Transcript for “Play – with Nick Anastasia”

Episode, Play – with Nick Anastasia

00:00.60
craig
Hello I’m Craig Constantine welcome to the movers mindset podcast where I talk with movement enthusiasts to find out who they are what they do and why they do it. My guest today is Nick Anastasia welcome Nick my pleasure I’m always excited.

00:14.00
Nick
Thanks Craig nice to be here.

00:40.40
craig
Say that all the time. Um, but as I’ve been mentioning I was going to do ah like ah an old sesame street today’s episode is brought to you by the number 6 and the letter a you know, but as I’ve been mentioning recently this week that is to say may 27th through the 29th this weekend.

00:40.74
Nick
Um.

01:12.80
craig
Nick will be at the move and Nyc event in Manhattan don’t fastforward people that’s root you should immediately press pause though and rush to the movement creative.com don’t forget the the at the front. The movementc creative dot com to get your event tickets. So there’s that okay, now let move on our homework we can go play. Ah, nick welcome back to the show. We could make a case to say that you are guest number 3 there was one. It was almost the podcast that didn’t get recorded that happened in a car way long ago in San Antonio Texas those who were those who were there know what it was but you and I did a Skype call. Way back when like 2017 I don’t I actually probably still have it recorded but anyway and it was part of my trying to collect people’s thoughts and publishing them on a website as writing that’s how the mover’s mindset started Nick knows this? Um, so in a way it’s like ooh you know repeat guest. Um, but also you and I have had a chance to talk a lot over the years at various events and it’s always been super fun to see the way you think and how you move and I I like to ask people questions before we warm up and we like quickly got to talking about play and talking about how these days. I I think I would agree with you. We would probably both say what do you do? Oh I play a lot you know I would say I’m a big dumb kid I don’t know about you. Um, and I yeah I say it all the time I have terrible self-talk I think that when I saw so your session for move ny see eventually I’ll pick a direction.

03:42.58
Nick
Um, try not to say dumb.

04:07.10
Nick
He.

04:24.70
craig
Your recession for bomyc is about underbars and to me I was like oh yeah, that’s totally what I expect to see Nick doing like you have a very um I don’t want to say quadripedal like that you’re always working with 4 limbs in contact with something but you have a very. Maybe like spider-like in my opinion spider-like way of moving where don’t be distracted by the fact that it’s unusual which limbs are engaged but the movement is still going to be powerful and flowing and I’m I’m wondering if there was a time where. Like I’m going to call the land of bars suddenly became visible to you like in the beginning people start jumping on stuff and they’re jumping on stuff where they’re running from point to point B and I’m just wondering if there are any None memories where you got exposed to bars or playground sets or like what was that None glimpse of The. The Fertile Valley Beyond of New space.

05:58.28
Nick
But all right, there’s a there’s a curve ball. Ah so I mean I mean you’re you’re totally right? that that it’s funny that like there are so many people in the parkor space that end up being attracted to bars and swinging. When like Parkor is such a like developed in the outside in the urban jungle whatever um, and you know I guess if you do that training like in Manhattan or in a big city where there is scaffolding everywhere then you have bars but like I certainly didn’t start like I started training in suburbia where like you know, very much. Jumping on concrete walls and ledges and you know maybe a handrell every so often, but there wasn’t a lot of stuff to swing on. Um, but once I ah started training and then coaching with sparkware generations boston that all of our indoor. Classes that we we don’t have a gym here in Boston but we have a bunch of spaces that we use through community centers and other spaces and we bring in scaffolding and and build our own training spaces and so as soon as I had scaffolding I was like oh great I can. Jump and climb and swing and find sort of a new movement style on all of this which which then because a lot of what the other stuff I do outside of parkor is like making and building things and I was like great I have this lego set of jungle gyms that I want to you know.

09:13.58
craig
M.

09:07.96
Nick
Find find movements in the ones we have and then say like okay cool I can do this movement on this shape device or you know or obstacle what about this other movement if I modify the obstacle slightly and you know so that’s led me down a long rabbit hole of.

09:55.46
craig
M.

09:45.40
Nick
Design a lot of our bigger setups here in Boston now and it’s a lot of thinking about what weird spaces can I create to inspire movements and I think some of it has as you said like my my style of movement is not. Big impact or you know big jumps. It’s just not what I particularly enjoy and so I like finding small spaces and technical weird challenges and be like oh I’m going to like twist myself in this awkward way and swing through this gap and over under through and however it works.

11:14.58
craig
Um, I think there’s sometimes sometimes people there can be a contention about built spaces versus found spaces and and Nick’s nodding along for those who can’t see video which is everybody the the.

11:02.90
Nick
A.

