097. Kyle Koch: Training, nature, and tracking (transcript)

Highlight [0:00]

Chapter’s show notes…

Kyle (00:04):
(highlight) So I think that the sit spot is exactly that. It’s just going outside and being curious and seeing what draws your attention, and then asking more questions, “Oh, that tree is interesting.” Question I might ask is, could I climb it? And if I can climb it, will I climb it? Or I see all these trees that I can’t yet climb, but that’s the motivation. (/highlight)


Introduction [0:31]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (00:33):
(chapter) Hello, I’m Craig Constantine. Welcome to the Mover’s Mindset podcast, where I talk with movement enthusiasts to learn who they are, what they do, and why they do it. This is episode number 97, Kyle Koch, training, nature, and tracking.

Craig (00:51):
Going to a gym just doesn’t cut it for Kyle Koch. His movement is guided by being in nature and responding to his environment. He recounts his movement journey from beginnings to rediscovery and explains his current training. Kyle shares his insights on learning to interact with the environment and seeing others begin to train outside. He discusses the nervous system, the importance of training in nature, and his inspirations.

Craig (01:17):
Kyle Koch is a former IT software technician turned self described nature nerd. He has been facilitating transformative practices in nature for almost a decade, inspiring youth and adults to connect to their gifts through exploration, play, and curiosity. Kyle is always expanding his practice through the study and application of functional neurology concepts, traditional strength training, systema, and the Wim Hof method. When not teaching or facilitating, you can find Kyle exploring ways to deepen his connection with himself, others and the earth. For more information, go to moversmindset.com/97.

Craig (01:59):
And I have a nagging question. Is it important to you that we publish episodes every week? Because that takes a lot of work, but I’m not sure it actually matters. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. So reach out if you have a moment. Thanks for listening.


Childhood role of movement [2:13]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (02:15):
(chapter) Hi, Kyle.

Kyle (02:16):
Hey, Craig, pleasure to be here today.

Craig (02:18):
I’m tickled pink that we get another chance to talk. We had a chance to talk during Art of Retreat, I think that episode came out in February on Art of Retreat’s podcast, which is on Castbox FM, if you haven’t seen us do these videos before, we link everything in show notes. So you can just go find that link to click on it.

Craig (02:37):
So Kyle, I always like to start these by asking people, thinking back on your childhood. What role did movement play as you were growing up?

Kyle (02:48):
Yeah, I think it definitely played a big role, and I think I was unaware of how impactful it was in my childhood. I spent… yeah, we played outside all the time, and in my neighborhood, we had a pretty tight knit group that we would play night games. So we would have everybody’s yards divided up into territories and we would be running around and playing games. And then shortly after that, I moved into early suburban in America, we were literally the first house in the suburb. So we had all these woods, and yeah, we’d run around and hunt rabbits and build tree houses and catch frogs. So though I wasn’t aware of it, movement, it was that. It contributed and allowed me to do all those things.

Craig (03:45):
Where was that roughly in the country? Is that roughly where you are now still on the Northwest, or?

Kyle (03:49):
No, just north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So in the Midwest.

Craig (03:54):
I’m wondering, have you never lost that innate movement, because the conversations, and part of this is, do I want to unpack it all? Do we want to just pretend because you and I talked at length before out in Seattle. So, moment of silence for how nice it was in the cascades. I’m wondering, did you manage to hold that thread of movement from childhood, or did you ever lose it? Because sometimes people go to college and then they find they can’t move as much. I’m wondering, did you manage to maintain it all the way through, because it’s clearly still a big part of your life?

Kyle (04:26):
Yeah, I would say that I lost it. I think you could make the argument that we’re always moving, but I think my priorities really got away from it after high school. I played sports, but yeah, as I started to get into my late teens, early 20s, movement was not a priority. It was, I walked to a house party and then I walked home or I walked to class. It wasn’t anything like parkour or… I didn’t really work out or I didn’t have a practice. Movement was just something I did unconsciously to get from A to B. And yeah, so I definitely lost it.

Craig (05:11):
Was there something that… another question obviously, is there something that happened that made you rediscover it? Or did it become something that you chose to go back to yourself?

Kyle (05:21):
Yeah, there was a couple things. I mean, once I got into the IT field and… before IT, I had a job working in the archiving departments. So I was moving boxes, and I had a pretty good movement at work. And then once I got into IT, and I became very sedentary. I started to become aware of that, and I joined a gym.

