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Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Kait Simpson and Robbie Csontos!!

Kait Simpson and Robbie Csontos are two legends of the competitive jump rope space!

We get into the weeds with competitive jump rope culture in this episode, and it’s awesome! If you’re not a competitive jumper, you’ll still dig it but just know that we bring up a bunch of references here

We get into a LOT during our conversion, including the skills that Kait and Robbie have created, Kait’s detailed process for creating new competitive routines, why Robbie does the hardest tricks he can in his routines, and how both of their jumping has evolved over the years.

We also get into some other topics like the injuries Robbie has had (and powered through during competitions), the trend of renaming skills that have existed for a long time, whether or not there’s a peak age for a competitive jump rope athlete, and a lot more.

Transcripts may contain a few typos. With episodes lasting over an hour, it can be difficult to catch minor errors.

You can listen to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon MusicStitcher, Overcast, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Nate K-G: Kait, Robbie, thank you for being on the podcast. I am really excited to get into our conversation today, that is going to be awesome! 

Kait Simpson: Thank you so much for having us. We are very excited to be here, for sure! 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, I’m pumped!

01:26 How Kait & Robbie Started Jumping

Nate K-G: Nice! Let’s just lead in with… you know, where you guys are from, and how you started jumping, and we’ll go from there. 

Kait Simpson: So I am Kaitlin Simpson, or Kait Simpson, I go by both. I am originally from Hamilton, Ontario. I’m currently living in a small town, about 40 minutes away from there now. I’ve been involved in the sport for about 17 years now. Last few years I have not competed, so 15 years of competition, over 12 years of coaching, and then that’s also six years of circus experiences and performances too.

Nate K-G: That is a very awesome list of experiences. That’s a wide variety too. I love that, that’s cool! Robbie? 

Robbie Csontos: I started jumping in 1998, just at school, and what not? I grew up in Ohio and joined the Heartbeats in 2000, I believe. Then in 2009, moved out west to Seattle and jumped there for nine years. And then now I’m in Ontario, Canada, still somewhat jumping here and stuff, but, yeah… I saw a community show and was just freaking hooked, and obsessed, and never really let it go!

Nate K-G: That’s awesome! Normally I start from the beginning, but I’m kind of curious, considering the major changes that have happened in the world over the past couple of years, and just as jumpers, I feel like once you hit a certain age, it’s like competition and your focus on it starts to shift a bit. So I’m curious within the past six months, a year, what’s jumping look like for you guys?

02:59 How Robbie’s Jumping Has Evolved Over The Years

Robbie Csontos: So for me personally, I’ve kind of retired from the competitive side of the sport, obviously. It just got to the point where… I didn’t lose the motivation to jump, I just lost the ability to stay that competitive, especially with the athletes nowadays. I realized, well, probably not going to win that many things anymore, but I freaking love the sport. 

And with everything that’s going on in Canada, we haven’t had competitions here in, well, since March of 2020. We had one in the spring and then everything else since then has been canceled. So even getting into the gym to train has been pretty hard because we’re like right now, we’re still in a lockdown. 

So with my job though, it’s nice having access to the gym. So I randomly pull up videos of like… even some of the stuff that you post, I try and give it a shot every once in a while. And then, of course I see all the other people like Stewart, and Nick, and Kaylee, and even like Brian, and Zach. There’s… I could list off so many! I randomly get that urge to be like, “all right, cool! Let’s see if I can still do this!” I fail miserably a lot of times, but…

Nate K-G: I feel like that’s just how it goes, right? For both of you who have been… I mean, you’ve competed at such high levels. How do you approach your sessions now? Because like you’re saying, you’re pulling up a video and you’re just kind of given some combos or some skills a shot.

Do you feel like you’ve had to make a big mental shift in the way you approach jump rope to keep it fun? Or is it pretty much the same, or what is that look like? 

Cause for me personally, like when I… I don’t like to say that I stopped competing, I like to think that I still would, but I’m not training the same way and not even close, right? And so the way I approach my sessions is so different now. I don’t go as hard as possible. I’m not trying to build difficult routines. It’s very longevity-focused, a lot more than it was prior. 

