Bryan: For me it’s about awareness, attention and the intent behind why I’m doing what I’m doing. And that comes in a lot of different ways. For me it comes from, I don’t know, sometimes you go throughout your daily life, wake up, and you’re like, “Oh, I’m just like going through the motions.”
Craig: “I’m asleep,” right?
Bryan: “I’m asleep. I’m sleepwalking,” right? And just being aware of, like you were saying, walking out on the porch having sun beam onto your back and be like, “Oh, this is really nice. This is really intense.”
Craig: Hello. I’m Craig Constantine. 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 is episode number 79. Bryan Riggins, awareness, process and books. In this episode, Bryan Riggins discusses his motivation, goals and process of training descents, and his experiences in 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 today.
Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.
Bryan: Hi. And I’m Bryan Riggins.
Craig: Bryan Riggins lives and breathes parkour. Largely self-taught, he began training in 2008 and has become a coach at Parkour Visions and [inaudible 00:01:32] Academy, and an athlete with Atlas Parkour. Bryan shares his passion for parkour through his coaching as well as his videos and photography. Welcome, Bryan.
Bryan: Thanks. Hi.
Craig: I don’t really consider myself a parkour athlete. I mean, technically I do parkour, therefore that makes me an athlete. I do consider myself someone who trains intentionally. But I’m not coming at my training from the mindset of an athlete. And I’m fascinated by people who, I’m going to say, manage to stay so focused that they can continuously push themselves that way. I mean, I push myself in lots of ways, but for me parkour is entirely a restorative practice. Because I guess the luxury, maybe from your point of view, the luxury of not having to… you know, like there’s physical, I was going to say bars I have to clear in a minute. Like, as a level of capability, not as a… but it’s like a pun… So, I’m about to push myself to those concrete goals. So I’m wondering, as an athlete, how do you find the strength, the motivation to continuously push yourself toward goals?
Bryan: I rely a lot on systems. So, I come up with a concept or an idea of something I want to work on. For example, doing descents, I just like mapped out in Google Doc. I was like, “Okay, these are the things that I want to work on.” So I created a Google Doc with all the locations, all the different things I had in mind. And that’s kind of like one way that motivates me. So building a system and then breaking that system down, or building out a plan, and then eating at those little pieces of that plan, or chipping away. And then sometimes I’m just motivated by an idea or a concept. That’s usually how I start. It’s pretty simple.
Craig: So today in Seattle, it is apparently ridiculously gorgeous. I mean this is-
Bryan: This is amazing.
Craig: This is gorgeous. Like, I mean, blue skies. And I haven’t seen any clouds yet. But one of them must have drifted by at some point, and there are trees outside the window. And it’s just beautiful. And everybody keeps saying like, “What’s with this weather? Because apparently I heard Seattle’s rainy and dreary, I’m not seeing it.”
Bryan: Usually it’s like in the high 40s, low 50s, and it’s raining all day.
Craig: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think maybe I’m like a minor weather guy, and the sun just wants to make me happy. You know, it’s okay, so confirmation bias. I walked out on the patio this morning and the deck was wet, it’s wood. I walked out across the patio… this is a rented place, not my house. I walked across. And when I got to the banister at the edge, the top of my head got just out of the shadow from the roof, so the sun’s coming up on the other side of the building. So it’s like, I walked out to the edge, and the sun hit me in the back of the head, and it was warm. And I immediately turned around, and all I got was, on purpose, this beautiful face full of sun which I stood in for like three minutes. There’s a neighbor across the street making bacon, she must have been looking at me, “Who’s the whack job on the third floor?” And I stood there just facing the sun.
Craig: And then eventually I came back in, because I’m not still standing there. But I’m just thinking, you know, that like is confirmation bias. I walked out there and the sun quick like… if I had been 10 minutes sooner my head would have come into the sun halfway across the deck, or 10 minutes earlier I wouldn’t have been in the sun at all. But it was like, I walked out and my head’s in the sun. Sorry, my head in the sun. So, if it’s 40 and dreary, Bryan, I’m not convinced that a Google Doc and a system is enough to get, I’m going to say the average normal person, like maybe your superhuman this way, but how do you get like… so if you’re planning a descent and you’ve been working on this thing for 15 days, how do you get out the door on day 16? Is it like you literally have it planned out day by day? And it’s like the whole thing about, don’t skip a day? Or like, how do you keep going at it in the 40 degree dreary?
Bryan: That’s a good question. You have to wait for the rain to stop, that’s the short answer. So there’s one descent that’s like kind of a few blocks up from here that I trained for like six months straight. I started in November and then finished it in March, roughly the timeline. Online there’s a video that I recently posted of the process behind that one.
Craig: Is that the one with the blue things off to the side? And there’s like a park-
Bryan: Oh, not the circle one, no, that’s a different one. That’s over in SPU, that’s in the Fremont area, near the old Parker Visions headquarters. This ones just right up the road. It’s just these silver rails, it’s four stories. I do a drop pre to one, and then that’s the final drone shot. It’s in the Unfolding video. But that one took four or six months to break down. So it was like, the initial process of just getting the technique down, and then breaking through the technique and going into doing double hand drop to feet single hand drop, to one hand, and then doing the full thing from the drop position. I broke that down into four pieces. And it was like four to six months.
Bryan: But basically part of it was battling the rain, part of it was just getting comfortable with dropping down the side of the building. So, the video itself, the Unfolding video, was specifically tailored to all these different descents that I had in mind, and building a map out of them. But the actual, that descent itself, there were times where it was just completely raining, and I had no abilities to do the actual descent. So I had to go to UDub, University of Washington, and just train inside in the garages for days, until there was dry enough weather. And predominantly that one, I just kind of did on my own. I didn’t do-
Craig: Nobody else trained [crosstalk 00:07:11]
Bryan: … nobody else training with me, just totally by myself.
Craig: Because that made me think… like one of the things I read was you had said that sometimes you trained, like I’m calling in parallel. Because there’s a lot of people training nearby, but were doing different things, but you can still get energy from those people. I was going to say were you training in parallel, but training alone? I’m wondering if maybe the Seattle weather is partly motivating you? Because you know that like, “And it’s raining, it’s raining, it’s raining, and here comes the sun, I’m going now.” And you’ve built up some potential to launch into the training. I don’t know if you have ever thought about that. Have you ever tried to train the way that you trained here? Have you ever tried that for a prolonged period somewhere else, like maybe San Diego? Would it work when it’s always sunny?
Bryan: I think it would work, but it would be a totally different process. I mean, I think you’d still hear that, that response to my question is totally accurate. Is, when it is sunny and when the weather’s ideal, that definitely is the catalyst and the motivator to get you to go and do that specific thing you want to work on, or specific line, or what have you. So I went to Texas [inaudible 00:08:14] last year, or I guess this year, so to speak.
Craig: Oh, well put, yes [crosstalk 00:08:19]. Because you said last year and my brain rewound and it went… is that the year that I went? But no, because I didn’t go this year.
Bryan: Yeah, it was this year. But, I trained pretty heavily for three days and it was totally non-sustainable. I was like tired and exhausted for four days afterwards. So it definitely is part of the weather. When it’s super, super rainy and you have the opportunity to go outside and jump around in something, or train in a specific movement, it becomes more of like, “Okay, I got to try to do it.”
