How to focus and progress a group without alienating individuals

Craig: We’ve touched on a couple of different topics, kind of going in different directions, and I generally like to encourage guests to bring up random items. You wanted to talk about something in particular, sort of the bigger picture about our “discipline”. And I’m making air quotes around discipline because I don’t want to put it in a box, in preparation for you to form your thoughts.

Jesse: Not what I thought got me into parkour, but some of the contributing, maybe, larger factors [00:18:00] that brought me to parkour, and how I see resonance in other people that have come into parkour. Maybe they didn’t get along with team sports. They didn’t get along with competition. They wanted to do their own thing. And how that has created an emergence of, “Okay, how do we grow this thing? How do we work together? How do we work together in this isolated individual discipline? How do we integrate?” And I see that one of the most important things for me, in that [00:18:30] process, is working through and unpacking my relationship with competition. And my relationship with teamwork, and my relationship with…

Craig: With authority?

Jesse: Absolutely, my relationship with authority. And seeing what part of this is this fucked-up world, and what part of this is this fucked-up me? And seeing whether or not this is some kind of wounded child inside of me, that I can start to heal around it. [00:19:00] Because ultimately if I am modeling, practicing, and teaching, from that point, from that perspective, then I am limiting who will be able to be affected by this. And I don’t want to do that, because I think that we, in parkour, have come to some fantastic realizations of powerful movement practice that are widely applicable and could really help people in their lives. I don’t [00:19:30] want to limit it to just who I was, but I also don’t want to alienate who I was. I don’t want to create anything that I wouldn’t have wanted to be a part of.

And already, just by being a business, just by being an authority, by having a coach, a leader, somebody telling me what to do, how to do it, when to do it…

Craig: It’s kind of the opposite of what brought you in, right?

Jesse: It’s exactly the opposite of what brought me in. So how do I create that environment and the other environment? How do I bridge that gap, how do I [00:20:00] create an understanding of the discipline that isn’t coming from the perspective of a wounded child? And to me, this is something I see, I notice in myself, I’m like the wounded child and the philosopher. I’m both of these things, and I want that to be fully integrated. I want to be really connected with how I was hurt, but not just from that deep [00:20:30] personal perspective of hurt, but also like, “Yeah, I didn’t really like doing those things. I didn’t get along, I didn’t want to play by the rules, I…”

Craig: Team sports.

Jesse: Yeah. But now, can I go and play a game of basketball? I think with systems thinking through game design, it really taught me, “Oh, I can go play a game of basketball, I can just work on my communication. I can just work on my dribbling. I can just work on one small part of the larger complex, intangible game.” [00:21:00] I was unable to focus on what was, to me, operating on this level of mastery. I can just operate in this level of skill and drill, even if I’m playing in a game where everybody else is operating in mastery, we’re all different. We’re all masters of different things. And being on a team is really respecting and honoring that.

And there’s a power to this intangible direction that a group of people can move towards. But there’s an incredible power to working [00:21:30] together towards a single focus. And that is my challenge now. How do I work with people towards a single focus?

Craig: And facilitate that.

Jesse: How do we grow in this direction? It’s easy to grow in any direction when it’s just you. But if you want to be a part of something larger than yourself, you need to respect the larger social experiment. The larger [00:22:00] chemistry. What is the reaction when these elements are coming together? And is that purely respectful and honoring of everybody’s individual intentions and effort and attention?

Craig: It seems to me that goes both ways. It’s also that person, let’s call them the “broken child”, that we’re talking about, the broken child has to realize that they’re gonna outgrow that, or they’re gonna be healed, or they’re gonna move up or out and into the bigger tribal society. [00:22:30] But there’s also the exact opposite, which is just as important, which is that the tribe has to realize, the tribe’s job is not to fix the broken child.

The tribe’s job is to facilitate whatever the broken child, that’s a horrible metaphor, whatever the broken child needs. That person needs x, or y, or z. And it’s the tribe’s job to provide those things. So the tribe is responsible for that person, the fact that they’re broken, the fact that they need help, the tribe is responsible for that. And they have to facilitate that. They have to figure out what works in this person’s [00:23:00] particular situation. So that’s a very interesting point that you bring up.

Jesse: Yeah. And bringing it up that way, the tribe has to facilitate the needs, like that is ultimately the healing, is the tribe and the person deciding that nobody is broken here. Everybody has different needs, everybody has different value, everybody is bringing something new to the table. Can we hold space for that and allow that to emerge in the way that it will?

Craig: It just brought us all the way back to the circle.

Jesse: Or, [00:23:30] do we have to tell people how to do things, and how they’re wrong, and how they’re not good enough? Is that the only way to grow? Is that the only way to…

Craig: How’s that worked out so far? Let’s go back a couple million years, or last two thousand years, how’s that worked out?

Jesse: Yeah.