April 27, 2020
Physically conquering mental limitations is the ethos of Parkour according to this young psychology student. What really *is* parkour? Don’t trust the click baity facebook posts, trust this guy. He tells Geth how jumping on random stuff helps him clear his mind.
213 — Parkour Yoda
[00:00:06] CHRIS: Hello to all my free runners and trickers. It’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names, no holds barred.
[00:00:19] THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun. And I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me.
[00:00:29] CHRIS: [music transition] Hello, everybody. Chris Gethard here. Welcome to Beautiful Anonymous. So happy to talk to you again. And I tell you, I’ve seen feedback lately that people are saying the show is really striking a chord because they feel like they get to just hear a human conversation outside their house. That means the world, really means the world. Couple of things to say. One: this is not something they even asked me about. I just saw it that they were plugging it. Shellshag does all the music for the show and they’ve done it for years. And I think the theme song to the show really fits. And I think the fans have always really enjoyed it. Shellshag’s doing a thing right now where they’re selling their entire back catalog for 30 bucks. 300 songs. You get 300 songs. So if you appreciate what they’ve done for our show and you enjoy their music and you think you might enjoy more, you can get everything they have ever done. Go to their Bandcamp, Shellshag. Great people. Listen this call, you’re gonna dig it. Last week was all coronavirus. We talked to an EMT and I was happy to see that a lot of people felt like it was good to hear her and her own words. Also, a lot of people have been to the Satan House in Long Island. That was nice to see. Someone in the Facebook group actually posted a picture of the Satan House. If you want to go, check out the thread revolving around that episode. Also, people telling me that my opinions on Hispanic grandma is correct. They are loving and they love babies. And someone pointed out that there is a name for them. I was scared to mispronounce it…abuelitas? So to all the abuelitas of Jackson Heights. Thank you for helping me feel like my son was loved and safe. This call couldn’t be less about coronavirus, everybody. I don’t know if we even mention it once. Maybe just in passing. Here’s what this calls about: parkour. You know those videos we see on Facebook and YouTube where it’s parkour, where it’s people jumping around? It’s all about parkour. This is a simple call, person really digs parkour. End of story. It’s enlightening. Tell you what, there’s a lot more drama in the parkour world than you and I know. If you’re like me, parkour might not even be what you think it is. There’s like other things that are encroaching on parkour and it kinda, there’s drama there in the parkour world. There’s a whole world of parkour. We’re gonna hear about it. Thanks for listening. This one’s COVID free. So if you’re looking for some escapism an audio description of a very physical activity for an hour, enjoy it.
[00:03:18] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [Beep]
[00:03:26] CALLER: Hello?
[00:03:27] CHRIS: Hi.
[00:03:28] CALLER: Oh, my gosh. Hello! What’s going on?
[00:03:33] CHRIS: What’s going on? Let’s see. I had a good day. I managed to get a lot of work done. And then I ate some lunch and I went in the backyard and I played with Cal. It was a good day.
[00:03:45] CALLER: That sounds like an awesome day. The weather is really sunny here. Is it sunny where you are?
[00:03:52] CHRIS: It’s actually gorgeous where I am. And it’s been really rainy. So that’s a very welcome change of pace for the old mental health.
[00:04:00] CALLER: Yeah, same here. We’re going to get rain tomorrow. So I did my best and made the most of today so far.
[00:04:06] CHRIS: Yeah. You gotta. You gotta jump on these opportunities when they come along.
[00:04:10] CALLER: Yeah, that’s for sure.
[00:04:13] CHRIS: Now, how are you?
[00:04:15] CALLER: Today I’m feeling pretty great. I went outside, did a bunch of flips, took the dog for a walk. Pretty good day.
[00:04:27] CHRIS: Want to make sure I heard you right. Sounded like you said you did flips.
[00:04:33] CALLER: Yes, I did flips. [laughing]
[00:04:36] CHRIS: Why you doing flips?
[00:04:39] CALLER: Flips are fun. So about when I was in middle school, I started doing parkour. Do you know what parkour is?
[00:04:46] CHRIS: Yeah, parkour is when you like run up walls and jump off banisters and stuff, right? And a lot of stunt men do it.
[00:04:52] CALLER: Yeah. I mean you probably see a lot of click bait-y YouTube videos of people jumping off buildings and stuff. But it’s a lot more low key than that. But yeah. I was outside and I was practicing my flips today.
[00:05:06] CHRIS: So you started doing parkour in middle school?
[00:05:10] CALLER: Yeah. A couple friends, they found a gym near where I live and we started taking lessons. And ever since then, I’ve been doing it. Funny thing is now I teach at that gym. So I went from being a student there to being a teacher there.
[00:05:25] CHRIS: Can I ask how old you are now?
[00:05:28] CALLER: I just turned 21 on Thursday.
[00:05:30] CHRIS: So you’ve been doing this what? It sounds like about 10, 11 years?
[00:05:34] CALLER: It’s been like, yeah, it’s crazy to think about.
[00:05:40] CHRIS: Man. So you’re just walking down the street. When you say flip, you’re not talking like somersault on the ground, you’re talking like you’re just walking –
[00:05:47] CALLER: No I’m talking like –
[00:05:50] CHRIS: – And then you’re up in the air. And then you’re back on the ground and you just keep walking.
[00:05:56] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, I’m not doing it like in the streets and stuff. There’s a field that I went to that was by my house that I went to that was open and clear and it was sunny. So I went there and did a bunch of flips.
[00:06:09] CHRIS: When you say a bunch, how many are you talkin’?
[00:06:12] CALLER: I don’t know, I wasn’t keeping count. I was out there for probably like an hour and a half.
[00:06:17] CHRIS: Now, some people who listen to the podcast, they just know my voice. That’s fine. I’m into it. Do you happen to know what I look like?
[00:06:27] CALLER: [laughing] Yes, I do know what you look like.
[00:06:29] CHRIS: So based on your just basic assessment from having seen me and having heard me say things I say…what percentage chance would you say I could complete a flip in the way you were doing flips in a field today?
[00:06:45] CALLER: Ooooh that’s hard. What are we talking like, could we do it in a day like are you being taught or are you just doing it by yourself?
[00:06:53] CHRIS: Great questions. So I feel like the implication there is that if I just went out and tried it today, zero percentage chance, which I would believe. Thank you for being kind. You danced around that. So then that begs the real question then right? If I was to take classes with you…or better yet, private lessons with you, one- on-one. How long do you think we’d have to put in before I could do a flip akin to the flips you did today?
[00:07:21] CALLER: If we’re just talking like a backflip, right? It could take…like if you’re really committed to it, it could probably take like a few days maybe.
[00:07:30] CHRIS: A few days, me?
[00:07:32] CALLER: A few days, yeah.
[00:07:34] CHRIS: Standing still on the ground. And then I could jump up in the air and do a backflip and land successfully on my feet.
[00:07:42] CALLER: Yeah. I’ve helped teach 58-year-old women how to do backflips.
[00:07:48] CHRIS: If you could really teach me how to do that within a couple of days, you’d have to be like a Yoda level teacher.
[00:07:58] CALLER: [laughing] Well, I wouldn’t say I’m that skilled, but I think we can pull it off.
[00:08:04] CHRIS: If I trained with you for a month every day. What do you think the most badass thing you could have me doing at the end of the month would be?
