(highlight) I have met people and I’ve trained with people, and I’ve learned from them and we’ve shared, and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing because all this comes from somewhere. And not just somewhere, but someone. So almost everything that I do is inspired by someone else. I feel like I’d like to be more creative and I feel like there’s the potential for that, but actually, mostly what I do is derive very strongly from someone else and hopefully face to face as well. That’s the best. I mean, you live it and you feel it. You feel what they felt when they did it, and then you bring it away with you and you make it your own. But it’s not only your own, it came from them. (/highlight)
(chapter) Hello, I’m Craig Constantine. Welcome to the Movers 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 99, Josh Whitt, diabetes, training and balance. Diagnosed at age 18, diabetes has simply been a fact of life for Josh Whitt. He discusses traveling to Germany and his experience, his training, and living with diabetes. Josh unpacks why he loves workshops and training with community. He shares stories of how diabetes affects his practice and his thoughts on training and community. Josh Whitt is an engineer turned parkour practitioner, coach, and organizer. He is a parkour coach with the Brisbane Parkour Association, of which he is also the vice president, and has traveled globally to other communities and events. Josh has been training parkour for many years despite being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes prior to beginning his training. For more information, go to moversmindset.com/99. 99, that means episode 100 would be next and I wonder what we have in store. But thanks for listening.
Germany and travel [2:14]
(chapter) Welcome, Josh. It’s a pleasure to see you. I haven’t talked to you in two plus years now. We started trying to figure this out. Was it 2018?
That is correct, yes. I think the last time we spoke would have been in Évry.
In Évry. Life is hard, right? Remember when we could travel? Let’s start with Germany. That might sound non sequitur to people. I think you messaged me out of the blue and said, “Hey, I’m moving to Germany to look for a job.” You had decided to just go there. So I want to talk a little bit about what prompted you to go and what your mindset was like when you decided, “I’m going to Germany.” So you had said you’re going to Germany, you’re going to Frankfurt, right? To look for a job in engineering. So what prompted you to leave Brisbane, and maybe why Germany?
Yes. Well, I have a background, a hereditary background to Germany. My mother is German, and so over the years I have made my way there for experiencing another culture and visiting family. And so over a period of roughly… when that decision was made that was about 10 years, I saw what it was like and I got to experience the life and the culture, at least as a tourist, and finally I decided that I would try to take the plunge and completely change my point of view, my life track I guess, and actually take the opportunity to use my dual citizenship as well, which-
Take advantage, yes. Did you have an idea of what kind of job you were going to apply for? Or was it literally like, “I’m off the plane, where’s the apartment listings to look for a place to stay?” Or how planned versus unplanned was that?
It was summer in between. So I did actually apply for a couple of engineering jobs, unsuccessfully. There are some fairly… what would you call it? Cutting edge companies in the aerospace industry there. And so I applied for those as sort of like my dream, shoot for the stars.
[crosstalk 00:04:38]. Yeah.
Yeah, unsuccessfully. But then I sort of… I think I had a little bit of an about face after that, and then after that I approached it from a more open-minded perspective. So not just engineering but anything that I thought I could do that I might enjoy more or would be more enjoyable, I guess.
What prompted you to want to leave? First of all, how long have you been in Brisbane? So, if your mother’s from Germany, were you born in… I guess you’re born in Australia but citizenship from your mom in Germany? What prompted you to want to leave? Have you always been in Brisbane? What prompted you to want to change? I don’t know the climate of Brisbane but I’m wondering, I don’t think it strikes me as that different. Like Brisbane’s a city and Frankfurt’s… I mean, they’re different cultures. But why? What made you want to move?
Yeah, I think that’s a good question. Especially since Brisbane is one of the easiest places to live. I think it’s called the most livable city in Australia, and Australia is probably one of the most livable cities in the world. So it would seem like an odd move to move away from what some people class as paradise.
I wasn’t implying it was odd. I’m always curious in transitions. So when I see or hear or watch someone make a big change I’m like… Wait, there was a day where you went to sleep and you’re like, “I love Brisbane.” And then there’s a morning where you’re like, “I think I could love Frankfurt too.” What was the transition?
I should probably make clear. Frankfurt was not my ideal goal. It was more like general, probably southern Germany was sort of the aim. But I think it was simply the need or the perceived need to experience a different culture from within that culture and not simply as a visitor. And also appreciating it from a… maybe anthropological is the right word? So the actual human culture I felt was different. And that’s probably just my perspective but I guess that’s all that matters.
So I felt like it was maybe in my genes to have a German or a European maybe. European mindset of how to approach people, how to communicate with people, how they live in general, I guess. That’s sort of what I was experiencing on my trips there. And then I thought, “Okay, I’ve experienced enough trips, enough holidays. It’s now time to immerse myself more.” And I didn’t mind leaving, it didn’t feel like I was leaving Brisbane forever. That’s where I was coming from. And I had also moved. I had experienced a year of traveling in Europe and that had also cemented wish to, again, immerse myself in the different culture, different way of being.
I’m sorry, how old are you?
No worries. I am now 37.
47 not 37, right?
37? Oh, I thought you were 40 when we met. Okay, but I’m wondering can you remember, say five years ago or ten years ago, how different was your life before? A lot of interesting stuff happened, like you get to Europe and, like, “Oh, by the way, COVID,” right? So all this stuff is changing. But just still looking at leaving Brisbane and maybe let’s try Germany, can you remember what you were like five years before you left Brisbane? Or maybe ten years before Brisbane? I personally don’t think what drew you to Europe was wanderlust because when I met you, definitely you were just like super chill.
