How has your practice affected your life?

Craig: In Parkour, we all talk about fear as a thing that we work, we try to make it an ally, try to use it. And some people talk about the phrases, “Breaking the jump.” And a lot of people who maybe don’t do Parkour, who might listen to the podcast, wouldn’t that be great, those people might have no understanding at all about the fear or this breaking the jump idea. So we stand at the edge of a bridge and [00:15:00] it may or may not scare us, because I’m thinking, “I could actually do a turn vault here and it’s a long way down.” And then that suddenly scares me.

Somebody who would never climb on a railing in any context isn’t the least bit scared. So, it seems to me that this whole idea of fear and how you try to break jumps is something that you don’t even realize that that is there, until you begin doing Parkour. So my question is, is there a similar type of fear or the need to break challenges, maybe, inside the artistic creative process?

Jonny: [00:15:30] Absolutely. Yeah. So people look at what you do, when you’ve got 10,000 hours of work into it, and they go, “Oh, you must just do that stuff fairly effortlessly.” And the fact of the matter is, every new painting, I specifically pick, essentially, a jump to break. I specifically make sure that it’s engineered that there’s something in there that I have no idea how to do it. And none of my skill set has prepared me for it. And you get started, and then eventually you kind [00:16:00] of work around the challenge little bit. And eventually you’re like, “Okay, we gotta do this now.”

Craig: We gotta do this, right.

Jonny: And you may fail miserably. It may be a painting that you leave out on the sidewalk, which I’ve done before after working on it for a full month.

Craig: Let me know where it is the next time. I’ll pick it up.

Jonny: It was gone in twenty minutes. Because I regretted it, I thought about it, about thirty minutes later, I went, “huh.” I peeked out the window and I’m like, “Yeah, it’s gone.”

Craig: It’s gone.

Jonny: And then I did it again. And again. Yeah, I don’t learn from my mistakes very well. But [00:16:30] yeah, you may fail miserably, or you’re gonna break through it, you’re gonna learn something new about yourself, and you’re gonna develop a new skill out of necessity that you didn’t have at the beginning of the painting. So that’s what keeps me excited about making paintings, is because I couldn’t do the same thing over and over again. I have to manufacture some sort of potential failure there.

Craig: Do you have, let’s call that a drive. Do you have that drive before you started doing Parkour?

Jonny: Yes. Absolutely. Yeah, I feel like I’ve lived with the spirit of Parkour before I ever knew [00:17:00] that that was a thing.

Craig: Well that’s interesting, because people come to Parkour from different walks of life and different experiences and different things call to them. And I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone say that the breaking the jump part of Parkour, which scares people to death, when you first start doing this. You’re like, “Seriously? You want me to do what?” I’ve never had someone say that was the part, like, All right.

Dear Diary, today someone said breaking … I mean, I’ve seen lots of different aspects and everybody who does Parkour [00:17:30] for a length of time eventually comes to understand what we mean about breaking the jump and they understand why we do it and why it’s valuable. But I’ve never had somebody say, “Oh yeah, I’ve found that over here in painting.” I’m not laughing at it. That’s awesome.

Jonny: Yeah. Well I’ve sought that out in every other, you know, before Parkour I was deep into kickboxing. And it was the same thing. That fear of.

Craig: I was like, “How do I write the biography for this?” Like, um, do we skip the part where he was hustling in Scotland? Yeah, let’s skip that part.

Jonny: So many stories. But [00:18:00] yeah. Kickboxing, I started when I was really young. I was super drawn to it. Because I was terrified of fighting.

Craig: Being kicked in the head?

Jonny: Yeah. Well no, just fighting in general. You know, I got bullied a lot in school. Just unfortunate, I don’t know if I was necessarily a target over anybody else, but just maybe quieter, nicer than some people, you know? So I’d let people do whatever. So I was terrified of fighting. I didn’t do anything back to people that were bullying me because I was like, “Oh, I don’t know. What happens if you get in a fight?” You know, it was just this fear of the unknown. And then so I was like, “Screw [00:18:30] that, I’m just gonna go take some martial arts and see what happens. Let’s go do it in a safe…”

Craig: I’m gonna pay someone to kick me in the head!

Jonny: Sounds like exactly my life plan, right there. Yes. So I went in and I started doing that kind of stuff, and it scares the living shit out of you to get into a fight with another person. You never know what they’re capable of, whatever. But I like doing it with no anger involved. It was just the, “I don’t know what you’re gonna do to me, I don’t know what you’re bringing to the table here, but let’s find this out.”

Craig: There’s a whole parallel right there between Parkour, if you’re emotional about [00:19:00] the jump. For those of you who don’t do Parkour, we’re not necessarily talking about literally jumping but whatever the thing is you’re trying to do, we call it a jump. The moment when you’re trying to, “Should I do it? Should I not do it?” And you get terrified and emotional? That might be the lesson right there. To just realize that it terrifies you and you’re emotional and then walk away.

So to be able to find that same, that’s a common thread, in the martial arts that you did, in that martial arts thread, you were interested in, the obstacle was, “What’s this dark spot in the corner over here? I don’t know what’s going on. Let’s go over there in the corner.” So that’s [00:19:30] a great parallel there too. So I think you were pretty much destined to be into Parkour. I don’t think you had a choice.

Jonny: I think so.

Craig: You thought you were an artist, no.

Jonny: The moment I met these people.