Craig: Welcome to the Movers Mindset podcast where I interview movement enthusiasts to find out who they are, what they do and why they do it. This week, Kasturi Torchia describes her role with Parkour UK and how she came to be involved in mental wellbeing and psychology studies. She discusses her family and how they impacted her journey before unpacking the Esprit Concrete Method she has developed. Kasturi shares some of her goals and what she is working on with Esprit Concrete and discusses the yearly Les Dames Du Movement event. Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.
Kasturi: Hi Craig.
Craig: Kasturi Torchia is the mental health and Duty of Care lead for Parkour UK. She is the co-founder of Esprit Concrete and the founder of the Esprit Concrete Method integrating self-development and therapy with Art du deplacement and Parkour. Her research centers on lack of progression in Parkour as part of a wider agenda on prevention of burnout in adults and children in sport. Welcome Kasturi.
Kasturi: Thanks Craig. Thanks for having me today.
Craig: Kasturi, I mentioned in the introduction that you’re the Duty of Care lead for Parkour UK, that’s your title, your position. Can you tell me a little bit what that entails and maybe let that spin out into what you’re working on?
Kasturi: Duty of care lead encompasses the entire topic of Duty of Care, which ultimately means setting up and managing systems that are in place within Parkour UK that filter out into the community to help ensure that Duty of Care is met with, whether that be coaches, members, the staff at Parkour UK. Figuring out how we best safeguard our mental wellbeing, our wellbeing in general and working really closely with the Chief Medical Officer and the CEO to really establish systems in place that talk about supervision, normalizing, attending to the needs of mental health and a lot of that is done by the work that we do within the mental health action group.
Kasturi: I’m kind of a liaison between Parkour UK and all our partners and establishing those relationships going on further to learn from what already exists and set up pathways that don’t yet exist at Parkour UK to make sure that we are coaching effectively bearing in mind Duty of Care but also good practice guidelines that we are making sure that there is a pathway for mental health awareness to also feature quite heavily on our social networks and the networks that bridge the community with us and also making sure that people who work within Parkour in any capacity at all or who touch it have the support that they need to take care of themselves and others in a way that’s in line with the national agenda.
Craig: Kasturi, the work that you’re talking about within Parkour UK is heavily… I don’t know if it’s the right word, it’s heavily centered on psychology and I know that that’s also your forte. That’s your area of study, and I’m wondering, can you tell me a little bit how you got drawn into working… not working in psychology like as the job, but like how did you get interested in studying in psychology and how did you realize that you had a calling there and something that you wanted to do?
Kasturi: Yeah. That’s a question that I find more and more interesting actually because everything I’m doing right now is not something that I planned. It’s almost making sense to me as I go along as well. Looking back when I was even just a child, I wanted to do something in the medical profession. I kind of wanted to be in the health industry.
Craig: A healer industry.
Kasturi: Exactly, and then I think initially I wanted to go into medical school and become a psychiatrist and there was a split between me not really feeling like I’d be able to get in, so I didn’t actually think I’d be smart enough to do that, but then there was another part of me that as I was doing my A levels and I was speaking to more people and doing my research before I went to uni, I realized there was a huge difference between psychiatry and psychology in the ethos and the approach by which you study it, and I’ve always been very, very interested in process because as with everyone, I have an extremely complicated family, very complicated history and I’ve just always asked the why questions and the how questions, and instead of just boring my family with it, I thought, why don’t I study it and then take something back.
Kasturi: I think ultimately I definitely wanted to do something that helps other people, but the more that I learn about myself through that the more I realize that maybe unconsciously it’s always been there to answer my own questions and so it’s a really nice relationship between giving and taking. I think why I ended up choosing the psychologist part but also now more precisely the counseling psychology part is because I’ve realized that I don’t really believe in truths as much as I thought I did.
Kasturi: What I needed was certainty in what I was doing and certainty in others, so everything’s always been trust based for me and therefore with counseling psychology and an ethos that’s really about humanistic values and everybody being different and it being a very unique approach to practice depending on who’s in front of you, I kind of felt like I was moving away from the medical model but still having that very heavily influencing my practice if it needs to, and I just… I really loved the idea of integration and everything complimenting each other, so I think there’s a place for everything but my personality, my character, my question’s best suited with counseling psychology.
Craig: I don’t know if it’s… I’m going to guess. I’m going to say, did the Esprit Concrete work grow out of your psychology practice and learning or were they like two parallel things which are then linked together or?
Kasturi: For me I think Esprit Concrete is something that was so organic that it’s really hard to pinpoint what exactly but I think that the really strange encounter that I had with Parkour came at a really important time in my life where I was really reflecting on what was happening and trying to make a change and I just needed something without knowing that I needed it to jolt me into seeing things differently, changing perspectives on things. My friend [Owen Richardson 00:06:11] invited me to Parkour, I say an invitation because he matched who he thought I was with the art form or sport without me even asking him to and I rocked up and it met me.