[00:08:16] CALLER: Well there are so many things like especially when teaching, like I usually teach kids. But teaching adults is so much different because I can explain things a lot easier. So it’d probably take less time for you to learn than it would like a 10-year-old kid to learn. Because even though they’re like fearless and they don’t like…they’re fearless and they don’t really care so much about getting hurt, but they don’t necessarily listen as well. So I don’t know, I think we could have you doing some pretty cool stuff.
[00:08:46] CHRIS: Interesting. Interesting. Because we had to delay, we had to delay the Beautiful Cononymous for a year. But I’m sitting here thinking, what if I do some parkour training? And next year at the rescheduled Con, one of the things I do is a parkour demonstration –
[00:09:05] CALLER: [laughing] Oh that would be hilarious. That’d be great.
[00:09:08] CHRIS: No one sees it coming. I’m not going to ask you to reveal too much. Do you live on the East Coast?
[00:09:14] CALLER: I do. Yeah.
[00:09:15] CHRIS: Ooohh! Maybe someday, maybe someday we’ll make it happen if I come through your city.
[00:09:22] CALLER: That would be awesome. That would be sweet.
[00:09:24] CHRIS: Yeah. You said you were 21, right?
[00:09:29] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:09:30] CHRIS: You, a 21-year-old parkour prodigy teaching me, a young father who’s about to turn 40, who has a joint disease that severely affects his knees.
[00:09:45] CALLER: Yeah, I mean, as long as you’re willing to put in the work for it, I don’t see why not.
[00:09:49] CHRIS: Wow, now when you train someone like me is…so when you teach at a gym. Are are there like pits full of foam cubes and stuff so you can try stuff and not seriously injure yourself the first times?
[00:10:03] CALLER: Yeah. So I teach in a gymnastics gym, which isn’t really the most ideal place for it simply because there’s a lot going on in there. But yeah, we have mats. We have a spring floor, we have a foam pit, we got trampolines. So things are pretty padded and pretty safe.
[00:10:23] CHRIS: Damn. Now, I’ll tell you something, I’ll tell you two things. Actually, one, I don’t know if I can because there’s a nondisclosure agreement. I’ll figure out how to phrase it. One: when I was a kid, I used to be able to do backflips off a diving board, but they weren’t like full flips. They were more like, do you know the wrestling move the moon salt?
[00:10:45] CALLER: I have no idea what you’re talking about. Nope.
[00:10:47] CHRIS: It’s like they climb to the top rope and they do a backflip, but they generally aren’t landing on their feet. They’re landing on their stomachs so they can come across their opponent who is prone on the ground. So basically you flip over my…like do a backflip and land pretty much in the belly flop and then.
[00:11:04] CALLER: Yeah so –
[00:11:05] CHRIS: Yeah no, you answer. Go for it. I want to hear your opinions on this.
[00:11:08] CALLER: So, yeah, that’s kind of like on trampolines, there’s this move that’s called the Cody. And basically it’s a backflip from your belly. So basically you can do a backflip land on your belly and that’s basically the setup for it. So I totally understand what you mean.
[00:11:23] CHRIS: Wow, you speak with a cool-headed confidence about parkour in a way that actually makes me believe you could teach me to become passable, passable at parkour.
[00:11:34] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, anybody can. I mean, I’ve taught 6-year-olds. Like I said, I taught a 58-year-old woman. And it just comes down to you pushing yourself really. I mean, you can…there are people in parkour that don’t do flips at all. And there are people in parkour that only do flips. It’s really based on what you want to learn. And as long as you’re committed to putting the work in, you can most likely get there.
[00:12:01] CHRIS: I love that. I love that it’s basic, it’s inspirational. And like many things, it comes down to the hard work. Now, when you do parkour, are you at this point now that you’re an instructor, are you mostly focused on teaching? Are you doing parkour in the streets like some of these videos we see? Are there parkour competitions that I don’t know about?
[00:12:23] CALLER: Oooh that’s a lot of questions at once. OK.
[00:12:25] CHRIS: Sorry. I’m excited. I think you could tell. I’m very excited about this.
[00:12:28] CALLER: No it’s totally OK. It’s OK. I want to answer all of them. So I’m still trying to kind of find that balance between teaching and being an athlete. I mean, I use the gym in the off hours sometimes when nobody’s really around so I can go in early and do my own thing. I’ve been trying to get outside more recently because the weather is getting nice. And in the past few years I haven’t really done a whole lot outside, mainly because like where I live, there’s not many people who do parkour. And sometimes training alone can be dangerous and it can even look suspicious, you know? If I’m just out walking on the streets and someone sees me jumping on things like, who’s that guy, you know?
[00:13:10] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah, I do. Big time.
[00:13:13] CALLER: I forgot, what was the second question you asked?
[00:13:16] CHRIS: Are there parkour competitions?
[00:13:19] CALLER: Oh, yes, there definitely parkour competitions.
[00:13:21] CHRIS: People take it seriously?
[00:13:24] CALLER: Yeah. And like parkour is not a super competitive sport. There are competitions at like a worldwide level, but it’s like all the athletes are friends with each other anyway. So you can have an athlete in Australia that’s friends with someone here in America. And it’s like they’ll travel across the world and just meet up and do flips and jumps together. So it’s not like a competitive atmosphere where everyone’s trying to be better than everyone else. It’s more of like a collaborative thing.
[00:13:55] CHRIS: That’s cool. So it sounds like it has like some stuff in common with like the skateboarding community in that way, maybe like the rock climbing community in that way, it seems kind of like the middle ground between those two things in a strange sense.
[00:14:13] CALLER: Yeah, definitely like the community is more on par with like the skateboarding community because that’s something that I’ve been somewhat involved in. I’m not so sure about rock climbing, but I think the whole idea of like being on the streets and stuff. The community is really similar to like what that was like. And like even how it’s progressed is really similar to what skateboarding was back in the beginning when it was really getting popular.
[00:14:40] CHRIS: Now do…when the parkour people show up, do you get respect from the skateboarders? Cause skateboarders are very territorial. And I think they used to roll their eyes at the rollerbladers. So I’m wondering. Do you guys have to kind of earn your props from the skateboarders?
[00:14:59] CALLER: I don’t know. I mean, like as far as extreme sports goes nowadays, I don’t think there’s really a whole lot of competition. I mean, I wouldn’t really know. I’m not heavily into like any other extreme sports communities right now. But if we’re like in the same space, we’ll respect that and let the skateboarders do their thing and we’ll do our thing. I mean, I wouldn’t see that there’d be a conflict. But I can see where you’re coming from though.
[00:15:27] CHRIS: I mean, I’m just inventing feuds in my head is what I’m doing. I’m just making up arbitrary turf wars that it sounds like don’t exist. And thank you for handling my idiotic question gracefully.
[00:15:42] CALLER: Now, I mean, if we’re talking like parkour and gymnastics, that’s quite a bit different.
[00:15:47] CHRIS: Really?
[00:15:49] CALLER: Yeah, it’s weird. ‘Cause like, was it last year or the year before? The Federation for International Gymnastics wanted to like take parkour as one of their disciplines. And there was a big conflict between the people in parkour being like you can’t take over our sport and like be the governing body when you have no idea what you’re doing kind of thing. But the past couple of years have kind of died down and we’re still trying to figure things out. So there’s a little bit of tension there.
[00:16:23] CHRIS: Wow. The brewing parkour versus gymnastics war that’s bubbling right under the surface. It’s like the Cuban Missile Crisis.