Craig: The battery is full.
Bryan: “The battery is full,” yeah.
Craig: The rubber band is completely wound up.
Craig: What do you do after you’ve practiced? And I don’t mean in terms of physical recovery. I mean, do you take time to mentally go over what you’ve done? Do you journal about it? Do you write it down? Or do you do like this, I sopped it up, and then I wring the sponge out and I go on?
Bryan: I don’t do the latter at all.
Bryan: I don’t like that process at all. So, I do meditation. I try to meditate at least three to four days a week for 15-20 minutes depending on… I’ll just set a timer, meditate 15-20 minutes. Sometimes I’ll do visualization drills as float, so I’m in partnership with a float company town. So once a week I’ll go there. And just like, if I have a project in mind I’ll detail, take photos of the project, go and float, think about each piece of that process, how I’m going to break it down, the way that I’m going to do it. So I just try to use both the visual of the location and creating the steps in my mind to be able to overcome those challenges. But yeah, also like, I haven’t really been practicing to a sense lately. I haven’t been in the mindset or in the head space to be at height recently.
Bryan: So I’ve been doing a lot more mellow on the ground challenges. Because it requires a lot of… you know, you have a tank for your energy level, and then you have a tank for your mental level. And you can hit capacity at your physical level, and sometimes you haven’t even hit that mental piece. And I think descents are kind of the opposite. Where it’s like, high mental, lower physical because the process is really repetitive, especially if you just go down on the staircase. If you’re eight stories up, the mental process is a lot harder than in the physical, right? It’s like, the consequences are a lot higher.
Craig: But just one drop precision that just, this one has to be right. The eighth one… it would just be embarrassing to screw up after the seven, but yes. I have to say, I’ve been doing parkour for seven years or so. And I thought I had gotten over the visceral reaction to seeing other people doing stuff. Descents, that still gets me. Like, I see a descent and I’m just like, “Oh, sweaty palms,” there just something… Well, it’s not just something, I know exactly what it is. It’s the innate monkey brain fear of falling out of the tree. That when you see another, no insult, monkey falling on purpose, your brain just goes like, “That is not cool.” So, there’s a whole… I always feel that… here’s my metaphor for these interviews.
Craig: You and I are walking down the street and we’re having a conversation, and there’s side streets. And we’re talking, and we could turn off onto any side street. So here comes the fear side street. And so I’m just wondering, if you have any takeaways or things that have clicked for you after having exposed yourself to… and fear might not be the right word, but like major stress bordering on fear. The first of the eight steps down the descent. You’ve been at that place of fear and height so many times, not just on descents outdoors. Is there anything you’ve taken away from that, that you can point to specifically?
Bryan: Can you be more specific?
Craig: Well played. So what I’m looking for is, if somebody says, like if I say, “I QM’d across the Williamsburg Bridge, it was two or three kilometers,” I could tell you exactly what I learned from that, and it’s not in this story. But if you say, “I’ve done all these descents and I’ve worked with fear,” and you’ve developed tools for dealing with the fear, or dealing with the stress, that’s one thing. But then to say, “I went and did an Ayahuasca Journey and here’s what I learned about myself from it.” So I’m wondering if managing the fear and the stress, I’m thinking that’s one thing you’ve pretty much mastered. But then, have you learned… well, basically, you just made a face like, “I’m not so sure about that,” I’m like, “I’m pretty sure,” I’m nodding, pretty sure about that. But I’m wondering if that has taught you anything about yourself that you can vocalize?
Bryan: There’s a ton of things. I mean, I think that fear has a place always. I think that if people think that it doesn’t exist or that they don’t have it, they’re lying to themselves. I still have it, even with descents that I’ve done. There’s a specific one at UDub that’s like the spiral staircase. I will go there maybe every other month and just try it again, just to see if it still stimulates some sort of fear in me. And I was there last week and I was a little tired, not like super energized, wasn’t feeling mentally ready to try it. But I just was like looking at the top. There’s this cat drop you can hang, so the spiral staircase goes up. There’s a flat cement wall and you can hang in a cat position and then jump sideways and hit your feet, and then drop to a cat, and then do the descent. And I just only felt comfortable doing the cat drop and just pre-ing the top rail.
Bryan: And I was like not… I felt afraid, I felt totally scared. And I think that there’s a lot of different lessons, especially with fear. I think you can think more about… I think what happens is, when people are at that height and they’re analyzing challenge, and they’re looking at what they can do and how they can overcome it and the fear that’s involved in it, they kind of get lost in all the background noise. I was talking to Tim Burton about this. He’s from Texas, if you’re familiar with Tim Burton.
Craig: I mean, I’m familiar with others to [crosstalk 00:14:18]. Because I just [crosstalk 00:14:20].
Bryan: It’s just not going [crosstalk 00:14:20].
Craig: Wait, Tim Burton does descents? Oh my God, that guy’s pretty cool. So I’m not going to see Tim Burton in [crosstalk 00:14:27].
Bryan: Yeah. We were just talking about how you can use is kind of like to let go of the background noise, especially when your at height. You have this kind of like, being more present and in the moment. I think for me, that’s why I like meditating. That’s why I float. Because then it helps me just to let all of the other things that are happening, like the external thoughts or… I’ve done a challenge recently where I was doing a [inaudible 00:14:52] height and I couldn’t do it from the very center. It’s just like these beams that are suspended up in the air. And I just didn’t feel comfortable because I was thinking about the next thing I had to do in the day.
Bryan: I was thinking about maybe slipping, how dusty it was. And part of that is understanding how to be in the present moment versus being in the next thing that’s going to happen, or maybe something in the past, or… And I think that like, when you train challenges of height, when you train for your challenges, you’re kind of dealing with a whole catalog or list of different challenges you’ve done in the past, that’ll come up. And I think those same type of challenges that you have in your everyday life, where you’re like, “Oh, I have this narrative about how I want to do this one thing, and then I have all these other experiences that come up that reinforce that narrative,” right? So I think that’s like one part of that.
Craig: Are you able to point to a reason or several reasons about why you keep going after this fear? And maybe my first question should be, is that the right way to categorize what you’re actually going after here? Because I think… I’m going to say that I think I understand why you’re doing it. And I’m not sitting here quietly going, “You’re crazy, you need to stop.” That’s not what I’m thinking. I understand what you’re doing, and to me it makes sense. But I’m trying to figure out if we can articulate the people. So if somebody’s listening, like my mom, going, “What are you doing? You’re going to fall and die,” and how do you rationalize that? That’s not what I’m thinking, but I believe there would be a lot of people who would see one of those descent videos and they think that.
Craig: And clearly, they obviously don’t understand the way that the risk is mitigated, all the work you do and the capability and things like that. I talked to Alex Honnold, and he talks about, there isn’t fear. He’s like, “I’m not going to do the climb unless I know that I can do the climb.” And the challenge is doing the whole things from together, not, "Oh, I hope I can manage to hold this one particular crux part of it. And I’m just wondering, I know that you’re aware of the danger, but what is it that makes you say, “Okay, I’m willing to go in that direction over, and over and over,” and I don’t want to say you’re chasing something, but what is it that draws you to go and tackle those challenges?