I mean, like literally chill but also psychologically chill. And it was just like, “Hey. Oh, how you doing?” Sometimes I run into people… I mean, far from my home and they’re also a tourist and they’re like super crazy, just like, “Wow, this is awesome.” Not crazy like bad, but crazy like totally almost drunk on the experience. And you were just totally like, “This just rocks.” So I love running into people like that. And I’m wondering was there a time when you weren’t? I think that chillness is part of what makes you go, “Yeah, I could myself in Germany. Let’s try that.” And I’m wondering if there was a time when you were in Brisbane but you weren’t that chill, and then maybe that’s the transition to the chill 35, 36-year-old Josh is what then made you feel free to make the change?
Right, right. I’m not sure. I think I’m not sure if you have got the right track. You might be. But I feel like it’s more I’ve always been fairly chilled about practically everything, or maybe that’s the outward appearance and maybe inside I’m going a bit nuts, or maybe I’m also drunk on the experience but I don’t show it, or… Yeah, something like that. I don’t feel like there was ever a time where I would’ve gone ballistic about being in a different place. I think I internalize it. I appreciate it internally. I don’t feel the need to express that exuberantly. I think that’s simply my personality type, which could be something to work on, by the way. [crosstalk 00:10:13]-
I wasn’t criticizing, I was just…
Yeah. I feel like there was ever a time, like five or ten years before I made the move, that I would’ve been more exuberant, I guess, or more, “Okay. I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do this.” I think it was always… Yeah, my decisions tend to be quite… what would you call it? They take time, they take time. And then eventually I come to a decision and then that’s it. It’s going to happen and I sort of let it happen in a way.
I say this all the time, these conversations are like walking down a really big street. If you’ve ever been to New York City, I always like to say if you ever walked down Broadway, you could just spend the entire day walking down Broadway and every block is something interesting. There’s side streets, there’s people, there’s experiences, there’s food, there’s sounds. New York City kicks ass since they killed the horns. When I was there in the '80s it was all traffic horns from the cars. And I don’t know, they changed the law, so now there’s a fine if you blow your horn. So now the taxis are like, “Meep, excuse me.” I mean, there’s very, very little usage of the horn. It’s so pleasant.
But anyway, these conversations are like strolling down a really big, busy street with lots of options for us to talk about. So when I pause and look like I don’t know what to do, it’s because I’ve got nine ideas.
(chapter) One of the things I want to be sure that we get to is, and I want to approach this kind of cautiously because I don’t want to turn you into the, “Please educate us all on diabetes.” But I want to talk a little bit about how… So maybe first of all we should do type 1 diabetes, which I think most people have heard of but they’re like, “Oh, yeah. It’s because you ate too much sugar, whatever.” Like no, no, that’s not that kind. But what is type 1 diabetes? And maybe also when did you find out for sure? And maybe when did you in hindsight go, “Oh, you know what? I should’ve realized that,” five years ago or ten years ago? So just quickly what is it, and then when, and when should you?
Sure. So there are two types, two main types, that people have probably heard of, type 1 and type 2. And type 2 is more common and it is not always but generally considered to be more related to lifestyle. Again, not always. But it’s more considered to be related to lifestyle, whereas type 1 is more related to genetics or potentially a viral onset or things that they haven’t actually diagnosed me with. So they don’t know what caused type 1 diabetes in me. But the other difference is that type 1 is a lack of insulin generation or creation in the body. So the body either makes far too little or most often, no insulin. And insulin is what transports the sugar from your bloodstream into your cells that use the sugar to metabolize and have energy. Whereas type 2 is more generally a resistance to insulin. So a person with type 2 could be making insulin but they’re not able to utilize it. So that’s the main difference between the two. And I’ve got type 1. And it’s coming from the pancreas. It’s a pancreatic, generally a pancreatic issue.
And what was that like, “Oh. Sorry, Josh. You have dot, dot, dot”?
Fairly quick. I think for type 1 diabetes I think the diagnoses are generally very quick, whereas with type 2 maybe it can… I’m not 100% sure, but I think with type 2 it can potentially drag on before the person goes and sees someone about it. But for me it was a period of maybe one week where I was just feeling normal, had no idea that anything was up, and then a week later I had to go to the doctor to get a-
And how old were you when that happened?
I was 18.
Oh, right in the middle of like maximum activity.
Very fortunately, I think, just out of high school. So some kids who get it in high school, I’ve got a respect or sympathy for them because having to deal with that stuff while you’re going through school and all the issues around that is another layer again, I guess.
Can you talk me through? So I was going to say once you’ve learned something you reassess all the things, you’re like, “Did I miss?” I don’t think I would have ever guessed that when I met you in Évry… Nice shirt, by the way. Everybody, in case you don’t know what or where or who we’re talking about. So Évry, É-V-R-Y, is the name of a town, a small suburb of Paris in France obviously. And there’s an event that happens there five years running now, like on their fifth, their fourth? And that’s where we met just randomly. I think we were at the third or the fourth. I can’t even remember anymore. I think I missed the first two. Anyway, point of this giant diatribe is I went to a parkour event that’s run by the Yamakasi in the birthplace of parkour, Art du Déplacement, as they call it. And you were also at the event. So we were just like, “Oh. Hey, look. English speakers. Yes.” They tend to gravitate to each other.
(highlight) And we trained together. And you’re in better shape than I am and I think you physically can do more than I can. So I would’ve never went like, “Wow. You strike me as a type 1 diabetic.” So I’m wondering do you agree with that read, like it doesn’t seem to slow you down? Or was there a time when it did? Or is it just like, “Oh, yeah. I figured that out when I was 18 plus 2 months, and now it’s just part of who I am”?
