072. Brandee Laird: Creating experiences, usefulness, and poetry

Episode summary

Brandee Laird discusses many things, including the recent Art of Retreat, being an introvert, and card manipulation. She shares her coaching philosophy, influences, and creating experiences, and reflects on the role of usefulness in her practice. Brandee explains how she handles dark moods, strives to expand her skill sets, and even recites some of her own poetry.

Connection and Art of Retreat

Connecting with others through movement; useful but not necessary. AoR is like a dream come true; the people she loves most elevating each other, playing, learning, training together. Profound moment from AoR

Coaching Persona and energy

switch “on” mode; generating and giving energy to get back energy, putting forth the correct energy, being aware of your own presence. Energy can go both ways, being careful with it. Coaching personas, how they came about; Experience, leadership

Someone admirable

Caitlin Pontrella, starting AoR, taking on so many projects, creating connections

Introversion and card manipulation

People think she’s an extrovert…. definitely not. Can generate energy as a coach, but needs a recharge. How to recharge, spending time along, working on tasks, things she’s interested in. Example, card manipulation. Started practicing card manipulation, dexterity practice.

Every day carry

Unexpected EDC item; I Ching, to refer to, read whenever needed. Occasionally study

Various questions

Favorite food; sushi. Successful people: Blake Evitt, PKGA team. Language and collecting phrases. The question to ask people… What are they doing daily to improve humanity. What makes parkour unique, people, ability to practice anywhere with nothing, umbrella term and how we discuss parkour, growth of parkour.

Coaching and creating experiences

Creating an experience for people vs teaching people, the feeling of accomplishment, application. Responding to students, continuing to grow as a coach, keep from getting bored. Knowing what kind of experience to create for people; checking in with people, learning names, giving voice. Story of her session at London Rendezvous 2019, creating challenge for the best of the best… making people deal with discomfort, a unique challenge. Stripping down, covered in mud, catching leaves, climbing trees eyes closed. Not all experiences are gnarly, you don’t always need to suffer, pit yourself against things. Difference between daily practice and suffering. Ninja summer camp with Evan Beyer, teaching kids skills, new ideas… knot tying, fort building, meditation, stealth. Giving her childhood to another generation of kids.

Reflection on self altruism, usefulness

AoR session, what does it mean to actually ‘be strong to be useful’ – Georges Hèbert, Methode Naturelle, saving people from volcanoes. Athelticism for morality, rather than sport’s sake. Parkour for self transformation, but what about others? Many ways to be useful… strong, present, compassionate, WILLING. Skill, will, need. Bringing benefits to other communities… giving back. Restructuring parkour instruction to focus on values, intention of transformation.

Coaching influences

Oprah. Recently realized her impact… by using Oprah memes. Influence on Brandee’s mannerisms, lean in, be open, be excited. Huge inspiration

Dealing with darkness

Compassion comes with the pain of caring, so darkness is familiar. Building self protocols. Self esteem box… collection of nice, kind things people have said about her. Gratitude, compliments, etc Going for walks, being outside. Watching her own videos, reflecting, specifically made one for this purpose, Opportunitrees. Reminder of summertime, energy, happiness. Talk to Elizabeth, her girlfriend… relentlessly optimistic. Refuses to allow Brandee to bring herself down

A goal

Want to write and publish novels. Fictional future history, things she’s been working on for years. MonkeeMoves handle, many things still on the internet. Current goal is to get to the point of sharing


Poetry is the outlet for big thoughts, feelings, overwhelm. It comes out in cadence, or in a spoken manner, sensory experience. Poetry recitation: On Growing Wings – wrote it 5-6 years ago, graduating massage school, about growth, shared it with her class. Spoken word, presenting physically. Compose first spoken, and write it down after that process is complete. Moving to embody the poem, helps to compose it

Skills sets and focus

Generally people don’t expand themselves far enough, or give credit to learn more things. Focusing in isn’t bad, but there is always more to experience. Personally gathering experience for writing. Find something that you’d never do, and then try it. Gives you resilience. Uncharacteristic practice for you; Something you’d assume is boring, intimidating, or outside of your skill. For Craig, skydiving, ballroom dancing, pole dancing, burlesque, cirque story… juggling cards

Dexterity drills

understanding how to learn, and how to teach herself. Explaining card drills and how she works with them. Becoming a card ninja, secret instagrams… place to record training and drills

3 words

Brandee: Let’s get sushi.

Craig: Okay, so before you’re allowed to have your sushi, there’s a final question, which is three words to describe your practice.

Brandee: Why didn’t I prepare for this exam. I knew this was going to be a thing, I know.

Craig: Its not supposed to be a total… Some people like to talk their way into it like, “oh it would have to be something related to…”

Brandee: Well, first thing I was going to say, eternal. But eternal could only be as long as I last. I don’t see my practice ending any time for any reason. I need some more moments. I need some more moments. Okay, what is my practice in three words?

Craig: Thinking time is free.

Brandee: Yeah. Well, my practice is creative. I have a very creative practice.

Craig: I would agree, yes.

Brandee: And applicable. Yeah. I don’t practice if I’m not going to use it. So if I’m not using something, I stop doing it. Actually, it’d be interesting to apply my other… So I have some other ideas. I do a lot of things obviously. We’ve discussed this. One of those things is make clothing for myself and alter clothing.

Craig: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brandee: But the order of what needs to happen is comfort, utility, style, in that order. So that can also be the same for my practice is comfort, utility, style. I think that’s actually pretty good.

Craig: That’s pretty good, yeah.

Brandee: That’s just how I do.

Craig: All right, is that your final answer?

Brandee: Yes, comfort, utility, style.

3-words visualized


To learn more about our data visualization, see "3 words…" visualized

Contact and further info

To learn more or get in touch with Brandee, you can follow her on instagram (@monkeemoves) and Youtube (monkeemoves). Brandee is also working on another project, Citizen Operating Systems. You can visit her website, follow on instagram, or support it on Patreon.