Bryan: It’s a lot of different things. I like this question a lot. So, I also wouldn’t call it fear necessarily.
Craig: It’s not the right word, and part of what I want to know is, how do you visualize or think about what are you actually pursuing?
Bryan: So for me, and this is kind of like across the board for the way that I train, is that I have a concept. I’m interested in trying something. It’s more like challenge finding. Part of it is about, how can I be composed in the moment? How composed can I be at that height? Am I able to do that? And I think so much as to like you’re saying about Alex Honnold, I’m actually very interested, and I don’t want to die. No one really wants to die. But obviously there’s the case up there. But I think part of it is taken at a time to like understand that I’m capable of doing this maybe descent, or maybe this challenge at height and really slowing incrementing it. I think that’s like… especially when I see newer students or maybe older practitioners who have been training for a long time, and they’re interested in fear challenges. They’ll be like, “Okay, I’m going to try this one challenge.” And then they’ll get up at height and their brain just starts to like [crosstalk 00:18:31]. Yeah, it starts to just melt down.
Craig: How do I know to make the right sound?
Bryan: It’s like…
Craig: Because I’ve been there, right?
Bryan: But for me, it’s about composure. It’s like, how can I get into this space? How can I look at this challenge at height that I know I’m capable of doing? Break it down into bite sized pieces, and then overcome that fear that comes up. And maybe it’s not fear, but it’s knowing for myself and to myself that I can do this challenge. And that there are things that people are capable of doing, and that they can do them. For me it’s like about, how can I inspire… and this is the thing that’s kind of scary I think with social media. I have a lot of qualms about social media, I really don’t like it. But it’s like a tool for people to kind of like interact with each other and get to know each other, and meet each other and-
Craig: We need to communicate. And that seems to be where we’re going at the moment, is through those mediums.
Bryan: Yeah. And I think that there’s like… and that’s why I was like, try to take time to look at the process behind descents, and have been trying to be more open and vocal about it. So, there’s a younger generation of kids that I know, and trying to be like, “Okay, this is like a serious thing. You’re making this decision.” But how do you make this decision in a way that’s thoughtful and not about this click bait-y thing, or like gaining blanks or… And I do have issues with people posting those things and not talking about them. There was recently, I think it was mid last year, there was a kid who was trying some descent at height, and a rail broke and-
Craig: Yeah. I don’t remember where it was from or what he was doing. I mean, I’ve heard cases of people who weren’t doing descents intentionally, but where things collapse or fail. So, he’s looking at me because I just have this strange look on my face. And what it is, is me trying to compose a grammatical question from the wacky idea that are right in my head. What I was thinking was, that the seed of it is this. You said that you were interested in seeing if you could be composed in that situation, in one of these situations for example. And I’m wondering if that’s… That was like one thing that you clearly identified. Is there anything else, like do you feel that maybe you aren’t… I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, but do you feel that maybe you aren’t composed sometimes when you wish you were composed?
Craig: Just like, having a cup of coffee, crossing the street, and your like, well, deep down you’re being called to work on being more composed. And then the best tool for that is… or a really good tool for that is to do descents and other challenges of height. Is that something that you’re intentionally pursuing? Or is that something that you’ve discovered you were pursuing after you started doing it all?
Bryan: It’s the latter for sure. I’ve discovered it more so from doing it. I feel like most people when they meet me, they’re like, “Oh, you’re just really stoic and calm and you don’t have much to say, or quiet,” et cetera. And I think in training descents, or training things at height that I found that that’s something you can tap into, is an element of feeling composed, and element of being aware. There’s a book that I read quite a while ago, because I was thinking about doing a discussion or a treat area, just a quick spark conversation about fear and height challenges. And the book’s called The Rock Warrior’s Way by Arno Ilgner. He’s like an old trad climber, sport climber.
Bryan: And he has just this whole process about awareness, attention and intention. And I think those are three things that I’ve started to kind of articulate in my own training, is not only feeling composed, but also being aware and being present when training a challenge, and what’s the intent behind that challenge? Like, is your intent to prove to yourself that you can do something? Is your intent to-
Craig: Capture a social object for [crosstalk 00:22:14].
Bryan: Capture, yeah. And it like, I think there’s a lot of different things and a lot of different reasons why people do those types of things. Now presently, I feel like parkour in 2008 was just this like weird, subcultural niche thing that people did, and then it started getting more buzz, and more people noticed it. So there’s like… obviously people have these different intents on one end, and other people on the other end. But for me it’s about awareness, attention, and the intent behind why I’m doing what I’m doing. And that comes in a lot of different ways. For me it comes from, sometimes you’ll go throughout your daily life, wake up, and you’re like, “Oh, I’m just like going through the motions.”
Craig: I’m asleep," right?
Bryan: “I’m asleep. I’m sleepwalking,” right? And just being aware of, like you were saying, walking out on the porch having sun beam onto your back and be like, “Oh, this is really nice. This is really intense.” But I don’t know, that’s kind of a long winded-
Craig: No, I would say, I don’t know, I’d say it’s excellent. I’m wondering if, what’s going to join me on my agist soapbox fellow non 20 year… recently. Yeah, but still… what I’m thinking is, it seems to me… all right, so I think you were very considered, what you’re presenting is a very considered position. You’ve also put a lot of thought into it, and you’ve put a lot of work into it, and then a lot more thought into it. And you’ve gone around investigating these topics and these ideas on your own. And I’m wondering, do you think that it’s possible for somebody who’s 15 to be able to do what you do? And I don’t mean the physiology and the geometry of the descent. I mean, to be able to do the practice that you are doing, which is manifesting itself as descents and challenges at height. But that’s not actually what you’re practicing. Do you think someone who, just to be agist, at 15 could actually do that?
Bryan: That’s a hard question to answer.
Craig: Yeah, what do you think? I mean, you can also claim Mulligan and [Mavaughn 00:24:07], that you don’t have… this isn’t an inquisition, you don’t…
Bryan: I mean, I think it’s possible for someone who’s 15 to be able to do those things. But I think it’s like, you’re young, your brain’s not fully developed, you don’t have the same awareness or life experience, or understanding of why maybe you’re doing what you’re doing. And you’re influenced by a subculture that is based totally-
Craig: It would certainly be average of the 15, right?
Craig: So, for super saying an exceptional individual could do this, which I would certainly grant you an exceptional individual could do that.
Bryan: I think everyone can do it. That’s the thing. Everyone [crosstalk 00:24:43] can to a degree, right?
Craig: All right, okay. Like, if we could fix this all… well not if we’re going to pipe dream. If we could fix society, and everybody who’s 15, maybe that’s one of the rights of passage that’s missing. And maybe we’re not literally… everybody who’s 15 has to go do the descent off this parking deck or you’re out, but there may be an element… oh, I know there is, an element of the… I have the idea in my head, but I can’t find the words. The right of passage. Maybe that there’s an element of right of passage missing in our society. And if we had that still, then maybe the 15 year olds would be able to do this. The reason that I’m… this is a very strange question, right, that I’m asking you?