[00:16:33] CALLER: It’s kind of funny because I work in a gymnastics gym teaching parkour. So it’s like where do I fall, you know?
[00:16:39] CHRIS: Is everybody throwing side-eyes at you all the time? Are all the gymnastics people just chalking up their hands and squinting their eyes at you?
[00:16:45] CALLER: No, they have no idea what’s going on because parkour is so small that like, it’s not something that they even really know about. Like, I don’t think anybody in like – I don’t think anybody that I work with can name a single parkour athlete that’s like famous.
[00:17:02] CHRIS: Who are the famous parkour athletes?
[00:17:06] CALLER: One of my favorites is Jason Paul. He is from Germany. I met him five years ago and he’s one of the most sincere people ever. We have Sydney Olson, she’s pretty cool. Jesse La Flair also pretty cool. Yeah, I could list so many, but.
[00:17:26] CHRIS: And what makes them…what makes them so good in your mind?
[00:17:33] CALLER: Well, as far as Jason goes, he is like not one of the grandfathers I would say, but like one of the people who’s influenced the sport a whole lot. And he’s just really skilled and he has a really specific style about him. Like, you know how – I know you’re really into music – how like one band will have a really different style than another band even if they’re in the same genre?
[00:17:59] CHRIS: Yes. Yes, I know of what you speak.
[00:18:01] CALLER: So like that’s really similar with like parkour athletes. Like basically if you showed me a silhouette of two different athletes, I’d be able to tell you who they are simply because of the way they move and how different it is, even though they’re both doing relatively the same thing.
[00:18:19] CHRIS: And how does it work? Are you studying them on video or going to see them in person? Do you like find out about people on message boards? Is there like…there’s a whole parkour community out there.
[00:18:30] CALLER: Yeah it’s – well, mainly it’s on Instagram right now. And like back in like 2010, 2011, it was really big on YouTube and it kind of died down from YouTube because making like a ten-minute long parkour video is a lot harder than posting like a 20 second clip. So it kind of moved its way to Instagram from there. And I just follow the athletes and keep up with them and stuff.
[00:18:57] CHRIS: And how do you…how are people making a living off of it? Are there people…is it sponsorships, teaching? What else? I know a lot of stunt work right? There’s a lot of parkour people who get into stunt work.
[00:19:10] CALLER: Yeah, like a lot of different…there’s a few different avenues you can go down. One is sponsorships. Some companies sponsor athletes. Competitions is another one. I mean, there aren’t many competitions, but some people have made some of their money through competitions. There is stunt work, of course. Another one is like videography. No, not the word I was looking for, cinematography is what I’m looking for. Like some of the people have shifted less away from parkour and more about making the videos for parkour. So they’ll do like commercial stuff and movie stuff.
[00:19:50] CHRIS: Ahh, they come in as the expert in this style.
[00:19:53] CALLER: Yeah. Like, oh, my gosh. Oh, the movie Six Underground. It was on Netflix recently. You know, like the beginning of the year. And a big parkour group was able to, like be the stunt men in it and they did a fantastic job. And it was like one of the best parkour sequences that I’ve seen in movies, because a lot of the people that are in Hollywood don’t know how to film parkour correctly. And they always do like…it’s hard to explain it in words, you have to see it, but they just don’t film in a way that’s really true to like the movement I guess to sound pretentious about it.
[00:20:34] CHRIS: This is awesome. And it’s not pretentious ’cause any time I get to talk to somebody who’s really passionate about a thing I know nothing about, I think that’s a pretty good hour of my life. Sincerely, this is really working for me.
[00:20:52] CHRIS: [music transition] I meant it when I said it. I bet there’s a lot of people nodding their heads going, yes. You’re passionate. You’re explaining the passion to me. That’s what life is for! Let’s take a break. We’ll be right back.
[00:21:12] CHRIS: [music transition] Break’s over. I hope that during the actual break, people were out there trying to do standing backflips.
[00:21:20] CHRIS: Any time I get to talk to somebody who’s really passionate about a thing I know nothing about, I think that’s a pretty good hour of my life. Sincerely, this is really working for me.
[00:21:32] CALLER: Oh, nice I’m glad. I know it’s something that not a lot of people have heard about. So I figured it’d be interesting.
[00:21:39] CHRIS: And do you…is teaching parkour, is that your gig?
[00:21:43] CALLER: Oh, yeah, that’s my…it’s like my passion right now for sure.
[00:21:47] CHRIS: But I mean like, do you have another job beyond that or are you paying all the bills just via teaching?
[00:21:54] CALLER: I still live with my parents. I’m still in school. So right now I’m doing school and I’m teaching. So that’s kind of what I’m doing right now. As far as the future goes, I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I hope to teach for as long as I can. And maybe if I’m lucky, someone I know will open up a parkour gym and I’ll be able to teach there.
[00:22:19] CHRIS: This is cool. Now, OK, I’m going to start asking some ridiculous questions, but I just –
[00:22:24] CALLER: OK, that’s fine.
[00:22:25] CHRIS: OK, so you just mentioned you’re still in school. I know when I was in school, I started doing comedy on campus. And all of a sudden – I was this like very shy, depressed kid – but then all of a sudden people start going, ‘hey, you’re good at this, this and that’. So then I started, you know, I would go to parties and stuff. And I’m trying to be real funny to impress people, especially people who I had some romantic inclinations towards. When you go to a college party, if you see somebody there, you’re like, yeah. I kind of dig that person. Are you like, ‘hey, everybody, check this out’. And then you, like, jump up on the dresser and do like a four hundred twenty degree corkscrew landing on one hand with your legs splayed just to show them your physical capabilities?
[00:23:14] CALLER: [laughing] I mean, I commute to college and I’m very much an introvert, so I don’t go to college parties. But if I’m ever like around a campfire or something, that sounds kind of like something I might do.
[00:23:28] CHRIS: Wow. So you’re –
[00:23:30] CALLER: I mean I wouldn’t do it to like…hmm?
[00:23:33] CHRIS: No, you wouldn’t do it, what?
[00:23:34] CALLER: I wouldn’t do it in the ‘hey, look at me’ kind of way. It’s like, I would do it because like, not necessarily I’m bored, but like, I need to move my body. Like, I have too much energy sometimes. If I have too much energy, like doing flips and jumps and stuff will definitely help me get out that energy.
[00:23:54] CHRIS: This is awesome. So you walk around your college campus, you’re a commuter. Commuters always, I would say outside of commuter schools. But if you’re not going to a full-on commuter school, people are…it’s like a class thing. ‘Oh, they’re the commuters’. You don’t get to know as many people. You’re walking around, people don’t even realize there’s a goddamn superhero in the midst.
[00:24:14] CALLER: [laughing] Yeah, it’s kind of fun like…sometimes – there’s this like statue that’s outside our library. And sometimes I’ll go and do jumps and stuff out there. And like, since I’m quiet, no one really like, knows who I am. So that mystique of like ‘who’s that kid doing all those cool flips?’ It’s kind of cool sometimes.
[00:24:31] CHRIS: That’s cool. You’re just the guy doing flips on campus every now and then.
[00:24:36] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:24:37] CHRIS: Just because the spirit moves you in the moment and you got to get some energy out.
[00:24:41] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:24:42] CHRIS: I like that.
[00:24:43] CALLER: It’s all…yeah, it’s hard to describe why I do it but, yeah.