That question pretty much nails what I feel I need to communicate to people about it for me. So that is that I think I started for a long time when I got it with the mindset that I wouldn’t project it to anyone. So I think that’s again because of my personality, I would try to hide it essentially, that I had it. Not in a like, “I need to hide this.” But just if I can, I just won’t project that it’s a thing for me. And that-
Maybe this disease doesn’t identify me?
Doesn’t define me?
So for a long time, like years and years and years, that’s how I would deal with it. And it’s only quite recently, maybe over the last five or six years, that I’ve started to take it onboard as more, “Look, it maybe doesn’t define me but it’s what I have to deal with. And therefore why can’t anyone else know about that?” So that would’ve been partly answering your question in that I was actually making a point of not projecting to anyone that it was a thing. And then I guess I was fortunate in that it didn’t slow me down that much and that’s just sort of luck because there are different levels or severalties of the condition.
And it so happens that I don’t have as random a sugar level control as some other people have. So, yes, I just have to pay just as much attention to it as they do but it seems to be a little bit smoother for me. So I think that’s partly the reason why I didn’t have to project it to people. For some people who are type 1, if they were in Évry and they were at the training event, they would have to project it because they’d be like, “In the next five minutes I could collapse in front of you.”
Collapse in front of you.
[crosstalk 00:17:49], why that is. Whereas for me, for a long time it just wasn’t that way for me. So I could get away with pretending to everyone that I didn’t have it. And so I was quite fortunate. And I managed it. Yeah, just that’s how I managed it. And it was not easy but it worked. So I can explain how it would affect me if you want?
Yeah, sure. I mean, I’m super interested. I did all my Wikipedia homework and I went, “This is complicated.” But… Yeah, I’m curious to know what you think are the aspects of it and the features of it that you would want to share with people, of the disease.
I think I would want to give a disclaimer, and that disclaimer is that I am not an endocrinologist or a specialist on diabetes. And, again, my mindset of not projecting it to anyone else, I sort of didn’t project it for myself either. So I’m not an expert on it. I was just like, "Look, “I’ll do what they tell me to do and I’ll manage it as best I can. But that’s it. And the rest I’ll just ignore.” If the doctor says I’m doing well, then I’m going to hear the doctor and say, “Yes, I’m doing well,” and I’ll keep doing what I do. So I’m not an expert. But I think what I can share is the fact that I have it and hopefully people will get something out of that, the fact that I have combined two activities and I have an experience of some sort.
So with diabetes you can have hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Hypo is low blood sugar, so lack of the normal level of sugar in the blood. And hyper is too much over the normal of sugar in the blood. Generally with exercise, so specific to parkour or any other physical activity, hyper is… hypo, sorry. So hypo with an “O” at the end will be what the immediate aspect requiring immediate-
That’s where the wall is, right?
So that’s when there is so little sugar in the blood to be transported into the cells that the cells, including the muscle cells, don’t get the energy they need. So you’re literally trying to move muscles that aren’t being fed with their source of energy, that’s hypo. And that’ll stop you fairly quickly. So to combat that, whether you noticed at the time or whether people noticed, I would have probably sugary things with me. So bars are the easiest thing because they’ve got a wrapper so you don’t have to… they’re not jelly beans which can go everywhere. A bar is one thing, you open it up, you eat it, and it’s all good. So that would’ve been why I do that because otherwise I would not touch confectionary. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I don’t really-
Don’t have a sweet tooth. Almost have an anti-sweet tooth. I’m so sick, I’m having to eat sweets as a form of intervention.
Yeah, so that’s one thing I would do. And that was the main preventative measure when I felt light-headed or weak essentially is what you feel. I think everyone feels, everyone can have a hypo at some point in their life. Everyone probably has. So when you haven’t eaten much and you demand your body to move a lot, your body’s controls can, despite the fact that you don’t have type 1 diabetes, can still be over… what do you call it? Over-
Overtasked. Exactly. And so if you’ve ever felt weak and you’re just like plodding along, it could be because you’ve got slightly low blood sugar. So that’s what I feel. And that’s another thing with type 1 diabetics, the doctor asks me, “How sensitive are you?” So can you feel what’s going on, because that’s important as well. If you can’t feel it, then you end up collapsing with no warning signs.
No warning. Do you test yourself? Do you go, “Oh, I think that feels like hypo,” and then do a quick blood sugar test to see how good you are? Are you able to dial in that Spidey tingle sense for how accurate you can become?
Spidey tingle sense, I like that. It changes from day to day, from week to week, which is one of the annoying things. So sometimes you’ll think, “Yeah, I’ve got it dialed. I know exactly when things are what they are.” But then sometimes it’ll throw you, like maybe you have a bit of an infection or some other stressor, it’ll throw it out and then you’ve got to recalculate again. So, yes, testing is another thing which has changed recently. So I recently got one of these things. [inaudible 00:22:43]. It’s a continuous glucose monitor. So that enables me to use a near-field communication device. It’s a little thing about that big and it allows me to see whenever I want what the blood sugar level is, which is a huge advantage compared with fingerprint testing.
Right. Well, plus you could be like, “Okay. What if I eat this?” And then you could just watch and [inaudible 00:23:10]. And you can actually treat food more like a tool or particular types of food and particular boluses as tools.
Absolutely, absolutely. Yes, that’s the huge advantage of it. You can start to understand how your body reacts and not just use a blunt instrument to… I’ve just eaten a huge bar of sugar, so I know that I’ll be [inaudible 00:23:29] and that’s it. (/highlight)
Hyperglycemia, coming at you.