Kasturi: I didn’t even really know what I was going to and that’s where I met Yao, and in that moment when I had my very first class, there was something that just made sense about it and things started falling into place and it was a little bit like my life in terms of being a puzzle. Everything starts from the middle. I don’t really know what the end product is, which isn’t how puzzles usually work but that’s how I imagine puzzles maybe could be interesting. So, I turned up and immediately there was a process going on in me that was answering certain questions about the hows. No enlightening moments or anything like that just flooded with emotion that I thought if I made sense of would probably make me realize that there were certain questions that were still unanswered and how I could answer them.
Kasturi: Over time and lots of experiences with other people, lots of other people inputting into my learning, lots of exposure to Yao and what he thought about things and also really requiring a research idea. We came together and we kind of talked about starting Esprit Concrete and I guess the question that that leads into is how did Esprit Concrete Method begin, and I think the answer to that is that kind of has always probably been but linked in to Parkour that day that I tried it or based on actually the principles of Art du deplacement, which I funnily enough found after I found Parkour.
Craig: Is there some particular topic like… because I want to ask you more fun things like for example, is there any particular lesson that you’ve learned from your mother or your father or both that stuck with you your entire life.
Kasturi: One. Wow. I mean as an overarching idea, everything I am is because of them. The reason I say that is because I’ve had to learn a lot from things that maybe I spent a long time criticizing. We’re quite an open family I’d say in one sense because we require ourselves to reflect. I think reflection is something I learned from them but very indirectly because if they were sitting here they would say they didn’t reflect on themselves the way that I am learning too, so I think it’s something that I learned from them that they didn’t do that they’ve always wanted me to do, which I’m very grateful for.
Kasturi: It hasn’t always been easy, but I think that curiosity that they had took us all around the world growing up. We changed country every year because my dad just loved traveling and my mother loved traveling and him and her job took her everywhere and she loved people, so she was constantly asking questions and I think in their relationship to me through that, there were so many things that they did that maybe I didn’t agree with that they taught me to reflect on why that was happening, which started everything that I now do.
Kasturi: I think curiosity is probably the thing they directly taught me. They would literally tell me when I was in a car, you know, why are you sulking we’re here in the middle of this amazing place, look outside. What can you see? We’d have to keep like travel diaries and draw pictures with a learning experience because sometimes we were homeschooled. It really was… just every experience was one to be made the most of. We were taught how to appreciate everything and be grateful for it but through just asking questions and being inquisitive. Indirectly reflection, I think, but more directly just intrigue, I guess.
Craig: I think that what you’ve explained about your understanding of the way that your parents were teaching you. I think that what you learned there, that seems to be a direct on-road to psychology and a direct on-road to what you’ve created at Esprit Concrete. So, I’m wondering, are you aware of that now? And at what point did you become aware of that? So, you weren’t aware of the day that you were learning the lesson, but can you recall where along the way you realized how perfectly you’ve been set up for this place you’ve ended up at?
Kasturi: I guess for some people, I’m going to put a disclaimer and say, I wish this was more fun because people’s understanding of therapy sometimes can be quite dry, but I’ve loved that process of getting to realize these things and I’m nowhere near done. So, I think it started when I started my doctorate because I was required to have therapy. For the first time in my life-
Craig: Okay, that’s [inaudible 00:10:35]. Okay, I hadn’t thought about it.
Kasturi: Yeah. When I first started my course, it was a prerequisite and it made total sense to me because I’m going to be sitting expecting somebody to at some point share something with me and they don’t know me, and it’s really important to have that experience yourself of being in that hot seat and being like okay, what do I do? What is this? But it gave me the chance to just talk about myself for 50 minutes every week and you’re bound to find stuff. I think as I was just moving more and just having those reactions with other people, realizing what things I really connected with and what I didn’t, even my relationship to risk and why I’m so fascinated with it, things start falling into place and you inevitably, especially if you’re in therapy, but also practice of therapy, start asking yourself, “Well, I wonder where that comes from.” And when you do, then you find a lot and you start just drawing up the dots and matching things up.
Kasturi: There are sort of little light bulb moments that happen, I don’t know, every three months, every six months, once a year but when they do something else clicks, which is strange. You kind of see a person and you see them together as a human being but somehow I feel like I’m dislocated on many levels and every time I have a realization I feel like I come closer together. Yeah.
Craig: Kasturi, I think it’s clear that you’re, I don’t want to say particularly self-reflective, but you’re good at that. That’s something that you’ve clearly worked on and I’m just wondering if you’d be willing to share some of the things that you’re currently struggling with and I think for me it would be particularly interesting to hear maybe some thing that you’re struggling with that’s more physical like a movement to like a type of practice like some people are afraid of heights, for example, and then also something that you’re struggling with in a mental capacity.