Craig: The reason I’m asking you, I don’t ask everybody that question, is that, you have a clear, I’m going to say love, a passion for teaching children. So I’m wondering, and what I’m fishing for is some insights. Because I don’t teach parkour, I don’t teach anything anymore. And I particularly don’t teach children, not there is any reason for it, but it’s just my focus is on asking questions in conversation and discourse and discussion. And I’m wondering if there’s any insights that you can draw from when you look at the children that you have the opportunity to teach, and you assess them, and you could certainly see what they need to be working on. And I’m going to guess that you don’t pull eight year olds and say, “You need to work on descents.”
Craig: I’m going to guess that you’re… I’m making a joke of it, right? But like, there’s clearly a progression that we could describe as an average. And I’m just wondering if there’s anything that you can pick out of that. Because you’ve got this really unique… All right, people are unique. And what makes them unique is the mastery of multiple disciplines. So one of the things that I think makes you unique is the mastery in… I was going to say dealing with children, but I don’t mean that negatively. Dealing with children and dealing with heights and challenge, and fear, but we both agree that’s not the right word. The combination of those two is a very rare person. And I think what I’m looking for is anyplace where I can find something that you want to share that really draws from the perspective you get from those two strengths. So I’m also notorious for asking long winded things that aren’t questions, but, you know-
Bryan: No, it’s great.
Craig: … it springs to mind when I start to try to draw a line between what does Bryan see based on all of your experience at height, and all of your experience and passion for teaching kids?
Bryan: I think it goes back to the awareness question. Is that, I see a lot of kids, when I teach them they’ll get totally overwhelmed by some parkour movement that seems fairly simplistic to us, you know, because we practice it whatever amount of times, and giving them tools to become more aware. Which is like telling them to stop and think about what they’re doing. And then make a decision to either do the thing that they wa nt to do, or attempt that parkour move. And giving them breathing practices too. One thing that I do, especially when I see a kid who’s just like, just wobbling and getting [crosstalk 00:27:34].
Craig: … is what now?
Bryan: Yeah. As to just like sit down, or not even sit down, but stop where they’re at, close their eyes and just go… breathe in and breath out. And then just go and do it. And usually 90% of the time a kid will just commit to that movement. If they just like stop, breathe, and then think about it, visualize it, and then make it happen. That’s one thing that I think is really valuable at training at height, is being able to have repeatable processes that I can give to other people. Especially kids who are just like, nowadays are all on their phones all the time and their brains are just going… like to each subject, I’m just like-
Craig: [inaudible 00:28:17].
Bryan: Yeah, exactly. I’m like, you’re in line, waiting for another kid to go. Just like sit, hang out. And I think also dealing with kids who kind of are on the spectrum is pretty amazing. I’ve been able to give them really valuable tools be like, “Okay, how’s here how the like”-
Craig: When the world comes at you.
Bryan: Yeah. And being able to give them conversational tools as well, it’s like, “Why are you feeling the way that you’re feeling.” It’s really accessing… like for me, again, back to the something, and thinking about kids is analyzing what’s going on inside, and how you’re feeling and how you feel that way. Because really when you’re doing a descent and you’re doing some sort of height challenge, all you really have is, internally you’re fighting your own self or your ego. And I often see that with kids. Like, in a parkour class they’re like, “I’m really defeated about this challenge. I can’t do it.” And I’m like, “Well, you can’t do it today. You’ll be able to do it in the future or down the road. But think about what you did today and how amazing that was.”
Craig: Compared to yesterday and the day before.
Bryan: Yeah. And the day before. And it’s weird, and just kind of like simplistic. But it’s one of those things that I feel like, in classes and in training people often neglect is, when they’re training and how they’re training is sometimes just like them battling themselves and their own ego. At the end of the day you’re like, “Oh, I really can’t get this jump,” and it’s like, who are you proving that to? You know, [crosstalk 00:29:42] it’s just a jump at the end of the day. And being able to give kids that kind of tool just to like, be more aware of their emotions and more aware of their breathing patterns and their social relationships is really important. Especially in classes where kids start to get to know each other more, and they start to develop these emotional relationships and being able to cut out the things that are causing them to feel a certain way, and feeling agitated, or angry or upset. And giving them communication tools to be able to overcome those types of challenges, right?
Craig: I was going to say, giving them conversations just to make them empowered, right?
Bryan: Yeah, yeah.
Craig: Your sense was just fine, [inaudible 00:30:23].
Bryan: But yeah, I mean, I think those are the two mirroring things. It’s like high challenges in a sense and being able to give kids these different tools. And at the end of the day, I teach a teen’s team with Parkour Visions. And all those kids are like… it’s crazy to see just the amount of power and strength that they have, and how they’ve just increased in skill level. Just like I would give the… I’ll be like, “Oh, this challenge is possible.” And then show them the medium version of the challenge, not the super hard version. And they’d be like, "Oh, okay. That seems like it’s possible. Then they’ll do the hard challenge, and I’m like, “You guys are totally capable of doing this.” And it’s a matter of what you believe and what you think at the end of the day.
Craig: I think it’s clear that you have an ability or skill which you developed with this work at height, and had challenges. And it’s not fear, but something like that. And you’ve also demonstrated just in talking today that, that enables you to teach children. To teach them in a certain way, to teach them certain lessons, to teach them certain life lessons. And it’s obvious that that hasn’t always been the case, because everybody’s born at some point. And what I want to know is, where specifically did you get that lesson from? Was it when you did your first descent? Was it when you did your first sketchy bar precision?
Craig: Like, there’s different ways to approach this practice that you have today. It starts out very small as a simple idea. And I’m trying to go back. And the real reason I want to go back and ask you is because that would be a terrific place for other people to enter into the same journey that you’ve entered in. So it’s kind of a question, searching for the beginning of this current journey.
Bryan: There’s one example that I have in mind, that the old [inaudible 00:32:08] Street gym. As I was going through the apprentice program with Parkour Vision, there’s this… it’s a long program, it’s like a 12 week program. It’s really awesome when it was functioning at the time. And I was basically being taught under Brandee how to coach, and different movement progressions, and I was shadowing some kid’s classes, I was shadowing adult classes. And then I eventually started teaching some of those kid’s classes and adult classes. But when I was training in Parkour Visions there was all these different challenges that I just was able to kind of like accelerate at on the ground. Kind of like through what I was saying before, just creating a Google Doc and hacking away at all those little lists of challenges. And be like, “Okay, I’ve done this thing. I’ve done this thing. I’ve done this thing.”
Bryan: And then one day I just like, I was, “Hey, Brandee, what do you think something I should work on?” She’s like, “You should start working on challenges of the high like bar challenges and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” So that was the turning point for me, it was like, “Okay, there’s something here that I can start working with and playing around with.” And I was also shadowing those classes at the time, so I was teaching a lot of young kids and kind of seeing how they react to fear on a really visceral level. I think adults have all these pieces that if they kind of started to put into place, where they can just be like, “I’m not afraid, it’s okay, I’m not at risk.”