11:47.84
craig
My original take on it was like yeah park war should be done outside and you know you should have callouses from the brick walls and then when I started having the opportunity first to like you know None they tease you they they bring built stuff and they put it outside and then you’re you’re like ah you’re like a confused like a confused dog.

12:02.42
Nick
So.

12:18.36
craig
Like wait is it indoors or is it outdoors is this a built space or a found space. Well technically I didn’t built it I Just walked up to it So it’s a found space you know, eventually I just like shut up and go you know like but I think there’s a lot to be said for and and you were kind of hinting at how the built.

12:13.60
Nick
So there you go.

12:52.40
craig
Space and I don’t mean architecture built I mean like you know we’re building a purpose built parkor or movement or art D Du Pla Small free running space. There’s a lot to be said for that purpose built Space Enables humans to like make tools and toys that light up other people’s creativity and. Playground designers are going Yeah du like we’ve been doing that for decades Man. That’s what playgrounds are for all the people out and you know we’re all like yeah but could we have a playground that the adults can play On. So I think there’s a lot of creativity that you kind of glossed over there about like I’ve seen a few of your bar sets like um, a few seen a lot of your bar sets.

13:18.88
Nick
And if.

13:46.46
Nick
Um.

14:08.64
craig
You know and and they don’t all look the same and he like oh how many ways can you combine you know, key clamps and size 7 scaf pipes schedule 40 with an occasional you know a lot. Yeah, a lot right? you know and then I see you guys with little tinker toy models and I’m just like well that’s kind of crazy but then like oh yeah I mean you wouldn’t want to spend 17 hours putting the thing together to find out.

14:06.32
Nick
I haven’t run out yet.

14:46.76
craig
Oh I Missed an elbow you know so Ranch session. So I’m so I’m just wondering. Do you find that after people get exposed to that. Um, you know because I know you you coach a lot too and help train coaches.

14:33.32
Nick
But yeah I’ve done that it’s not fun.

15:24.34
craig
Do you find that like I’m going to say the regular people like regular people will come to a class. Yeah it it opens their curiosity and their creativity. But then do they kind of get bummed out when they go outside and it’s like oh well in my neighborhood. All I have is a park bench and a curb. You know like are are we kind of spoiling them or I mean I know there’s positives to it but are we also kind of spoiling them because the insight space is so awesome.

15:57.46
Nick
Um I I think yes and no and and the reaction will change sort of the more time that people put in on it. Um, because like we have we have a particular. Ah, space for our classes here in Boston that’s in a rock climbing gym that is like the biggest permanent setup that we have and we’ve built it in different configurations over the years and because it’s in the rock climbing gym. It’s got really tall ceilings so we build it really tall and.

17:17.55
craig
Damn tall. Yes, like been on top like well shit this is high.

17:10.70
Nick
And yeah, and and it’s one of those things that when people who have never trained before or never taken a class come to their none time and they’ll be very intimidated by it because they walk in and. And that your eye is immediately drawn up the thing to be like there’s a platform None or fourteen feet off the ground. What what’s that for and it was like well it’s not for you on your first day and that’s fine, but and and there’s.

18:19.00
craig
Um, right.

18:18.00
Nick
1 of the things that I struggle with as a person who designs these spaces is the like the density of obstacles because the biggest difference I find between training in these built indoor spaces versus I also coach regularly outside.

18:44.26
craig
Um.

18:53.90
Nick
And those you know found outdoor spaces is the density and that I can train on an indoor space and do move after move after move taking None steps in between and having infinite options of which direction I could go every time I put a hand or a foot down. Ah. Whereas outside. It could be argued that you still have infinite options of movement on flat ground um or or open space. You don’t have infinite options of but obstacles you can interact with at that moment whereas when I’m in a big bar set I can you know land somewhere.

20:06.00
craig
Um.

20:10.60
Nick
And probably be able to go up down left right? backwards in None different ways I could swing jump crawl climb slide any of those things whereas if I’m outside you know I’ve vault over a wall if I’m lucky. There’s another wall there but more often than not I’ve jumped over the None wall and then I’ve got to take a couple running steps to get to. Um, whatever that next obstacle is and like there are certainly spaces out there that you know we we tend to go towards that our have that density of obstacles because you know as as we all like to joke that parkor is running jumping and climbing. But we all hate running neglect climbing and love jumping.

21:18.26
craig
Are.

21:38.64
craig
Oh busted I think there’s ah, you’re making a great point there about maybe one of the things that I love the most about going to events is the is the trekking part of it. You know now if you go to the same event over and over you start to know the places and you know we’re going to this spot. You know the names for things that we’re going to scoops or whatever. But I I think there’s even then I I don’t know what we’re doing when I get to you know the classic handicap ramps over on this street or what like I don’t know what the coach is Goingnna want to do. But there’s just something fun about.