It strikes me that there’s an interesting… I was going to say a lesson but I don’t mean like, “Let’s get all preachy.” There’s an interesting takeaway about most… I’m always hesitant to say everyone, but most of the people that I’ve ever talked to in ADD, parkour, free running, even people in circus, they’re really the type of people who treat their body like something that they want to tweak. They’re like, “I need a rest day.” Or people who are in their 20s discovering what a rest day is, you’re like, “Oh, you’re in that age.” They really… I don’t want to say hack, but they really fiddle with how they train, what they train, what they eat, how they… so all these things.
And for you that’s not an option. You need… Well, you wouldn’t have to do it, but life is much better if you do. So I’m wondering if there’s maybe any lessons that you have about how becoming… I was going to say hyper aware, but I don’t mean to make a hypo, hyper aware reference. But I think becoming hyper aware of how you feel and how your subjective perception is connected to how you physically are. I’m wondering if you have any takeaways about like, “Yeah, I didn’t realize it but that really changed this other part of my life,” or that affects relationships or my emotion. I’m wondering what else there is in there about you have a hypersensitivity to that… or you have that hypersensitivity, how has that changed or affected the rest of your life?
Yes, I think it definitely has for a start. And I think there are more than one. So maybe the first… not the first, but maybe the most general and overarching one is to be kind to yourself. And that definitely reminds me of the training terminology or philosophies that we’ve heard from people, like the Yamakasi and their people who they’ve trained is, yes, you can work yourself very hard but at some point you also have to listen to your body and understand that if you’ve just twinged your shoulder, then doing 50 muscle-ups is probably not the best thing for you to do.
(quote) And I guess that what you’re talking about with hyper awareness, that’s sort of what happens, is that you don’t go to that extreme anymore of you’ve twinged your arm and then you do 50 laches. It’s way more sensitive than that. It’s do you feel off right now, so should you be doing that one and a half meter precision to that low wall because if that off feeling causes you to miss that wall, it’s going to suck. Yeah, it’s sort of like… it doesn’t force you, because I didn’t feel forced. But I had to learn over a long period of time that… wait a minute, if I actually start listening to what my body’s telling me, the outcome is better even if it might hurt the ego at the time. That’s a huge practice. (/quote)
I was going to say it might be the best thing in the world for ego because… I don’t want to say ego is necessarily the enemy, but I know in my personal journey there was a long period of Craig The Ego. And part of what I got out of all different kinds of physical training, martial arts and everything, was coming to terms with that. I realized, like, “Oh, I don’t have to necessarily be that version of myself.” And it’s like maybe the carrot versus the stick. So you got the stick version of learning that lesson and I got the carrot version of learning the lesson.
But I think it sounds to me from what I know, we’ve had not a million but a bunch of dinners and hung out, it sounded to me like you got… I was going to say a pleasant, but I always hate to tell people who have like a systemic disease, “You had a pleasant time.” But you had a pleasant journey. It sounds to me like you didn’t ever really get bashed on the head with, like, “No. You can’t go outside and play anymore. Your life is now over.” You had more of a, like, “Well, that happened. [inaudible 00:27:47], that avenue of insanity is closed, I’m going this way.”
I agree. Yeah, I agree. It was quite a gentle transition. Yes, because the-
Did you have another takeaway? You mentioned you had a couple takeaways and you said the first one that came to mind was what you said, and then…
I’m not sure I’ll be able to think of them but I’m sure there have been lots.
It’s okay. If it pops up, just bring it back up. It doesn’t have to be me driving the entire time.
Workshop experiences [28:15]
(chapter) Did you do that bridge hang drop?
I thought you did. I was trying to… that’s probably captured on… I mean, I don’t know maybe if your drop, your specific drop, is captured but the thing I’m talking about has got to be on YouTube somewhere. That was one of those things where I was like, “Yeah, no. I’m not doing that.” It was a climb down on an overpass. So there’s a road that’s kind of set into a cut. So the overpass was up a little bit but most of the road was down a lot of it. And it was… how far was it? It was like a 30-inch steel I-beam to climb over, guard rail on the street climb down, and then get to hang on the lower flange. Man, you are committed at that point. And then I would say your feet were probably a meter and a half, two meters at least, off the ground. It was a drop. So it’s a dead hang and then you’re like, “Well, I can let go or I can just dead hang until I let go.”
That was one of the many, and I use that word subjectively because many counting on maybe… on your fingers, like not hundreds but a number of moments that were defining for me in terms of the experience that I got from attending workshops like Évry, especially Évry, but other workshops as well where-
What made you climb over the guard… The guard rail’s just like a low thing. And there’s not a ton of traffic and you were hanging over the shoulder, so you’re not going to get killed by a car, but it’s a drop. Because I watched from the side and I was like, “No.” What made you climb over the guard rail and try it?
So I think two things, two major things. One, I knew that I wasn’t going to die or I wasn’t going to get severely injured. There was a chance that I’d stuff it up and get somewhat injured.
I love that phrase. It’s so great. Sorry.
So there was that. And the fact that I had a lot of experience and I sort of know what I’m capable of. (quote) \But on top of that, and this is why I called it a defining moment, or one of those defining moments, was the way that the workshops are run, either intentionally or subconsciously, I’m not really sure which. But the way that they’re run, the way that it comes across to me, is that they’re progressive. In every session it seems to be a progression towards some sort of progress, some sort of leap, some sort of… it doesn’t have to be a literal leap, but some sort of epiphany every time a session is run. So it starts off with the warmup and then it just gets more and more involved. And I think the energy of the people and the people running it, so Yamakasi in this case, just lends itself into a natural point where you trust the suggestions that are being made to you, which is climb over this railing and drop off a bridge.