Kasturi: I’ll start with the physical one. I find one movement particularly hard, which is the dash.
Craig: I just shivered, sorry.
Craig: I’m not a fun of that either.
Kasturi: I’m going to talk about it in a way that I conceptualize movement because now Esprit Concrete Method is just so ingrained in me, so I’m going to describe it in that way but there are a lot of moves that require hands to go first and I see it very much as an instinctual catching yourself kind of movement. Whatever you do after you’ve caught yourself with it or your hands have touched I guess is irrelevant. It’s just the act of going forward with your hands. For me, I’ve realized over time that I’m very good at firefighting. I just get through. You can put 10 things on my plate or 20 I just get through and therefore I kind of for a very long time relied only on myself and I had to do everything.
Kasturi: For me reaching anything is sort of my automatic go-to. So I learned a Kong in a day. Of course there are physical aspects to why certain people-
Craig: The sequencing, yeah. The sequencing.
Kasturi: …find Kong easier but for me it’s that idea that reaching for something and grabbing it is something I’ve had to do all my life and I also just loved the feeling of it. It makes me feel in control. It gives me a sort of power emotionally as well that I am going to get it. Whereas with a dash I’m going feet first and the thought of just going feet first into the air and kind of ultimately maybe falling on my bum even if that’s the right movement is something that takes me a while to kind of relearn almost that I have that same vulnerability with it being okay to distribute certain things and having that patience to just see somebody else work that thing out that I need from them without me kind of almost micromanaging that sometimes because I’ve mostly had to rely on me.
Kasturi: Even though I have a very close knit family, you don’t sort of have friends when you’re moving year to year, you don’t have systems that you get to trust very often and I feel like somehow in my mind the dash is a leap of faith and I’m more of a kind of, you know, I like to be in control. I like to know what’s what. It’s something I actively challenge both psychologically and physically, so I’m still trying to work on my dashes when I can and I love that experience but it’s definitely something that hinders me sometimes when I have to transition through movements because I’ll have that extra moment where I’m thinking and the same could be said, I love going forward with my hands but I don’t like rolling because then you’re too close to the ground and then that’s something else.
Kasturi: I guess the emotional thing is probably I’m working on letting go and in the movement thing I’m working on the jumps where you’re less in control. So, actually now thinking about it, if Yao was here, he probably would question the way that I just analyze that because I am technically still talking about control if I’m getting used to something. I think as we can all see, control is obviously very important to me but I think taking away from this discussion now maybe I’ll just try to do more dashes that I can’t actually train or that I can’t repeat because that might be more effective. So, yeah. Being in the moment, letting go, I think as you can see from my explanation, very hard. Very hard for me.
Craig: Kasturi, can you tell me a little bit more about the Esprit Concrete Method and like let’s go down the rabbit hole a little bit.
Kasturi: The Esprit Concrete Method is a method that I’ve come to realize and that I’ve always hoped is something that is supposed to be a process that people can take into anything they do, which means it’s not a method that has to be subscribed to in the absence of any other method. You can do, you know, [portale 00:16:03] and you can do, I don’t know much [Hallo 00:16:05] has got great programs going on at the moment but for example that and then come to an Esprit Concrete workshop and do our method and what we teach is intended to work on the development of the person using object relations, how we relate to objects. What those relationships that we form with those objects and how our body responds to those objects, how that then influences how we relate to I guess challenges and difficulties in general.
Kasturi: It helps to explore where we’re stumbling, where we’re maybe even absent of information, where we are just unclear about certain things or just too clear about certain things and it’s just there to question what we already know about ourselves and sometimes match it up to who we’re trying to be, but just get to know yourself on a level that is hopefully promoting breaking down the defenses and the resistance to the stuff we don’t like about ourselves, to see them as potential strengths if they’re used right.
Kasturi: I’m a big fan of talking about vulnerabilities rather than weaknesses. I think weaknesses come from a place which has a really negative social connotation. Who would want to adopt that? Who would want to own a weakness like, I don’t know. It doesn’t make me want to sort of put my hand up and go, yes, I’m weak in this and I’m weak in that but when I talk about vulnerabilities, I get a sense that a lot of therapists use that word as well because it’s something that can be a hindrance if not used in a way that can support your growth. Strength based working is something that’s very core to the Esprit Concrete Method and its values.
Kasturi: Autonomy is very central and autonomy only comes, I guess when there’s kind of an attempt to connect with your true self. I believe in working with loads of different models to figure out what parts of you you’re engaging, what parts you’re not, where did that come from? Not to lament the past, but more to inform how you decision make now and how that can then lead you to hope and to dream and to strive for. We get stuck a lot, even in the present sometimes and there’s a certain paradoxical theory behind the Esprit Concrete Method. The idea that everything is double-edged and we’re just trying to question which edge do we use when? So, it’s not corrective.