[00:24:50] CHRIS: Now…weird. OK, here’s a weird thing, because my college passion was when I started doing comedy, specifically improv, and I haven’t done improv in a bunch of years, but I think a lot of people…a lot of the comedy nerds in this world kind of know me as an improviser. And they will because I was so dedicated to it. But I remember once doing a show and this is gonna sound cocky, but I’m talking about, you know, doing it constantly, multiple times a week, teaching it just like you. This was my parkour was improv back in the day. And I remember I did a show where I realized that’s the best show I’ve ever done and I don’t think I can do a better show. I don’t think I can do better than that, I don’t think I’ll get there again. I exceeded the peak of what I thought I would be able to pull off, and that was part of why I stopped doing it. That’s part of why I moved on to stand up. Have you ever pulled off a move that you’ve never been able to pull off again? Are there things you’ve been attempting that are like your great white whale of parkour?
[00:25:56] CALLER: Oh, well that’s hard to say. Because like there are definitely times where I’ve done things that are cool by accident. So those are probably the things that I can’t do again. But as far as like the cool tricks and stuff, I’m not at the point where I’m like losing them, so to speak. Like, I know as I get older, there’ll probably be stuff that I do now that I won’t be able to do then. You know what I mean?
[00:26:25] CHRIS: Mmmm-hmm.
[00:26:28] CALLER: There are times, where I’m like if I don’t practice something for a long time, it’ll take me a while to get back into the groove of it. But I mean, that’s as far as that goes, I guess. It’s really just a matter of like constantly pushing yourself to go further and further and like that sounds bad, but – and it’s scary – but that’s where I find a lot of the passion and the feeling of accomplishment comes from.
[00:26:57] CHRIS: Here’s the closest I’ve ever come to doing parkour. And it was a couple months ago. So do you know – are you familiar with what a Baby Bjorn is?
[00:27:10] CALLER: No.
[00:27:11] CHRIS: You’ve seen these things. It’s when people walk down the street and they have like, it’s like a backpack on the front with a baby sticking out of it. You know what I mean?
[00:27:20] CALLER: Oh gotcha, yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:27:21] CHRIS: Yeah, the Baby Bjorn. So I had the baby Bjorn on. And I got little Cal. I got cool Cal hanging off my chest and my belly. And the problem with the Baby Bjorn is that his head is kind of in the line of your sight so you don’t have your full peripheral vision. And I was going down the staircase in my building and I kind of overstepped the step and my heel hit the back of the step. I go down.
[00:27:48] CALLER: Oh no! That’s a scary moment.
[00:27:49] CHRIS: Yeah, I’m falling down the steps. I got cool Cal hanging off me. I’m falling down the steps. My wife is with me. And luckily I do some jujitsu and they teach you how to fall. That’s the first thing they teach you is like we’re just going to throw you around a lot so that you know how to land and not break bones because you can land. Right? So I managed to basically twist midair, do a break fall, as we call it in jujitsu and kind of slide down a hallway. And the kid was laughing. He thought it was so fun. Cal was just cackling with joy. Hallie was terrified. I was terrified. A guy who lives in the building saw it, ran over and was like, ‘oh, my God. Oh, my God’. He like thought he saw a tragedy. Hallie later told me, she goes, ‘I’ve never seen you do something klutzier. But then instantly, I’ve also never seen you do something more graceful’. That was the probably closest I’ve ever come to parkour in my life. Falling down a staircase.
[00:28:46] CALLER: Yeah I’ve definitely had a lot of those moments.
[00:28:50] CHRIS: Is that one of the early lessons, though? Like if you’re falling and you’re out of control, you don’t post with your hand because you’ll break…you’ll blow out your elbows. Stuff like that, right?
[00:28:59] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, that’s kind of stuff that I try to hammer into the kids as soon as possible. I don’t…it’s really hard to teach kids how to fall because like there are times in class we’ll be practicing falling and I’ll like push them over because it’s really hard to get that unpredictability and that’s where it’s really important to know what you’re doing. Is to know like – is not knowing when you’re going to fall.
[00:29:26] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah.
[00:29:28] CALLER: So it’s definitely something that I keep in mind when I try to teach them as much as I can really. I think that a lot of it comes with experience.
[00:29:37] CHRIS: What’s the goal? You said you want parkour to be your focus. You said it’s your passion. Is the goal…the goal is to turn this into something. Teach at a real full-on non-gymnastics shared parkour gym. I would imagine maybe down the line, start your own parkour gym. Are you hoping that this is your career path? Because it seems like one. I would have to imagine that your parents are going, ‘parkour’s cool, but you need a backup plan’.
[00:30:05] CALLER: I mean, probably they haven’t said that yet, but that’s probably what they’re thinking. Well, I mean, like since I am in school, that’s like kind of my backup plan. So once I get out of school, I’ll have a degree under my belt and I’ll be able to apply that somewhere because I think even if I do get some other job, I’m still going to want to be teaching. I’m still gonna be training and doing flips. So I don’t know, the future is really uncertain right now as far as that goes. But I want to be teaching and I want to be jumping as long as I can. If I make and build my own parkour gym, then that would be the optimal outcome. But whatever comes, comes, I guess.
[00:30:51] CHRIS: What’s your degree going to be in?
[00:30:54] CALLER: I’m studying psychology.
[00:30:56] CHRIS: Psychology. I can see that having some major applications to doing flips in the sky.
[00:31:04] CALLER: Oh yeah, for sure. And definitely working with kids. That definitely helps a boatload.
[00:31:10] CHRIS: Overcoming fears. Convincing people to look past their self-set limitations. Understanding how the way people’s minds work outside of the gym might be affecting the way they can perform in the gym. Sports psychology in general, major applications. Did you pick that major knowing in your guts that it might help you do the thing you really loved the most?
[00:31:36] CALLER: I mean…not entirely. Like in high school, I took like a very basic intro to psychology kind of class and I was really good at it and I really liked it. And like, I didn’t declare my major until like my sophomore year of college. So I mean, I probably knew that I was going to be able to apply it, but I just didn’t know how much I’d be able to.
[00:32:02] CHRIS: Yeah I dug too hard on that one. It’s fair to say.
[00:32:06] CALLER: [laughing] Well, I mean, all the things that you say like they’re true. So it’s not like you’re reaching.
[00:32:11] CHRIS: Well I also – I’ve always been impressed by this with sports in general. Specifically individual sports, because there is a phenomenon right, where a record will be set like let’s say in track the world record will be set. People say, ‘well, it’s impossible to run that distance in X amount of time’. And then one person eventually does it. And then all of a sudden other people find out that they can do it as well, where there’s clearly something psychological to barriers and limitations are set, but when one person pokes a hole in that, all of a sudden they don’t apply to people who assumed they could not have done that before that person did it. Something very, very interesting. I bet there’s stuff like that in parkour. I bet there’s stuff – are there moments, are there watershed moments where you go…because Tony Hawk in the skating world, he has a bunch of them, right? Where it’s like nobody ever thought that was possible. He went and did it. And now there’s other people who do it. That’s psychological if you ask me.
[00:33:19] CALLER: Yeah. And then what’s crazy is that like that then sets the standard, right? Because like after Tony Hawk did the first 900 that was like what everybody was striving for. You know? So it’s like it kind of – it definitely changes the community, and I think it tells everybody to push a little bit harder and go a little bit further.