You trust that the person understands where you’re at and that they will help you if you need it, and that you’re allowed to back away if you don’t want to do it. All of those things come into this zone basically. I felt like I was in the zone of, “Yeah, I can do this. I’m going to do this and it will be totally fine.” And I’ve experienced that multiple times. And I think it’s not by accident, it’s as in there is a very good reason why it culminates in an experience like that due to the organization and the way that it’s run. (/quote) Do you get that sort of? Does that ring a bell for you as well?
I would completely agree with the progressive aspect of it. I’d also agree with the thing you said earlier about it’s very approachable, and the “it” I’m referring to is how the Yamakasi teach, it’s very approachable. I’m visualizing Williams leading the physical thing in front of the fountain. We’re doing various QMs, just back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. Eventually I was just like, “Yeah, no.” So it’s very approachable. And it’s very much as long as you’re honest about how you’re pushing yourself, you can back away. Yeah, I agree with you 100% on all that. And what I’m thinking about is like did I have any epiphanies? And then I went on this little mental tangent of if I can’t think of an epiphany, does that mean that I didn’t have an epiphany? And is that maybe part of my… I don’t want to say waning interest in events.
But I’m not losing my shit looking forward to going to parkour and the events in '21. I’m just kind of like, “Yeah, maybe I’ll go.” But I really don’t feel like I’m… this is now me off on a personal tangent, but I don’t think I’m missing. I’m like, “I don’t feel like I missed anything in '20.” I mean, there are a lot of events I didn’t go to. But I don’t feel like there’s any missing from my life. So when you say, “Craig, do the epiphanies track?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” The epiphanies that I had at that event were centered around I did a very different interview that I hadn’t done, a different kind of structure, me and the person having the conversation. We did the whole thing differently. And that was super interesting. I had a lot of really cool meals with really awesome people.
I also got a chance to hang out with all my friends, Yamakasi, people from around the world. But I’m like, “Did I have any epiphanies?” I think for me the epiphany is always… what would be the opposite of an epiphany? Like for me, I’m too hard on myself. So basically non-stop, the voice that I have is like, “Really? That’s all you got? I don’t give a shit that you’re 40-whatever, like 45 or 46 or 47. Shut up.” So for me it’s always the, “I’m excited if I can manage to just be okay with sucking in my own mind.” I think I’ve had the bad epiphany years ago. But I don’t know that I had any really good, dug deep and did something that really I felt moved me up or forward or another step through my journey. And maybe I should look more at that.
Maybe that highlights that maybe I want to put it a slightly different way. And that is that those situations that they create, or have created, lends itself to someone having an epiphany. Maybe that’s not the right word either, but it generates the potential for-
Yeah, some sort of transition. Yeah.
… for whoever’s ready for it, for whatever it is. Doesn’t have to be jumping off a bridge at all. And it can be described as equally valid. That’s something else, that’s still part of the social structure and still within the workshop. So I wouldn’t downplay that either.
I was thinking about, and we’re talking about the drop as if… this isn’t a drop off the Empire State Building. Many, many people have done the drop. I’m sure it’s on YouTube as a thing that they’ve done. And I think every single person that I saw do the drop, nobody got injured in any way, shape or form. Nobody even turned an ankle. So it is a relatively safe thing to do. I would not do it. It would not be a good idea for me to try it just because that’s too much of a drop, an impact. But… Yeah.
I think maybe a way to look at it, which may be right or wrong, but whoever did it that day was in that zone that I felt. And they created the potential for those people at their level to be like, “Oh, yes. I’m going to do this.” And I feel like it’s the right time. Maybe some of them have done it already, like some of the assistant coaches, they would’ve done it too.
There were also progressions that they challenged for those guys as well. So maybe they hadn’t done those progressions. Do you remember that? They were doing some other stuff as well rather than just-
I think by that point, and whatever day that was, that was the day that… I’m just laughing because like if you ever want to sign up for like… What did I do? It’s like just decide you’re going to train will Williams all day. So he started us in the morning and then off we went. And it was so much fun too. We started in the town of Évry, and then we went over to Lées, the drop is over in Lées. And it was just so much fun to just play with him, like, “Okay, we’re going to go over here. We’re going to do this,” and we do this completely ridiculous, made up QM challenge. And then we’re going to run over here. It went on and on. But by the time we got to the bridge I was mostly like, “Okay, my goal was to just keep the group in sight. Just know where I’m supposed to be.”
So then I wind up at the Lisses I was supposed to wind up at. So that, it was so far… I don’t want to say it was so far beyond what I was capable of, but the whole… that day was beyond. I kept looking in the ATP pile and I’m like, “No, you need to reserve ATP for walking.” But that also is a lesson. Well, it’s a lesson that other people can take away was like I went to, what I’m going to say is arguably the most impressive Art du Déplacement event, and even including PKGen’s, [inaudible 00:37:38], the town, the mountain town, in…
Yeah, it’ll come to me. But even including that one which I haven’t been to. Morzine, thank you. Morzine is… it can’t be more of a physical challenge, but it could certainly be the same kind of mental challenge. Anyway, I’m off railing. My point being that for me the mental challenge was to participate at whatever level I could through the duration of the whole thing and not have it be what I would’ve done years previously, where I have it be a suffer fest where I can just show up and literally put my head down and be the [inaudible 00:38:17], and push, slog through it. Whereas that event was like… Yeah, the complete exhaustion line, that was like three hours ago but I’m still here, I’m still smiling, I’m sill having fun, I’m still sharing my water with people.
And there’s something, there’s an experience of being present when other people… I was going to say take their leap, but when they make their advances. So it was just as cool for me to be there when you did your drop. It wasn’t like, “Oh, everybody’s doing the drop. I really should do the drop.” There isn’t a peer pressure aspect to it. Super, super fun.
