] training alone in an alley to having three different gyms in the course of a few years-

Craig: I think there’s a really interesting middle step there that I don’t know that I’ve seen anybody else do, which is the idea of, someone once said to me, “smallest set of features that can be defined as success.” So, not, “what is the dream?” Well, it has to have a door, it has to have a vault box, and it needs to have students, so what’s the minimum. So I don’t know that you were setting out intentionally to do that, but by picking a space that was… It was [00:13:30] clearly too small. By picking a space that was too small you set yourself up for at least avoiding the failure of having too much money hanging over your head. “I can’t make the rent,

Dylan: Right.

Craig: I can’t get… I need 70 people.”

Dylan: Right.

Craig: And then, or course, if it becomes a hot bed with six people show up and it crammed then they tell their friends, “Man, the joint is jumping!”

Dylan: Right, yeah.

Craig: That might be a good intermediate step for people to consider. Don’t think, “How do I start a 5,000 square foot parkour gym?”

Dylan: Right.

Craig: That’s almost insurmountable unless you have resources and assistance. And don’t think that, “Okay, I’m gonna go into teaching [00:14:00] in a gymnastics space,” as like, “I have to be there forever.” Picture your stepping stones, “I’ll be in the gymnastics space for a year and a half… I’m not telling them that, but I’ll be there for a year and a half, and then while I’m doing that I’m looking for the next space to make the leap frog, I’ll be there for another year or two.”

Dylan: Like An intermediate step. It feels analogous to if your band is just getting started out you should book an arena. It’s gonna feel empty. Get a small theater and then it’ll feel… it’s better to be in a tiny theater that feels full and people are standing room only, than to be in this huge space [00:14:30] with seven-eighths of the seats are empty.

Craig: “How we feeling in row two?”

On the meaning of success

Craig: When I say the word successful, who’s the first person that comes to mind.

Dylan: My idea of success is definitely not aligned with some of the traditional notions that I feel like I’ve gotten from our culture of just having the biggest most important job, or making the most money, or having the biggest house. [00:15:00] I definitely think that success is defined by happiness, and that does come back to my idea of following your bliss. Whatever makes you satisfied and just the things that fire you up and the relationships you’re having with people, as long as those things are prioritized in your life, then that is what I think of as a successful life.

A great example is a guy like Rich Roll. If [00:15:30] you happen to know, he’s a plant-based, ultra marathoner guy who, I guess his backstory is he had been this big time corporate lawyer, been like sort of “successful” in the traditional sense, but he also was really unhealthy and would tell stories of getting tired walking up the stairs-

Craig: Stairs are challenging…Doc says we have to talk about these numbers…

Dylan: Right, exactly, the doctor’s pretty much like, “You know, you’re gonna have a heart attack, like, any second, what are you doing?” [00:16:00] So he just had this moment where he was just like, “Okay, I’m gonna change up my diet, I’m gonna start training, I’m gonna quit my job as a corporate lawyer and just go hang out on the beach,” or whatever he was doing. I don’t know how he made that work, but eventually, he just became this really successful ultra marathoner and just running hundred mile races and winning them and starting all this past the age of forty. Now, he just seems like this pinnacle of health, [00:16:30] and he just does his thing and he trains and he talks about, I think he has a podcast. He’s definitely a person I think would think of as success just ’cause. I’ve seen videos-

Craig: He defined it himself and then succeeded at that.

Dylan: Right, exactly. He just kind of exudes this sort of a calm glow or sense of self-assuredness-

Craig: Some people have this visible concept, you can just see, they know where their North Star is and they’re not in a rush to get there, but you spin [00:17:00] them around three times and they just settle back on the direction they want to go.

Dylan: Right, exactly. I think a lot of issues for people comes from having the idea of success or what they’re supposed to be doing with their lives not be aligned with what they actually want inside. That dissonance that’s created from that, I think, causes a lot of suffering. So the sooner we can figure out what actually makes us happy and try to do more of that, the better off we’ll be. It is hard. I’ve jokingly referred to it as the “siren [00:17:30] song” of traditional success. It does draw you in. I even find myself sometimes, even now, where sometimes I’ll be like, “Oh, should I be trying to open up a bunch more locations and create a parkour empire? That would make me more impressive.”

Craig: “Or train coaches so I can make a pyramid out of this…”

Dylan: Then I’ll have this moment where it’s like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa…that sounds like a lot to manage!” I tried to set up this whole gig so I could share parkour with people, but also train a lot. Work less, and train more. [00:18:00] That’s been one of the things that I’ve found in owning a gym is that there are so many…it’s not all…I mean, it is all it’s cracked up to be, but it’s also not all it’s cracked up to be, because there’s so many, paperwork and just things to do.