Kasturi: It’s not supposed to be judgmental. It’s not supposed to be a criticism of oneself or a promise of this eternal answer and solution to everything. It’s supposed to be teaching people how to normalize their anxiety and their fear to realize they’re never going to be fearless. They’re never going to be unanxious, if that’s even a word, but they may be more comfortable with owning it, translating it, and then putting it out there again in a different format that hopefully they are happy with and we do that through the objects.
Kasturi: There’s a lot of applied behavioral analysis that comes to the Esprit Concrete method. There’s a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy that comes into it. There’s a heavy psychodynamic theory that’s influenced in it because that fascinates me but ultimately, [Phillip Peyton 00:19:22] is the person who did my last module for my doctoral training and he was the kind of the last piece of the puzzle for the first phase of Esprit Concrete Method because he basically sees a person as being somebody that we can formulate together with what is going on. Mapping any piece of research study lived in experience that can possibly exist to them, so you’re not just a CBT therapist or you’re not just a psychodynamic therapist, but you’re those therapists using some kind of formulation that is so specific to the person that it could be related to business or art or anything you like and that idea of all these theories coming together to help make sense of an individual and to also challenge those theories because that individual may just defy them is what Esprit Concrete Method is about.
Kasturi: It’s a very organic method that’s still growing and will be growing hopefully as long as I can do it. That is really about putting the person in the middle, figuring out what it is they’re content with, what it is they want to challenge and how best to make sense of their environment as yet another tool to figure out pieces of themselves that stay hidden. I had never done anything like Art du deplacement before. When I went and I met the Yamakasi and I saw the way that they were interacting with themselves, each other, the environment, I could see so many things that just were not put into words and therapy is about sharing.
Kasturi: It’s about communication and for me communication is speech as well as body as well as just sensing and vibing certain things and that energy that I felt through Art du deplacement translated into a body in a way that I guess I didn’t really know the power of until I did it and therefore Esprit Concrete Method looks at movement patterns, the patterns that people form before they even get to a class and then it matches that to who they are in real life. Because for me the idea is, especially now with the social agenda being to challenge this idea that athletes are just athletes. We’re not. We are doing athletics maybe or we are doing swimming in that moment, but we are… I am Kasturi and what does that mean? That integration of the various selves that we have and how we find a way to keep that in balance, that’s what the Esprit Concrete Method is supposed to help guide people to try to do.
Craig: I’d be interested to know more about, I don’t want to say what does a class look like because I know how Parkour classes look like, but I’m wondering, there’s a big distance between conceptual theory as you’re describing it and people who show up at like an athletics class on a Tuesday night at [Oval 00:22:07] or Canada Water or something and I’m wondering how have you actually taken that or does it… like how does it outgrow being you applying it, because I can understand how if you’re there, you can apply that in the case of each of the particular students, but how do you scale that? Like how do you pass it to others? What have your experiences been in that direction?
Kasturi: This is the question that has begun to keep me up at night.
Craig: I’m sorry.
Kasturi: No. It’s extremely hard and I think it’s one of those things that, it’s my passion. It’s my life. It’s what I live, breathe, bore Yao with every minute of every day. My family knows exactly what I do because I can’t shut up about it and I think that’s obviously not my idea and I think the last few emails that I’ve received from people, I was getting a sense that it was beginning to sound like I was doing something to them which defies the very purpose of the method because albeit this is in usually people emailing me from events, so that’s not our regular student base.
Craig: Yeah. That’s a smaller exposure.
Kasturi: It’s a very small exposure and it can sometimes feel like I do when I go and learn from someone else. There’s that illumination and you’re sort of like, my God, that guy was amazing but I think that I’ve kind of now made it a priority to start to think about proposing the methodologies and the theories that I’ve learned that already exist in workshops so that I can somehow bring it together even if it’s just on one worksheet to show people the process that I go through in how I challenge them during the classes, how I get them to challenge themselves and the best example of this was the workshop that we just ran at
Kasturi: Fynn and Yann invited me there and said, you know, “Could you do a six hour workshop?” And I very quickly said yes because I’m a yes person, and then I thought, oh crap. The last time I did this was in Quebec where although that was brilliant in other ways, it was pretty much doing six hours of what I do in a class and there’s something about that that I just felt, I don’t want to say was a waste of time, but I felt was maybe not filled enough with content that people could then use the year after, if that makes sense, so just sit with that for a year and do something with it.
Kasturi: I wanted to find a way to translate the process that would happen in that workshop in a way that people may remember, so I based the work on a thought record sheet that is available to the public on get getselfhelp, http://www.getselfhelp.com but I tailored it to the method that we use. I’m not going to give all my secrets here, but the idea would be to tailor it in a way that people would start identifying their triggers, identifying what to look out for. Even just understanding the difference between a thought, a feeling and a behavior within Art du deplacement/Parkour and seeing how that can then feed into an assumption that we could have about ourselves.