Bryan: They don’t have that kind of like emotional response that kids have. Where the kids are just like, “Oh my God,” and their whole body shakes, their eyes are just [crosstalk 00:33:37] like pupils dilated, and they just get in the space where you’re like, “Oh my, okay. That’s what freaked out looks like.” It’s like textbook definition. And I think those were the two kind of merging points for me, it was like having a class where I saw some kid… we were just working on basic catch. They climb up on a ball box that’s about this high.
Craig: Yeah, four feet.
Bryan: Yeah, not very high. And then they jump to the wall with a metal bar, they can totally grip it. And to me it’s like, to my way, to them it’s like just this chasm for them. And I think those were the kind of the two merging points is, seeing kids kind of have the visceral reaction. And then seeing myself at height having the same kind of reaction, and then being able to develop those tools and put them into place to teach kids, and teach adults too at the same time. Because I have taught a class with Parkour Visions that was mainly focused… it was called the Power Program. And that program was focused around jumping and climate movements, but also fear challenges. So I had a couple days where I kind of broke down some fear challenges that I had done, that I know were like possible, or within the realm of possibility. And it was like six your feet measured out, jump on the ground and-
Craig: That works.
Bryan: … but on the other side there’s just a big drop.
Craig: Right. Plus this, and this, and that. Can I do that? Yeah.
Bryan: I think those were like the two turning points, is being able to have… like teaching kinds, going through the apprentice program, and kind of just really seeing the value and a relationship you can build with your challenges, and kind of the self-understanding that comes from them.
Craig: I love to ask people to tell me stories. And most people, when I say, “Is there a story you want to share?” They go, "Just give me some context. So I’ll just give you some context. I’m wondering, what’s the most ridiculously grueling challenge you’ve ever conquered? And I’m not going to try and play a one-up game, one on maturity, I’m just like, what’s the most ridiculous physiologically grueling thing you have ever done success or fail?
Bryan: I have one success, and then I’ll think about a fail. Because I think it’s good to talk about failure and success. I think that often people have this elusion that people are… some people at different levels or more will have these different powers that no one else has, which I think is totally inaccurate and false.
Craig: I would agree with you.
Bryan: One challenge that I overcame that was really difficult, there’s this descent that’s in Seattle Pacific University, it’s over in Fremont. It’s these big blue rails that are this big around, you can barely fit your [crosstalk 00:36:04].
Craig: … like 18 inches in diameter, so you have like a forearm…
Bryan: Yeah, it’s disgusting, but-
Craig: Let me guess, they’re dirty and dusty too.
Bryan: Yes, they’re very like… at the very end my arms were just like caked in blue paint. But yeah, a friend of mine saw the challenge. He was just like on this little nighttime adventure. He had gotten kind of buzzed and was walking around around and he was like, “Oh, that looks like something Bryan might do.” And then he sent this grainy black and white photo. And I was just like totally, I was like, “What? What is that?” So I just Google mapped it, and mind you Google Map is amazing for finding challenges.
Craig: Oh my God. How did we do anything before Street View?
Bryan: Yeah. And, I went and kind of looked. And I was doing a little bit of recon. And I was like, “That looks like it’s totally impossible. There’s no way that that’s doable at all.”
Craig: I need a joint person. What if they think that I could do that.
Bryan: And then we had a Friday Jumps. I’m sure, maybe you’re familiar with Friday Jumps in the Seattle Jumps community. And they were like, “Oh, let’s just have a session here at Seattle Pacific University.” And I was like, “Oh, awesome, yeah, let’s do that.”
Craig: Completely independently of you having looked at it.
Bryan: Yeah, completely independent. And then, we were training, it was Labor Day. So it was like totally dead, there was nobody at the campus. And I was like, “Oh, I think that challenge is actually possible.” And I climbed up, did the first level, an it was like, “Oh my God, it’s totally possible.” And then just kind of reverse engineered it in one session, and went all the way from the bottom to the top. And then it was just gross. Because you have to like… you’re basically hanging in cat position on this 18 inch rail. You have to kick back, drop, and there’s no catch. You just land in a precision against the wall. So your kind of like squished against to face the wall.
Craig: All right.
Bryan: And then you have to squat down and bring your arms around it. And since it’s so big, every time you grab it, it feels like your arms are starting to slip off.
Craig: Slide right around.
Bryan: Yeah. And that was the scariest one that I’ve done so far. But a failure challenge.
Craig: Because it’s kind of tricky, some of the challenges you’re playing with, there’s only one failure mode, and you work very hard that that’s not the mode that you ever experience. We can make it… maybe the [inaudible 00:38:18] help you find something. What’s the longest durational physicality of a thing that you’ve ever done? Do you even do that type of like, you know, “I reverse QMd up the garage park deck helix 13,” that kind of crazy stuff. Do you do that type of crazy stuff?
Bryan: I used to do it a lot when I first started training actually. But I have done that. We’ve done some conditioning sessions with the Seattle Jumps Community. They do like a Tuesday conditioning session. And we’ve done some grueling gross QM challenges. We did an endurance challenge where, like at the University there’s this like… I think it’s six levels. And the challenge was, you do this little climb. There’s these little, kind of almost like a descent trainer. You can just climb all the way down the six levels. And then from that you jog through this hallway. And then you have to climb through the staircase doing an ascent up. And then you jog to this rail, and you have to balance for like a minute. And we did it, it was like a full hour of just this-
Bryan: … circuits, yeah. And I think we at the very beginning, everyone had to say the number that they were going to accomplish. Everybody was like, “We’re going to do like 10, 15, 20,” or whatever. And any one number that other people didn’t finish, we had to finish for everyone else.
Craig: To make up.
Bryan: To make up, yeah. And that was a pretty grueling challenge. It wasn’t necessarily like mentally challenging, but it was physicality, I felt completely exhausted the day after.
Craig: Any challenges you’ve ever said no to? Not like ridiculous like that, that’s seem inconceivable. But challenges that maybe you could have taken apart, but that you just weren’t willing to allocate the time and effort to solving?
Bryan: Yeah. There was a video project that I was going to do with some people in Portland that was kind of breaking the process behind a bunch of different descents. And I just had… I really believe in intuition, or the concept of intuition, because I wouldn’t necessarily define it. But if I feel something kind of in the back of my mind just being like, “No, you shouldn’t do that thing.” And this is one of those times where that kind of came up for me. I like planned a weekend out, and was like, “Okay,” it was month away, it was one weekend. I was going to go down to Portland and do these challenges, and I just had this burning message just like in the back of my mind being like, “You shouldn’t go there, it doesn’t seem like a good idea. You shouldn’t go there, it doesn’t seem like a good idea.” And then two days beforehand I was like, “It doesn’t seem right.”
Craig: Yeah, wave off.
Bryan: Yeah. But that’s definitely one of those times where I’ve been like, “Okay, I’m not going to do that kind of challenge. I’m not going to try and work on this video project.” And there’s definitely been times where I haven’t physically done a challenge. There’s a challenge that you do that’s like, you hang in a cat position, you do this drop pre over a two or two and a half story drop, and you have to pre a windowsill, and then immediately turn, jump to a rail in precision and then jump into a cat, and then jump the rest of the way down. And I did all these visualization drills. I was trying to get my mind and my body prepped but didn’t physically do it. And I’ve had a lot of success doing that. And this challenge, I just showed up the day of, and I was like, “I’m going to do this challenge. I really got it. I feel confident about it.”
