Virtual with John 'Hedge' Hall

Virtual conversation

John Hall, more commonly known as Hedge (@Hedge), is the founder and managing director of Access Parkour in Scotland. He is also the chairperson for the European Art of Retreat. Hedge is passionate about making parkour and physical activity accessible for all people and building healthy, sustainable communities of people with shared values.

Childhood role of movement

Wild child; Grew up outside of Edinburgh. Local park (15 acres), that he was freely allowed to explore as a kid. Climbed trees, explored, was allowed to discover the world for himself. Self sufficiency as a kid.

Community building

How his self reliance played into it; Not taking anyone’s word without examining it for himself. Very toxic community experiences in university really influenced his thinking around communities. Creating one community with shared values, but also creating multiple communities by connecting people with similar values. Fitting it together like a game of chess.

Scottish culture and direction changes

Unique perspective, but more about the way they think about it. Never aiming for the bottom dollar; all about community. Creating community means people care, and invest in your community long term. It’s a slow, long term process, that actually is more economically viable. A story of a change of direction; one coach who was extremely committed, but realized that a full time parkour career is not what they were expecting. Being an involved community member and a community leader are two different things. Ended up changing what he was doing to teach parkour on the side, which better aligned with his thought process and created reality.

Finding coaches

Grow from within the community, come from the classes, hiring passionate people from the larger parkour community. About a quarter of community members were happy to teach and be leaders. People from classes often enjoy the taught structure, and like to teach. Takes longer to build confidence, but pays off long term. Hiring passionate individuals who are pursuing coaching, but lack local infrastructure to go full time.

Habit formation

Question for Craig; Sudden free time… How would you start the conversation of building habits, spending time wisely. Observing your current habits, and then deciding what you want to change. Then you can look for tools to help, then begin a reflective practice to see if you’re changing the way you want. Streak breaker fallacy, tanking your habits by missing one day, but instead observing how often in 30 days you did your goal. Building habits that are small, slowly and steadily. Keeping phone out of room, sleep hacking. Making changes that stick long term, particularly for multiple related goal. What is your ‘why’ behind those changes? Really reflecting on your why helps you to focus your efforts. Choosing one thing at a time to change. Virus lockdown as an opportunity. Yeast shortage; bread baking as a new hobby.

Philosophy and current events

Stoicism, Zen, and then similarities. Current time is interesting to considering ‘control what you can control, and endure what you cannot.’ Easy to grieve because of changes, but working through it and choosing to see opportunity. Embracing the joy of the moment, finding contentment. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance . Putting in perspective your ability to change the world, and what you can actually do. Meeting yourself in the moment, seeing who you are in isolation. Jason Kottke, Some People . Thinking of others in isolation, feeling lucky, privileged. Creating systems of helping each other and supplying resources, rather than feeling guilty for privilege.


Philosophize This podcast. Easy starting place to learn about basic philosophy, and you can branch out from there. Meditations , Marcus Aurelius. The Daily Stoic , Ryan Holiday’s blog and podcast. Epictetus’s Discourses.

Current thought directions

Taking ideas of being happy with yourself, and applying them to community. You can work on yourself to be happy, content. Affecting what is around you, the people around you, to help them be happy. The reasoning behind why you do what you do.

Contact and further info

To learn more about Access parkour and their community, visit their website (, and you can follow Hedge on instagram (@accesshedgehog).

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My blog post today was inspired by this conversation with Hedge. :slight_smile:

Always happy to inspire people to consider and reflect. My mornings used to be a well-controlled ritual designed to get me to work in the right frame of mind. That’s serving me well right now as I spend most mornings active and engaged in projects and striving towards my goals. I struggle with daily reflection. Preferring to set time aside monthly to reflect and set longer goals. I worry that a daily reflection might lead to too much dithering on my part.

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