22:08.70
Nick
Um.

22:30.38
Nick
Are.

22:52.62
craig
Moving from place to place you know with just the equipment that you come. You know like I got legs and I got arms and we’re going from a to b and even when it’s just we’re really just walking or maybe it’s a light jog you still, you still get the feeling of moving um and because you are moving and and you get the feeling of going and discovering and. That’s the thing that I think I miss if I train in gyms too often like if I am allowed to go every Wednesday and every Tuesday and I’m going to train all the time then it’s like oh yes, I’m here again, you know I’m in this space and yes I could get a workout. Um, but there’s just something magical about. The openness of being outdoors and moving forward through spaces.

23:54.70
Nick
Yeah, and I mean I think there’s something about you know how often those spaces get changed up and how they get changed up because I know like here in in our classes. You know there’s some of the obstacles are moveable and they can be shifted around and and even moving things. A little bit can create a whole.

24:42.18
craig
Who.

24:32.54
Nick
Series of new challenges. But I mean I I totally appreciate the the idea of the the outdoor classes I I teach a class every Wednesday here in Boston that meets in harvard square and it is unique among all of our outdoor classes in that we meet at a spot. Meet at the same spot every week we warm up at that spot every week and then the end of the warmup is a ten or fifteen minute jog to somewhere within a mile of that spot and so every week my same class is you know, spreading out and and finding all these different variety of spots.

25:32.12
craig
Um, only.

25:46.10
craig
Right.

25:43.60
Nick
Um, and I I think that is like that is my favorite class to coach that I’ve been doing I’ve been coaching that class for seven or eight years now every Wednesday but just having that variety of like and even seven years later I’m still finding new little mini spots within. You know a mile of that same starting spot and like it’s one of those things that we like to joke about like um as as park war people like oh you know we’re jumping on big concrete structures like they’re not going to change but in in somewhere like Harvard square that’s like a busy like there’s you know.

27:05.88
craig
Yeah, Urban and dense.

26:56.12
Nick
University is always building new stuff like stuff gets torn down and things get built up like you’ve you’ve saw last year at at american rendezvous here in in September that the Summerville high school that was our main spot got torn down and they they rebuilt the whole thing and the spot’s completely changed and so as much as we like to say like oh yeah, these like.

27:30.18
craig
Um, the whole building’s gone and yeah.

27:35.80
Nick
Concrete structures that we train on are are permanent as we we like to think of them and those jumps will always be there sometimes they go away and but then hopefully we get new fun stuff in in its place.

28:03.74
craig
Um, yeah I mean well I think it’s you’re right? It’s fun by definition like the discovery part of it makes it fun. You know the discovery not so not even just for the coach but the discovery for the student who shows up on their first day.

28:09.62
Nick
8

28:38.34
craig
You know you take them to that same spot and like yeah, we’ve been there a thousand times and then this person shows up and does something and you’re like I’ve never done that before like there’s always discovery even in the same space because somebody who’s two inches shorter or taller or wider or longer or faster. Whatever they see different things that I think is the the beauty god.

28:39.10
Nick
Brett.

28:51.50
Nick
Yeah, so so so on that point so the other workshop I’m teaching this weekend which this this one’s actually the way they’ve set it up this one’s for kids. But if any adults are there and hear this and want to talk to me about it I had offered to run it as an adult workshop but they ran out of schedule space.

29:32.22
craig
To stoop I.

29:30.60
Nick
Um, but I’m I’m running a workshop this one’s focused for kids called building roots without a plan and what I mean by that is um I feel like a lot of focus is put into picking out your line and your root. And practicing parts of the movements and get everything to flow like as perfectly as possible which is super fun and totally a valid way to train and definitely a thing I do but I like to think of the idea of improvisation in parkor in sort of 2 different lenses. And so that’s that’s sort of None lines of like what is this space going to inspire me to do and I’m going to pick pick and choose my perfect movements and put them together as well as possible and that’s still improvisation in reaction to the space. But there’s also just like reactionary improvisation like you’re running full speed. You come around a corner. You have no idea what’s there. And just like go. You’re you know, moving to whatever is in front of you and so I’ll I’ll be doing this sort of series of games along that line of like here’s a space that you haven’t had time to get familiar with and you’re just going to move through it and you know figure out whatever happens and it’s not going to be the perfect. Leanest best moves you ever done. But it’s still fun and very educational and like really helps you work on your footwork because you’ll find out real quick like what moves you’re going to sort of default to as comfortable and easy and you’re like you know you come around the corner and quickly be like oh man that looks like.

32:38.74
craig
Boom.

