053. Andy Pearson: Failure, inspiration, and injuries

Podcast episode


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. Today, Andy Pearson unpacks why he considers himself a failed coach and dives into what he believes his job is as a coach. He shares his insights on where to look for coaching and training inspiration outside of parkour before going through the litany of injuries he’s had and explaining how they have shaped his training. Andy discusses his current training and how he expects it to grow and evolve before wrapping up with his thoughts on FIG and the Olympics. Before we dive in, I ask that you press pause and take a quick listener survey. It’s one page, has only five questions and will take you all of 10 seconds to complete. If this project is worth 10 seconds of your time, go to moversmindset.com/survey

Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.

Andy: Hi, I’m Andy Pearson.

Craig: Andy Pearson is a failed coach, mediocre athlete, knows next to nothing about sports science and has more injuries than the black knight from Monte Python. He had the good fortune to gradually learn from his mistakes over the last 15 years like a goldfish and has unbelievably coached many people all around the world to not do what he did. So basically he’s making it up most of the time. Welcome Andy.

Andy: Hey, how are you doing?

Craig: I think the obvious place to start, Andy, would be to unpack failed coach, and let’s dive in there because I’m pretty sure most people would not label you as a failed coach, but I think that I understand why you’re thinking that that’s an appropriate moniker.

Andy: Okay. Sure thing. This kind of came about maybe a couple of weeks ago. I was thinking about what is to be a good coach, and how to measure that. So sort of what are the metrics essentially of a good coach? Is it the number of people you see? The number of students you have?

Craig: The number of dollars you make.

Andy: The money you make. What is it? And something that kept kind of popping up in my head was how many people have you coached that have ultimately on an overall scale become better than you? They have actually become a better practitioner overall, not with little spikes of sort of you get people coming into classes where they’re taller than I am and they’ve got a bigger jump, and I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about sort of as an overall practitioner who has come into your class and then gone on to be better than you are.

Andy: Now, ego aside, I’m not trying to be egotistical and this is sort of the whole mediocre coach, mediocre athlete part of it that I don’t think that I am a particularly good athlete at parkour. There are a lot of kids out there that are much, much better than I am, but I think I’m okay physically. But I was thinking about this metric of out of all of my students, can I actually think of anybody that has gone on and I’ve actually made them better than I am. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about my ability as a coach, and therefore am I failing? Am I failing because therefore there’s going to be this dilution. Because if they then go on to be coaches and they do the same thing to their students and so on and so forth, are we going to be gradually losing what it means, what parkour is about?

Andy: I think I’ve lost stuff from just one generation. Learning from Dan, Forrest and Stefan, what they did when they translated it to me, there was already stuff lost. That’s one generation away, and I feel that it was kind of this idea of how can I teach my students to the maximum of my abilities so they’re not losing anything.

Craig: I think then the obvious question is when you did that internal taking attendance and looking at all of those people, have you found people that you think had the potential to surpass you? And then does that cause you to change your coaching like, what if I change this piece then I think this person can surpass me like that. So now you’ve got this perspective, how does that change your tool set?

Andy: I think that actually it’s all the stupid shit that I did. So essentially, I’ve learned from my mistakes. So over the time that I’ve been doing parkour, there was a lot of stuff that I would never do again, and there’s a lot of stuff that was just really, really stupid stuff, and therefore, I don’t give that to my students. However, by not giving it to my students because it’s stupid stuff, does that mean they are now losing what made me.

Craig: The lesson. Right.

Andy: Yeah. Exactly. It’s kind of like, well, how do I balance this? How do I now do my classes and not hurt my students? But on the flip side, they are starting to get more of the essence of what parkour is about because they are having to go through the hardships of doing stupid stuff. This is a tough question-

Craig: Do you have the answer?

Andy: No. That’s the thing, I don’t. Regularly, we would do, I remember, warmups were 1,000 squats. Warmups were like, okay, you could bust out 500 pistols. I wouldn’t get my students to do that. We’ll be there for hours on end, right?

Craig: That is the whole afternoon, right?

Andy: Yeah. But I have to ask myself, well, if they’re not doing that and they don’t have the mindset of, well, that fucking sucks.

Craig: Here’s the line. This is on the other side of the line. I know where the line is, right?

Andy: Right. Exactly. I think that I have a much better idea of what I am capable of doing, whereas my students, they’re still finding that, they’re still discovering that, and I’m sort of gently bringing them upwards. Whereas when I was doing it, it was like, whack, here is the line, it’s way beyond what you think it is, and you either try and get there or you don’t, right? And I don’t know. I think that that is part of what may be missing from my coaching at least. I am seeing more and more small groups of practitioners who haven’t been taught in classes. They haven’t got coaches, they haven’t done anything other than gone out onto the streets and do parkour, right?

Craig: Right. They’re experimental on the ground.

