An Authentic Connection



Andy Fisher:
Yeah, yeah, and that’s about authenticity as well. A long time ago I realized, I went down cynical, the pastoral route in teaching. Which is, I teach my subject, but I also, my career development has not been towards becoming a headmaster or a head of department. It’s been about being responsible for the pastoral care of the peoples I teach. For seven years, I was Housemaster, I had 116 kids who I was responsible for.

Andy Fisher:
And if there was a bereavement, or a divorce, or significant illness. I was the front-line of call for that family, and for that child, and you don’t have authentic connection, unless you come authentically yourself, and a good example of that is that during the last four or five years. My father had a very rapid onset of cancer, and he died, and rather than hide that from the kids, I bought that into my conversation in the room with them, we talked about death, and we talked about bereavement, and we… Because when you’re teaching literature those themes come up in time.

Craig:
They’re in there, right.

Andy Fisher:
Yeah, you can either pretend that you are not a human being, going through what you’re going through, or you can take the risk of saying this is where I’m at, and this is what I… You know, guys if I’m struggling a bit at the moment, this is why. What was remarkable about that, was the degree of compassion that they bought to that relationship. I’ll always stand by the idea that I’ve learned more from my kids than I’ve taught them, and any decent teacher I think that’s the case. Because these young people are remarkable in terms of their integrity, and their openness, and their willingness to embrace [crosstalk 00:09:05] change.

Craig:
In a variety, there’s so much difference.

Andy Fisher:
Yeah, and it’s really easy to adopt this idea of. I’m older, I’m the teacher, they’re the child, they don’t know anything, and my God when you get into their worlds, and the things they’ve gone through. It’s really humbling that they’re able to turn up, some of these guys, and be in the classroom at all.

Craig:
Right.

Andy Fisher:
In that sense yeah, It’s a career that’s a privilege, and the challenge of teaching these days is all of the politics, and the hoop-jumping that you need to do in order to get the grades that they’re required to have, but I think of my teaching as, my subject matter is a closed source, upon which I hand the important stuff. Which is, having an authentic connection with these young people, and becoming a role model in the truest sense, and that not a model of how to get it right, but a model of what you do when you get it wrong as well, you know.

Andy Fisher:
I love it, it’s a great job.

Reaching beyond the self


Andy Fisher:
Yeah exactly, and that’s still there to an extent. Dan’s got this great distinction between the training session, and the challenge. If you don’t know whether you can complete it, it’s a challenge, but if you know that you can do this, it’s not a challenge, it’s just training. I’ve always tried to push the envelope and embrace challenges. I, a couple of years back I did as many burpees as I could within six hours, to raise money for charity.

Andy Fisher:
It was to raise money to have a well dug in the Congo for the Pygmy peoples there, who were suffering dysentery unnecessarily. I didn’t know how many I could do, and rendezvous it happened the week before, and I was a guest instructor there teaching self-defense, and I dislocated a finger, whilst I was instructing it, and somebody just collided, and I popped it back in. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Craig:
You still have soft tissue damage.

Andy Fisher:
Exactly, I knew I had 1500 burpees to do in the six hours. I had no idea whether I could do that, but it’s just a nice round number, and…

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Three words to describe your practice

Craig:
Forgot about the tide, and of course the final question. Three words to describe your practice.

Andy Fisher:
Okay, I’m going to work on the assumption that my practice is defined by more than my physical movement, it’s my philosophy or approach in general. I have a tattoo on my right arm, and the top, it’s the date of my marriage, and at the bottom, it’s the date of my son’s birth, and in between, there are three phrases, and it’s basically the summation of my philosophy in life. It’s hard to read because it’s in Elvish. But essentially it says, ‘Be here now, Speak softly, or tread softly, speak kindly.’ Of those three, I think, ‘Be here now’ Would be my philosophy.

Craig:
Thank you very much. Andy, it’s been a pleasure.

Andy Fisher:
Thank you, it’s been great fun.

The Hero Forge




Andy Fisher:
Exactly, Dan was invited as a guest speaker to the Hero Roundtable, run by Matt Langdon. It’s a great event, it happens a couple of… Well, now more than a couple of times a year in different parts of the world. They were coming to the UK, and Matt had asked Dan, “Do you know anybody who might be to contribute to this? And given the weirdness of my journey, and the fact that Dan and I often sit down and talk philosophy, and all kinds of things, he put me forward.

