087. Adam Echa: Training, travel, and mindfulness

Episode summary

Adam Echa LINK (250)

At first glance, Adam Echa is a jack of all trades, but all of his practices and interests are connected. He shares the role of music in his life, his interest in photography, and his experiences riding bicycle deliveries in New York City. Adam discusses his parkour training, flips, cross training, and filming. He unpacks his personal mindfulness practices, and reflects on where and why he wants to travel.

Adam Echa is an athlete, musician, videographer, and overall creative human. As an athlete and a coach, he works to balance his training and develop in both areas. In addition to parkour, Adam plays guitar, writes music, and occasionally performs.

Highlight [0:00]

Adam: I watched it so many times and practiced all of the exercises for what muscles needed to get stronger, that you have this moment where you’re just like, “Oh, shit, that makes sense.” I think had the same thing with like guitar, too, when I sort of learned how to tap like Van Halen.

Craig: Yeah, yeah.

Adam: I learned how to do that. It made no sense for like a year, and then one day I was just like, I don’t know, my fingers just understood it and I tapped for 12 hours straight. That’s what I did with every flip that I learned. When I first did my back flip, I did it every day for two weeks.

Introduction [0:37]

Performing [1:46]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Performing on occasion
  • Movement social and therapy
  • Music extremely personal, but didn’t want to waste the time and energy
  • Very time consuming to create music
  • processing his feelings, journey
  • After show jitters
  • performer, keeping ego in check

Something people get wrong [4:35]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • His yoga journey
  • mindfulness and dealing with his own emotions
  • Preconceived notions of what it means to be a yogi
  • finding his own yoga
  • ego and self perceptions vs others perceptions
  • Wanting to be seen how he sees himself

Music vs Parkour [8:04]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Parkour is present, completely in the moment
  • Music like a dream state, feels like a different person
  • Parkour totally present, freeing
  • extremely truthful

Bicycle and delivery riding [10:32]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Fixie for control, not trusting brakes
  • Actually using his feet and body to control bike
  • platform pedals, comfy seat
  • Riding deliveries in NYC
  • reading on the job between deliveries
  • stories of his falls, parkour training saving him
  • being able to jump off of a fixie

Instagram intentions [16:22]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Parkour profile not intentional
  • deleting and restarting his photography instagram
  • reflecting who he currently is and what he wants to do
  • exploration of what he is interested in
  • doing what he wants and finding people who resonate with it

Filming and movement mechanics [19:25]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Loving the aspect of filming parkour as much as the movement
  • just as much fun designing the cinematography as the actual line
  • Thinking about the finished artifact
  • inspired by Jackie Chan’s style of cinematography
  • how movement fits in the frame
  • needs immediate attention
  • would love to work with Pasha, Jason Paul, Farang, Storror… the athletes that have fun and try silly things
  • discussions of various movements, figuring out how to do things from videos
  • finding his balance midpoints, holding shapes
  • try circus and aerial yoga to help with body awareness
  • practicing rolling, conditioning skin and nerves

Mindfulness journey [27:12]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • 7 years ago, cleaning out room entirely
  • all the ‘stuff’ giving his strange dreams
  • space was distracting, exhausting, filled with memories
  • noticing when he’s not being mindful
  • starting over, freeing his mind of the clutter
  • allowed space for nothingness, room for sleeping, meditating
  • recharging in different ways, depending on his mood
  • out with people, then spending time alone
  • spending time alone to think and process
  • going to the bar alone to recharge
  • training alone and with friends, mental recharge
  • tricking in a grass field, practicing
  • learning how to flip, building trust in yourself
  • slowly learning not to be scared, progressing well
  • building muscle memory, getting the feeling of it
  • keep progressing on other skills while working on goals

Adam: … seven years ago. My math was wrong, now it’s correct. About like seven years ago, I threw away like three garbage bags of stuff in my room and took everything off the walls. I had my whole wall full with like posters and different images. Some made sense for me. Some were just so random I needed it on my wall. It was like I would have like crazy, gnarly dreams or think about zombies and the end of the world, superhero shit, you know? I don’t know, I’ve always [inaudible 00:28:38] where I like have to fix something. I don’t know what it is, but I have to fix it. My dreams are really gnarly and when I was in my room, I was like, “Whoa, that was gnarly.” I wake up, I make my coffee, I have four things I have to do. Don’t do them. In my room, everything’s… I don’t know, very distracting and the space I was held there to was exhausting because of just how stressed people get after high school, especially if you just got off of a three-year relationship.