Bryan: And then the challenge was just like, “Nope, not for you today.” And that’s been pretty frustrating, I’ve had that at times. But it’s part of the process of training and pushing yourself, and understanding what’s happening here internally in your head and in your heart, not outside externally. And I think that I see that with a lot of younger generation of practitioners. Because I don’t necessarily consider myself an athlete. I train parkour, but I’m interested in the practical applications of what parkour means for me. But I’m not necessarily… I’ve done a few competitions, they’ve been exciting and they push me. But I just don’t know if that’s… I don’t necessarily want that from parkour, I’m not really excited about the competitive elements behind it.
Bryan: I think that it brings up really nasty things for people’s ego, and the weird kind of external motivation people get from it. But I do think competition has this setting where you can be given a challenge that you don’t necessarily know you’re ready for. Where you’re like, “Okay, I guess I’m capable of doing that.” And then you do it and you’re like, “Oh crap, maybe I put this mental threshold on myself.”
Craig: You’ve mentioned taking things away from parkour, in the sense of getting something from parkour. But you mentioned it at the end there as you were talking, and I don’t think it was a key point that you were making, but it was something that you said. Which makes me wonder, if I ask you intentionally, are there things that you can really enumerate or specify about what you want out of parkour? I mean, there are lots of examples we can all think of. And I’m just wondering if, do you think of parkour as something which is giving me this, this and this? Or is it the place that you have gotten, for example, so much from, that you know, if you go to the well you’re going to get something from it?
Bryan: I think that everyone gets something different from parkour, like vastly different, and it fulfills different needs for people, right? I think that the things that I said prior around to awareness and being present, and articulating what’s happening inside of you, that’s something that’s really valuable to me. And I want to give to people, that’s like my wellspring of joy or something. But I think that parkour has progressed in a way that it’s become so complex about the ways you can go about doing something. Like the reasons you do it, why you want to do it. And I think some people’s takeaway, which I think is a really powerful tool is enduring, or being more resilient through challenges. Like old school challenges where you’re like, “I’m going to do QM for a mile,” you know? And everyone laughs at that. Everyone’s like yeah, it’s a big joke. But it’s real.
Craig: I’m laughing because I’ve done it.
Bryan: I had to, it’s like…
Craig: And I’m not going to tell the story, because people should be able to know what it is by now. But there’s something in that. And the people that I did that specific challenge with, I have a view of them which no one else has, except people over there. I’ve seen a side of those people. There’s just something about the physical challenges. I didn’t mean to derail your train of thought. But, yeah.
Bryan: I mean, I think it’s an important tool. It’s like parkour has this subset of tools that you can use and you can get access too that you wouldn’t get at other areas of your life, right? Like in your job or your-
Craig: In your coffee drinking.
Bryan: Yeah, in your coffee drinking. But yeah, I think that part of it is about being more resilient and having the ability to endure challenges. And then there’s the mental piece that I was talking about earlier. That’s kind of my home or my habitat. But I also like the resilient side of it. Because it shows people that they can push through things and have a different mindset about who they are and what they want to be doing. Which I think goes to thinking and talking about having a mindset that’s fixed. So, being in one place and thinking you have this belief about yourself, and your X thing. And then you have the ability to adapt and grow. And I think that’s the one thing that’s really beautiful about parkour is that, it has all these different pieces and key moments where you can kind of identify what’s happening and how you can relate to it.
Bryan: And especially if you’re keeping a journal, which something that both Brandee and who are co-teaching the teen’s program really try to give to the students, is making sure that they’re journaling their training, journaling their process, and journaling their journey basically. Because if you’re not aware of it and your’re not analyzing what’s happening in the moment, you kind of just lose all those really important tidbits.
Craig: I have this feeling that you want to ask me something. Now there’s just this little lingering question in my mind about like, I feel like Bryan is waiting to… there’s another layer here that I haven’t seen beyond yet where Bryan’s going to start being, I was going to say way more, but not way more. But like, Bryan’s going to start wanting to take me apart. Because you have a… why do I say that? I say that because basically, all that I can remember, every question I’ve asked you has sort of been like, your responses have been, well… and then I get a really considered, insightful, experienced response.
Craig: And I’m wondering, are you aware how unique that is? That’s not something… well basically, I’m going to say that’s a no or a [inaudible 00:47:23], or a foe humble, I don’t think that’s a foe humble. That perspective I guess is probably a good word, it always bothers me when I can’t find just the right word. But that perspective is, I’m going to say unique. And I’m just wondering if you’re aware of how unique that perspective is?
Bryan: I’m not. It’s like 100% honest I’m not.
Craig: Well, maybe you should be more aware of how unique your perspective is. Or maybe how unique your… I’m going to stick with unique your perspective is. But also how unique your powers of observation are. And sometimes I have trouble, because I interview, not a lot of people, but I interview a lot of people, and they all happen to be really exceptional human beings. So I’m like, “Yeah, everybody’s exceptional.” I’m like cherry picking. So I have to keep reminding myself that this is not just some Bryan. And not that Bryan Riggins by name is this famous scion of parkour. But the things that you’ve done, not here, the things you’ve done out there, and the things that you’ve accomplished.
Craig: And then the things that you’re discussion here are way beyond what the average person, that even in parkour, the average person talks about or thinks about. Let alone would be able to discuss… It’s one thing to go in your head, “Yes I see what’s going on.” It’s a whole nother thing to say to somebody, or then, “Well, I see what’s going on,” and then to do it on demand in front of microphone with a three second pause, that’s exceptional. So, I’ve already said it once, I’m going to say it again, but I’ve been driving.
Craig: And I guess that’s my job of course. But I’ve been driving and asking questions, and in some cases pushing you to dig deeper into things. But I always want to make sure that the guests have plenty of space to mention things that we haven’t covered. So if there’s anything that you’re thinking about that you want to talk about, or maybe shine some daylight on, you’re more than welcome to bring up anything.
Bryan: So, I’m working on just this small project. I’m kind of like beta testing with some friends right now. I’ve been currently really inspired by climbing or just general climbing like bouldering. And there’s this journal that this person has made that called, The Process Journal. I’m trying to think of a way to kind of create a journal that’s similar to this, but more with the intention of pushing it towards a parkour audience. And the idea behind the project is you basically have a three to four month period that you kind of break down different projects, and you use a system of questions that are about awareness, about intention, your narratives about how you’re training and why you’re training. And this book would kind of be like that. Or I guess, it would be a journal, it would be like a paperback journal.
Bryan: And that would be kind of like a way for maybe people who are more interested in uncovering challenges that are difficult for them, or accomplishing them. Just using that as kind of a springboard for people to be like, “Okay, I see what I’m capable of. I need that next step,” and this would be potentially that next step. And it would kind of have a month spreadsheet, a day spreadsheet, and a week spreadsheet as a way to break those challenges down. And also have some exercises and book recommendations and things like that. Just like, “Here’s my brain in this journal.”