You need that other perspective as well, because everyone is in a way obviously experiencing events from their own perspective, through their own eyes. So it’s good to hear your perspective as well in that particular aspect of that day with Williams, which I hadn’t really considered up to this point. I had sort of only considered it from my eyes. So that’s interesting to hear that. And it’s-
Yeah, it’s still fun to watch the dynamic of when… You’ve seen it, but when one sees Williams training with other people, if you’re just watching edited, like a super cut, you might think that he’s this crazy slave driver. But it’s like no, everything that he offers to you comes from his heart. I mean, all the guys are like this but we’re talking about a day of training with Williams. The environment that he creates is really open and welcoming to everybody. He doesn’t glance over his shoulder at the people sitting in the shade, like, “What are you doing?” He’s just like, “I saw what you did before that was awesome. And now these people are doing this awesome, and then we’re going to go there and do that awesome, and then we’re all going to go do this.” It’s just if you had any more fun, smiling wider, the top of your head would fall off. It’s like one of those days.
And that’s a very important aspect of face to face contact is so much more. It’s just so much more that you cannot necessarily, certainly not easily, represent through the lens of a camera. It’s difficult, if not impossible. So that is… [inaudible 00:40:29].
(chapter) Oh, so many things. Was there anything that was… and I think we hit one already, but was there anything on your mind that you were thinking before we started, “Oh, I hope we get to talk about…”
Sorry, I missed the last part of that.
Sorry, that’s because I stopped talking. I left the hanging ellipse there. I said is there anything that you were thinking before we started today that you wanted to be sure that we get to talk about?
Oh, yeah, right. I had a story that I could… I’ve got quite a few stories, but I was thinking which one would be most appropriate and whether it should be a diabetes related one or whether it should be completely unrelated to that. Basically all parkour stories. So would you have a preference as to whether you hear one-
No. I mean, what people choose to share and how they tell the story, tells you just as much about them as the story itself. Yeah, whatever story or stories you want to share is fine by me.
Okay, great. So how about I could share two? One could be diabetes, one will be diabetes related. It’s just a small anecdote of an experience of what happens when the diabetes shows itself in its forms when you are training. And the other one will be to honor a friend, it was just a small training experience I had with a friend. That sounds-
Yeah, that sounds great.
So you know IG, of course, International Gathering in Slagelse, in Denmark. I think that’s where we also [crosstalk 00:42:13]-
I think that’s where we met, was at Slagelse at IG. And then it was like a lot of people there do that. They double head because it’s the next adjacent week, they go down to Évry.
Yes. So it was a year that… I think it was maybe the year that you didn’t… that was 2019, I think, the last time I went. So we were doing the last day, you know the last day. We followed Martin around essentially.
Martin: “Let’s go for a run.” Oh, God. [inaudible 00:42:48]. Yeah.
Yes. So we followed Martin and his coach buddies around. Martin runs and his coach buddies come up with wicked ideas of extra training for people to do while they’re running around and it’s generally speaking a very tough two hours, I think, of work. And generally what happens as well is we have a big meal beforehand, which the coaches generally tell us, “Please try not to eat much.”
Yeah, don’t eat. Yeah.
Because it’s [inaudible 00:43:20] and the food is amazing, I find it difficult not to. So generally I have a lot of food. And it seems the pattern is that I inject a appropriate… So this is insulin. When I say inject, I’m talking about insulin. Injecting appropriate amount for that amount of food, trying to take into consideration the two hours that follow. And in the past I’ve generally been okay. It’s been pretty good. I’ve managed to go through the two hours without too much problem. But this time I overcompensated or I didn’t enough compensate enough at all. And about halfway through we were doing a… I and a bunch of other guys and girls got picked out to do the wrestling. Did you do the wrestling?
Yeah, we did the wrestling in 2018. I was not there in 2019.
Yeah, so that was happening again. And that was one of them. And so basically for that short period of time, maybe between five and ten minutes, we would do grappling until your shoulders are on the ground and then you’d repeat until you were tired, I guess. And I didn’t realize at the time that my blood sugar was going lower and lower. And that was one of the times where the sensitivity for whatever reason was not high. So I was not aware of what was going on. And besides when you’re working really hard, you are supposed to feel tired when you’re working really hard.
That looks like another signal that’s common at that time.
Yeah, so it’s either ignoring it for that reason or simply because I wasn’t sensitive to it. But for whatever reason, I think it was on the second bout. I was with [inaudible 00:45:05], if you remember?
Maybe. I don’t want to interrupt your story. Keep going.
So I was really trying hard. And then when he finally overcame me, which he would’ve done anyway. So I didn’t last very long. But when I tapped out, I was like completely finished. Like completely wrecked and I felt like… I think it was that experience of just being completely shattered, like emotionally and physically. And I think that’s where the body was like at the point where I could no longer, my brain could no longer override the physiology. And so everything just sort of went “bleh”. And I pretty much broke down just right there. And that was the sign then that they knew something was up. And then I finally let them know that, “Oh, by the way.” So that was really not good on my part. Maybe this is another lesson. It’s a small lesson but another aspect, another angle on it, is to let people know that you have a condition that affects how you operate because that saves a lot of time and it saves energy and it might save your life.
So that was not good of me to not do that and I’ve learned my lesson now. So then I was able to say that, like, “By the way I have type 1 diabetes, and I probably need some food right now,” which I didn’t have on me. So they were awesome. They looked after really, really well. Took me into the shade and gave me juice, which perked me up pretty well. It was one of the worst… not the worst, but one of the harder hypoglycemic episodes I’ve had. But they were awesome. They looked after me excellently and I really appreciated it. And then they took me down to the finish where, I don’t know if it happened in 2018, but they were doing the water fight. Not the water fight, the-
Yeah, the water slide?