Adam: Anyways, a lot of stress and I was in my room just constantly. I just sat and think about the past and I had all of these memories laid out and I was very in the past. I think I’m not as mindful as I want to be, but I do notice when I’m not being mindful, and that is something to like, you know-

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Craig: That’s the first step.

Adam: … pat yourself on the back for, for sure.

Craig: That’s the first step.

Adam: I feel like I’ve noticed since after high school because you get to make decisions for yourself, I just never stopped. I don’t mind thinking about my high school self and feeling just as young as mature as that person. Some people like to think they’re grown up, and I like to think of how not grow up I am. Sometimes I’m happy about it, sometimes I’m not, but it really depends. With my room being cleared of all of those memories, I felt so free and just a little bit more accepting of being alone in my room and with my thoughts. It was just a little bit easier. It allowed space for nothingness, which sounds fucking weird.

Craig: I don’t think it sounds weird at all. I’ve had people walk into my house where I live and go, “Does anybody live here?” I’ve actually had someone say that when they walk in. I’m like, “Yes.”

Adam: You need more plants. Then they’ll understand.

Craig: Well, that’s the one thing that my wife and I have a lot of is my wife-

Adam: Oh, good.

Craig: … loves that we have a lot of plants, but not a lot of I call it knickknacks, like not a lot of knickknacks around.

Adam: Yeah.

Craig: I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

Adam: No, that’s cool. We have a lot of knickknacks in the living room and I think that’s cool to have a space where there’s an energy or vibe or feng shui about it, but I think my room should be like a bed.

Craig: A restorative space.

Adam: That’s it, like a bed and tools for meditation. That’s it.

Craig: Is there anything else that you go to to recharge? It sounds like you’ve created a space where you can recharge there, but is there anything else that you do other than that specifically? Like-

Adam: I [inaudible 00:30:57] get out to places. I like to call myself innie-outie. Sometimes I get energy from being outside with a bunch of people until I don’t. When that point gets to the point of like diminished returns or whatever, I spend a lot of time alone. When being alone eventually starts… I start seeing these diminished returns, I go back to being outside. I’m not going to lie, there’s lots of times after a long day of movement, I go straight to the bar. I’m like hyped up and, I don’t know, the bar levels me out.

Adam: I don’t go to like party with all of my friends. I literally go alone and whoever’s there is there and that’s fine. I’ll write in my notebook and have a beer and chill. If someone’s there, that’s dope, but if they’re not there, that’s also okay. I’m not going to lie, that recharges my brain a little bit. My body deteriorates-

Craig: Right.

Adam: … a little bit, but I don’t know, I think the alone part, like going somewhere by myself just for myself is the thing. The beer totally helps, but I would love to just organize way more time just to be on my own solo because that’s why I go there, right?

Craig: Yeah.

Adam: It’s like to think. I don’t know. It does help me to recharge, I’m not going to lie. I would love to replace the beer with like tea or something like that, but I love whiskey.

Craig: When you find that part, let me know. I’d love to go to that part, too.

Adam: Yeah, right, right.

Craig: All the bars I know serve the other kind of tea.

Adam: It’s the bar setting, but they go to have Earl Gray.

Craig: I would love to see… Oh, I’d get my ass lobbed out of the bar. “Excuse me, sir, do you have any Earl Gray?”

Adam: Yeah. Can I get Earl Gray neat? Thank you.

Craig: Neat.

Adam: That’d be awesome.

Craig: Two fingers of Earl Gray on the rocks.

Adam: I’m trying to figure out what that thing is, though, to replace that to get that social recharge, you know? The other direction is movement, being alone, training. Training with friends is dope, too, but I don’t think we talk too much when we’re actually moving. That would be very dangerous. We talk after, but during the time of training, it’s like. “You’re working on your thing, I’m working on my thing, and we’re focusing on movement.” I don’t know, training by yourself and… Tricking is really awesome in a grass field. Super relaxing. Just like working on kicks and flips and organizing your… I don’t know.

Craig: Organizing that three-dimensional in your body to practice in three dimensions as there’s a visceral… I’m not a Tricker. I’m not laughing at Tricking, I’m just laughing at the concept of me upside down right there. That’s funny in and of itself.