Craig (05:49):
How did that worked out? Because I think we’re both chuckling as, “Yeah, that never works out really that great.” But what was that experience like?

Kyle (05:59):
It was called the Monkey Bar gym in Milwaukee. And it was cool, because it had a lot of these animal form elements that are a big part of my movement practice today. And they were more body weight workouts and jumping rope, and active in those and partner components. So it was actually a really fun way to get that kind of metabolic conditioning. But it wasn’t a traditional, go to the treadmill type of gym. They had ropes you could swing on, and kettlebells, and lots of animal type movements.

Craig (06:38):
But that’s not what you’re doing these days. So there’s still a significant difference. Now, the discussion that you and I had about sitting and observing and being in nature, that’s a very more thoughtful approach than going to a gym. And I’m, okay, so what’s the switch? What changed there? Do you remember the point in time where you realize that you wanted something different from your movement practice, if I put words in your mouth?

Kyle (07:09):
Yeah, I do. And it actually happened through a different avenue. I mean, I was feeling this disconnection at my work. Our company had just been bought out, and we were forcing these people to upgrade their software. And we were kind of doing all these things that I didn’t feel good about, from a professional perspective. And that led me to kind of search into nature. And I attended a class, I made a fire. And that propelled me to move out to Washington and attend a nine month survival school. And a big part of that school was animal forms. So pretending to be an animal, and then see where that takes you. And-

Craig (07:52):
Where will that take you? So…

Kyle (07:54):
[crosstalk 00:07:54] Yeah. It took me to all these amazing… I would find fox dens and bear trails, and I would get to see deer and all these animals. And it also… I had all these amazing experiences, and at the same time, I was unfit and immobile. And I realized, the ways in which I want to move, I can’t.

Craig (08:17):
Yeah, I can no longer do.

Kyle (08:18):
I can’t be a fox for more than 20 minutes without several rests in between. And that type of movement, and also the people in my class, they could do back flips. And my friend Tyler was this amazing, kind of ninja acrobat. And watching him move really inspired me. And actually Parkour Visions, was one of the first parkour gyms in this area that opened up, and so I just happened to be positioned in a place where I was learning all these things. And there was the parkour gym happening, and I finally made that connection.


Mental Gym Switch [9:01]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (09:02):
(chapter) So I’m wondering, if someone… here’s this, and then they realize that… I don’t want to say they’re in the gym world, because I don’t mean to be that derogatory. But if somebody is sort of in that gym mindset, where movement practice for them is something that they schedule, and then they go do. So I have this time, I’m going the place, I’m doing the thing. How do they move themselves mentally from that mindset of this is what activity and movement is? How do they flip the switch to make it become an integral part of their life and hopefully outdoors as well?

Kyle (09:41):
Yeah, totally. And this is a question I ask a lot of people. I’m, “Why do you go to the gym?” Or, “How do you know what to work on when you do go to the gym?” And a lot of people are silent. And then they’re, “Oh, bis, tris, chest, legs.”

Craig (09:59):
Yes.

Kyle (09:59):
I’m, “No, your leg has a lot of muscles. What are you working on?” Are you working on strength, mobility, both? And so a big… I kind of had the reverse route. So I got really into natural movement, and that became kind of my dogma. I have to train outside, I’m going to get good just by doing. And then I reached this plateau, where I had… I wasn’t that good. I had tendinitis in my elbows. I was having knee pain. I was having a lot of these overuse injuries.

Kyle (10:34):
And I started training my roommate, Tanner Walker. Check him out, he’s got great work. But he put me on a strength and mobility program. And I’d never done one before. And I was, “Oh, okay.” And he’s aware of my practice. So he designed this program to give me better mobility, so that I can move in my QM better. Gave me better grip strength and hanging strength so that I can better climb trees. And so I think the switches is, “Well, are you just going to the gym to look good?” Or what form or function? Do you want to be able to lift up your kids? Do you want to be able to push your friend’s car out of a ditch? How do we start to tie our real life applications to the gym?

Kyle (11:27):
Because I was totally against the gym. And now I’m, “Oh, the gym is a powerful tool when used consciously, that can really expand and give us the ability to do amazing things.” Versus just the grind, go to the gym [crosstalk 00:11:47]

Craig (11:46):
Do the routine.