Andy: Right. With their friends, and that’s it. Most people know who Storror are, the Storm Guys and all of these groups, they didn’t have coaches, not that I know of. I don’t think they did, but they seem to be way, way better at doing parkour. Their level of parkour is way beyond students of classes, from what I can understand and what I have seen on a whole. And therefore, are these kids doing things that we’re missing in classes? I don’t know. But I’m starting to feel and think that maybe we are. Maybe we need to-

Craig: I think it’s the evergreen question that we all ask ourselves about parkour, whether you call it parkour or freerunning. And it’s not just indoors versus outdoors, but is it structured or is it semi-organized chaos? Which of those environments do you create when you’re trying to teach people how to do things. There’s one whole very organized way of running classes in a gym with a schedule and then that makes it approachable to a larger base of people. So you wind up walking this line. I mean if you look at those people, like the community that’s in Brighton is a tiny group of people and they are spectacularly skilled, and if you get a chance to hang out with them, their day is not what you see in the video. It’s this entire organic immersion. And that’s a complete other end of the scale from the family who just like, we’re doing soccer this quarter and then next school quarter we’re going to do parkour.

Craig: I think what you’re getting at is sort of the whole you went back … In the beginning, you were talking about how you measure if you’re a good coach, and that it’s the challenge of, well, if I have 100 students, my statistical chance of finding somebody who’s genetically gifted goes up. But if I had two students and I taught them differently, I might have a bigger output in the end. I might actually win for two instead of win for one. I’m not sure, maybe there really is a niche. To be completely all cards on the table, I am not a coach. I know just enough about coaching. You know that I am not a good coach. I never went there. I have other things that I want to do.

Andy: Well, actually you talk about Brighton and I know that Callum Powell from Storror, he teaches classes down there. And even from the little videos that I see on Instagram of him coaching, his students, they’re like, I don’t know, 12, 13-years-old. They are doing things that, wow, they’re amazing. And I’m like, well, also perhaps it’s Callum’s ability level being so high that he’s kind of going, well-

Craig: Come this way.

Andy: Come this way, and this is what I expect you to do. And his bar is higher than mine and therefore what he expects his students to do is higher, and therefore their output is higher.

Craig: I’m wondering, would you agree with, if I said, I believe that the coach’s physical ability is, and I’m not going to say completely because if you don’t know which end of the tennis racket to grab, you’re out. But basically your physical ability is not related to your ability to coach. These are two completely different things. So we can’t, or we shouldn’t maybe, we shouldn’t give credits to the coach who is super physically advanced. We’re talking about how does that coach create students that exceed them. That’s even going to be harder for that coach than it is for a self-professed failure as yourself. So I’m just like, well, maybe we should try and find another way that we can do it in real time. Maybe we should try and find a counter example of somebody where you find a micro group that’s got 17 people and one person has been there a little bit longer and they’re arguably better than the others. Now, can that person coach? Maybe we should look for the different examples instead of the macroscopically large one. Let’s look for one microscopic [inaudible 00:10:52]. Just my idea on trying to unpack it.

Andy: Yeah. I don’t know of a group like that, to be honest.

Craig: How would we find them? How are we going to see them, right?

Andy: Yeah. Hey, write in.

Craig: Yeah. Write in. Put a video.

Andy: Yeah. But yeah, I’m just finding that quite interesting at the moment to sort of analyze my own ability as both a coach and practitioner, because I like obviously improving and becoming better at whatever it is I’m doing, and I like learning. I’m always trying to move forwards, not become stagnant and sort of just be comfortable with what I am doing here and now. So this leads to this sort of conversation with myself often. Okay. Am I actually delivering students to the level I want them to be at? And to be fair to them, most of my students haven’t been doing it very long and they’re all doing very, very well.

Andy: But it’s just when I’ve seen probably tens, maybe nearly hundreds of thousands of students over my time, out of all of those, I can’t see anybody that has stuck with it for a long period of time. Maybe I haven’t inspired them to want to walk the same path. There’s a lot of questions.

Craig: There’s a yearning, dark, deep chasm here. You want to make sure that you go around, right?

Andy: Yeah. All right. Exactly. I’m completely okay with that. It’s just that I want to be able to point it out and go, okay, there’s the problem. That’s what I now need to stop doing so I can become a better coach. But at the moment, I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m trying to figure out, yeah, how can I get my students to the level beyond what I am capable of doing? Yeah.

Craig: Andy, given your thorough grasp of failure then, let’s talk about how do you turn that into tools? Not just what have you done with it, and how do you see a way forward, but how do you look at that? And then what’s your thinking before and after? So at one point you’re uncertain what to do about it, which is very important because if you don’t know that you’re uncertain, then that’s the step you miss. So once you know you’re uncertain about it, what’s the actual next thing? What thought changed, and how are you moving forward to try and dig out of that or flip it over?

