On PK Move curriculum development

Craig: Sean, I mentioned in the introduction that you’re part of the PK Move Board, but it think it’s also important for people to know that you were really critical, according to Nancy and her team you were really critical in the curriculum development for PK Silver. I think that people may not be aware of the level of work that went into getting from the idea of how to teach Parkour to people, to making it actually be something that can be done reproducibly and safely, so I would love to hear more about how much of that you’d want to unpack.

Sean: As you might imagine the number one reaction, and really the only reaction I get when I tell somebody, “Yeah, I teach Parkour to grandma,” is like, “How? How does that work?” It’s pretty obvious why that reaction comes through because our reputation-

Craig: Precedes us.

Sean: Precedes us, right. So the fun thing about that … the challenging thing about is on two tracks, working on the perception, and then actually developing the curriculum that will actually change the perception. It is a big challenge [inaudible 00:02:14], I developed a curriculum before for everyone ages 3 to 35, assuming a certain level of fitness, that’s a certain type of Parkour, and that’s the one that everybody knows about, that most people even in their 20s think, “It’s going to kill me if I try it.”

Craig: Right, right.

Sean: It’s like, “Yeah, I got granny t off the roof, son. How do you like them apples?” You know.

Craig: You better start laying down.

Sean: How?

Craig: [Inaudible 00:02:38].

Sean: Even within the community itself, like when Nancy and I presented PK Silver at Art of Retreat, it wasn’t so much pushback, but it was a great deal of curiosity like, “How exactly are we [inaudible 00:02:55]? Is it so vague as to … Is it even Parkour now?”

Craig: Right.

Sean: “If an 80 year old can do it, is it actually Parkour?” So it’s a good challenge to kind of, to …

Craig: Figure out, well, you have to figure out first what does Parkour really mean to you, and then how do you design, how do you build out from or on that.

Sean: Exactly. So the first thing I have to do was just scrap everything I had written up to that point.

Craig: But I guess that would be considered learning experience, like all right, so throw that out, right, and then …

Sean: Well, yeah, because it’s a whole new challenge so you need a whole new solution for it. Well, it’s not whole new in the sense that someone over the age of 65 still has arms and legs, usually.

Craig: Right. Well, [inaudible 00:03:38] arms and legs, and they speak English, right? You can talk to them.

Sean: Yeah, and they still need to get from one place to another. Now their locomotion is going to be highly constrained depending on their situation, but most of the time as you get over 65 your movement, your getting from A to B is within your own house most of the time. That can be pretty challenging for someone who’s 75 and has fallen, and whose hip is a little bit creaky, and whose knees don’t work, and they’re scared of going down to the basement to get something.

Craig: Yeah, and deconditioned.

Sean: That’s your Superman front flip off the roof.

Craig: Right. You’re talking about my mom’s, my parent’s generation, and to them the laundry machines are usually in the basement, and laundry becomes a challenge.

Sean: What if we apply the same mindset, and the same curriculum to that challenge that we would getting a teenager to do a backflip off of a parking garage, not that we didn’t.

Craig: It’s not recommended, [crosstalk 00:04:32].

Sean: We don’t necessarily promote that behavior but yeah, it is super cool, and you can do it, but you take the same approach. First, make it a game, take the fear away from it, and turn it into exploration. There is a big scary monster in the basement called this week’s laundry.

Craig: Right.

Sean: Okay, how are we going to confront the monster? Well, what’s the game? Well, the game is get downstairs. What are the tools you can use? Okay, well, what’s our locomotive skillset for going down some stairs? It’s probably going to be walking.

Craig: Walking or butt scooting.

Sean: The most underrated skill in Parkour is walking, correctly. I like to … I would try to explain it to kids unsuccessfully, in like my six to eight classes, because they want … they’d come to a Parkour gym, and they want to live a video game. They’re like, “All right, well-

Craig: I’m going to backflip off the parking garage.

Sean: Yeah, we’re going to do all that, but we’re also going to really walk well. So, “Yawn, bro-

Craig: “I got that. I got that.”

Sean: “Shut up, child. Here is the thing. I know you’re playing your Mine Crafts and your Tomb Raiders, and your Super Mario Worlds.” I know there’s a lot of running, jumping, climbing, flipping, rolling, whatever in it, but most of the time you’re just walking around.

Craig: Right.

Sean: Don’t forget that, walking is the most basic and useful form of exploration, and that’s how you get treasure chest, and a [crosstalk 00:05:47].

Craig: Arguably human being’s secret power, our super power is walking.

Sean: Yeah, the magic mushroom, although I didn’t advocate magic mushroom ingestion by children.

Craig: So how does it work out with the kids classes when you give them the magic mushroom? Does that turn into a …

Sean: It runs a lot smoother, you just got to make sure that parents aren’t looking. They’re usually not, they’re on their phones.

Craig: That’s a whole another discussion. All right, so scary laundry monster in the basement, walking locomotion.

Sean: Yeah, and so you apply that mindset to the task of how do we get downstairs to confront laundry monster, and that’s where the basis of curriculum comes from, because you think, “All right, well Parkour is multidimensional, and 3D, so is going downstairs. How many different ways are there to go downstairs?” Ask that question first, make it fun. Well, what’s the way that scares you? Just going down forward.

Craig: Yeah, face first, that’s usually the scariest one.

Sean: Well, of course that scares you, that’s the most risk-laden way to go downstairs, let’s try it 10 different ways, and see which one is the most gentle, which one is actually kind of interesting, which one is the one where you can face a guard rail and act like you’re sneaking. Close up to the wall, going down it, now you can feel like a ninja and your knees don’t hurt, and it’s kind of sneaky and fun, and you’re actually doing like 20 squats on your way down and up.

Craig: Yup, and on the way up, right.

Sean: Yeah, so you’re sneaking in the fitness, while solving the problem, while making it entertaining, while engaging their imagination, while removing the fear of the thing that they didn’t want to do.