Challenges and resources [11:49]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (11:49):
(chapter) So are you currently… What’s something that’s currently challenging for you? I’m thinking in the movement space, but you could go anywhere with a question. What’s something that’s currently challenging?

Kyle (12:00):
Yeah. I mean, in related to movement, I’ve struggled to sit in a resting squat for a long time.

Craig (12:09):
Amen. I’m guilty.

Kyle (12:11):
Yeah, and people think they see me moving, they probably assume I can, and I can’t. And I’m also working on horizontal bar balance. Just the balls of my feet are on the bar, versus walking across…

Craig (12:26):
Across the bar, right? The way a bird would sit on the bar.

Kyle (12:29):
Yeah, and my dorsal flexion is terrible, and my tibialis is weak. And so, as I’ve started training that, and then I also do bar work. I’m finding I’m getting really good, really fast. And so that’s where I both have to train the skill, but I have to train the muscles to be stronger and better at the skill.

Craig (12:59):
Are there any particular places that you go? So it seems to me, you might have known exactly how to do all of what you need to do to train that skill. But I’m wondering, are there situations where you decide, “Okay, I want to fix this.” Or, “I want to change this about myself?” And where do you where would you go to try and find more resources? Can you still contact Tanner? Or do you think that one can learn this through books or YouTube? Or it has to be done experientially with other people? Where would you turn for resources if you came up on a problem that you didn’t know, off top of your head on how to solve?

Kyle (13:31):
Yeah, (quote)I think we live in this incredible age where you could just Google anything. And maybe that’s good or bad. There’s a lot of trash out there. But yeah, I think finding people and having a coach and having a mentor, I think is one of the best things that anybody can do in the nature connection space. I was mentored in this way, that’s that distinguishing quality of a coach, I feel a coach is kind of telling you what to do, and a mentor is drawing out your own insights. They’re kind of leading you. They’re helping lead you down the path, but you’re doing the work. (/quote)

Kyle (14:19):
And there’s a lot of similarities and crossovers, but I think we need people in our lives to reflect back to us, what’s working or what’s not working. And so I really encourage people, if you want to learn something, is find out who’s the best, see who they learned from. Are they alive? Are they available? Okay, maybe they’re not, and then you can work your way down that chain.


Interacting with the environment [14:51]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (14:52):
(chapter) I’m just thinking in two directions. I’m torn between talking more about mentoring and coaching, but I’m also super interested to hear more about your description about how you interact with the outside world, when you’re out moving. And as they say training, because it almost makes it sound trivial. But I’m just wondering what your thoughts are about… I know you’ve done things, going out for sit spots and looking for… I think that’s a powerful tool for people to try first. And I’m just wondering if you want to unpack some of your thinking about how people should go out and interact with the environment?

Kyle (15:28):
Yeah, it was interesting. Actually, the other day, I was walking around my neighborhood, and I think that’s such a good step, is to walk around and to be curious and notice things. I live in northeast Seattle, and as I’m walking around, I see all of these trees and houses. And I have that parkour vision. Where I’m [inaudible 00:15:51]

Kyle (15:53):
And I saw a lady, she was at a school and she was climbing on a wall, a rock wall of the side of a building. And I was just chatting with her. And I’m… She’s, “Yeah, it’s really hard to find walls around here.” I’m, “Well, have you ever thought about climbing trees?” And she’s, “Do you know any good trees to climb?”

Craig (16:13):
Yes, all the trees.

Kyle (16:15):
Yeah. I’m, “There’s a park, you know, over here.” And so I think that the sit spot is exactly that. It’s just going outside and being curious, and seeing what draws your attention. And then asking more questions, “Oh, that tree is interesting.” Question I might ask is, could I climb it? And if I can climb it, will I climb it? Or I see all these trees that I can’t yet climb, but that’s the motivation of [inaudible 00:16:49]

Kyle (16:49):
Even I got new shoes. And I usually wear barefoot shoes, they typically have terrible grip. And I actually was trying out the Xero’s and and the grip was pretty good. And I did a kind of tac wall run. And I was able to grab this branch with one arm. And I was, “Oh, I can jump higher, and I can hold better.” And I just unlocked that tree. So I was, I just… now it’s like a jump. When you unlock a jump, a whole world of jumps opens to you. When you unlock a tree, a whole world of trees to climb, open up to you. And so yeah, it’s that noticing, and then taking it a step further and making that first attempt.