Craig: I call that the sausage factory. Until you’ve owned a sausage factory, you have no idea what goes into making sausage.

Dylan: Totally. There’s a lot. As soon as I’m tempted to be like, “Oh, maybe this is going great, we could probably open more locations and [00:18:30] blah, blah, blah, have an empire.” Then I’m like, “But then you’d have to do the paperwork for all that! Wouldn’t you rather just train and not have an empire?”

Craig: Instead of that, add more staff.

Dylan: Right, instead of that, do more QM. So, yes, sometimes, I still need to remind myself to not accidentally slip onto the treadmill of traditional success.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Craig: That leads me to the thought that it may be that doing things wrong, maybe for years and wrecking your health, may be the path that you need to follow. [00:19:00] There’s a whole bunch of questions that spring to mind that really are good at digging into, they seem obvious, but when you dig into the answer, it gets much more complicated. One of them is, if you had a time machine and you could go back to your 25, 20-year-old, 15-year-old self, what advice would you give? Tell me where you were at that time, too.

Dylan: I was a really angry kid. When I was like 15, I had this episode where I smashed my head [00:19:30] through this plate glass door in the front of my parents’ house out of rage. I got super cut up. I still have scars on my face and my neck where it was one of those classic things where the doctor was like, “If this had been a millimeter deeper, you would have bled out.” It was really bad-

Craig: And the bolts on your neck are hardly noticeable.

Dylan: Right, Frankly, I was pretty angry, and I partied way too hard during my [00:20:00] college and twenties and stuff. I think that if I could go back and give some advice, it’s funny, but honestly, I would probably just try to convince my younger self to start training sooner.

Dylan: [20:17] Because one of the things that parkour has been for me… it’s funny, advice, right… I’ve found that ideas… In my life, just having [00:20:30] an idea in your head often times doesn’t do the job, you know? If it’s an abstraction, you know, “Try to be more like this…” but like, what the heck? How do I do that? Where as, one of the beautiful things about parkour is that…in a certain way…even though it’s a philosophy, and even though it’s, like you said, a lens, that’s a great way to think about it, to a certain degree, the methodology of it is what has really been successful to me. It’s like, “Go do this thing.” [00:21:00] Like, when in doubt, QM. When in doubt-

Craig: As trite as it sounds, the obstacle really is the path.

Dylan: Right, exactly. I feel like for my teens and my twenties I was trying to think my way into happiness, and I couldn’t ever find it because I would just lose the thread and get back into dissatisfaction and-

Craig: Destructive behavior.

Dylan: Exactly, self-destructive behavior.

Craig: And you don’t have a lot of resources at that age. It’s not like you could just take ten grand and “I’m gonna go to France and find myself.” You’re really [00:21:30] physically constrained as well as mentally.

Dylan: Absolutely. The thing that really changed everything to a large degree was just parkour. Where just the doing, it’s like, “Okay, go do this thing and then see what happens.” And what ends up happening is that the joy sort of rises to the surface. It naturally emerges from doing this thing, rather than trying to think these thoughts. Maybe [00:22:00] one way of saying it is before I was trying to think thoughts and create actions, and now what I do is do actions and have the positive thoughts surface. So probably the advice I would give my younger self is just start training parkour.

Is there a story you would like to share?

Craig: So today’s episode is, of course, brought to you by coffee and Tesla. Say hello, Tesla.

Dylan: She’s such a quiet dog.

Craig: She’s lying next to me, never barks. She’s a total pit-bull love hound. She keeps sneaking up to me asking for belly rubs, so I have trouble reaching the microphone while I’m scratching the dog. [00:22:30] So while I’m scratching Tesla, Dylan, is there a story you’d like to share with us?

Dylan: Yeah, definitely. The story…I mean, there’s so many with parkour, ’cause, you know, obviously for all of us there’s, you know, “every session is a journey, man.” The one that kind of pops to mind is when I was first training, like I mentioned earlier, you know, at first I was just literally by myself, and then I was like many of us early on we become parkour evangelists. It’s just like, “This has changed my life, like you should train, like everyone should train.” I’m telling the mailman

Craig: [00:23:00] Do you come with a speed slow down?

Dylan: Exactly. Early on, I’d taken a few buddies out training who were athletic and I was like, “You should try this, it’s gonna be awesome.” My one friend from grad school, we were out training, and I did a wall run and she tried it and her foot slipped down and kind of smacked into the wall. She was like, “How did you do that?” And, you know, I explained it in the best way I could, [00:23:30] and then she tried again, and then she did it right away. She was all pumped up. That was like the first, and this was very early on in my training, it was before level one or any of that, and that was the first moment where this kind of spark…this little voice in my head was like, “You’re good at this. You could-”

Craig: “You could share this.”

