Virtual with Kyle Koch

Virtual conversation

Kyle Koch is a former IT software technician turned nature nerd. He has been facilitating transformative experiences 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, martial arts (Systema), and meditation and breathing (Wim Hof Method). When not teaching or facilitating, you can find Kyle exploring ways to deepen his connection with himself, others, and the Earth.

Childhood role of movement

Previously spoke with Kyle for AoR (link). Huge role; played outside all the time. Neighborhood night games, surrounded by trees, hunting rabbits, catching frogs, running through the woods. Unaware of the role that movement played, but it was there. Grew up in Wisconsin. Lost touch with movement in his teens and twenties, movement as necessary, but not as a practice. Working in IT made him realize he was becoming sedentary, so he joined a gym (Monkey Bar gym in Milwaulkee). Actually influenced his practice today, more of a natural movement focused gym. Changes at work (bought out) led him back to nature. Moved to Washington to attend 9 month nature school (Anake Outdoor School). Realized he couldn’t move the way he wanted to (like an animal).

Mental gym switch

How do you know what to work on at the gym? Started with natural movement, get strong by doing. Overuse injuries, Tanner Walker helped design a strength and mobility program. What are you trying to get out of the gym? Being conscious of it, using the gym as a powerful tool.

Current challenges and resources

Resting squat holds, always a struggle. Horizontal bar balance. Working to fix imbalances, strengthen muscles. Resources: googling anything is an option, but doesn’t replace coaches and mentors. Coach explaining what to do, mentor leads you down a path, drawing out your insights. To learn, find out who’s the best, see who they learned from, and try to get in touch.

Interacting with the environment

Start with walking around, noticing. Parkour vision. Being curious, asking questions. Tree; can I climb it? Will I climb it? What about the trees I can’t climb yet? Making the attempt. Contact with society affecting your practice, when it’s public in the world. Can encourage mindfulness because of perception, or impressive, inspiring things. Wanting to inspire and role model for kids, healthy lifestyle and respecting environment. Image of what he does, and discourse around respecting environment. Remorse for damaging environment. Important to feel that remorse, shows how you value your environment. With tree branches, a certain connection. Brings awareness, growth opportunity. Leave no trace is physically impossible; but trying to use skills for good.

Mentoring vs judging

More and more people working out in parks, doing silly workouts, but excitement that they’re outside. Step one is going outside, and step two is remaining outside. His own journey is still progressing; but wanting to (respectfully) offer advice to others.

Nervous system, body and mind

Visual range of motion; learned from Katie Bowman; your eyes also have muscles that contract and relax to adjust your range of motion and distance vision. Your eyes need exercise also; indoors uses only a tiny portion of muscles. Eyes deeply connected to brain; regulates nervous system, orienting and safety. Eye positions can really stimulate the brain. Textures used in somatic therapy, using touch to calm body.

Gym training and nature

Applying varied training principles to parkour. Ryan Ford doing it (strength and conditioning), Rafe Kelley (efficiency and nature), but few others. What 20% of things can you do to get 80% of gains? Moving in nature is much more chaotic, gyms feel safe after that. Cross training, or intentional work on one thing that affects others. Handstand push ups; versatile body weight, gives you overhead press and more. What things can you do that will give you more out of it?

Current inspirations

Trailing animals; Casey McFarlane (cyber tracker certification). Being able to go into the woods, and track animals. Fascinated with how people see the world, learning to see things differently, notice more. See subtlety, make deductions. Linked to parkour vision in that it’s the highest level of noticing; how will it translate into daily life? Practicing in his local park; how far away can he spot a track and know where it’s going.

Further info and contact:

You can get in touch with Kyle via his instagram (@trottingsparrow).

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