Craig (17:39):
A lot of people that I talked to as you do, have a very, I’m going to say clear idea of what they want to accomplish for themselves. So you don’t know the destination, but you know what you should work on today. And you can sort of guide yourself through your own journey. So that’s something that I encounter a lot. And it’s probably just because of the type of people that I seek out to talk to, but I encountered that a lot. And then I’m always curious about… because we’re all doing that pretty much in public spaces. And you might be in middle of the woods where there aren’t as many people, but we’re generally out in public when we do these types of things for ourselves.

Craig (18:16):
(highlight) We invariably bump up against society to a lesser or greater degree. And I’m wondering what your thoughts are about when you’re encountering other people? Are you able to continue doing what you were doing? Or do you find that you have to choose between, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, or I’m going to modify this because I’m now touching society, “Oh, here comes somebody.” I’m just wondering how that works out for you, the contact with society and how that affects what you’re doing?

Kyle (18:49):
Yeah, it definitely affects me. And I actually have with this current situation that we’re in, the majority of my practice takes place in city parks, and is this interesting balance. I mean, it totally affects me. So sometimes it inspires me to do something bigger, cooler, to impress or kind of feed my ego. And yes, sometimes it encourages me to be really mindful of what I’m doing because of the perception.

Kyle (19:25):
So especially kids, when there are kids at the park, and they’re watching me, I’m stoked. I want to inspire them. I want to show them what’s possible. And it’s interesting to see the reaction of the parent, for sure. It definitely depends on the age of the kid. If the kid is too young to try and really interested the parents are stoked, but if the kid is old enough to actually act on the things that I’m doing, the parents are usually… sometimes give me a disdain to look like-

Craig (20:03):
I know, you’re instigating.

Kyle (20:04):
“Why are you on the playground? This is for the kids.” Yeah, so I want to role model healthy adults that play. I also want to role model… when you’re climbing a tree, you can damage the tree. And so I want to role model that. And I’ve had people yell at me, “What are you doing? Get down there? You can’t do that, you’re hurting the tree.” I’m always torn between how do I respond? Do I educate them, and, or offer my perspective on how I’m actually providing value to the tree?

Craig (20:51):
[crosstalk 00:20:51] with them, right. How do you…

Kyle (20:54):
Yeah. And so that’s definitely a tough place to be in because I have broken branches. And I have damaged trees, and I don’t feel good about it. And I’m super bummed. And if I do that, and someone sees it, it creates this image. Same in parkour, there’s a headline, whoever damages some…

Craig (21:16):
[crosstalk 00:21:16] Damages a railing. You’re right.

Kyle (21:19):
Yeah. It’s, I just, I wish they could see or feel my remorse when that happens.

Craig (21:28):
That’s a good point. I hear what you’re saying about the remorse when you cause damage. I saw… make sure I tell the story, so it can’t be identified. I saw a coach at an event once demonstrating being playful, wipe out a lamppost. They swung around it, and the lamppost just went, “I’m too old for that.” And came down. Came down really slow, and nobody got hurt, but the light definitely broke, and it certainly fell over. And I’m, “Yep, that’s irreparably damaged.” To fix that they’re going have to… that’s a major repair.

Craig (22:03):
And not much was said about it, and we basically just left it, because what were we going to do. But I don’t know, I didn’t talk to the coach about it, because I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. But I felt bad in the remorse sense, not, “Oh my God, we broke a light.” But I hate when this thing that we all love, so much causes any damage at all. Not because I want to be a, “We leave no trace.” But just because that is so not what any of the people that I train with are ever intending to do. We don’t mean to rip a branch off, we don’t mean to wreck a light post. But when it does happen, it’s [inaudible 00:22:38]

Craig (22:39):
A railing comes loose from pulling on it, because those anchors, and the bricks are meant to be, not pulled. But when those things happen, you’re torn internally. And I actually think that’s really good for anyone, each of us to experience that. It’s really good for you to grab on something, break it in public, and then go [inaudible 00:23:04] Because that’s an important emotion, because that gives you a frame of reference for how much you valued the thing that you were hanging on. Might not have thought about it when you went to swing on the tree, but you really value that tree. And then when you break one once in a while, it really, not resets as it changes, but shows you how much you value that.