Travel, heights, confidence [38:30]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Spain, Japan, Denmark, Germany
  • somewhere with good community, spots, gyms
  • exploring more rooftops
  • thoughts on rooftop training for himself
  • enjoying the view
  • Williamsburg Bridge climb, feeling grounded
  • won’t try things unless there is no fear
  • yoga and 4 corners of the feet useful to parkour and balance
  • shoe discussion, tactile feedback, barefoot
  • Parkour fashion, dress how you want to feel while you’re training
  • you are what you wear
  • confidence and power poses, you are who you want to be
  • building exposure and confidence to heights
  • confidence experiment, trust and lying within your body
  • understanding physics and trusting self
  • taking ideas into practice

Mindfulness and being alone [50:17]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Longest mindfulness practice
  • chanted for an hour, same phrase
  • hardest Qi Gong practice, holding a pose for a long time
  • holding emotions in the body
  • chanting for an hour gave him energy for the whole day
  • larger organizations and his thoughts on that
  • being your own version of the thing, yourself
  • wanting to spend time alone, figure things out for himself
  • see you later, not goodbye
  • parkour goodbyes
  • moving in similar groups of people, similar scenarios
  • flips vs parkour, learning both
  • ability to play with everyone
  • breaking jumps, training together

Adam: … I really try to like cater everything in my life to mindfulness because my attention span is ridiculous. I empty out my room, but also with my photography, I didn’t want people to hire me for something that I was not anymore. I was like, “Wait, also, who am I?” I deleted everything. I was like, “I don’t even know if I want to do that anymore, so let me try and take this and start all over and figure out what I really want to do.” Then, I fell back in love with black and white, so now I’m just doing black and white. I want to do something a little bit off the normal path and stick with black and white for now. I think it’s [crosstalk 00:18:04]-

Craig: It all rebooted.

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Adam: … that’s the only page that I do care about how it looks, but I’m not super concerned about advertising myself to like who wants my photography right now. I’m not trying to figure out who my audience is. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and hope that someone comes along is like, "That looks great. I want you for you and not for-

Craig: Yeah, “Come work with me on this project.”

Adam: … yeah. It does look a little bit like, I guess… no, how do you say like-

Craig: Spartan? Sparse?

Adam: Yeah.

Craig: I knew that that was the word you were looking for. I wouldn’t say it looks sparse. Sometimes I see things that look like that and I’m like… My first thought was the difference between your personal one and the photography one. I’m like, “There’s a difference here,” and it looked to me like, “Well, Adam’s not screwing around on this one.” Like, this is-

Adam: Yeah, this one’s serious.

Craig: … like the photos are different and your personal one is a lot of lines and movement, which, by the way, mad props.

Adam: Thank you.

Craig: Your photography one is really clearly your perspective on things. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that because perspective’s a horrible [inaudible 00:19:08].

Adam: How dare you?

Craig: I know, I know. I love language, and then I’m talking to myself.

Adam: Yeah. No, I hear you.

Craig: I know you can.

Adam: Oh, it’s in there.

Craig: You notice how like at this point it’s not even weird

Storytime [57:43]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Story about travel
  • wanting to move on from NYC
  • searching for new experiences, nomadic
  • Colorado move as the start of a new chapter for him
  • wants to abroad as much as possible, meet new people
  • Wanting to be shown around a new place
  • challenge of being alone on adventures
  • Bike messenger story of friend Genesis
  • wild bike chase through NYC on a delivery, winding through traffic using obstacles
  • Bike deliveries and rooftops, just admiring the view
  • rooftop contingency plans
  • Story of strange fall and bail save, relaxing and isolating
  • brain body connections when training
  • Parkour flooring, creating a space to host
  • taking care of others

Final thoughts [1:11:51]

  • Chapter transcript…
  • Learning, figuring out where he belongs
  • billboard sign ‘Bye!’
  • I’ll never forget you, not taking time for granted
  • special place in my heart, back to visit
  • part of him now, love
  • present to his moving

3 words [1:14:08]

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Craig: Awesome. That’s awesome. All right. Well, I’ll just say, and of course, the final question, is three words to describe your practice.

Adam: Mindful, and the two other ones… Mindfulness, rage, and I want to say yin-yang. Is that the thing I can do?

Craig: I said hyphens are free, so-

Adam: Okay, so mindfulness, rage, and yin-yang. That’s it.

Craig: Terrific. I think that’s a good punctuation on the end of our conversation.

Adam: Yeah.

Craig: Adam, it was a pleasure. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you previously, and had the random like, “Hey, could we?” Then, we put it together at the last second just before you’re taking off, so I’m glad we had the chance. I’ll have to come out and visit you next.