No, just they would get a hose and just hose everyone.
Oh. Yeah, no. In 2018, it was Droughts “R” Us. There was no water anywhere. The grass was dead. Nobody was allowed to use the water while we were all on water rations.
So you just got water rations?
Yeah. Was the grass green on the pitch in '19?
Oh, because, when I went in '17, there’s a giant football… soccer. Most of the listeners are from the United States, so soccer pitch. But they play volleyball in the sand, anyway. Yeah, when I went in 2018 it was like a brown desert. Everything was dead from the lack of water. I think that’s-
(highlight) Thank you for sharing that story because I think it’s an honest… not a wake-up call for yourself, but it takes some chutzpah to own up to it. I really should’ve maybe not gone that far, but at the very least I should have pre-staged people who knew what was going on. The coaches should’ve all been aware. But then the other side of that is if they’re all aware are they going to treat me the same? That’s an interesting question.
That’s also part of the whole hiding it or keeping it under wraps is… Well, there are two sides to it actually. The one is that you don’t want to be treated differently necessarily. And, two, I don’t want to make excuses for myself. That’s another thing. It’s like… Yeah, it feels like once you’ve let the cat out of the bag, then all of a sudden or from then on, from that point into the future, you’ve got this go-to excuse which is just to me, that was one thing that held me back, I think a lot too. And that’s something that I think I’ve accepted now. And it’s like, “Well, if that’s what I feel or that’s what other people feel I’m doing, they’re going to have to deal with it and I’m going to have to deal with it.” Yeah, it’s either one or the other.
And I’ve chosen the one where people know and if that means I’m protecting myself and ensuring longevity and that sort of thing, and also helping other people not to stress so much about me after the fact, but it also means that I’m opening myself up to that easy out of like, “Oh, I’m not going to participate because I need to eat right now.” It just leaves that option open.
It is? But is that really a hazard for you? Do you really think that you’re going to take the easy out? I don’t think Josho’s going to take the easy out.
Well, that’s the thing. It’s like I would like that to be the case but that’s never happened, that never happens. But… Yeah, that’s one other aspect that I’ve thought about which I feel has to be taken into account and that’s just how it is. But in a way it was a great experience to finally understand that people need to know and that they would take care of me in an incredible way, which they did. And there was no negative after that. There was no negative impact of that decision or of that occurrence. It was all positive. So that was a great thing that happened, I think. And it wasn’t a huge medical emergency. Again, to reiterate, some people in that situation that would be a massive medical emergency. But because I’m fortunate with my particular condition, it’s less so. I’ve got an easier time of it. (/highlight)
And you said you had two stories?
Yes. So the other one is not diabetes related and it’s just one of those stories… again I feel like there are a lot of moments, especially since I’ve… not only, but especially having gone to Europe where I meet… there’s a condensed timeframe of meeting inspirational people. And for whatever that reason that doesn’t happen as much in Australia. I think it’s a lot to do with the fact that we’re a huge country. It’s difficult to travel, it’s expensive, and-
We’ll just call it a continent, right?
Yeah, [inaudible 00:51:31]. So the people who do various disciplines, there are just fewer of us in every discipline. Whereas, again, Europe is more condensed. (highlight) So I met an inspirational person called Federico, and his nickname was Gato. He’s from Italy, Parkour Wave. Sadly he passed away two years ago, which affected me quite greatly, surprisingly. But he taught me a lot in a very short period of time, which sort of blew me away at the time. So this is one anecdote of my experience with that. So I stayed with him in his old town, they called it Città Rialzata. Città Rialzata, which is raised city. So that’s like an old town where you’ve got the wall all around and low-lying sort of suburbs around. And he was staying right in the middle there. And I was staying with him, which was awesome. The Parkour Passport was in [inaudible 00:52:38]. I mean, especially with people like that.
And one morning he said to me… or one evening he said, “I’m going to train tomorrow. I’m going to do my regular training.” And he said, “I’ll wake you up early in the morning and we’ll go for a run and some other stuff.” So in the morning he woke me up and he put his shoes on, that’s pretty much all he did. He had his shorts and shirt, shoes on. I put my shoes on. I probably made sure that I wasn’t going to go hypo, that was probably part of it. So like five minutes, pretty much five minutes from getting up out of bed out the door, jog down the road on the… what do you call it? The ring road sort of thing around the raised city. And then up on the wall and jogging on the wall, doing some climb-up reps on the outside of the wall. So when I say wall, it’s a fairly sizeable wall.
It’s meant to repel invaders, right?
Yes. So climb-up reps, repetitions. Which I assume most of your listeners will-
Oh, people can look up [climb-o 00:53:53] if they don’t know what it is.
And then he would do some handstand repetitions on the wall as well. I did them in a different way where I felt like I wasn’t going to fall off. And then some precisions, and then finishing with sitting on the wall watching the sun rise and doing some breathing exercises. And that was, to me, the first time I’d really experienced someone’s… such a dedicated approach to the training, so living it so fully. Not the only time but that was a very good example of that sort of introduction or exposure to someone’s personal philosophy in training. Yeah, that was one of the examples that struck me about him and his approach. And I guess that’s why maybe it’ll stick with me for a long time and probably forever. He had a number of sayings or things that he said, which I still remember and try to… what do you call it? Follow, or recognize in my training. (/highlight)
Thank you for sharing that. I was going to say he is… but you’re right, he was a great guy. I didn’t train with him that much but did train with him a bit.