Craig (23:22):
And the one you mentioned that, the remorse for… it’s just a tree. 20 years, you can make a new one, and there’s 1000s more just like it, but the remorse shows to yourself that you really do value those moments, those times, those trees, those experiences.

Kyle (23:38):
Yeah, and that connection, and not to say that manmade things, people don’t have deep connections to them. But yeah, there’s something about a tree branch that I’ve swung on… I broke a branch a few weeks ago, and it’s a branch that I used to get into the tree. And so it’s that access point for me. And I’ve played on that branch for four years. And I broke it. So I was, “Man,” I felt so bad. And I know enough about trees to either remove the branch or support the tree in a way that it can heal and it’s not going to overall affect the health of the tree.

Kyle (24:26):
But yeah, it is making me so much more aware on every tree I will climb from here on out. And I think that’s the thing. It’s not that these things are bad or… it’s an opportunity when you fail, to create awareness to move forward on a better path and to have more awareness. Because the whole, leave no trace thing, I have a problem with it, because it’s impossible. It is an absolutely impossible standard to not leave a trace. In the nature sense, the mycelium responds to every foot-

Craig (25:10):
Print, right.

Kyle (25:13):
And everything that we do, we have impact. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. And I want to be in a place of creating more positive stories. (/highlight) I was running a seminar in LA, and the park was trashed, glass and everywhere. And usually we spend a couple days scouting, and trying to figure out what we’re going to do. Well, we spent the first three days just cleaning up garbage. And then when our students came, they’re, “Wow, this is such a cool spot.”

Craig (25:49):
[crosstalk 00:25:49] Before photo.

Kyle (25:52):
Yeah, and I think, a thing that just drives me crazy is balloons. I always find balloons in trees and in nature, and… I have the skill to climb the tree and remove that balloon. So I think I want to create these more positive parkour stories that we can actually use our skills for good. We have this opportunity to be real life superheroes, because we can do things that are amazing, and incredible. And often, it just looks like Instagram highlight reels, but it could look like saving cats and removing trash, and whatever.


Outdoor beginners [26:38]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (26:40):
(chapter) Earlier, you were talking about mentoring. And I’m curious what your thoughts are… One of the things I’m always interested in teasing apart is the… this is a theory that I have, a supposition. The idea that not only does each person have… Well, first of all, everybody should find a mentor. But setting that aside. The people that can mentor you have to be in a certain place in life. So it may be that you can mentor certain kinds of people, but maybe you can’t mentor people who are just making the transition from Xbox sofa, Doritos, Redbull, they’re just making that transition to the outside world.

Craig (27:21):
What those people need to work on might be so elementary, from your perspective, that you’re not a good fit for them. And I’m just wondering if you have any thoughts for people who find themselves now they’re getting further on in their journey, and they might be looking back at… I don’t just mean in parkour. Looking back at people and going… you start to get a condescending sour outlook on the people who are way, way behind you. And I’m wondering, do you have any experience of… has that happened to you, where you see people and instead of feeling invigorated, look somebody who’s moving, instead you have a negative feeling of, “Oh, look, another gumby in the park.” Kind of thing? I’m just wondering what your experience has been as the further that you go, if you’re having that perspective on the people who are just starting out.

Kyle (28:07):
I’m stoked. I saw, especially in our current situation, I see more and more people turning to the park for their workouts. And I see them doing things that yeah, I think are dumb. I’m, “That is not a effective workout.” That’s like something you saw on Instagram, and you going to just do. So I have that. But that’s coupled with, I’m so stoked that you’re outside doing it. Because I’m so deeply aware of all of the scientific benefits of nature, and then all of my experience and anecdotal benefits of nature.

Kyle (28:50):
So when I see it, I’m in both places. I’m, [inaudible 00:28:53] cool. But I’m so glad you’re outside. That’s my number one goal for anybody, is step one, go outside. Step two remain. And I work with kids, so I get to help people and see where people are at in the beginning or in different stages of their journey. And I know I’m so far from where I want to be. I don’t think I’m ever… though I have those thoughts pop up in my head, I just can’t control that. I’m, “Oh, that’s dumb. Like I wouldn’t do that.” That’s also coupled with, I’m so glad you’re doing this outside and I wish I could… I don’t like to offer advice to people. I mean, I do like to offer advice to people but I’m hesitant, because I know how I can come across.