Andy Fisher:
And I didn’t know what I had to say about heroism. I have no idea, what do you want me to talk about? And Dan said, “Well you’re going to have to figure that out, just go away and put…” The Hero Forge the book, was a book I wrote to figure out what I wanted to say on that stage in a five to 10-minute talk. Now it became far more than that, but that was the impetus. I need to write to figure out what I have to say. It came at a really poignant point in my life, in that I become a dad, and I became a dad quite late. I was 44, when my dad had me, he was 26, and my father was dying of cancer.

Andy Fisher:
It came at this point where I realized that the chances are that I won’t be able to mentor my son all the way through adulthood, in the way that my father had with me. Because I started later- and who knows how short Your life is you know, things change. I started thinking, ‘What would be the legacy, the message that I’d want to leave Kit, my son, on what it is to be a good man, and to lead a good life, and to make a difference? The Hero Forge became the instruction manual that I’d want to leave to my son of here’s what I figured out. Not necessarily that I embody or live, but what I think are some of the answers to living a life where you are able to look back and go, “I’m comfortable without it.”

Craig:
Life well lived.

Andy Fisher:
Exactly, yeah, and heroism for me has always been a verb, not a noun. It’s a doing thing, and it’s transitory, and so it was about how do you conduct yourself on this journey through life.

Andy Fisher:
I wrote the book, I wrote what I had to say, and then I went along and delivered this talk at the Barbican in London. Which we’re not too far away from now actually.

Craig:
I’m like, “Hey, well that’s where we-“

Andy Fisher:
Isn’t that strange? Yeah, we’ve come full circle.

Andy Fisher:
And it went down well, and then I stayed in touch with Matt, and I realized that the most useful thing. Well, the thing I enjoyed most about that journey, was actually meeting other people who I’d talked to about this, and they were remarkable people, and I thought. ‘Well, maybe this is the, it could be the beginning of an ongoing conversation [crosstalk 00:28:48] not the end of it.’ The podcast emerged out of that, and yeah, I never intended it to be something that went on forever.

Andy Fisher:
It was going to go on for as long as the energy was there, and I felt that I had something of value to add to it, and I interviewed just remarkable people, and it was as you say, it was, I didn’t realize that the pace I was setting was by most people’s standards, unrealistic. It was just once a week I committed to put something out, It had to happen in the evenings and weekends, and usually, the people I was talking to were in different time zones. All the production of that was all a one-man team, the social media, everything I did myself. I came to a natural end at that point, I went out with Dan again, we both presented a Roundtable in San Francisco, which was April last year I think.

Craig:
I believe so, I seriously considered getting a plane ticket. I was like, “Oh.” But I was really busy in April.

Andy Fisher:
It was wonderful, and I got to meet Phil Zimbardo, and it just… Incredible people, we had a wonderful time, I went to Alcatraz, and I had a couple of days of being at a play there as well, and when I came back, I just had this feeling like, ‘I think I’m probably done on this now. I think, what I had to say, and what I had to contribute.’

060. Andy Fisher: Full Transcript

Craig: Welcome to the Movers Mindset Podcast, where I interview movement enthusiasts to find out who they are, what they do, and why they do it. This week, Andy Fisher discusses being a teacher, why he loves it, and how his pursuit of his passions relates to the classroom. He shares his unique and unexpected movement journey before explaining how all of that relates to the passion projects he regularly pursues, such as the Thronin and Hero Forge projects. Andy discusses his thoughts on efficacy, his current struggles, and how he manages and works towards overcoming them. But before we begin, I’d like to ask. Have you noticed there are little Easter eggs at the very end of each episode?

Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.

Andy: Hi, I’m Andy Fisher.

Craig: Andy Fisher is a teacher, photographer, author, husband, and father, among many other things. A man of many talents, Andy is also an obstacle course racer, a wilderness survival instructor, and has been a longtime teacher of practical self-protection skills. In addition to survival, and protection, Andy also teaches English at a secondary school in Norwich, and finds that to be the most dangerous job he’s yet experienced. Welcome, Andy.

Andy: Thanks, I’m looking forward to the conversation.

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Meet the team: Craig


I’m passionate about sharing stories. We are hard-wired to love stories, and they are often the gateway to terrific conversations. Understanding each other is the key to successful societies, and the podcast is my way of helping you to better understand both those who I interview and, through introspection, yourself.

~ Craig — Project creator and voice of the podcast

060. Andy Fisher: Teaching, journey, and efficacy

060. Andy Fisher: Teaching, journey, and efficacy

 
 
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Andy Fisher discusses being a teacher, why he loves it, and how his pursuit of his passions relates to the classroom. He shares his unique and unexpected movement journey before explaining how all of that relates to the passion projects he regularly pursues, such as the Thronin and Hero Forge projects. Andy discusses his thoughts on efficacy, his current struggles and how he manages and works towards overcoming them. 

Continue Reading…