[00:33:40] CHRIS: It’s cool. I need something like this in my life. I need something like this in my life. I mean, jujitsu is the closest I have, but at least parkour you’re not getting – you’re like getting thrashed because of choices you make that lead to disastrous falls, not other people attacking you because you invite them to.
[00:34:01] CALLER: Yeah. What’s really kind of funny about this whole thing is like I’m a tiny human right?
[00:34:08] CHRIS: Really?
[00:34:08] CALLER: I’m probably like five…yeah. I’m like 5’4″ and I weigh like 125 pounds soaking wet.
[00:34:15] CHRIS: In my mind I saw you as like a strapping uber athlete with rock hard abs and prominent pecs.
[00:34:22] CALLER: [laughing] Like, I’m definitely fit for sure but I’m not some like, gargantuan guy who can do like 15-foot standing jumps, you know? So like. What like, however you push yourself, it’s always to your own scale, right? So like something that might be difficult for you might not be difficult for somebody else –
[00:34:43] CHRIS: Like you.
[00:34:44] CALLER: – versus something that’s really hard for me could be something really easy for other people. And that’s kind of where like the individual part comes in, where it’s great because like, I could train with one of my friends and he’ll be really good at something. And I’ll be like, ‘oh, how do you do that?’ And then he can teach me and I can teach him. And it’s that back and forth that like really helps to motivate us and inspire us.
[00:35:08] CHRIS: I love it. I love it. My wife has a background as an aerialist type of dance on harnesses. It’s really badass and she has a lot of respect in that world and actually has a number of friends who work for Cirque de Soleil. And I tell you, I once saw one of the shows in Orlando and it blew my mind. And there was some stuff in there that these guys had to have been parkour guys where they did a whole act where they had a fake building with open windows. These guys are running up the walls doing flips, they’re landing on trampolines and like bouncing up four stories right through the windows or like running – using the trampolines to run up a four story wall and then do like a swan dive back onto the trampoline. That was, it was jaw dropping. I never forgot it.
[00:36:00] CALLER: Oh, yeah. But…it’s definitely awesome to watch, I will say. But just a clarification that I want to make. So there are definitely people in the community that are like, ‘parkour doesn’t do flips. Only free runners do flips’.
[00:36:17] CHRIS: What is free runners?
[00:36:19] CALLER: So free running. So, OK.
[00:36:21] CHRIS: There’s another thing?
[00:36:25] CALLER: [laughing] Kind of. So free running is like probably the parkour that you’re thinking of where the people are running and jumping and doing flips between buildings and stuff –
[00:36:34] CHRIS: And like off of cars and landing on a banister. And then –
[00:36:38] CALLER: Yeah. Where like parkour is just like no flips. It’s just speed. It’s just efficiency. And like in my mind, the two things are the same. But when you say like the guys in Cirque du Soleil are doing parkour, there are definitely some people that are like, that’s actually not parkour and –
[00:36:56] CHRIS: Hold on, hold on, hold the goddamn phone [laughing]. Because in my mind I’ve been envisioning that and I bet, I think – correct me if I’m wrong. I think a lot of people probably when you tell them you do parkour, they think that.
[00:37:09] CALLER: Yeah. And like, that’s true. Like, I call them the same thing.
[00:37:13] CHRIS: So wait. What the fuck is parkour then?
[00:37:19] CHRIS: [music transition] Game changer revelation, parkour is not what we thought it was. Am I the only one who thought parkour was this other thing? What is this other thing? We’ll find out that and more when we get back.
[00:37:36] CHRIS: [music transition] Parkour is not parkour. What is it then? We’ll find out.
[00:37:42] CHRIS: So wait. What the fuck is parkour then?
[00:37:48] CALLER: [laughing] So parkour is what you’ve been envisioning the whole time, right?
[00:37:52] CHRIS: But I’m seeing the flips and stuff. You’re saying that’s something called free running that I’ve never heard of in my life.
[00:37:56] CALLER: OK. So it’s really hard to explain this description. So parkour is basically like just obstacle courses. Not obstacle courses, but like obstacles. Getting over like a bunch of rocks and stuff as fast as you can. Whereas free runners do the flips and they make it creative. So like free running is the creative side where parkour is like the speed efficiency side, if that makes more sense.
[00:38:27] CHRIS: So parkour would be more akin to like an Olympic event. Free running would be more of a creative expression.
[00:38:36] CALLER: Exactly. I just call them both parkour because I think the distinction is basically pointless since most athletes don’t distinguish themselves one way or another. But I know that if anybody is listening who is a parkour purist, they’re going to get mad at you.
[00:38:53] CHRIS: [laughing] There’s purists, there’s elitists, there’s parkour elitists out there?
[00:38:57] CALLER: Oh yeah. Oh, yeah.
[00:39:00] CHRIS: That rules. That’s so funny. And these people are mad at me. Because you said it before. I noticed you said ‘you probably seen on like Facebook, those click bait-y videos’ and you said it with a little scorn in there. And I noticed. And that’s what this is. These show offs, these show offs who are probably doing stuff that’s not even that hard, editing it, putting a flashy soundtrack on it. And now everybody thinks that they’re the kings of parkour. Meanwhile, the people really in the trenches know these guys aren’t getting up rocks so fast. They could get up rocks faster than those guys, right?
[00:39:37] CALLER: Yeah. [laughing] I mean, kind of. It’s like, imagine like you want Cal to play baseball, right? And you’re thinking like major leagues. And then you get really disappointed when he goes to play tee ball. Like that’s the kind of distinction that I make with the clickbait-y stuff. Because when you say parkour, people automatically think the highest level insane stuff when a lot of the time that’s not realistic.
[00:40:04] CHRIS: Right. Right. Man, who knew? Who knew there was such a layered, tumultuous world of politics behind people who like, do backflips off the base of a statue in a public park.
[00:40:23] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, like, honestly, everyone in the parkour community is really cool. I have not met anybody who’s like really set in their ways about ‘this is parkour and this is free running’. But, I’ve just seen some people online. Like in reality, most people are probably OK with training with whoever.
[00:40:44] CHRIS: Yeah but you got to hedge your bets. You’ve got to make sure that it’s at least on record, that you know that this debate is out there. I like what – I like how you think of that. Attention any parkour elitists listening to Beautiful Anonymous: our caller is aware of the difference and isn’t out here looking for you to call them a poser on Twitter.
[00:41:07] CALLER: [laughing] I mean, I’ve been doing this for like ten, eleven years now, so I think I should probably know the difference.
[00:41:12] CHRIS: Now, if I took a private – do you teach private lessons?
[00:41:17] CALLER: Yeah, I do private lessons sometimes.
[00:41:19] CHRIS: Now if I told you – let’s talk business here. It’s anonymous. If I take a private lesson with you. How much is this gonna run me?
[00:41:26] CALLER: Uhhh…see like that’s the thing. It really depends on what the student’s looking for.
[00:41:32] CHRIS: I wanna do a standing backflip. I want to do a standing backflip and land on my feet. You said you could teach me that in a few days. Let’s say I paid for a week where we met for a private lesson everyday focusing just on a standing backflip. How much? How much is that week gonna cost me to learn how to do this because I’m getting interested, seriously.
[00:41:51] CALLER: Yeah. I mean like…see like the thing is, are you really gonna be at it for more than like an hour and a half at a time?