Andy: Yeah. So then, I believe the next step, and again, I’m completely unsure with this, but I’ll see how it goes. But now is the time where I think coaches have to look outside of parkour, strongman training, power lifting, Olympic lifting, even crossfit-

Craig: Long distance running, right?

Andy: Yeah. Long distance running, all of these things. These guys have been going for a long time. They’ve been going for a long, long time. And their coaches, they know what they’re doing. They know how to make people stronger. Well, the top ones do. I am now looking more towards that. I’m looking at actual strongman training. I’m looking at real strength training and programming. How to program correctly and then trying to translate that back to parkour, which is actually pretty difficult when you look at specific movements because our movements are not usually just one part of it.

Craig: Yeah. One plain and one’s different.

Andy: It’s nuts. I mean you look at sort of the textbooks on how to do a squat and that’s basically lifting something up. Then you now try and program for that. Then you get, to me it’s okay. It’s not too hard to program. But then you start looking at Kong, Oh my God, there’s about four stages to the movement and-

Craig: Bench press, the dynamic negative bench press that turns into a, I don’t know, a box jump.

Andy: Yeah. Well, I mean when you start thinking that, okay, a Kong can have three different entry points going up to it, going sideways to it and coming down-

Craig: [inaudible 00:14:58] this vision of Chris Keighley doing the Kongs over parking bumpers, [inaudible 00:15:04] think, who would Kong at six inch high [inaudible 00:15:07]? But then I tried to do it and it’s really hard.

Andy: Yeah. Exactly. There were so many variables to that. So looking at a strength coach and how they go about programing somebody getting better at squat, it’s really good for us because I think you start to understand, okay, why are they doing what they’re doing? Why are they making people do the number of repetitions they’re doing? What are the variables in terms of stress upon the body? How many sets they do, how many reps they do, how they measure it through volume rather than sets and reps, and what that volume should be, and all of this stuff.

Andy: What they also recommend in terms of rest and why they rest, how long they rest, all this kind of stuff is very, very important, because if you are now doing precisions and you’re doing broad jump precisions, and you’re starting to get to that point where you’re plateauing, what does most people do, they’ll either stick with whatever they’ve plateaued at or they’ll get an injury and then they’ll just go, forget it. They’ll move on to something else.

Andy: With strength training, that’s not how it works. Actually, I should sidestep perhaps to what strength coaches classify as a beginner, an intermediate, and an advanced, and then an elite practitioner. And I really like this. A beginner is somebody who you can give some training to within one session and they need the recommended amount of recovery, which is 48 to 72 hours of recovery from what happened in that single session. An intermediate person is where you need to accumulate more than one training session, so between two to three or four, to then elicit the same amount of recovery response. An advanced person requires between a week to a month of training, and then elite Olympic level people, you have to program six months plus worth of training to elicit a tiny amount of change in their body to then make them stronger, right?

Andy: I like this because it doesn’t come down to anything other than what you are capable of doing. It doesn’t matter what techniques you’re doing, it doesn’t matter anything. All that matters is how much intensity you are able to take. That’s it. That’s what classifies a beginner or an intermediate or whatnot. Now, for us, if we are doing broad jumps and we have got to the point or a student has got to the point where it doesn’t matter how much broad jumping they do in a session, well, all that’s telling me is they have not put enough intensity on to their session to elicit a response. So we have to now figure out how can we elicit a response and program it, right? And that’s kind of now how it feeds back into parkour.

Andy: There are obviously like the Kong, oh my gosh, how do you program or elicit a response to get somebody to be better at a Kong? Now, we have to break that down. We have to make it more granular. We have to figure out, okay, is this … There’s a jump part of it. There is a hold part in the middle, or a slowing down or a speeding up part, and then there’s a landing part. Now we break that down. We figure out, okay, how do you elicit a response in terms of making the jump harder, the hold harder, and the drop and the landing harder, and now we can start programming that. That’s what I’m now starting to look at, and figuring out how can I make top level people have a change just as much as a beginner can.

Craig: Andy, recently I’ve been on a kick to try and get people to give me more direct references or takeaway. I think too many people either read or hear or see information that inspires them to action. But then, if we don’t give them, go run this way, I think it sort of does a disservice that we’ve gotten all the trouble to bring all that material to them. So I’m wondering if there are particular books or particular people that you think would be good resources for somebody who’s just been sparked to go start with.

Andy: Yeah. Absolutely. These are obviously all non parkour people and they all are in different aspects of physical training. The main one that I absolutely love and I was put on to this group, actually it’s two people, by Shirley and Blane, they recommended me to go along to one of these courses and it’s strong fit. And this is run by a guy called Julian Pino, and he is very cerebral with his thinking in terms of training, and he has his whole system about talk and create intention correctly, and he has a lot of diagnostic tools in terms of where you are strong and where you are weak, which is amazing because it can then show you, okay, you can’t hinge properly, you can’t use your lats properly, or whatever it is.