Kyle (29:45):
So if I can, I engage with them, like the lady on the wall. I was, “Oh cool. I’d like to climb down the wall.” And then I was, “Yeah, there’s this park called View Ridge, you should go check it out. There’s great trees to climb.” And then just continue on.

Craig (30:00):
Yeah, passion is contagious if you try and share it. Even if they don’t follow your direct suggestion… I was laughing before, you’re talking about advice. And I was reminded of the writer Oscar Wilde said, the best thing to do with good advice is to give it to other people, because you’re surely not going to take it yourself. My guess exactly.


Nervous system and nature [30:22]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (30:22):
(chapter) So, I have this… your podcast for Art of Retreat went out in February, but spoke in… is that September? Late September? Early September? When was Art of Retreat?

Kyle (30:36):
Yeah, September.

Craig (30:36):
So I’m trying to rewind my brain six, eight months. And I recall, watch this beat not you. I recall having the beginning of a conversation, but we didn’t get into it, about vision and how that works outdoors versus indoors. Please tell me that was you that I had that conversation with? I could be completely wrong.

Kyle (30:56):
Yeah, I do remember talking about it.

Craig (30:59):
Because what stuck in my mind about that was the idea of thinking about… So we think about how big is your physical space? Generally people think about this. I’m in a room versus I’m outside. But I never really thought about what the size of the visual space was, as well. Is this where you’re talking about this? And the idea that’s on the room that I’m sitting in, okay, it’s two feet to this wall, but eight feet to that one, six feet to the one in front of me. But really, that’s it. I’m in a six footish sphere, so my eyes are focused close the whole time. I never really, I guess, just relaxed my vision to see long distance.

Kyle (31:38):
Yeah, we talked about range of motion with your eyes.

Craig (31:41):
Right. Okay, good. Without doing a bunch of research or [inaudible 00:31:45] I’m, “I would swear that, that was Kyle I was talking to you about that.” So I’m wondering, if you remember that, you seem to. Can we pick back up on that, because that was something I’ve always wanted to dig into after having started that conversation eight months ago, or whenever it was.

Kyle (31:57):
Yeah. So this is something that I learned from Katy Bowman, who’s an amazing mom, natural mover, bio mechanist, in the space out here in Washington. And she essentially talked about, you’re doing a bicep curl, I can curl all the way up and extend all the way down, and that’s my range of motion. While your eyes have, I think they’re called ciliary muscles that do the same thing. So when you look close their ciliary muscles contract, and convex, concave the lens. So they squeeze the lens to make it more round, so that you can focus on something closer.

Craig (32:39):
Closer.

Kyle (32:40):
And then when you’re outside, or you’re looking far away, the muscles relax and flatten the lens that you can see further. But since we spend so much time indoors or so, instead of… it’s different for everybody, but if the human can see roughly up to one mile away, that would be our max range of motion. And so when we’re indoors we’re using, I forget the exact numbers, but it’s something like 0.04% of that range of motion. And then we develop those muscles. So it’s kind of doing like a bicep curl. Probably like this.

Craig (33:23):
Yeah. All the way the last little [inaudible 00:33:25] constantly. It’s more isometric, yeah. And have you been playing with that. Do you… is not my brain goes, “Oh, well, then what I want to do is the next day that I have a headache or something, I should go outside and go for… Wait a second, that’s exactly what I do when I don’t feel well. I go outside and I go for a walk.” And I’m wondering if that isn’t playing a big part? Just the ocular difference, if that isn’t playing a big part in the mood change and my relaxation when I’m outside?

Kyle (33:54):
Yeah, and the eyes are deeply linked to the brain. They’re not only just physically close, but the visual ocular reflex is greatly impacting the brain, and then from a survival perspective, your eyes are always looking and checking for safety. So your eyes can help regulate the nervous system. If you’re in a sympathetic state, the vision narrows and focuses and by looking around and getting oriented that can help show you the safety and help relax and calm the nervous system.

Kyle (34:31):
You can also use saccades in strength training or in mobility work, from this is from functional neurology, but if I hold up my thumbs like this, and I look back and forth, that is… and then there’s all these different eye positions but yeah, they can really stimulate the brain.