So I’m curious how that is, how that’s changed for you or it stayed the same… maybe it stayed the same? 

Robbie Csontos: No, for me, like, I’d definitely go onto sessions now thinking and knowing that a first off, it’s going to take more than like 20 minutes for me to get something. It’s going to take at least 40 minutes for me to like warm up and stretch, and even just like, get into that, the mindset of being like, “okay, cool! Be prepared to fail for the next hour.” And then just kind of push through and just… I listen to way more music now and allow myself and like be okay with, “cool! I just fell on my face, like nine times! Let’s keep going with it!” Cause yeah, I’d just do it for fun now. 

The training sessions are way less intense mentally, I guess, but way more fun physically. Also, knowing that tomorrow probably not gonna be able to walk that great, or lift my arms that high, but at the end of the day, it’s a freaking blast and I just, I treat it as… like a nice mental and physical release, and just enjoy the jump rope part of it.

Nate K-G: Kait, what are your thoughts? In terms of like, how has your jumping changed over the past couple of years? Has it completely shifted? Has the way you approach sessions changed or is it still the same? 

06:06 How Kait’s Jumping Has Evolved Over The Years

Kait Simpson: There has definitely been a few transitions for sure. It started off just simply loving it, and then I had a few coaches that saw a lot of potential and put a lot of support behind me. And I had no desire originally to compete to win or compete on an international level. I just did it because I love to do it. But because of that support and those coaches, I got relatively good, relatively quickly, and then I got the competitive itch

And then that was the competitive mode for sure, right? And that went till about university, and then university… it transitioned into performance and circus, and creating a profession out of it, and creating routines with a very different mind set.

A competitive routine and a circus act are two very different things. So I liked that challenge and that transition. And then also giving back to the sport and helping grow the sport. There was definitely a transition there in university. 

Now I don’t have a competitive bone in my body anymore with it. It’s just… I jump because, “hey, that looks cool!” And I pick up a rope and I try it and I’m like, “Hey, I still get it!” Or… “we’re not going to do power today!” You know, it was either way. 

And now, also, it’s more of a coaching standpoint is definitely where I am now in my career. Like, I’ll find things on social media and thank goodness, you know, that has been a great avenue through the past two years to still stay connected in the sport. And I’ll send it to my girls and I’ll just be like, “hey, be prepare. We’re doing this on Monday!” You know, Nice. and stuff like that. So now I get excited for those types of things and also seeing their achievements.

07:38 How Kait Creates Competitive Jump Rope Routines

Nate K-G: Gotcha. Let’s jump into the circus a little bit, cause I know, I’ve obviously seen how the performance is, like from my perspective are so different, but I’d love for you to kind of elaborate on that mental shift and how specifically you change the structure of what you were doing, structure of your practices, whatever changed. It’d be cool to hear about that. 

Kait Simpson: So competitive for me… breaking it down, for me, start with picking the music first. And then for competition, listening to the music and establishing what types of tricks would do well with what section of the song. That’s where I always start, no questions asked. 

And then for trick and combination selection, I generally start with a list of the combos I love and think would work. And then I cross reference them with the… 

Nate K-G: I just want to let you know that I’m… the fact that you said list and cross reference, I am so excited for where this is going. So please continue because I am so nerdy detailed with my own jumping that I’m really going to enjoy this. 

Kait Simpson: So yeah, so then I list out the combos that I think will work, and then I cross reference them with the rule book or the score book, and establish what is going to be effective. So I go with what I love first, and then I go with what will get me where I want to be. 

And then I do trial and error, and then I have a, you know, obviously, run through, run through, run through, practice, you know, be mindful of your timeframe. Do you think I can get this and be comfortable with it, within the four months I have to compete and stuff like that. 