Craig: [inaudible 00:20:39] imbalance is probably a common …

Andy: Yeah. Yeah. Strong fit is definitely a great, great one to check out. He has a lot of videos online that you … It’s no substitution for his courses, I will say. But he’s very much kind of raw strongman type training, so sleds and sandbags and that kind of stuff, but again, it kind of translates over to parkour. That will definitely help.

Andy: Another one, this is more for strength training, and anyone that does strength training, Olympic lifting might have heard of Mark Rippetoe. So Mark Rippetoe, his books, fantastic, Starting Strength and Practical Programming, I would highly recommend a good read of that. That’s going to fill in a lot of blanks of why you should be doing five sets of five of whatever it is. Or if you want to get a bit of hypertrophy, why you should be doing that. Yeah. Anyway, those are great books to read. He’s a pretty straight talker. He takes no bullshit, but he’s been doing a very, very high level, and I think sort of Olympic level coaching, so it’s good to read.

Andy: Jim Wendler, a lot of people have heard of Jim Wendler and his books and stuff, podcasts. I would suggest Tim Ferriss’ podcast. He covers a lot of interviews with a lot of fitness people, and there are some really interesting things going on on his podcasts. Yeah. He kind of asks a lot of right questions. The things that you want to know about. I’m going to butcher his name, but Pavel Tsatsoulinean, yeah, I think that’s right. He’s was a kettlebell coach guy and brought it over to America from Russia. Does a lot of special forces training, all of that kind of stuff.

Andy: Nutrition, I would suggest precision nutrition. They have courses and they’re kind of highly regarded as one of the top nutritional knowledge centers where anybody who’s a nutritionist pretty much goes through their courses. And then lastly, if you kind of want to know a little bit more about fitness business and maybe a little bit more towards the crossfit stuff, Barbell Shrugged is usually a good podcast, vodcast, so go check out. I think there’ll be some good starting places for people to go have a look at.

Craig: Andy, I like to often ask people what’s something that they’re currently struggling with, but I think I’m going to put it a bit of a twist on it and say, are there any injuries that you’re particularly struggling with? Or what has that journey been like since you have had so many injuries? I mean if you’re currently injury free, I could kick you under the table. What are your current struggles and the current challenges?

Andy: Yeah. This kind of is the whole black knight portion of the flesh wound.

Craig: Yeah. The flesh wound.

Andy: I’m pretty messed up. As a human, I’ve not broken, but I’m getting there. I’ve got a kind of list of the worst things I’ve done, and I’ve done a lot. I’ve torn pectoral muscles. My right pectoral muscles has been torn from my bicep. I have a separated shoulder. I fractured my rib cage and fused my thoracic spine, two of my vertebrae. I’ve herniated two of my lower lumbar discs, and then I’ve herniated another third but anterior at the front.

Craig: Oh, that’s hard.

Andy: That sucked. Torn my iliolumbar ligament, which was pretty horrible.

Craig: That would realize how much you use that [inaudible 00:24:32], that’s the joint between the rib cage and your spine.

Andy: Yeah. That was the most recent one. The problem was not quite so much the injury, it was my body wanting to protect it. So essentially, my QL, my TFL, my quads, my hip flexors, basically everything just went crunch and tightened everything up so it would stop me from moving. I was literally walking to my left, like, in a circle most of the time because I was leaning that way. It was pretty bad. I had years of patellar tendinitis like a lot of people did at the beginning. So yeah, I’m pretty messed up. They’re the major ones, but I’ve had a lot of others.

Andy: Now, that has made me think about injuries quite a lot. It has made me sort of think about, I guess our community and how we treat injury and how we deal with injury. And I don’t think this is actually just parkour, I see it with other disciplines and fitness professionals, and I think we are quite adverse to modern medicine and I think that we kind of just struggle through-

Craig: [inaudible 00:25:48] some dirt on it, get back in the game.

Andy: Yeah. And it’s like, you’ve just broken your arm. I’ll be okay. I’m going to strap it up and give it a week, and I’ll be okay. I’ll just do precision jumps. I’ve seen this a lot. And like I said, I’ve done this a lot, and as I’m getting older, I’m realizing that, fuck, I should have really gone to the hospital. I really should have gone and got that thing sorted out, and I didn’t. I think that we need to kind of promote our students to be more vigilant in terms of go seek a medical professional, go to the hospital, go and get that thing sorted out. Stop training on stuff, just stop.

Andy: One of the most common things I see is they will injure their tendons in some way. The tendon will become inflamed, whether it’s the patellar tendon or the elbow or whatever. And there’s this habit of as soon as it feels okay, they’ll go and train on it again. Yeah. And that’s such a bad way, because your tendon is not healed yet. What’s happened is just the inflammation section of your body saying, you’ve hurt, has gone down and now it’s going to start mending. That’s the point where you need to start resting. That’s the point where you’ve got to go, okay, I’m going to take a good three weeks, month away from my training because I need it to heal. Yeah. Inevitably what happens, they’ll go out and train and then it comes back again. And you’re like, well, of course it has because the inflammation has literally just gone down and you’ve just gone and tugged on it again and the inflammation has gone back up again.