Craig: Sounds like an excellent project, as long as you keep a copy of the brain for yourself.
Craig: Let’s go off on a little tour of books.
Craig: Because I think before we were recording, you and I were just, not as an insult, but just geeking out over books. And there are a bunch of ways to go into books. So one is, stranded on a desert island, you can take one book, which is it?
Bryan: Oh my God. This is so hard. There’s this book by… so I took, it was like a three quarter program called, Poe Philosopher, and it was all about the space between poetry and philosophy, and how they kind of intersect or meet, or they call it the threshold. And there’s this book by Morris [inaudible 00:51:15], I can’t remember the title off the top of my head which is just crazy.
Craig: Just describe it, it will come back to you.
Bryan: Oh my God. Basically, it’s…
Craig: Or tell me what you were going to say, you don’t have to describe the book.
Bryan: The book itself is comprised of different texts that are about these weird spaces. Kind of like what you were talking about between tension. And in one of his other books, there’s actually two people seated in a room. They’re not having a conversation verbally, it’s almost a telepathic conversation. And there’s this weird tension between the two characters the whole time. And that book in and of itself is… this book that… the other book that Morris [inaudible 00:51:55] wrote is similar to that, but it’s all about Nietzsche and [inaudible 00:51:59] and all these different authors, and how they just… it’s been so long since I’ve read it, but that would be the one book that I would bring to a desert island if I could read it.
Craig: You don’t remember the name.
Bryan: My God, what is it called.
Craig: That’s all right.
Bryan: It’s a pink cover, that’s all I remember. If only we could get on the internet with that. [crosstalk 00:52:16] pull out my thoughts.
Craig: No, no, no, that’s what she’s doing. All right. So that’s, but we’ll find the title.
Bryan: That’s one book.
Craig: That’s one book that you’d want to take if you were stranded on a desert island. And I have a whole bunch of book questions, that just make it easy for us to pick this apart. What’s one book that you would give, and forget language problems or reading, what’s one book that you would give every person on the planet to read?
Bryan: Momo. Have you read that book?
Craig: I don’t think so.
Bryan: It’s this magical realism book about these people in gray suits who steal time. They take time away from people. And it’s like a dream world where these kids of kind of trying fight these time thieves for stealing time away from them. And it’s all about clay and adventure. I think that’s like a really cool… I mean, I think it just kind of outlines why I like parkour. It’s about exploring things and also having fun and playing in space that isn’t otherwise seen at that. So I think that’s one book that I’d give to everybody. It’s written in Spanish originally. I can’t remember the author off the top of my head. But it’s called Momo.
Craig: Do you ever not finish a book?
Bryan: I get so frustrated by it.
Craig: I mean like intentionally, put the book down.
Bryan: Oh, okay, yeah.
Craig: And you do that? The last book that you intentionally put down because you didn’t want to finish it?
Bryan: What was the last book? I think it was… so, in the other book that I was explaining before, The Rock Warrior’s Way, there’s these series of books written by Carlos Castaneda that are about intention and awareness, and it’s kind of like magical realism. He’s a weird author.
Craig: A little woo woo, right?
Bryan: Yeah, its a little woo woo. And I was reading it, and I was kind of like, “Okay, I can’t get into it.” And I put it down for a month and then picked it back up. And then I was reading it for a little bit. And it was caught in this tension between being like, “Do I want to read this? Do I want to finish this?” And I was just like, “Oh, I’m going to set it down,” because it just doesn’t feel like it’s the time or I wasn’t really invested in it I would say.
Craig: Just interesting to see what people put down. I’m going to assume since you’re a book addict, the book you have given away most often?
Bryan: The book that I’ve given away most often. Oh my gosh. The one book that I’ve given away the most often is, I’m like really into philosophy. And there’s this book by Michel Foucault called The History of Sexuality, the first volume, is one book that I’ve given away to a lot of people. Because it talks about the concept of biopower, which I think is really interesting, and is like… yeah, that’s the one book that I’ve given away the most.
Craig: I’ll just point out that you’re claiming these are hard, but you like every single one, you’re like a specific book for every answer [crosstalk 00:54:55], isn’t this, and this and this. Book on the to read pile, the one that’s like, “I got to get to this one.” It’s not the one that you’re currently reading, but it’s like, “I have to get to this book on my pile.”
Bryan: There’s so many on that pile.
Craig: Yeah, that’s why I want to know what’s the one that you feel like, “Why haven’t I started this book yet?”
Bryan: Oh. Well, there’s two books. One is a collection of letters written from… it’s correspondence between Itala Calvino who wrote Invisible Cities, The Baron in the Trees, and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. It’s like kind of of magical realism and fiction. And it’s just like letters to his different friends and all these correspondence between people about… I don’t know…
Craig: I have the same book on my to read pile.
Craig: I haven’t read it yet. I’m going to regret doing this. Have you ever… because if you haven’t heard of this website, I’m just going to apologize up front. Have you ever heard of Brain Pickings?
Bryan: No, never.
Craig: I’m sorry. So, go to Brain Pickings, it’s just B-R-A-I-N-P-I-C-K-I-N-G-S, it’s run by a Maria Popova, P-O-P-O-V-A. I’m just going to apologize, because it’s going to eat your life. Maria is a voracious reader. And she creates… it’s just a blog where she puts up her thoughts about a book. And that book is one that she wrote up about, and does excerpts and quotes. And it’s just her brain pickings. But she’s done so many thousands of books that she’s read now, that she’ll be like, “Oh, this reminds me of…” and a book of a different genre, three centuries different. And then she just draws… yeah, you’re making this face. It’s everything that you hope it’s going to be. And she’s been publishing for, I’m going to say 12 years, she’s been publishing like seven, eight, nine, ten posts per week. There are thousands of them.
Craig: So just take a book you like, search on Brain Pickings. I don’t get any money from Brain Pickings, search on Brain Pickings. And it’s not like, what do they call it, a reseller program. But it’s a really good place. So just if you’re listening and you’re into books, Brain Pickings, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s one of the many websites that I actually pay to support. And sometimes I disagree with her personal philosophies and things, but just her eye for… you actually remind me of… like, you have an eye for un-lobbying random topics that you, any of them while we were talking, but questions and answers. You’re pulling these literary threads out. But she’s gone all in on that. That’s all she does is that. I’m going to apologize, because you’re going to spend a lot of time-
Bryan: I’m excited about it.
Craig: … you’re going to need new bookshelves. Let’s see, so we just went into books. I did… how about, biggest book that you have in your possession currently, like by gross tonnage?
Bryan: A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari.
Craig: Okay this is [crosstalk 00:57:45].
Bryan: It’s like, this big-
Craig: This is turning into a challenge fest now. If you’re going to keep hitting on the [crosstalk 00:57:49] like that. The smallest book by gross tonnage that you have in your possession?
Bryan: Oh my gosh. Smallest book?
Craig: If it’s multiple volumes, that’s one book.
Bryan: It’s a Samuel Beckett novel, but I can’t remember which one.
Craig: Not Waiting for Godot?
Bryan: That is Beckett.
Craig: Yeah, is that Beckett?