Kasturi: Yes, there are a lot of things that I interpret during the sessions. As I said, there’s a lot of interpretation because I am also highly psychodynamically trained more because I’m interested in that, but it’s not magic. So, I would then explain to them what about their certain movement that they did.
Craig: This is the key trigger that I spotted, right?
Kasturi: Yeah, which would then be there for them to look out for in the future and we did it in a way that was almost like a group movement therapy style class where all of a sudden I became a facilitator and I stepped back and every now and again there was an interpretation just to help bring the things together but everybody started speaking to everyone else and it was different to giving feedback to a teacher because they were actually unraveling the process themselves and you could see the process not just an answer to a question, and they were bouncing off of one another and I think that’s the feeling they’re going to remember of how data became meaningful data.
Kasturi: So, embodied, we embodied the process but we also took notes. We made little behavioral links and thought feeling behavior chains and we discussed and debated what we would slot in at what stage and it was very applied, it was very integrative and it’s the first time I’ve ever done a workshop like that and it felt for the first time a little bit more authentic to the therapeutic side of things, but also more authentic to I guess the behavior analysis side to what I do and it made it less sort of voodoo, she has this sense about us kind of thing that I was almost getting myself because I was thinking I’m too exhausted to think about what exactly is going on, but I know what’s going on and this event sort of required me to finally be like, okay, we need to put it down on paper.
Craig: The Parkour frame here.
Kasturi: Yeah, so I’ve literally now got only four worksheets but those four worksheets are four seven hour workshops. I’ve only yesterday started to realize, wow, this is what I need to do and this is how I need to work to be able to start to think about transferring but I mean, I can’t tell you how complicated what I do is, and I really don’t want to sound arrogant saying that, but it’s like I stress myself when I’m thinking about what I’m doing, so to be able to like translate that to someone else is… often feels beyond me. It often feels like I wish I just had somebody who could just do it for me, who’s got that skill, you know, and actually that’s just my impatience talking, I need… impatience, yeah.
Craig: Impatience [inaudible 00:27:52].
Kasturi: That is the word, right. Yeah. I need to just slow down and keep working at the pace I’m working and it’s going to take a couple of years to be able to really get those examples down because ultimately the Esprit Concrete Method being done by somebody else would look like a therapist being there or a psychologist being there and a trained ADD or Parkour coach that is informed in this method, working alongside each other getting creative.
Kasturi: The Esprit Concrete Method as I give it over to other people is not going to be a book you can follow. It’s not going to be a set of worksheets you have to do. It’s going to be hopefully something that I can get people to think creatively about to bring their own interventions in and their own experiences in, but in a way that makes sense enough for them to still all be doing kind of the same thing and I’m sure every person who’s ever formed a kind of therapy had this discussion but for me it’s new and I’m doing it now and it’s massively time consuming. It’s an emotional whirlwind. It’s terrifying because what if I can’t do it, but people keep giving me these opportunities and suggesting these things that require me to be just a little bit better informed than yesterday and so I’m just counting on them to keep helping me out with that so that they pushed me along a little bit [crosstalk 00:29:15].
Craig: Is there anything in particular that jumps to mind like either a resource or a type of person or a piece of feedback that would benefit you more?
Kasturi: Well, I didn’t know, but there was a psychotherapist, her name’s Yano who came over. She did the workshop and I didn’t know that we already kind of knew each other from Instagram and she gave a review, unofficial review but that kind of validation from people who are in mental health work or therapists who were thinking of alternative therapies, having them attending the sessions is one thing that really, really helps because then when I’m doing things, they can also, I guess feed back on how much of something is too much. Do they think that anything else could be added to it, do they have a way of conceptualizing things that might be different and how do they think they may apply this? So, that’s always helpful, but I don’t think I’m quite at that stage yet.
Kasturi: So, at the moment it’s more… it’s going to be about people, I guess wanting to learn what I’m doing in a way that may be then they can promote to other athletes and other coaches so that there’s more exposure to this in normalizing that it’s not for mental illness, it’s for mental well health because sometimes the samples that we kind of come up with, samples in terms of sample work, it’s lost on people how general it is. It’s not specifically for mental illness, it’s just for mental wellbeing.
Kasturi: Right now I’m at the stage where the more people try it, the more I get to see what I have to change and then if part of those groups of people are already in either ADD Parkour teaching or in psychology, they can then help me to brainstorm how I put this out and at [PKMei] I mean there were [Nikolai 00:31:03] and [Powell 00:31:05], two people who we literally talked for hours about and they were able to help me by just asking me about the grounded theory study that I’m working on and how that applies to my research and those moments of clarity come from me being able to try to talk to somebody about what I’m doing then and that seems like it’s not very concrete.
Kasturi: It seems like I’m just trying to get people to come to my classes but it’s so experiential that speaking to other creatives and speaking to other academics and speaking to other people who are in that creative process of trying to create this thing that they then need to pass down is just incredible and that’s why I really love speaking to Julie Angel, usually because she knows the angst of the PhDs and she knows the angst of the creative work and she just reminds me that there’s a time for everything, I just need to breathe and in those conversations sometimes are all it takes.
