079. Bryan Riggins: Awareness, process, and books

Episode summary

Riggins (250)

Bryan Riggins discusses his motivation, goals, and process of training descents, and his experiences and relationship with fear. He shares how it relates to his love of coaching children, and the challenges he personally works on. Bryan unpacks his reasons for training parkour before delving into the many books that have influenced him and what is on his reading list.

Goals, motivation, and process

Relying on systems; mapping out what he wants to work on, very specific. Often ideas and concepts motivate him to create that system. Weather in Seattle… how that plays into motivation. Is a plan enough to keep it going? Waiting for rain to stop. Working on descents; 4-6 months of working and breaking down technique, mental barriers, and eventually making a video, Unfolding. Debriefing from completing a challenge, how to process it. Mediation, floating to plan out projects and descents

Dealing with fear

Learning how to deal with fear, but also learning about yourself. Fear is a healthy tool, you should work with it. Letting go of the background noise, being in the present. What is the draw, the pursuit, with working on fear? Composure practice, calmness. Understanding his own capability. Reflection on descents, using social media to discuss the process, rather than simply posting death defying videos. Discovering his interested in composure and awareness through descents, rather than the other way around. Really considering your intention and how it informs your practice.

Age, maturity, and practice

How age influences practice, and the way we think about it. Maturity, exceptional individuals, but also everyone can do that type of practice to some extent. Teaching children as an athlete, height and fear practice, how the two relate. Awareness, learning tools to give to children; breathing, visualizing. Repeatable processes, working with kids on the spectrum. Conversational, reflective tools, language, thought processes. Helping to guide kids on their own paths of discovery.

Starting places

PKV Apprentice ship program, learning to coach, shadowing classes. Brandee suggested working on challenges at height, seeing kids visceral responses to height and fear, became the merging point. Power Program at PKV; climbing, jumping, and fear challenges. Value of fear challenges and self understanding they bring.


One success; Seattle Pacific University, friend spotted the challenge and sent it to him. Initially thought it was impossible, but broke it apart and finished it. Most difficult descent. Grueling physical challenge; descent and balance circuit, choosing a number to complete. Challenges said ‘no’ to; video project in Portland, but intuition called him off. Physical challenges and visualizations, but still not always the answer. Listening internally, to your head and heart. Prefers internal motivation to external, pros and cons of competition.

Reasons for training

Everyone gets different things from training, fulfills different needs. For him, awareness, fear. But more complex; the ways, reasons we do things. Goal of enduring, becoming resilient through intense physical challenges. Changes people’s mindsets about themselves; growth mindset, adapting. Journaling as a tool to record and reflect on your journey.

Personal project

Working on creating a ‘process journal’ specifically for parkour; 3-4 month guide/journal with questions about their practice, goals, intention, awareness.


Desert Island, only one book: something by Maurice Blanchot; One book everyone on the planet should read: Momo (Michael Ende); Last book you intentionally put down: Carlos Castañeda book about intention and awareness; Book you give away most often: History of Sexuality (Michel Foucault); Book waiting to be read: Italo Calvino: Letters 1941-1985 ; Largest book you own: A Thousand Plateaus (Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari); Smallest book: Samuel Beckett novel/play, Endgame . Craig’s three favorite sci-fi novels: Nemesis (Isaac Asimov), One of the Rama novels (Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee), The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury), or maybe the Dark Tower series (Stephen King).

3 words

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Bryan: The three words that I describe my practice are awareness, challenge finding, and composure.