[00:41:59] CHRIS: I would imagine, no. I would imagine that’s about as much time as I can give you each day.
[00:42:04] CALLER: Yeah. So since I like, am not like the most amazing parkour teacher out there, even though you think I’m obviously pretty good, but I’d say like $40/$45 for the hour now.
[00:42:19] CHRIS: And so it’s for the week it’s going to cost me about…$200-$250 bucks. And you’re confident that if we met on a Monday and then met every day for an hour and a half, I, Chris Gethard…a guy who falls down steps can do a standing backflip and land gracefully.
[00:42:41] CALLER: Yeah I mean, there are obviously variables. Not everybody learns the same way at the same pace. But I think if you really put your head down and committed to it, yeah.
[00:42:50] CHRIS: We’re going to do this. We’re gonna do this. I know Jared’s listening in, Anita’s listening in. If it’s okay with you, we’re just gonna privately…we’re gonna get some contact info somehow and you’re going to teach me how to do some backflips and it’s gonna be. Yeah. And then someday, you know, when I go and do live shows, I’ll incorporate them into my comedy. I’ll incorporate them. It’ll be really good. It’ll be really good. It’ll add a whole new layer to my stand up routine when I can just do some back flips.
[00:43:23] CALLER: [laughing] Sounds like a deal. I’ve yet to see a backflipping comedian, I must say.
[00:43:27] CHRIS: That could be my thing. I could finally have a thing like Jeff Foxworthy has ‘you might be a redneck’. Larry the Cable Guy has ‘get ‘er done’. I could be the backflip guy. Like when I hit a hard punch line – I hit a hard punch line, drop the mic and do three backflips in a row. That would be an incredible signature move as a comedian.
[00:43:52] CALLER: Maybe I’ll take up comedy and I’ll do it. [laughing] Just kidding, I’m not that funny.
[00:43:57] CHRIS: Well, we’ll meet for a week. You teach me backflips. I’ll teach you the secret ways of comedy. We’ll be each other’s Yodas. And we’ll both walk out of this with new skills.
[00:44:10] CALLER: That would be fantastic.
[00:44:12] CHRIS: And then I’ll charge you $45 dollars an hour and it’ll just cancel out.
[00:44:18] CALLER: Perfect. I mean, we probably still have to pay the gym though. To use the facility.
[00:44:22] CHRIS: Right. Right, right. Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah. You got…you gotta do that. I like it. Was this what you were planning on talking about because you just said flips and you walked your dog and then I jumped on this and now it’s been 41 minutes. I hope that I didn’t totally eat up all your time.
[00:44:44] CALLER: No, it’s totally fine. Like whenever I thought about like calling in, like what I would talk about, like parkour was the most unique thing about me. So why not talk about that?
[00:44:56] CHRIS: I love it.
[00:44:57] CALLER: I mean, it’s on my mind all the time anyway.
[00:44:59] CHRIS: Now you mentioned that you started with a couple friends back in the day. Are they still doing it?
[00:45:06] CALLER: No.
[00:45:07] CHRIS: Are you still friends with them?
[00:45:08] CALLER: They dropped out like – no. They dropped like a couple – because we all played baseball together and pretty soon we were like now we want to do this instead of baseball and they all did other sports and stuff. And two of my friends dropped out a couple of years later. So it was just me and one of my other friends. And he stayed in a little bit longer, but then he eventually dropped. I took a break for a while and then I came back and then. But, yeah no, we’re no longer friends. We don’t talk to each other very much.
[00:45:42] CHRIS: And you’ve just been wandering this lonely parkour road on your own, doing your soul searching on your own individual journey.
[00:45:48] CALLER: Well I mean, I’ve made friends since.
[00:45:50] CHRIS: Oh, I wanted to think of it in my mind as if you were like a wandering Roman –
[00:45:56] CALLER: Some lone ranger.
[00:45:56] CHRIS: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. But yeah, no, I guess you just make new friends. Yeah, I guess you just make new friends at the gym. Yeah, it’s probably more simple than that.
[00:46:06] CALLER: Yeah. I mean I only really have one friend right now who’s into it because I don’t really teach many teenagers at the moment. I’m mostly teaching like 10-year-olds and like you know, but.
[00:46:21] CHRIS: How did you come to link up with a 58-year-old woman?
[00:46:25] CALLER: So she started taking classes at the gym. I mean, that’s kind of really what it boils down to. That was back when I was still like a co-teacher with my like, I consider him the main guy that, like, taught me everything I know. She started coming to the gym back when I was teaching with him. And that’s kind of all there is to it.
[00:46:49] CHRIS: Now, you’ve mentioned that you mostly teach 10-year-olds. Was she just in the classes with the 10-year-olds?
[00:46:56] CALLER: [laughing] Yes. So our classes are split up a little bit now. So we have different age groups. But back then, it was like age 9 and up because we didn’t – obviously we didn’t really have many teenagers back then either. But we had like an advanced class. So that’s normally the kids who have like a lot better skills and are usually older. So she was in that class. So she wasn’t with like 7, 10, 11-year-olds that are just like bouncing off the wall, falling on their face. She was with like 12, 13, 14-year-olds who are a little bit more tame. But, you know, still running laps around her sometimes.
[00:47:35] CHRIS: First of all, I’m gonna say my first instinct and then my second instinctive reaction. So first. That’s hilarious. The idea of someone coming in and being a full-on adult and taking classes with 13-year-olds while you learn how to do flips. That’s amazing. That’s so funny and amazing.
[00:47:54] CALLER: Oh, she’s great.
[00:47:55] CHRIS: Now I just want to say, though, when you get past that side of it, where all of us want to snicker. Where your initial instinct is like, ‘oh, that’s funny’. And that’s where I was heading. But no, when I take a step back and think about it, that’s so badass. That’s so badass.
[00:48:09] CALLER: Right?
[00:48:09] CHRIS: To be you know, in the second half of your life at that point, when you’re coming up on 60 and all of a sudden you’re like, ‘fuck it, I’m gonna go learn something intense and physical right before retirement age’. You could turn off the part of you that’s self-conscious about that and that’s worried that people are going to judge that. That’s really fucking cool, man.
[00:48:33] CALLER: Oh yeah she is such a cool lady. Like I saw her a few months ago too, and she’s still like going at it, challenging herself and being active and like, that’s what I love about parkour, that anybody can do it. So I can point to her and be like, what’s your excuse?
[00:48:49] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. This is why I have to stop doubting myself.
[00:48:55] CALLER: Yeah. Small steps.
[00:48:57] CHRIS: I gotta get down with this. I gotta think about this seriously.
[00:49:02] CALLER: [laughing] I mean, there are plenty of workouts and stuff that you can get doing at home. For anybody out there who’s listening who wants to get in on the parkour action, there’s plenty of things they can do at home to get you ready for when the world gets back to normal.
[00:49:16] CHRIS: Really? So there’s lessons that you think are actually good that are like – because I know with jujitsu actually, because I can’t go to the gym, obviously. I can’t imagine a worse quarantine activity than wrestling people who will sweat onto you. I can’t imagine anything less safe. But there are workouts that are like here’s like workouts that are incorporating the muscle groups you engage with jujitsu or the movements you do with jujitsu. There’s stuff out there for parkour that you would say is actually useful?