Craig: Is there anything else that you want to share while we’re sitting here chatting?
Kasturi: I think maybe going back to the point that I was talking about Esprit Concrete Method not being a method that you have to subscribe to or that you buy into. Don’t get me wrong. I like the hashtags and we’ll need to know we’re out there. Please tag us if you-
Craig: Visibility, right.
Kasturi: Yes, but I really wanted to try to start translating that the Esprit Concrete Method is using the medium of Art du deplacement/Parkour to question certain things about people no matter what they’re doing. This year at our event Les Dames Du Movement in London, we have specifically tried to begin to invite certain people from different disciplines like dance and yoga for example. The teaser will be out later on, but yeah, to invite those types of professionals to look at their practice in a way that would have been informed by the Esprit Concrete Method because we usually spend time getting to know the professionals that we work with so that they can also know what our agenda is and when there’s a common agenda, the event usually works better.
Kasturi: A lot of them see the potential of Esprit Concrete Method in what they do which for me just resonates so much because it just shows me that it’s not something that belongs to me, so the concept belongs to me, but it’s something they can feel an affinity to and a sense of belonging with that doesn’t require a certificate or it doesn’t require a subscription necessarily. It does require training if you want to learn how to kind of think that way but that cost money no matter where you go, but then you just do it intuitively.
Kasturi: I guess the Esprit Concrete Method as teaching the Esprit Concrete Method and teaching ADD in this methodology would be specific to the Esprit Concrete Method being done raw but the transferability I guess is what I think is important to share because we have too much division at the moment anyway and I think with division and focusing too much on difference comes a lot of friction and I think at the heart of Art du deplacement is that idea of community and that idea of sharing and the idea of caring and it gets really lonely sometimes, you know, when you have something that you’re doing that no one else is doing, it can actually be really lonely.
Kasturi: It’s not just this great thing that like, wow, you’ve created this thing and actually you want to share it with people sometimes and I think there’s a lot of… in a competition when you think about difference, but when you think about similarity, then we think about collaboration and for me that’s what drives me, you know, hearing what other people are doing and being like, wow, that’s incredible.
Kasturi: Like how can we work together? How can we do… and in order to do that I think we need to be less guarded about who we do that with and more open to really owning the fact that the Esprit Concrete Method delivery is through Art du deplacement but it is for anyone who wants to move and learn about themselves and that’s why I was so amazed by the PKMY event because we had a lot of people who do things in movement culture and we have other people who do embodied mindful movement and we had breathing specialists and everyone was interested in our method because they saw parts of what they do in that method and they saw how what they do fits in with us and I was filled with trying to adapt Esprit Concrete Method with those things.
Kasturi: I think just adding that idea of let’s try and I guess be inquisitive and less protective. It’s taken me a long time to get to that point. You know, when you’ve got something new and you’ve got something that especially a PhD is based on, you need to protect that work for a while but I think I’m getting close to, I’m submitting it in the first week of June and now I can be a little bit freer with it and more sharing with it and I invite people, I guess from all walks of life to come and see what it is, even if that’s through an email and not through attendance at the event but if you want to see how other people share the values that belong within Esprit Concrete Method, then they should try to come to the Les Dames Du Movement because we’ve got seven or eight different coaches that are not us. They’re not part of our team and hopefully it’s going to be good.
Craig: Kasturi, you mentioned the Les Dames Du Movement which is in London and when is it?
Kasturi: It’s the last weekend of August, so I think it’s the 30th of August to the 1st of September.
Craig: Okay and can you tell me a little bit about the event? Give me like a painted picture of like what happens there, who comes to the event, the types of things that get done.
Kasturi: It’s an event that has changed, I’d say over the years, but we’ve only had two, but even those two, and the third one now is quite different. This year there’s going to be a sort of night mission on the Friday night. Saturday is non-binary and female and then on Sunday it’s everyone, so all genders or anything that you align with basically. In the morning is movement based workshops and then in the afternoon there are teach talks that happen. I can’t say what they’re about yet, but for the first time we actually have hired a space to be in, so we’re no longer camping out in places and it’s generally just a really lovely gathering of about 35 people who come together coaches not included in that number hopefully, and we share something about what’s important to the coach we’ve invited and that’s usually a process or something personal they’ve been through that has influenced their practice and how somehow the participant can find themselves in something that they learned there.