32:40.96
Nick
If I had 10 minutes to prep it I could like dive kong that but right exactly but the other side of that is so there’s some like you know, sort of blind finding space. But there’s also I have this series of games where you’re sort of.

32:58.12
craig
Um, everything turns into a stepfat right.

33:16.18
Nick
Working through someone else’s eyes so you can work with a partner and have a partner following you and your partner has a couple different ways of sort of telling you what to do as you go through this space and just like you were saying when like new person comes to a spot that you’ve been to for 100 years ah and like does this thing like I’ve never seen that idea before. It’s cool to sort of have that in real time of None people going through a space together. None person you know, interpreting some vague instructions. Another person be like oh yeah tried did you look at going over there. Did you had you thought about doing this movement here and just sort of.

34:29.56
craig
There? yeah.

34:29.12
Nick
Pushing you to to interpret that space in ways that you wouldn’t have and be like yeah I I never would have tried to do you know a diveral over under through whatever this funky space is but it took my time and I you know made it work and. You know and you might come out and be like yep and I still wouldn’t do a diver all through there but ah.

35:20.70
craig
Nope yeah there’s an interesting interaction isn’t there about when you put people, especially they don’t know each other if you put people together in a space you know and like as I do I have imposter syndrome at all times if somebody like well all right? but I have imposter syndrome but I can still move while being an imposter. So I go in and I do something and then somebody else goes. Ah, that’s you know, maybe not. That’s awesome, but that’s interesting I hadt never thought of that so it sort of validates. It validates your own creativity and then like everybody doing that that feeds on each other like None person then says oh well if they’re willing to go in there and try something that. They thought was silly but I thought it was cool. Maybe my silly thing would be cool to this other person and then you get this virtuous feedback loop happening and um, you can kind of construct that by lower and go an indoor space where it’s safe and nobody can see you and all this stuff. But then once they get it outside. It. It sort of changes how they look at movement. Which leads us in a great big lovely circle all the way back to that’s kind of like play and I sort of asked you you know I said well you know what’s none thing that comes to mind when I say movement and you were kind of like well sort of play and then I asked how you know how long have you thought about it that way like. Can you remember when you were doing things but you wouldn’t have answered play but you would’ve said other things and there’s some like ah a coherence or a focus that I think everybody gets it but you clearly have gotten it about yeah, it’s play I’m just wondering if you remember what it was like when you were playing but didn’t realize that’s what you were doing like. What what were those things that you were doing that you would not say yeah I was playing but you wouldn’t have said play back then.

38:21.72
Nick
I mean like so I’ve sort of been you know jumping around and in ways like that my entire life through like roller blading on ramps and mountain biking and and ah you know. Google jumping stilts if you want a weird rabbit hole to follow down on the internet but ah, but you know it had like I wasn’t particularly introspective about my movement at that point I think once I got into coaching and both being able to like watch other people move and. And help help improve them and then now doing a little bit of coaching coaches is even more so of like thinking about why why you’re doing some of these things and and not even necessarily why you’re doing it. But.

39:56.24
craig
Um.

40:11.62
Nick
How it affects how how even thinking about what you’re doing affects what you’re doing whereas just like you know fifteen years ago like I just want to jump over this cool thing or just like I just want to do a backlip or I want to you know launch off this ramp? Whatever it is and like get that cool satisfying feeling of flying through the air. But then taking the time to step back and be like well you know if I’m analyzing why I’m you know why do I want to jump over that and you know where’s what other ways can I do it and and what can I bring to other people or what what can other people’s ideas about you know this same space bring to me. Um, and it’s just it’s just a ah more sort of complicated way of like hanging out with your friends and playing with blocks when or little kids like we’re put. We’re putting the blocks together. But we’re just building really weird. Strange blocks.

42:01.18
craig
Um I agree blocks for blocks sake all right nick as much as I hate to say it every time I go to say it I will just say and of course the final question 3 words to describe your practice.

42:18.84
Nick
Ah, here we are again. Um I I think so I I’ve just sort of had um, had this sort of kicking around for a while that I think it just comes down to ah Move. Make and learn and I bounce back and forth between learn and teach. But I think learn is is the right way to go because I always want to be learning and if if people also learn from me then great, but. As long as I keep bringing in new ideas and new things then hopefully just by doing stuff I’ll put those ideas back out into the world.

44:11.80
craig
Terrific as I say often because I mean it well. Nick thank you so much for taking the time today. It was ah wonderful. I’m going to say walk down memory lane like. Awesome! Great to see you again. I’m excited to see you this weekend I hope the feeling is mutual so I will just say thanks for taking the time Nick.

44:25.80
Nick
Yeah, all right? Thanks Craig yeah I’m looking forward to having longer form conversations this weekend.