Andy: And the other problem that I see is stretching and myofascial release with foam rollers and all of this stuff seems to be this catch or … it’s like fixing-

Craig: Yes. Self practicing, self administering, self prescribing [inaudible 00:27:51].

Andy: So bad because you’re like, okay, you have literally just pulled, stretched a tendon that’s now inflamed, and now what are you going to do? You decided to stretch it. This is like, no, come on. This is not what you want to be doing. But the problem is most of our students haven’t been told that. They haven’t been taught to just leave it alone. It’s okay for a few weeks to not train. I know it sucks, but the best way that I think about it is if you actually want to be a good athlete, this is training as well. This is part of the training and this is just the hard part of the training.

Craig: Of all the questions I can think of, maybe I should ask, what are you currently training? What are you really doing? I mean I know you’re doing a lot between regular work and working on changing the way that you’re coaching, and a lot of times been thinking, but are you still going on and running or climbing or jumping? Are you still physically training? Are you active? What are you doing?

Andy: Yeah. Absolutely. I do a lot of strength training, so I’ve just started classes up in a gym in Deptford, which is southeast London called the Commando Temple, which is as scary as it sounds.

Craig: Yeah. This isn’t going in the right direction. There’s somebody who wants to talk about longevity and rest and recovery. [inaudible 00:29:13] okay, Commando Temple, we go.

Andy: Yeah. However, these guys are awesome. Their gym is very intimidating when you look at it. When you go in, it’s just like, oh my God, what have I just walked into?

Craig: [inaudible 00:29:25] have one of those where the door is up at five foot, like you have to scale the wall to get in. Enter here.

Andy: Yeah. They do a lot of martial arts, so Jujitsu and Thai kickboxing and all that kind of stuff, strongman training, Olympic lifting, power lifting. But they do have very, very high level. Their coaches are fantastic. They’ve won lots of competitions. They have been doing it for a long period of time. They have coached very, very high level athletes and they constantly have new ones coming in. So I am at the point where I’m sort of just joining in some of the classes. I’m kind of walking in trying the strongman training at the moment and I’m loving it because parkour seems to be a lot more muscular endurance spaced, which is great, and that served me a long time, but I don’t generally do too much strength work since-

Craig: Right. Parkour is body weight.

Andy: Yeah. Exactly. And this stuff is a lot of fun. The strongman stuff is just pick up this huge rock.

Craig: I’ve seen people pick up atlas stones. And then I’ve gone for to the left and tried to pick up the atlas marble, just trying to get a hold of the thing and rock it off the floor. You grab it, and this might be a good thing, go try it. Just rocking that back, and you’re like, whoa, wait, no, hold on. Before, that would be even the thing I have to go. Suddenly, you leave with a list of I’ll do this, this, this, that, and the other thing.

Andy: Yeah. Yeah. We have all those. And interestingly, they’re all rated and they’ve all got their numbers written on it, and the bottom row of all the atlas stones, it goes up to 200 kilos. And this thing, I can’t even get my arms halfway around it. It is huge. And I just like, how a human being can get this to … I think that the height of the top shelf is maybe six foot. It’s taller than I am. I was like, Jesus Christ. But you see some of the guys walking into this place-

Craig: You’re like, oh, that’s the human that picked up that stuff. How do they get them down?

Andy: Well, they have big sort of crash mat type thing so they can roll them on to the floor.

Craig: Oh, they just [inaudible 00:31:45]. Pay your dues.

Andy: I think those bottom row, they have signatures on them from the people that have actually picked them up and there’s not a lot of signatures on them. Yeah. But last week, maybe two weeks ago, we had, do you know Brian Shaw? He’s one of the world’s strongest men, strongman, and Eddie Hall lifted 500 kilos. Yeah. He’s the first human on the planet ever to lift half a ton.

Craig: Is that weight on a bar or-

Andy: That’s weight on a bar.

Craig: In bar.

Andy: Yeah. 500 kilos. You can YouTube it. It’s pretty immense. They were training in the gym a few weeks ago. That’s some of the level of ability that comes into the gym, so it’s very, very cool to see that. And like I said, the coaches, they’re very high level as well. So I’m learning from their coaching ability and I’m seeing how they’re doing stuff. Yeah.

Craig: Well played, sir.

Andy: Exactly. And also participating. Yeah. That’s kind of what I’m training at the moment as well as the parkour as well. I mean I still love that and I still go out and train once, maybe twice a week on top of coaching as well. So yeah, I’m pretty … try to keep active. I love it. So yeah, I’m still training.