Kasturi: So, it’s done through creative movement this year, as I said, I’m talking a lot about Anna because she’s the first person we’re going to launch, so I can talk about her but she’s doing this really interesting combination of dance and yoga with a background in gymnastics, but her actual work translates into such an integrated practice of these things that she’s really defying anything being in boxes, so she’s very big on promoting autonomy. Anna Fuchs is her name. She’s very big on the person finding their own creativity and requiring them actually to think outside the box and understand that you only get creative by just messing about and figuring it out with your body. So, yeah. It’s an event that brings different people, different beliefs, different systems of working to play with that commonality of just who are you as you and who are you with others kind of, whether that’s an object or a person, doesn’t really matter.
Kasturi: I think usually we have people who go to classes elsewhere and people who go to jams elsewhere, they’re usually interested in the event but sometimes we also do get athletes who come and I say that specifically because I think that there’s a growing divide happening between athletes who are gearing themselves towards doing this for a living, making money out of it, professionals but I guess the coaching professional is that idea that ideally we are the ever learning person and therefore they’re interested in doing such events.
Kasturi: Sometimes I find that athletes predict that they have what they need and that it has to be very movement focused for them to attend and movement at a level that they can then feel a sense of belonging with but what we found is that they will often come to the jam at the end because there’s a free jam on the Sunday and we’re always really, really grateful when they do because everybody trains in the same space regardless of whether you’re a beginner or you’re somebody who’s won the fastest person to get from A to B at this event and to watch it as the organizer, it’s the most beautiful thing.
Kasturi: You’ve got this crazy running precision and a flip happening in the background and then you’ve got someone who’s just learned to step vault who’s just… they both look as happy as one another with this achievement and I think my hope is that with time, especially with the work that I’m doing with Parkour UK at the moment, being very heavily involved in taking care of the athlete and as I said before, not splitting the athlete from the person. I’m hoping that more athletes see the benefit of taking time to reflect on themselves in different spaces rather than just movement context because although there’s an urgency to training, you know, the younger that you start, the better you’re going to be by this age.
Kasturi: There’s also a connectedness you need to real life that needs to happen for lifespan development of an athlete’s progression and that detachment and that almost cru formation is something that my research shows can be quite detrimental and it can also sometimes be disappointing because once you don’t have that, there’s a true sense of loss that happens. I think Les Dames Du Movement is a representative event for me. It represents a mission to try to get people under one umbrella, people of all various skills and all various disciplines just to share and to find out that we can learn from one another and I know that there are other events where people are adopting similar kind of ideologies of getting people into the same space at different levels of their training, I guess, or the different ambitions that they have but I’d love to see people coming to the event and learning from the coaches that we have because taking a preventative mindset into competition is really key and that’s what we try to do.
Kasturi: Whether you’re doing it for fun or you’re doing it for competition, it’s important to train yourself for what happens when things go wrong and there’s a high level of detachment from emotion and avoidance that can take place to be good at Parkour because there’s just so much fear around it. Not everyone does that, of course not but I come from an understanding that I don’t really know what my tendencies are until Yao points them out. There’s certain self actualization that can happen but there’s not a lot of it, and I’d love to see a discipline that claims to be different from other sports, learning from the mistakes that other sports have already done and one of the things that those sports themselves are working so hard relentlessly now to do is to find preventative means of taking care of their athletes.
Kasturi: So, yeah. I’d like to welcome athletes to come. It’s relatively… I mean I would say it’s cheap, but I’d say if you’ve got money for an event, it’s relatively cheap for what you get from the event and the experience you can have on it and it would be really nice to bridge that gap competition and lay person training.
Craig: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I love to collect stories because I think when you hear what the story people pick and how they tell it and the passion and the energy it tells you more about the person than about the story that they’re conveying, so Kasturi, is there a story that you’d like to share?
Kasturi: I think the story that I’d like to share is the story that became a video and sometimes was slightly misinterpreted by the Parkour community at some point, but it was my injury, my wrist injury, so I did… not important really what the injury was, but I did a movement. I broke my wrist. It was in front of people. It was at an event and it impacted practically everything that I’m doing now, both struggling with and also achieving.
Kasturi: In that moment I had been having an incredible training session and I was so excited by everybody around me, the teachers, the environment, the spots that we were looking at, the weather was incredible. It was just one of those trips that you always felt like you were sort of a boring child, and here you were doing something as an adult that was just incredibly exciting and I was so sure of who I was in that moment that now when I think about it, it terrifies me, which is another thing the course has also taught me, but in a way Art du deplacement also teaches me that and now I don’t have that certainty. I’m working more on being okay with certainty, but in that moment when I was looking at the Kong, I had managed to completely fool myself into thinking that I was so sure of who I was and it’s really interesting because the reason I love this story is that Williams Belle, he knew that there was a risk I changed my mind.
Kasturi: A few other people did, but there’s something about the very discreet way in which Williams suddenly appeared in the spotting circle on the roof that I was going to, that just left me thinking about it for months. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t challenge me in any way and for some people that may seem risky but he wasn’t actually supposed to be there, so he wasn’t leading the session. Everyone who was leading the session told me everything they would usually say, but he was a spectator that somehow got a vibe that this can either be make or break and he gave me that space to decide something for myself, which although in that situation ended up with a bad outcome.