Bryan: Yes, it’s Beckett. Waiting for Godot. It’s the one about… it’s like a play about people who are one… it’s like a family. There’s a father who has no limbs, and then maybe the mother lives in a trashcan. It’s really weird, it’s a really weird play. I think that’s it, I don’t know.
Craig: The thought that just went through my head. I’m not laughing at you. What I’m laughing at is, we do this thing on Instagram called Trivia Tuesday, that’s a trivia question going somewhere to happen.
Bryan: I think that’s maybe the content of the play, I can’t remember.
Craig: Okay. So a Samuel Beckett book, oh man. I love it. Wow. And the slimmest volume that I think I have might be The Tao of Pooh, might be one of the smallest books that I have.
Bryan: Endgame is the play.
Craig: Oh no, I don’t think I read that one.
Bryan: It’s weird, it’s really…
Craig: In case people are wondering, how did they do that? Is is the person next to us with a computer, that looked down here, and I’m like… you know, hold their computer out. And he’s like, “Yes, that’s it.” And it is Beckett.
Bryan: Okay, cool.
Craig: I feel like just keeping bits, ask me book questions. Because honestly, I think you’re like… I’m like bowing down, I’m not worried that your book, like the whoa, I think you’re way beyond me in books. But if you want to turn the book-
Bryan: You said you have a bunch of engineering books though.
Craig: Well, yeah. But I always make the joke, I used to read a ton of fiction. And I think that fiction’s great. But at one point I basically looked at average expected lifespan and I went, “I got a whole bunch of non-fiction I’m going to read.” So I’ve switched over to non-fiction crack and biographies and stuff. And I gave away all of my massive collection of science fiction, but yeah.
Bryan: What’s your three favorite science fiction novels?
Craig: Three science fiction novels. I would say-
Bryan: Or top three.
Craig: … Nemesis, is that Clark? Oh my God, I can’t remember. I think that’s Arthur C. Clark’s Nemesis. Oh, it’s got to be one of the Rama series, maybe not the… the first one is just like… blows your mind. But probably like the Garden of Rama, where they make… So one of the Rama novels. And for people who don’t know it’s R-A-M-A, it’s not the noodle, it’s not Ramen. Right? But like people could confuse that if they know what we are talking about. I’m not going to say Ender’s Game, although I’m that kind of kid who should say Ender’s Game, but it’s not Ender’s Game. Science fiction novels… oh my God, there’s so many, I love it. Three, that’s two.
Craig: I’m going to say The Martian Chronicles by brainslip, Bradbury, is that who that is? Sorry. I guess we need more coffee. And I’m going to say that one, not because it’s the greatest science fiction I think I’ve ever read, but it’s one of the things that I got… I was like 40. And then I went, “You know, I have never read all of the…” Like I’ve never read it all the way through. And I think I saw the movie version of it which was, I thought like… Have you seen the movie?
Craig: Don’t ever see the movie. Because I watched the movie and I was like, “Whoa.” And then I went, I just like, “I could afford a $20 book.” I bought the book and I just like power read it on a two day thing. And so, I think the reason that I like that one and am picking it as my third is, it was like a teleport device. I mean, I was teleported back to my teenage bedroom as a kid. Because, I didn’t grow up in the sticks, I grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania, and it was only 20 minutes to anything. So if I went to a bookstore it was a big deal, no internet anywhere in sight. And I would go the bookstore and just run around like a teenage kid on ADD. And that was like a thing. Like you were just, “A book, a thing.” Oh, I have a good story about the Gunslinger Series. I almost had the Gunslinger Series for a similar story.
Craig: But when I read this book, as a full on adult, I was just like totally drawn back to like, the house, that’s like, I’m there again as a kid. And that part of it is the… I was going to say ridiculousness, but I don’t mean that derogatory. The ridiculousness of the whole storyline, but how, yeah, how young it made me feel I guess is the way to put it. So that would be my three, Nemesis, one of the Rama and Martian Chronicles. The story that I was going to tell is, say, “Hey Craig, do you have a good story about books?” Like, I wanted you to just say it. But all right. So, a good story about books.
Craig: I, as a youngling, which is a Star Wars reference, I went to the bookstore and stumbled over the first of Stephen King’s Gunslinger Series. You know, like 1980 something or other. And took the book home. My mom and dad used to like… I will buy him books, all the books you want, and powered through it. And then like begged, can we go back to the bookstore? And eventually we started to go back to the bookstore. And I get the next one. And I get the third one. And I get to… I remember there are six of them. I get to the third one, or like there’s eight of them and I got to the fourth one, and it ends on a literal cliffhanger with like a train going off the… And I went back to the bookstore, and like, I’m on the bookshelf and there’s like one, two, three… And, you know where this going, right?
Craig: I go to the clerk, a little Craig, like, “Excuse me ma’am? Where’s the rest of it?” And she looked at me like I was the stupidest human who ever walked the face of the earth. And she goes like, “There aren’t any more.” And I’m like, “But it ends on a cliffhanger.” And she’s going, “Yeah, but that’s all he wrote.” You never did that at this point, he never finished it. And we’re not sure if he’s ever going to finish it." I’m like, “Lady, that’s not funny, seriously. Where’s the next one?” So then I waited, I don’t know, it took him like 20 years or something until he finished the series. So that was another situation where being able to go and get the book was just like whoa. And then I actually reread them from the front and read through them. So, I was thinking of saying, I think it’s the fifth of the Gunslinger Series is one of my favorite science fiction, because of that story. Having so much story about Pink Floyd’s The Wall, you know the album? Okay, you do know the album [crosstalk 01:04:10].
Bryan: I do.
Craig: Just checking. When I was a kid they invented CDs. And a friend of my dad’s bought the CDs. And I didn’t have a CD player. But this guy was kind enough to record the entire first album of The Wall, both sides one and two onto a cassette for me. So I had a really good sounding cassette because it wasn’t off of a record. So this guy recorded it for me. And then I took it home and played it over, and over, and over. And for some reason my dad didn’t have The Wall. Imagine my delight when 12 years later I go off to college and I discover that there is another album, I never heard the third and fourth side of The Wall for like 12 years. And of course, it ends with the suicide attempt is the end of the second side. So, I had heard some of the songs.
Craig: Comfortably Numb gets played on the radio. But I was… it just never occurred to me to go find the song. So when I heard side three and four, it was this transcendental, and there were no jokes involved, this transcendental experience to hear that Pink Floyd had gotten back together and recorded an album just for me to hear the rest of The Wall. It was, yeah. Sorry. The way that I like to end of course is, if you’re expecting… and I can simply say, and of course the final question. Three words to describe your practice?
Bryan: The three words that I describe my practice are awareness, challenge finding, and composure.
Craig: Terrific. Thank you very much Bryan, it was a tremendous pleasure to get to sit down and have a conversation about books, and challenge, and danger, and training.
Craig: This was episode 79. For more information go to moversmindset.com/79. I’d like to remind you that this project is entirely listener supported. Please take a minute to visit moversmindset.com/support to read about becoming a voluntary supporter with a one time or recurring contribution. And I’ll leave you with a final thought from George Bernard Shaw. Progress is impossible without change. And those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. Thanks for listening.