Training and community [55:22]
(chapter) So many places to go. Let’s do something a little different, not because I want to change the mood. But just to go in a completely different direction, what would your… let’s say people who know that you do Art du Déplacement and train, like those kinds of friends. What would your friends say that your superpower is?
Balance. So that is my… I would call it my strong point. It’s my, I guess, go-to practice when I’m looking to push the limits or looking to have a mediatory experience or to chill out, to relax, to experiment. Balance is what I do. Things that focus on the aspect of balance. So rails, things that wobbly maybe, ropes, pillars.
Interesting. I’m thinking of asking the question, what do people get wrong about you? But that’s a little… I think what people get wrong about you would be they would misunderstand… I hate to say handicap, but misunderstand there’s a bit of a, “Oh, by the way here attached to what you’re doing when you’re training.” And that they would miss that, not notice it in the sense of miss that. Yeah, I don’t know. What’s on your mind? Where do you want to go next?
I think I’ve got something for that question, what people might misunderstand.
Yeah, what do people get wrong about you?
Well, in my training I would say people don’t understand the community and the sharing aspect of what I’m doing. I’m trying to integrate that more and more. I’m not sure that I’m doing it as much as I would like. But there is that aspect of when someone sees you training a lot, I think I’ve heard a lot of times in the past people will say things like, “You don’t know how many times I’ve trained this jump and that’s why I can do it. And therefore please don’t worry for me because I know what I’m doing.” But there’s also, either complementary to that or in addition to that, I have met people and I’ve trained with people and I’ve learned from them and we’ve shared. And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing, because all this comes from somewhere.
Not just somewhere, but someone. So almost everything that I do is inspired by someone else. I feel like I’d like to be more creative and I feel like there’s the potential for that, but actually mostly what I do is derived very strongly from someone else and hopefully face to face as well. That’s the best. I mean, you live it and you feel it. You feel what they felt when they did it and then you bring it away with you. And you make it your own but it’s not only your own, it came from them. And I think that’s something that people miss when they see you training and when they think what you’re doing is parkour, what you’re doing is Art du Déplacement, or whatever. That’s something I think people misunderstand.
Sometimes I just want to press stop because anything I say will take away from what you just said, that’s why I’m like, “Leave it, pause there.”
3 words [59:01]
(chapter, highlight) Yeah, there’s a metaphor of going to a well. And every time I put the bucket in the well, it’s like, “Oh, it’s tasty, sweet water.” And then at some point I’m like… I know that the well’s going to run dry. So at some point I have to just stop or the conversations would go on forever. This would be the point where somebody would need to stand up and go get like another tea or something. So maybe we’ll just say that’s a great place to wrap up for today. And I’ll just say, and of course the final question. Three words to describe your practice.
Okay. So I haven’t come up with an answer in advance. I have listened to your podcast.
It has become a thing.
[inaudible 00:59:38] and thought to prepare. So I will come up with it. I did mention balanced. I did mention balance, sorry, and I said that was my strong point. So I think I would like to say balanced. And I’m not sure if it’s entirely true and I think maybe someone can only ever strive for it. So let’s just say I’m striving for balance in as many ways as that would… what is it? Implies, not just the physical, you’re in the middle on the rail, but also balanced in terms of not focusing too much on one thing, trying to keep a bigger picture, making sure that the mind is also taken into account, not just the physical. That sort of balanced as well. That’s what I’m striving for, I think. What else?
I think cautious is very much, [inaudible 01:00:44]. And in many ways I suppose it is good, but in many ways caution can be misplaced. And I feel like over the years that’s been a challenge of mine, to not overdo caution. But I don’t know, I’m still here. I still have use of both my legs. So maybe it was the right amount. But… Yeah, cautious, cautious. Third thing to describe my training, right?
Yeah, but you’re allowed to choose whatever idea of the word training you like. So I think you’re doing great.
I don’t know. You might be able to help me with the word that describes this. But I sort of touched it on already, and that is that I really like finding sources of inspiration and utilizing them and integrating them into what I do. I suppose in this fairly natural way. I don’t really write it down. [inaudible 01:02:04]. Sometimes I do write it down. Sometimes I write things down that I learn and I go back to it and I think, “Yeah, that’s a good thing.” But generally speaking I don’t feel like I need to write it down. I feel like the people that I’ve met cause it to be remembered much more easily. So I’m trying to think of a word that describes seeking people and what they’ve got to show, what they’ve got to give, what they’ve… Yeah, that sort of thing, what they’ve got to share. Their energy and their passion, it seems that can be applied in my own practice. And so far it definitely is because it’s most of my practice. So seeking?
Seeking is… I don’t like to get involved in people’s answers because people say, “I don’t know what word to pick.” And they always get to a word at the end that works. Seeking is really good word to choose there. Seeking. Either seeking or seeker or to seek. You are not the first person to use that word. There are a lot of answers to that question. So… Yeah, I think that’s a super thoughtful… I really like that because those three words are different kinds of ideas. They highlight different aspects of who you are, sort of point in different directions.
So… Yeah, terrific, awesome. It’s everything I knew it would be. I love this. I’m happy to get a chance to sit down, even though it is virtually. But one of the advantages of… like I used to only interview in person. And then because of COVID this particular calendar year, it’s been, “Okay, can’t do that.” So it’s forced me swallow my pride and start doing them virtually. And I’m like, “That means I get to talk to Josh. Yes.” So that works for me. Josh, it was a delight to get a chance to sit down and talk again. I’m glad that you continue to be in good health. I wish you the best of luck.
Likewise. It’s been awesome. It’s great to see you again and talk to you again. (/highlight)