Dylan: It first occurred to me that, Wow, the experience of sharing it and trying to help guide people through the process of self discovery and watching and diagnosing movement from the outside [00:24:00] and being able to give feedback, and be like, “Oh, you’re hips aren’t high enough,” or “lean back more,” or whatever. Saying a few words based on that, and then having the person…having something click and then they could do a thing that the couldn’t do five seconds ago. The feeling of excitement that is showing on their faces. I just got so juiced up from it. I was super-stoked.

Craig: There’s that bliss.

Dylan: Right, exactly. That was the first time I had this echo of this voice being like, “This could be a think that you could do.” At that point, I was halfway through [00:24:30] my MBA and working…at that point I was on track…trying to be the marketing director of my organization; I’d been climbing the corporate ladder for ten years. Training was just a hobby, but that was the first moment where I was like, Oh. Some very faint voice, because it didn’t make any sense at the time. My life was not set up to do that-

Craig: Be a coach-

Dylan: Yeah. From the outside, in a lot [00:25:00] of ways, pursuing parkour as a career was a terrible idea. I had a mortgage and I had been becoming successful in the traditional sense. The idea of switching gears even though I had all this student debt from grad school, and being a broke parkour coach was a terrible idea. But some voice in my head was like, “This is what you want to do.”

Craig: You keep hearing it, right?

Dylan: Right. I like that story because it [00:25:30] was the first time I heard that voice. Then that voice got louder and more consistent to the point where I was like, “All right, screw this, I’m gonna Peter Pan it and just quit my job and go be a parkour coach all the time.” But that was the first moment I heard that voice. So that’s the story I like to share.

Transitioning to parkour as a career

Craig: I think I remember the Facebook post the day you actually quit your job. It was like this, “I quit…I hope this works.”

Dylan: Exactly. It’s like, “Okay, I’m gonna go do it.” That was an exciting day. Driving home from work that day, the day that I…because like I [00:26:00] said, I-

Craig: [26:00] Driving home from where you used to work…

Dylan: I got that job, literally, the day after I graduated college. Graduation was on a Sunday, I started working there on a Monday, and then ten years, my entire life had gone by in the intervening time. The last time I drove home on the commute from that job it was one of the best days of my life. I can’t really describe the feeling driving away being like, “I’m never going back there! This is [00:26:30] my new life.” It was super cool. All of that, I would be remiss without mentioning, thank you, Rayna, my wonderful wife, who none of this would have been able to happen without her.

Craig: [26:49] Without a partner. Without a sounding board. Without somebody-

Dylan: That’s another thing too, when there’s been a couple people who have asked for advice or have been curious of “How can I go about [00:27:00] going from being a person just training by myself to-”

Craig: The person who starts the community or the person who starts the gym.

Dylan: Exactly. The Johnny Parkour-seed of this area. There’s a few key factors and one, that we touched on earlier, of slow incremental growth and not ever biting off more than you can chew. You can’t go from being by yourself…Renting a 5,000 square foot space by yourself is a [00:27:30] terrible idea. You should build it up slowly and incrementally, step by step, keeping costs low at the start. Also, I would definitely recommend just having a partner with a real job. When I was first going…now things are going better… but at first, it was like, “Okay, I feel comfortable doing this because I have a partner who won’t let me starve.”

Craig: Who will not change the lock.

Dylan: [00:28:00] Right, exactly. So that was a huge key to being able to have the freedom to make the leap. When you’re doing things on evenings and weekends and working full time and burning the candle at ten ends, you can only add so much until you reach this critical threshold where it’s like, “Okay, this isn’t grown enough to support myself entirely from it, but I can’t add any more time. I can’t have it grow any more without making this leap.” [00:28:30] That’s another one of the catch-22s, just like if you don’t a gym, you can’t have people and if you don’t have people you can’t have a gym. If you don’t have time, you can’t have enough classes, and if you don’t have enough classes you can’t quit your job and create the time.

Dylan: The two ways that I was fortunate to be able to solve those catch-22s was renting a little time and getting a slightly bigger space. [00:29:00] I would definitely recommend, if anyone has someone who will give them tens of thousands of dollars, they should definitely just skip…because every time you build a gym it’s so hard. It’s definitely a lot of work. So if anyone has a rich uncle who would just buy them a gym, I definitely recommend doing that. But for the rest of us, you have to go through a bunch of iterations, but also, the other solution is having a partner who will support you during that transition.

Three words to describe your practice?

Craig: [00:29:30] And, of course, the final question, three words to describe your practice.