Craig (34:53):
I think there’s… I’m going to go on the limb here without cheating and googling. There’s a form of psychological therapy that uses those saccades, except instead of you doing with your eyes, they tap on you. Have you ever heard of this? I think it actually works for PTSD, do things like that. I don’t know if you have to tap on yourself where they tap on you, but basically they do cycling tapping on your thigh, or on your arm. And something about that actually modifies the mental state that you’re in. So you can have a calming effect, or it can change your thought patterns and change your brainwaves as a form of treatment. I’m probably completely wrong. [crosstalk 00:35:32]

Kyle (35:32):
Yeah, I know in somatic therapy. And I’m not sure if this is exactly related, but there are several techniques. So textures, so touching the ground, or touching a carpet or something is orienting to the nervous system. And then the eyes, so those touch or tapping, grasping, and eyes, these are all kind of natural therapeutic ways that we would calm ourselves. Because we get so caught up in our head, that the story is what runs away, and creates that anxiety, but the orienting of the eyes, the touching of our body, or the earth is, “Oh, okay. This is where I am right now. It’s not that bad, pull it in”


Training practices [36:23]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (36:24):
(chapter) So we’re about 35, or coming up on 40 minutes in and I’m wondering, is there anything that was on your mind, when you came into this conversation today that you’re, “Oh, I want to make sure that I get a chance to talk about.” Because otherwise, I can just come up with questions till the cows come home. And I’m, is there anything that’s in the top of your mind at the moment? I want to make sure I get to…

Kyle (36:44):
Yeah. (highlight) When we were talking about the gym and parkour, and how there seems to be a big separation in between those. And then, just in my experience, I feel a lot of the parkour athletes I see training in the gym are not sports specific training in a way, and it’s been interesting. I’ve been talking with and following a lot of Ryan Ford’s work. And he seems to be one of the only people in the space that’s really utilizing these concepts, so I see. And I’ve worked pretty closely with Rafe Kelly at Evolve Move Play, and we’ve been talking about this efficiency principle in training.

Kyle (37:33):
And there’s so many things to train, but how can I kind of… what’s the 20% of the things that I can do, that’s going to give me the 80% of the things. What are the free gains I can get? So I’m really interested that, that perspective from both a strength and conditioning perspective. An example is, by working towards your one arm chin up, you can increase your weighted chin ups, you can increase your dips, you can increase your bench press. All these things that you get for free, but none of those things will help you get a one arm Chin up.

Kyle (38:18):
And then that similar concept in nature is, I’m balancing on branches and jumping from trees and moving in this chaotic, dynamic environment. Jumping over creeks and walking on rocks that are moving. And when I do that, it’s hard and I have to pay attention. But then when I move into a gym space, it’s so safe and solid, and I feel… again, that gives me this, but this doesn’t necessarily equate to that. And so that’s just the big question I have. (/highlight)

Kyle (38:54):
I don’t see a lot of people… I mean, yeah, the way the only person I’ve seen do it from a strength and conditioning perspective, is Ryan Ford. And then I think Rafe does it from a natural movement perspective. I was curious,[inaudible 00:39:10] what are your thoughts or what have you seen in that space about that?

Craig (39:14):
I haven’t. That’s a very good question. That’s a good point you bring up and asking me, I was, I’m not sure… I know that in my personal experience, I don’t think I’ve ever unpacked this and really thought about it. My personal experience was that I did a couple of dog a bunch of crazy things, but I did experiment once where I tried to do a bunch of bar to bar precisions at some scaff setup out back. And I did a lot of them, thousands of them. And I didn’t realize it at the time, but a lot of other things that I was doing got vastly better. My back, just generally health of my back got better and my ability to go out and do a traditional parkour class for an hour and a half and then just be tomorrow. “Yeah, I’m okay.”

Craig (39:59):
There was something about, and I think you’re pointing at what it was, there’s something about that particular exercise, which is not something I ever do. Having to stand on a rail and jump to a rail just doesn’t come up. But having done, I did like six thousand of them, having done bunches of them in minimalist shoes, it was like all the rest of this stuff looking back, “Cool.” All those other things got better at that same time.

Craig (40:20):
So I’m going to say, yeah, I have anecdotal, N equals one evidence for that. And now I’m thinking, “Yeah, where else have I done… where else does that come up?” But I don’t think I’ve ever had that actual conversation. I know Rafe and I got close to that. We talked a lot about his pedagogy and how he teaches, so we talked a lot about why he teaches in the natural environment. But I don’t think at the time that we were talking, I was really thinking about that. So thank you for bringing that up. It’s a really interesting way to analyze, “Okay, should I do this? Or if I’m doing it, what results am I getting?” I think that’s a good point.