Craig: We’ve talked a little bit about injuries in the past, and I can clearly see that you’re really thinking a lot about what you want to do with your coaching in the future. So you’re clearly a very forward looking person. Where do you see yourself in arbitrary numbers like maybe five years, because you can kind of have a plan that goes that far, but where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Andy: I was about to say dead, fallen off something.

Craig: I mean mad props for honest answer. Would that be death to natural causes, death to-

Andy: Gravity, probably that’s natural, right?

Craig: Are you expecting one of those stones to fall on you? No. But seriously, what made you think death?

Andy: Yeah. I don’t know. It was maybe just my morbid thinking. No. 10 years, well, perhaps making a bit more money from parkour, that would be nice. Anybody that wants to get into parkour for the money is probably in the wrong industry

Craig: Injury at some point, yes, a head injury.

Andy: Yeah. There’s no money in parkour at the moment.

Craig: I say if you want to take something you really love and make yourself hate it, try to make a job out of it. It’s important to have things that you’re passionate. You’re obviously passionate about coaching, and having trained with you a little bit, you’re obviously passionate about just doing parkour. And I think that it may be the best of both worlds if you can find something that’s kind of parallel and teach something else or have a day job.

Andy: I do have a day job three days a week.

Craig: Oh, that’s good.

Andy: Yeah, three days a week ,and it’s IT. I’m sort of traditionally trained in IT and I work for company that essentially does branding and marketing for high level websites, and I like it. It obviously keeps my brain going and I’m learning lots constantly. So I find that there’s good balance between London parkour and training and physical stuff and dealing with fear and all of that. And then, okay, let’s go on a computer and figure out problems and stuff with my brain. And so I feel like there’s this constant becoming better human and balance.

Craig: Balance. I was going to say, here’s the end in the end, that comes up every time.

Andy: Right. And I like it. Yeah. I’m enjoying both parts.

Craig: I don’t think that you would necessarily be at the same job in 10 years, but do you think you would still be at the same, I’m going to say at the same balance in terms of time commitment? I’m sounding like it’s a pretty fairly actual balance. Do you think you would wind up becoming more interested in the cerebral side or the physical side, or do you think that balance would continue for another decade?

Andy: I’d like the balance to continue, because I have actually been doing that for pretty much the whole time. There’s always been that element of using the computer and doing websites and all that kind of stuff, and that has served me really well. It’s sort of allowed me to forget about the training and the coaching and all of that, and I like it.

Craig: I’ve had some good conversations with people talking about, I don’t want to say personal productivity, but the … I always talk about the Internet eats my face. If I get on the Internet too early in the morning, it’s just the whole day goes down the hill. And I’m thinking you clearly spend a ton of time working with computers and tech, and then you also spend time outdoors and moving. How do you prevent, it’s probably the tech side from eating your life? Do you have any tips or routines that you do? What’s your morning look like?

Andy: I’m probably not the best person to ask that because I actually, if I am not training I will be on my computer pretty much. Yeah. I probably I’m on it a bit too much, if I’m honest.

Craig: I think that’s the first step of the 12 step program, is admitting you have a problem.

Andy: Yeah. Well, I kind of like that problem.

Craig: Negative one back to zero. How is this great, because I think it’s a challenge for everybody to figure out how to make decisions like, do I put my shoes on now or do I check my phone once more? That’s always a thing. I mean what gets you out of bed in the morning? What gets you out the door to go train when it’s raining?

Andy: Yeah. That’s a good question. I thought you were going to say I don’t get out the door [crosstalk 00:37:22].

Craig: I never leave the house before noon, right?

Andy: Yeah. Okay. This is going to come across really badly, but fuck it.

Craig: Nobody’s listening, right?

Andy: So yeah. I am not necessarily a negative person, but I try to question everything, and it’s not that I’m trying to be better than anybody, but I feel that we could all be better. As a human species, I feel that we are sliding downwards, not going upwards. And I have a sense of, I kind of want to be better than that. I don’t want to just give in to things that … just because everybody else is doing it doesn’t make it right. Just because large portions of people smoke or just because everybody sits at work or-

Craig: Fast food is easy.

Andy: Fast food is easy, all of this kind of stuff. I’m very much for analyzing and going, well, is that really something that I want to let into my life? And why are we doing this? And the more I do that, the more I’m realizing that so much of life is kind of dictated to you and so much … You don’t even think about it. It’s sort of like, yeah, like sitting.

Craig: Going, my mom and dad always did it, so that’s the way I do it. For me specifically, that’s what I’m talking about. That’s the habits I picked up.