[00:49:43] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, just about any workout that gets your body moving is useful because I mean, parkour is all about knowing your body and knowing your limits and progressing your skills, right? So like if you do like 10 pushups a day for like however long, you’re gonna be stronger and that’s going to help. Like, it doesn’t have to be anything ridiculous. Like if you learn a cartwheel in your backyard, that’s awesome. That’s good for body awareness. Like it doesn’t have to be like backflips right away.
[00:50:14] CHRIS: I’m gonna tell you something. I’m turning 40 next month. I’ve never done a cartwheel in my life. When I was a kid I would try, it was humiliating.
[00:50:21] CALLER: Well I mean, now is the perfect time to start.
[00:50:24] CHRIS: You’re telling me after a lifetime of failing at cartwheels, feeling embarrassed…any time I tried, whether I was asked in gym class or whether kids were doing them in the schoolyard and I was trying to keep up and I just smashed down onto my neck and my back and sit there in shame. You’re saying you think I could do it now?
[00:50:44] CALLER: Yeah, probably. I mean, because now you have the ability to think about it more logically and you understand a little bit more about how your body works and how the world works. Like a 10-year-old is not afraid to throw themselves at something. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work.
[00:50:59] CHRIS: Maybe that was the problem, was that even as a 10-year-old, I was scared to throw myself at things. I was just sitting there as an anxiety ridden little guy going, ‘this seems foolish. I’m gonna let my peers plow full steam ahead. I’ll be reading comic books if anybody needs me’.
[00:51:17] CALLER: [laughing] Well hey, now you know how to do it a little more carefully.
[00:51:20] CHRIS: We might need to make this happen.
[00:51:24] CALLER: I don’t see why not. Sounds like a blast.
[00:51:28] CHRIS: OK. OK. I like it. We’ve got about 12 minutes left. Are there any things you want to make sure you get on record, whether they are related to parkour or not?
[00:51:42] CALLER: I mean…don’t trust the clickbait-y Facebook links. That’s not what parkour really is. Find some…I don’t even know where to start because like if you look up parkour montages on YouTube, you’ll probably find insane things. So just take a little bit of digging to find something that really suits you and your style. There’s definitely an athlete out there that can inspire you no matter how old you are, no matter what your body type is. There are people out there that are pushing themselves and they’re a good way to get inspiration I think.
[00:52:21] CHRIS: You ever think about entering that show Ninja Warrior?
[00:52:25] CALLER: Oh, I get that question so many times from kids and parents and I’m like, ‘oh, oh. Probably not’.
[00:52:34] CHRIS: But I’ll tell you, from what you described that it’s more about like…the speed, the mission, getting through it. Seems like parkour people and not these free runners, not these free runners, but actual disciplined parkour heads feel like they would be primed and ready to be the most successful Ninja Warrior candidates.
[00:53:02] CALLER: Yeah I mean, there’s been plenty of parkour and free running athletes that have tried out and they’ve gotten pretty far. It’s just like, Ninja Warrior is so obviously like a set-up obstacle course. Like when we’re training in gyms and outside, we’re training on flat walls and benches and stuff. We’re not training in like some rolling cylinder that’s going down a hill. You know what I’m saying? So the obstacles aren’t really like something that you’d encounter regularly. So there’s a big difference between like parkour and Ninja Warrior, because Ninja Warrior is very obviously like a manufactured obstacle course versus like someone who’s doing parkour outside.
[00:53:49] CHRIS: Now being that you said people ask you this all the time, I have to imagine, it must be so annoying for you to talk about Ninja Warrior. [laughing] It must be so annoying for you to be like, ‘no, I’m not really interested in mounting an oil drum on inclined poles and clinging to it as it rolls down and tries to fling me downward’. You must be so tired of that. You’re like ‘no, I’m just seeing a shed in a backyard and seeing if I can leap onto the roof without touching the wall first. I’m just sitting here trying to do that’.
[00:54:21] CALLER: Exactly, I don’t want to break a window.
[00:54:24] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:54:25] CALLER: We have a warped wall in the gym.
[00:54:27] CHRIS: What’s a warped wall?
[00:54:28] CALLER: It’s that wall at the end of Ninja Warrior that’s like curved.
[00:54:32] CHRIS: So you do have Ninja Warrior stuff!
[00:54:35] CALLER: Yeah, we have a few things, so we have like a 12 foot wall –
[00:54:37] CHRIS: You just backtracked, you just said you don’t train on the Ninja Warrior stuff and then you immediately say you got the Ninja Warrior stuff!
[00:54:41] CALLER: Well I, OK. I’m talking about in the gym. Like the gym is like, not everybody has access to a gym, right? A lot of the parkour people train outside. But we do have a warped wall in the gym. And I must say, it’s hilarious when dads come in and they look at it and they’re like, ‘oh, that’s so easy’. And then they run face first into the wall.
[00:55:03] CHRIS: Oh, wow.
[00:55:06] CALLER: Because like, ‘oh, it looks so easy’. And then they have no idea what to do. And they get like two steps up the wall and then they get scared.
[00:55:14] CHRIS: And then they just have these brutal face plants or spills in front of their own families?
[00:55:20] CALLER: I haven’t seen face plants. I’ve definitely seen like jammed ankles and falling over on their butts. But yeah, it’s pretty entertaining sometimes especially when you have like that bodybuilder dad who’s like, ‘oh yeah, I’m so strong’ and then tries to do this and has no idea, no coordination.
[00:55:37] CHRIS: Meanwhile, be honest with me. How easy is the warped wall for you?
[00:55:42] CALLER: For me? It depends. Are you talking mentally or physically?
[00:55:47] CHRIS: I guess both.
[00:55:50] CALLER: So mentally, it took me a long time because I tried it when it was initially built and I fell and I had a lot of fear doing it. But I want to say November I did it for the first time? And like physically it’s really easy for me, but like mentally it’s pretty taxing. But our’s is only 12 feet. I think the one in the show is like 15?
[00:56:16] CHRIS: That’s what it all comes down to, right? Physically conquering mental limitations. Would you say that that is…that’s one of the things that, as you explain it, I’m thinking parkour really relates to. Physically conquering mental limitations.
[00:56:34] CALLER: Yeah, that’s like the best description I could probably say. And it’s hard to like describe that to somebody who like…who doesn’t like, who isn’t active in sports and doesn’t push themselves because like, you really need to understand what that feeling of accomplishment is like. Like today, one of the flips I did. I did it for the first time ever on grass and like I almost cried because it was just so good.
[00:57:02] CHRIS: What is this flip?
[00:57:02] CALLER: Because I’ve been wanting it for a long time. It’s called a corkscrew or a cork.
[00:57:09] CHRIS: Talk to me about this.
[00:57:12] CALLER: OK. You’re going to hate me for saying this, but it’s not necessarily like a parkour or free running move. It comes from something totally different –
[00:57:19] CHRIS: Called what?
[00:57:19] CALLER: – but a lot of the parkour athletes do it. Tricking. It’s like martial arts flipping and stuff.
[00:57:27] CHRIS: So wait, there’s parkour. There’s free running. And there’s another separate thing called tricking?
[00:57:32] CALLER: Tricking isn’t…that has nothing to do with parkour really. Parkour athletes just like it because it has flips.
[00:57:38] CHRIS: But what, so. But free running isn’t tricking? Because you described free running and I thought that was tricks. And now there’s a separate thing for tricks.
[00:57:49] CALLER: [laughing] So I’m not – so tricking is like just doing flips with no obstacles. So they’re not flipping off of anything. They’re just on like a spring floor or on grass.