Kyle (40:59):
Yeah, and I’ve been trying to apply that to the strength and conditioning perspective. Another example is handstand push ups, especially in this time where we don’t have access to gyms. But using body weight, levers and accommodating resistance, a handstand push up can be really fricking hard, even at its supported levels. But it’s going to give you an overhead press, it’s going to give you a diff, it’s going to work towards your muscle ups. And that’s all going to transfer into your parkour skills, as well.

Kyle (41:35):
So that’s just the big conversation that’s in my head of, I don’t see enough sports specific parkour training. And the people that I do, I think are using outdated strength and conditioning models of just classic workouts versus that, yeah, bringing in that perspective of, what is the thing that is actually worth my time, and is going to make me dramatically better at all these things? So now I train this, and then now I do a climb up. And my climb ups are really good, versus just… there’s the skill of the climb up, but then there’s the strength of it. And that’s kind of a experiment I’ve been playing with, is how can I get my climb ups for free without working on climb ups?

Craig (42:25):
Yes, please.


Current inspirations [42:28]

Chapter’s show notes…

Craig (42:30):
(chapter) I keep noticing a lot of the things that you’re bringing up here, you have a very inspired perspective on things. Sometimes people like me, I can get way too in my head about deciding what I’m going to do next, and then programming it. And I’m just wondering, what’s something that’s currently really inspiring you, something that you can point to?

Kyle (42:53):
Yeah, something I’m inspired by right now, that actually doesn’t have anything to do with parkour, is trailing animals. So I want to be able to go into the woods and see a depressed plant, know that a bear stepped on that plant, and then I want to follow that trail to the bear.

Craig (43:14):
I’m [inaudible 00:43:14] to you asking why? Or how are you working on that? But why is that drawing your attention? Why is that inspiring you?

Kyle (43:25):
So I’m fascinated with the way that people see the world. It is people, we could both stand on the back porch and be looking at the exact same thing and see completely different things or not see things. And I had the opportunity to go out with a gentleman named Casey McFarland, who runs all these trailing evals and tracking evals all over the world. And the way that he could see the world, I literally couldn’t see the things that he could see. And so it’s all about paying attention. And then I watched Sherlock on the BBC. And it shows him look at your shirt, and he can tell you your whole history based on how you’re standing.

Kyle (44:10):
And so it’s that that ability to see subtlety, and to make deductions and interpretations based on evidence. And so I’m fascinated by that, “Wow, I have somebody in my life who can do this. So I know it’s attainable.” And I’ve had glimpses of seeing things that other people can’t see. A bird flies by or whatever, an animal or even a jump, you’re, “Oh, dude you see that gap over there?” And people are, “What are you talking about?” So it’s linked into parkour vision, I think it’s the highest level of noticing. And I’m fascinated by that ability. I’m curious how it will translate into my day to day life. And how I’m working on it is actually just at the park. I have a baseball field by my house, and there’s always dogs running through the mud. And so as I’m walking up to the baseball field, I’m seeing how far away can I spot a track? And can I tell which direction it’s going? [crosstalk 00:45:17] And then eventually, who is it and things like that?

Craig (45:22):
Oh, now I’m stoked. I’m, okay, six, eight months from now we have to have another conversation because I want to ask about how far that’s worked out, and how far you’ve gotten. But I want to be mindful of your time today. That’s probably an excellent place to stop. If people want to get in touch with you, we will link on stuff for you in the show notes. And anything that we mentioned, any bonus stuff, we’ll link that so that people can just go there and go pull all that stuff up.

Craig (45:44):
And I think that’s a great place to end the day as much as I never want to stop. I’m always, “How do I end these calls?” But I try to be mindful of keeping them short enough that people can commit 45 minutes to watch them. So, Kyle, it was a pleasure to get a chance to talk to you again and I hope you have a healthy and safe rest of your week over on the west coast. Thanks.

Kyle (46:05):
Thank you, Craig. It was so great to chat with you. I really enjoyed this and I appreciate your perspective. Thank you.

Craig (46:11):
My pleasure. You’re very welcome. Have a Good morning.

Kyle (46:14):
Bye bye.