Andy: Right. But I kind of like to pick at those and go-

Craig: Do you pick at them … because I would agree I do the same thing, and I’m not trying to doubt. I’m saying, yeah, I do that too. It drives me bonkers. The problem I have is I tend to pick at it too much, and then I’m just wondering, have you managed to like, all right, I’m going to pick this one thing and then here’s the action I’m going to take. Because I tend to rage quit thing. I’ll get sick of something that I think I’m wasting time on, and I’m like, all right, [inaudible 00:39:21], I just erase it from my life. So when you find something, and I don’t know that you have to give me … if you don’t want to, to give me a specific example, but how do you actually turn the mental churn into something that makes you feel empowered and better?

Andy: I actually remember the very first one that I started this with, and this was perhaps 20 years ago when I very, very first started work, it was sort of going into the city. It was on the tube and everybody would pick up a newspaper, The Metro, and just start reading the garbage that would be coming out of it, right?

Craig: You have the same papers we do.

Andy: Right. And you just sort of you don’t think about it. You’re just like, oh, I want something to read when I’m on the tube and you pick it up and you start reading all this crap, and you’re just like, I’m depressed. By the time you get to work at 9:00 AM you’re already feeling the world’s weight on your shoulders. And I just realized, you know what, I’m going to remove that. I’m just not going to do that one thing. And I just started not doing that. And then I was like, oh, I feel a little bit better. And then I was like, okay, it kind of put me into this mindset of other things do I do that I don’t want to do. Now it comes to, I don’t trailers, that’s one thing. Oh my God, life is really hard right now. So things like watching movie trailers, and yeah.

Craig: I thought you meant the things that go behind cars. Like whoa, that’s a non [inaudible 00:41:03]. I’m saying movie trailers.

Andy: Car trailers, the caravans. Oh my God. Yeah. No, no, no, no.

Craig: Movie trailers, right?

Andy: Yeah. Movie trailers. There was something, again, that’s a long time ago, people that know me, they know I don’t watch movie trailers, and I’m always the guys with my hands over my eyes in the cinema and whatnot. Yeah.

Craig: You don’t want to [inaudible 00:41:23].

Andy: Yeah. And I realized that actually I would start enjoying movies a hell of a lot more when I went to see a movie because I knew absolutely nothing about it. I don’t know who is in it. I don’t know what actors are in it. I don’t know any of the storyline, any of the plot line, nothing. And I was like, right, that’s it. I’ve never watched a trailer since.

Craig: Anti trailer Andy.

Andy: Anti trailer. So yeah, it’s this little things like that. And now let’s kind of fed into things like things I don’t eat, my diet. There are things where I always keep slipping into again. But yeah, I just like pulling away things that are perhaps negative in my life, so yeah.

Craig: Andy, we’ve been pretty structured so far where I’ve been asking you questions that were on particular topics, but I always like to give people a chance to just open it up and say, is there anything else that you want to share or talk about?

Andy: I guess the whole Olympics thing could be fun. That’s like opening up, yeah … that’s opening up just about, say, a bag of worms, but a bag of worms.

Craig: That’s about three analogies in one. I don’t know what’s going on there.

Andy: Yeah. I know that the whole FIG and Olympics thing is hot topic at the moment. Honestly, I couldn’t care less. I mean I don’t follow it. I don’t know what’s going on at the moment. But something I have noticed through the years of being around the parkour community is that we’ve always had this thing where there’s been something that everybody has been against or most people have been against. There’s the tricks and flips are really, really bad and that’s not parkour, all that freerunning, and yeah. Okay. Whatever.

Andy: And then there was the whole Red Bull competition, and then that was the next thing that everybody was like, oh, that’s really rare.

Craig: Kind of destroyed the spirit of everything.

Andy: Yeah. Then it was bad sponsors and all of that kind of stuff, and now it’s FIG and the Olympics. I’ve kind of just realized that it’s going to bloody happen anyway, just get on with it. I definitely feel like, well, all we’re really doing is just moaning about it, which I know the English are really good at, but we’re not actually giving any alternatives and I don’t think we really would. So yeah, the FIG are just going to run with it anyway and do it.

Andy: As much as we hate it, as much as I hate it, I’m not going to be able to change it. But thinking beyond that, how interesting is it going to be to see what those athletes are going to do over time. To begin with, there’s going to be, all right, regular parkour guys that maybe have trained a little bit, but then they’re going to start to realize, in may be four years time, wait a minute, we’re getting gold medals, right?

Craig: And the sponsorship deals the next year, right?

Andy: And the sponsorships and the money and all this. Okay. Now they’re going to start training properly. Now we’re going to start to see actual athletes. You’re going to … one’s going back to the programming, and then it’s going to get worse. Eight years down the line, we’re going to start seeing perhaps, I don’t know, steroid abuse, drug testing, all of that. It’s just going to keep compounding and it’s going to get basically what all other sports are at, right?

Craig: In the Olympics, right.