[00:57:59] CHRIS: Whereas free running is a little bit more like a skateboard run where you’re running, you’re hitting this, you’re moving forward. Got it. I’m glad I’m sorting all this out. So a cork. So you did a cork? Popular in the tricking community.
[00:58:13] CALLER: Yes.
[00:58:14] CHRIS: I’m thinking this means you go up and you’re doing a full flip where you rotate over your head in a traditional flip while also twisting your body completely? Am I right?
[00:58:25] CALLER: This is correct. Yes. And it’s very different from like a gymnastics full twist because a cork, instead of like doing like a round off or a back handspring, you just run…you’re running almost in a circle and you’re kicking off on one leg. So your other leg swings up and that’s what kind of drives the rotation.
[00:58:50] CHRIS: So you got that momentum leg. That’s the leg that you’d let it –
[00:58:52] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:58:53] CHRIS: – You got to let it carry you up and over.
[00:58:56] CALLER: Yup.
[00:58:57] CHRIS: And you got to look in the direction you’re going.
[00:58:58] CALLER: It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time.
[00:59:01] CHRIS: So you’ve just been trying this cork over and over again. You’re eating it. You’re eating it. There’s bruises. There’s bumps. There’s fear.
[00:59:14] CALLER: I mean, not necessarily like I’ve been able to do it in the gym for a long time, but it’s not something I’ve ever done outside, and it took me a long –
[00:59:21] CHRIS: What’s the difference there?
[00:59:24] CALLER: There’s no – it’s basically a mental difference. Like I’m not using the springs and the spring floor to do this move in the gym. It’s just I’m on carpet and it’s somewhere where I’m comfortable. So at that point it’s just a mental battle. It took me a long time to be able to get there. And like, I just had to push myself in order to do it on grass. And today was just the day and I did it.
[00:59:46] CHRIS: And are you like quietly celebrating? Is it an internal celebration or are you screaming your head off like ‘YEAH!’
[00:59:56] CALLER: [laughing] Well, I’m a very quiet and introverted person, so I wasn’t like yelling. I think if I was with some of my friends, I definitely would have like yelled and like ran and jumped and stuff. But I kind of like, savored the moment. And it was just like really satisfying.
[01:00:13] CHRIS: I feel like a lot of people listening to this are gonna go sign up for parkour classes, like there’s probably a lot of people who are like, ‘I have writer’s block’ or ‘I’ve been meaning to start my own podcast and I bought all the equipment and now it’s been sitting under my bed’ or whatever it is who are sitting here going, ‘I got this weird feeling that parkour is what’s going to help me break through all those barriers’.
[01:00:36] CALLER: Yeah.
[01:00:38] CHRIS: Does it do that?
[01:00:38] CALLER: Parkour is like – oh, yeah. Parkour is like, I’d consider it therapeutic, like when I need to go blow off some steam. I call it my movement therapy and it just helps clear your head and…’cause it’s just you and whatever you’re jumping on. I mean, you’re just kind of with it and doing your own thing and it really helps. It’s good to stay active. It’s fun and it’s a good stress relief.
[01:01:04] CHRIS: Do you ever watch professional wrestling like I do?
[01:01:07] CALLER: Nope.
[01:01:08] CHRIS: There’s this guy. He goes by the name Ricochet. You’d like this guy or you’d hate this guy. He either is someone you’d be like, this is awesome or you’d be like, this is the type of stuff that comes out of the tricks clickbait-y community that I just can’t abide by. One or the other. I love the guy. He’s very impressive stuff.
[01:01:35] CALLER: Yeah, I mean, I can appreciate it from that standpoint, definitely. Because like a lot of this stuff, like I’ve seen a few like wrestling clips here and there of people doing like more acrobatic things and like it definitely takes a lot of practice and a lot of work to get there. So, yeah, I can appreciate and respect that, for sure.
[01:01:53] CHRIS: That was a very measured answer. You don’t like it, you roll your eyes at it, but you’re being respectful of me and respectful of them as athletes. True or false?
[01:02:01] CALLER: I roll my eyes at it only if people like…not stigmatize it, but like…share it? I don’t know, it’s hard to say what I’m thinking right now. I appreciate it from a movement standpoint and like how hard it is. But people who don’t necessarily understand the work and time that it takes to do that are just like ‘aw look at this cool thing’ and then they just scroll on and they don’t necessarily appreciate it as much, I guess.
[01:02:32] CHRIS: Right. Right. It’s the culture that surrounds it. To you, parkour is like… these individual movements are like fine wines to be savored, to sit in the moment.
[01:02:43] CALLER: Yeah.
[01:02:44] CHRIS: And appreciate what you’ve just witnessed or what you’ve just done.
[01:02:48] CALLER: Yeah, that’s for sure.
[01:02:51] CHRIS: Now we have one minute left. Do you have any closing thoughts you want to make sure the world hears?
[01:02:58] CALLER: You have no excuses not to try parkour. It is one of the most accessible things. All you need is a pair of shoes. You don’t even need shoes, you can go outside barefoot and start cartwheeling, rolling, teach yourself some safety rules, some safety moves. And just get to it. Get moving, start moving. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
[01:03:18] CHRIS: I tell you where I’m staying right now, I’m looking out the back window into the yard and there’s like a bench. It’s probably about two feet high. I think I’m gonna go out into that backyard and see if I can jump over it.
[01:03:31] CALLER: Do it, make sure you use your hands, use your feet. Don’t use your knees.
[01:03:36] CHRIS: I don’t know what that means. What is that? We only have 10 seconds. How do you not use your knees?
[01:03:41] CALLER: Don’t land on your knees Chris, it’ll hurt! Don’t land on them I mean.
[01:03:44] CHRIS: Oh, yeah. No, I was…my hope was to land on my feet. Anyway, OK, time’s up. You’re the best.
[01:03:49] CALLER: Bye Chris, have a good one!
[01:03:53] CHRIS: [music transition] Caller, thank you again. I really think I might try. I don’t know…I feel like I’m going to tell Hallie, hey, we just had a parkour call. I’m gonna go out there and try to jump over a bench. See if I can do it. And she’ll go, ‘that’s adorable. Also, you’re weak’. Anyway, thank you so much for inspiring, genuinely I would say, genuinely inspiring me to at least work harder at the things I do, if not actually challenge myself physically. Anyway, thanks again. Thank you to Jared O’Connell. Thank you to Anita Flores. Thank you to Shellshag for the music. If you like the show, go to Apple podcasts. Rate, review, subscribe, it really helps when you do. And remember, if you want the entire Beautiful Anonymous back catalog, it’s on Stitcher Premium. Go to stitcherpremium.com/stories for more details.
[NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW]
[01:04:54] CHRIS: Next time on Beautiful Anonymous. Breakups are always hard. But what about when you’re a trans male breaking up with a trans woman who used to be in a throuple with another trans individual? It gets even more complicated.
[01:05:08] CALLER: I just recently broke up with my girlfriend of about two years and we’re living together still and I am almost going to be homeless kind of maybe because we were supposed to move into a condo that we were buying together. And also there’s like the added element that I’m a trans guy and I’m struggling with this breakup because my version of masculinity kind of came into it in a couple of ways. My ex-girlfriend, I should say, doesn’t like how gentle of a man that I can be.
[01:05:46] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful Anonymous.