Kasturi: It was the definition of experiencing the responsibility that comes with autonomy and I don’t think I’ve ever been held accountable for my reactions in a physical way to that degree, so I remember that decision making process and I remember all the flaws with it now and all the reasons that I wanted to do it and it’s hugely linked to the ego that was surrounded there to what it would say about me if I had done it, how long I’d been training. It was to do with competitiveness with myself, with everyone I guess, and he just silently knew that there probably was some conflict and I say this because I’ve now done a lot with him and I’ve seen how he also spots other people and there was just some intuition in that moment that there was something going to be wrong.
Kasturi: As soon as I took off and inevitably of course I changed my mind. I just went down and those were the longest seconds of my life because you have a lot of time when you fall and it was just like, yeah, okay that’s it. Like obviously I’ve made a mistake and he caught me luckily because the drop was pretty big. I was lucky though I didn’t break more to be honest than just my wrist. Everybody was astounded. I didn’t even need an operation but that act of just knowing and then coming to be there just in case allowed me to understand a really important point in coaching as well, which is that balance between guiding somebody to learn how they can make their own decisions but also being brave enough and strong enough to contain the fear that you may have because there are certain things not on that scale obviously, but there are certain mistakes and certain areas that people just have to make and if you’re saving them all the time or you’re stopping them from doing that, they’re not going to grow in the same way and I learnt, God, so much from that experience that, that fills me with fear every time I teach.
Kasturi: That desire to just stop someone from making a mistake, you know they’re going to do. Of course coaching, we have standards, we have good practice, we have insurance. We’re not talking about just letting everyone break their wrists.
Craig: Certain kinds of [crosstalk 00:46:52].
Kasturi: Of course not. That’s not what I’m talking about, but nobody was going to stop me in that moment, you know, that’s how sure I was. That’s why those people were there because that’s literally all they could do and sometimes that’s the reality of life. You can’t stop someone from doing something and sometimes you’ve got to hit that ground and you’ve got to feel that feedback and that’s it and now I coach so that hopefully we get to a point where people know themselves enough to not get to that point but there wasn’t my method which works for me now then and so that story for me, I remember even now when I’m speaking about it, like literally I feel so emotional and every time I see him, it’s a reminder for me to just check in with myself.
Kasturi: He didn’t do anything. He didn’t do therapy with me. He didn’t do anything. He just was but it was powerful and I think I connected to the discipline, to myself, to others, and to fear on that day in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever done in my life before, so yeah, it was a terrifying moment. More terrifying afterwards because the trauma that you experience after something like that, very difficult to overcome and I have not overcome it. I’m still working through it. I’m still asking myself the questions. I’m still taking my time but yeah, that stayed with me and I’m really glad it did because otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now, but I’m… yeah, that’s my story.
Craig: And of course, the final question. Three words to describe your practice.
Kasturi: Who am I? I think those three words… I took my sister to an exhibition that I believe was at the British Library and it was Alice in Wonderland and I’ve always found that children’s… supposedly what’s for children. Their animations, especially at the moment are geared towards concepts that are so hard for us to understand and explain and even as somebody who’s supposed to be able to, I guess, have some way of formulating things, there are certain things that are really, really hard to describe and I think that children’s films allow us to relate to coming of age things that in retrospect we realize was so hard, but we did it through constantly just changing. So, who am I? Those three words for me, I guess is something that needs to be asked before we do anything rather than every year.
Kasturi: I set resolutions like everyone else, but I think, who am I today? Who am I now? Who was I yesterday? Those kinds of questions I find really important to normalize that we’re going to be different and manage expectations that we have of ourselves and of others and Alice in Wonderland for me was this massive journey of discovery with the most craziest of things that you could ever imagine and I’ll never forget the fat caterpillar that was just smoking there in the background making O’s and everything felt magical even though it was kind of really dark as well and lonely and scary and there was that duality of this fantastic piece of work, this fantastic book that took us somewhere else to ask the question that inherently I find is the cost of a lot of angst for everyone and a lot of my clients, so yeah.
Kasturi: I think if we can make that question as magical, as exciting and as unpredictable as Alice in Wonderland and normalize that then maybe we won’t be so scared of the answer or the lack of the answer because sometimes we don’t know and that needs to be okay I guess.
Craig: Thank you very much Kasturi, it’s been a pleasure.
Kasturi: Thank you Craig. Very, very much. It was really nice.
Craig: This was episode 59. For more information, go to moversmindset.com/59 and there’s more to the Movers Mindset project than just this podcast. Visit our website for more free content to join our email list or to read about how you can support this project, and I’ll leave you with a final thought from Arthur Schopenhauer. Talent is like the marksmen who hits a target which others cannot reach. Genius is like the marksmen who hits a target which others cannot even see. Thanks for listening.