Andy: I’m kind of interested to see what’s going to happen, because are we going to see guys jumping ridiculous lengths because they’re like steroids and all of this stuff? I kind of want to see that. I want to see what’s going to happen. Yeah. Zooming around this parkour track like a crazy person, I think it’s going to be funny. I think it’s going to be hilarious. I mean it’s not going to be parkour, but it’ll just be this whole new thing that we can see and enjoy, I guess. Anyway, yeah, that’s it.

Craig: I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, I love to collect stories. I love to hear people tell their stories because the stories that people pick and share, that tells you more about who they are, the passion that they use, you get a lot of insight into the person. So Andy, is there a story you’d like to share?

Andy: Okay. This story, I’ve told a few times, few people know about it. And actually I think it was actually mentioned on another podcast at one point, not by me, by someone else. It is about, and this is going to put me in a really bad light if this podcast hasn’t already, but bad news story [crosstalk 00:46:17]. I was with somebody, oh Magda, that was it. I was with Magda. We were coming back from a class, a parkour class, on the tube, I think it was at Green Park Station. We kind of pulled up to the station to get onto the tube, and there was a bunch of people on the platform. There was a little bit of screaming going on, and there was like elitist, like something was going on and it was just like, oh crap, I’m going to go the other way.

Craig: Street theater.

Andy: Yeah. And I was like, oh man. We go on, and yeah, there was a drunk guy, had literally just fallen onto the tracks, right? He’d fallen onto the tracks and there was probably at a guess, probably about 8 people, 10 people just standing there going, oh my God, oh my God, somebody do something, all right?

Craig: Somebody else do something.

Andy: Yeah. Exactly. And the thought that I had in my head was not, I should help this person. It was fuck sake. I’m really pissed off with these people, right? So it wasn’t like I want to try and help someone, it was like, oh my God, Jesus-

Craig: Have people not read that book about [inaudible 00:47:34]?

Andy: Right. So it was more of an anger thing rather than, oh my God, somebody is in danger. So I drop my bag and push people out the way and just jumped down, pulled the guy back up and put him back on the platform, and I didn’t look at the time when the train was coming. Literally the train basically then came in like 10 seconds later. Like that guy would have-

Craig: You jumped in with two minutes to go until you had him on the platform.

Andy: Yeah. The tube pulled up. I walked off and got on the tube, and that was it, right? That’s the story. But what I kind of not like, but I try to be honest with everything, and I think that people that would have seen me do that would have thought, oh my God, this guy is jumping down and pulling somebody else up, and yeah, I hate that word. But yeah, thinking that, but that was not what it was about. I didn’t have fear. That hadn’t even come into my brain. It was more of, Christ, just somebody go do something. It was just like, Jesus, this is the most mundane thing in the world. Just pick this guy up and put him on the platform.

Andy: And I think that a lot of people who are seen as heroes or heroic, that’s not what they’re doing. They’re not in it for that. They’re actually thinking more about, oh Christ, I just got to do this thing. It’s just a thing to … It’s just a day-to-day thing, and I really feel that parkour has taught me that. Parkour has sort of shown me, okay, every class is a bloody hardship. Every class is hard. You got to do these horrible things, you’ve got to beat your fear, you got to do all this stuff, and I really like that. I really love the fact that I’ve kind of now got it in me to just ignore what everybody else is doing, because I could have just quite easily just stood on the platform and gone, oh my God.

Craig: Or maybe run to try and stop the train.

Andy: Yeah. Yeah. But I like that. Maybe I’m a little bit more negative in my thinking, but I think that has actually helped me. That has sort of served me well. So yeah, that’s the story.

Craig: And of course the final question, three words to describe your practice.

Andy: Seek the best. That’s my three words. And seek the best to me means don’t take people’s word for things. Just because somebody is your coach, just because somebody is telling you what to do because they’re better than you, don’t take that as Gospel. Just go and find out who is the best of the best of whatever it is that you’re trying to get. So if you’re trying to learn parkour, try and find out who are the best coaches in the world, in the world. It doesn’t matter in your area. You don’t have to actually go to that coach. But find out, how do they coach? Why do they coach? What makes them different between your coach and what they’re doing? Who is the best sports coaching or who is the best at training programming or getting stronger? Don’t limit yourself to just your little bubble. Think about in the world, who is the best? Seek the best.

Andy: That’s definitely the Mark Rippetoes and the strong fit guys. They’re the ones that I have found to be some of the best in the world. And so I’m trying to learn from them. But I would suggest anything you do in life, even if you don’t find them, at least that process is going to get you towards being better. So that’s my three words.

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

Andy: Thank you.

Craig: This was episode 53. For more information, go to moversmindset.com/53. There’s more to the Movers Mindset project than just this podcast. Visit our website for more free content to sign up for our newsletter or to read about how you can support this project. And I’ll leave you with a final thought from Amy Poehler. The great thing about taking chances when you’re younger is you have less to lose and you don’t know as much, so you take big swings. Thanks for listening.