Gyms

Tyson:
It lasted a little bit. I really like experimenting to find optimal solutions. That’s a big part of my parkour practice too. It’s like I find a challenge that peaks my interest and I try to find the best way for me to maneuver myself from one point to another within that… having that challenge in mind. And I can get really in depth into that where everybody else within the training group or whatever goes off and does something else and I’m like, “No, I still have to do this thing, and I can’t touch this thing because I really want to try this one movement and I don’t have it yet, so I’m going to keep going at it.” And that’s just, I think, a part of my personality.

Tyson:
So, when our equipment was not usable in a lot of different situations, it was only good for one thing and one direction, or whatever, it prompted me to think about, “Well, okay. How could this be refined or changed so that we can get more use out of it, so that we can up its potential?” And I think that was kind of my approach to everything within the business that I was building. It doesn’t feel like a unique skillset for me, it’s just a lot of trial and error. I just felt comfortable with doing the trials and having them fail miserably, learning something from it, and trying it again.

Craig:
Yeah, everything failure should be a lesson. If you’re doing your trials correctly, every failure would be a lesson that you could then apply going forward. How long was it from the first vault box to the first time you tried to create an indoor built space?

Tyson:
So, we didn’t have the opportunity pretty much, which was maybe unique within our position. We were like the third gym that had opened in North America or something like that at that time when we started. And we had a existing program before that teaching parkour outdoors and we had little pieces of equipment, like maybe a balance beam, a couple ball boxes, and a set of parallel bars, I think, is what we opened into the space with, and a whole suit of precision trainers, most likely. But we had saved up as much money as we could, but in our first space which was only 2,000 square feet we didn’t even have enough money to floor the entire gym. We floored half the gym and we used that half as we built up stuff and moved into other things.

Tyson:
So, we were just utilizing what was already in the space, throwing some plywood on it, and calling it a rock climbing wall or something, and bit by bit adding to that. Adding to that and modifying that. We were building in the space for a while and then we rented out kind of a garage nearby in order to build some more stuff so that we didn’t just destroy the gym every single time we built a new obstacle.

Craig:
Still a bit of sawdust, a little bit of broken stuff.

Tyson:
Oh, yeah. no, it was… Sawdust is a pain to get out of the rubber flooring. That process I think taught me a lot about both gym design and obstacle design, and just how much people loved having new opportunities to play… new avenues unlocked, all new things showing up in the gym.

Craig:
Yeah, on the appearance of… Yeah, upon… Right, sorry. Go ahead.

Tyson:
And so the people that were coming to this, it was a glorified garage, our first gym. It had fairly high ceilings but it was 2,000 square feet broken up between rooms. It was pretty tiny. The people that were coming were just… they kind of fell in love with the place. It was a niche, interesting, weird place and we just kept adding niche, interesting, and weird things. The favorite obstacle in that gym was what we called The Awkward Bar, which was a railing that I found at a Arida store that I believe was used for going upstairs, and it was like a triangle shape, and I took that and I mounted that on the wall so that at the top of the railing there was a flat section and then it was a triangle coming back down.

Tyson:
It was the awkward because your first intention was to usually swing through it but that didn’t particularly work, you would hit yourself on your way. You had to orient your body in a very interesting way to make it through this thing, so it just became the awkward bar and it was loved and we kept it throughout PKV’s history. Seeing my students react to that in that way of they found me, they found [Leshays 00:08:29] through that, they found tacks through that, they found precisions to the top of it, which was the craziest challenge when we first found out that we could do that. Seeing them figure out so many different things from just a railing that I bought and literally just put on the wall made me just get really into how many more things can I do? What else can we figure out? We never had the money to be like, “Ideal situation, let’s build out the perfect gym.” If we-

Craig:
Right, so it’s never with cad. Always with standing there like, “Oh, I could do…”

Tyson:
I kind of feel like at that point in time if we had a miracle money source and we had done that, I don’t think we’d have the same gym that we ended up with. I don’t feel like it would have the same culture, the same value that I feel that it exhibited.