Dylan: I guess the first one that occurs to me is evolving, probably, or shifting, changing something along those lines because I almost think of the analogy of how they say you can never look at the same stream twice type of thing. There’s different water flowing through all the time. In a way, for me, my parkour practice is the stream bed, and that’s kind of this consistent [00:30:00] structure and methodology, but the things that I’m doing and the effects that they’re having on me, and the thoughts that I’m having while I’m training is constantly shifting and changing. That’s kind of interesting to notice and to try to derive whatever lessons there are inherent in that fact. For a while there, I feel like I was, for example, trying to build up to bigger and scarier jumps in order to cross some threshold in my mind [00:30:30] of like, “Okay, now I’ve done something-”

Craig: “Now I can jump,” right?

Dylan: Yeah, that’s like legit or whatever. Anymore, I’m just less interested. I feel like I’ve crossed some thresholds where I’ve done some scary jumps and blah, blah, blah…Sometimes I’m still drawn to those, but for the most part, I find that I’m more drawn to quirky, interesting, creative movement. That’s what really jazzes me up and I get really excited, or just flowy, fluid root stuff. [00:31:00] It’s interesting the way the practice kind of evolves and the way you have different places you are in your life and that will affect it. There was times in my life, in my practice early on where a big part of it was I just need to punish myself through a physical conditioning, just brutal physical conditioning.

Then, maybe there were some times when I was like, “I’m just gonna take it easy on myself and do just some chill flowy fun work.” The [00:31:30] mindset that I’m occupying and the motivation it’s all just constantly changing. It’s not staying one thing, but being able to embrace that and honor that and not feel like, “Oh, why aren’t you doing it this way?” Because there no really right or wrong way to practice parkour. There’s just what effect is it having on your life. Is it positive or negative? How are your motivations shifting? Because if this is something that we want to do for the rest of our lives, like many of us do, [00:32:00] it can’t stay the same thing. Life isn’t like that. The person who I was when I started training is a different version of myself than the one now. So it wouldn’t make sense to try to have it be this static thing. So I guess that would be one word to describe the practice.

Another would be purposeful or meaningful. I’m trying to think of the right word. Something around the idea that it has created a touchstone. [00:32:30] Parkour has become a way of thinking about what are correct actions in a given moment and a way of imbuing my life with meaning and giving me a reason to exist. I feel like, definitely, before I trained parkour, there was a large time in my life where I was just killing time, and just fluttering about. There was no organizing principle around my life. Parkour just creates that organizing principle. Like, is what I’m doing [00:33:00] gonna help me be a better practitioner or worse? It helps you make different decisions. Like we touched on earlier, in some of my younger days I would party really hard and do self-destructive behaviors and all these things. When especially for a bunch of those years where my main training things was just those epic long Sunday sessions, if I was going out and getting hammered Saturday night, that day was just lost.

Craig: You took it from yourself. It’s like with [00:33:30] the cupcake. Do you wanna eat the cupcake, you have to carry it over the wall.

Dylan: Right, exactly. Getting into that, what do you want more? Do you want more to do these self-destructive behaviors that seem fun in this moment or do you want to be ready to train, to make gains the next day? In the narrative about yourself, that you’re holding, what type of character do you want to be in the narrative of your own life. Parkour just kind of [00:34:00] helps create that organizing principle where I just start making different decisions and my whole life has just been a much more healthy, happy, satisfied version than I’ve been able to find before that. So many other things tend to fall into place in one’s life outside of that. I’ve found that parkour, if I had to point to one thing, that changed between my kind of like-

Craig: Dylan 1.0 and Dylan 2.0.

Dylan: My angry, dissatisfied, [00:34:30] anxious past self and now which is more satisfied and calm and at peace. Parkour has to be that thing. That change that all these other changes flowed from. I would say purpose-making, if that’s a word.

Craig: Hyphens are free.

Dylan: And then, I mean, I guess the final one would just, and this kind of just brings us back to the initial [00:35:00] description of myself that just blissful. I just love training so much, and it’s fun. That’s kind of the main point of a lot of things. Touching on what we were talking about before about success. At the end of the day, we’re just animals that got smart enough to realize we were here and started having to think about why. The dog doesn’t have these problems. Everything’s all good in the moment. [00:35:30] So, when we’re constructing the meaning of our lives, or deciding what’s important, I definitely feel that having as much joy, as many moments of joy is one way to measure how well things are going. Parkour has just been this joy generator, whether its feeling great after overcoming a physical conditioning challenge or breaking a jump, or just [00:36:00] fun and just play, just a chill session with friends, like, “Oh, What’s that thing you did; I wanna try that thing.” It just creates so many opportunities for just moments of bliss and joy and happiness. That has to be one of the reasons I just want to keep training all the time.

Craig: Thank you very much, Dylan. It’s been a pleasure.

Dylan: Thanks, Craig.