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.