And then I go through kind of just like a filter right before. And if I don’t have that combo or that trick 70 to 80% of the time… it’s a hard no. It’s out. If it’s within that 70 to 80% success rate, then I compete it

Another thing I considered too is your floor and competition is always different, your lighting with some of your releases are going to be different. There’s a couple of skills where, you know, I’m doing rope manipulation stuff and I keep my handle behind my knee and hold it and do some tricks. The pants that I will be competing in, will I be capable to do that? You know, and pinpoint there. Obviously, I think it’s safe to say I’m a technical jumper.

Nate K-G: I love this so much and I’m like, I’d love to get your feedback on, like, how many coaches, how many teams do you think, how many jumpers do you think take this approach? Because from my perspective, I have not seen that much of it, but I’m also not the most traveled jumper either. So I’m curious, like, do you think that’s a very common thing? Not common? 

Kait Simpson: I don’t think it’s common. Actually, Eilea Given and I, who I’ve competed with for years. Her and I have actually run workshops for teams in Ontario, where we go and we teach them how to count the music, how to count the beat to the music, what to listen for, how to interpret the music, and how to pinpoint what type of skills might work there, you know? 

The play on words, if in the song it says high or jumped or something like that, put a multiple, you know, stuff like that. So we’ve actually… teams have asked us to do that. And Eilea is a phenomenal freestyle jumper for sure, and speed jumper, but her freestyle is like, she… I don’t know if she’s strategic, I don’t know how she plans everything out, but she puts a lot of effort and consideration and passion into what she does. 

10:48 How Robbie Creates Competitive Jump Rope Routines

Nate K-G: Obviously, if you’re listening to you can’t see this, but I don’t think Robbie approaches his routines in the same way. What are your thoughts? 

Robbie Csontos: No, no, definitely not. I was gonna say right now, Kait sounds like an astronaut and I would jump like a caveman in comparison because… 

Kait Simpson: Opposites attract? 

Robbie Csontos: Oh man. When it came to competing and stuff, they started using music at USA Jump Rope in what, like 2008, 2007? Something like that, somewhere around there. And man, music is the last thing I ever cared about! It was just background music, I chose a song that would just get me hyped

Nate K-G: Wait, wait, Robbie… but there’s a video online and I’m pretty sure it’s you, 2008 South Africa worlds, I think we’ve chatted about this briefly. And you were like right on the beat of that, and it was very dramatic too…

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, so I picked that song a week before I competed. I had the routine already developed. I always knew the rule book type thing, but as a jumper, I like, I always was just out there to push myself the hardest that I could, to push the sport as far as I could, and really at the end of the day, to just for people to be like, “holy crap! That was just done!” 

So in South Africa for that routine, literally a week before, like I said, I picked the music. Two nights before my mom was like, “well, the rule book says A, B, C, D, and E…” so musical accents were a thing. And so two days beforehand, when I was there practicing in the gym, I was listening to the music with my headphones on and I just like added extra jumps to hit certain accents. I did certain things. Like, that was all. Yeah, just, I tweak the whole thing beforehand. It was one of those like, perfect days, I guess, for a freestyle routine where it just like, it freaking worked and it was insane. 

Nate K-G: My younger version of myself is very happy right now. Like, to know that, that’s the background story, is amazing! Because you would not know if that was a week before, it looks like you ran that for months. I love the fact that you guys have very different views on this cause it’s really cool to get this mix.

The idea of being very technical focused or like reading through the rule books to construct a routine that is ideally gonna place well based on numbers, is an idea that I’ve talked about with a lot of, a lot of jumpers, usually on the morning, CaffeiNATEd lives that we’ve done. But I had a couple of conversations with jumpers about, like, the Hong Kong teams and the South Korean teams, seem to really be approaching the sport as a sport in this way. Or where in every other sport that exists, it’s like, how can I get the most points? How can I do the best in this event? How can I win? And in jump rope, while people do want to do well, there’s a lot of this like, like Robbie, like what you articulated, you’re gonna push yourself as much as you can and do what you’re pumped to do, and then the points kind of follow.

Just from my perspective, like looking at the growth of the sport, it seems like the more that happens, the more the sport will grow, but then also the more jumpers will be shaped by the rules, which I think is interesting. Thoughts on that? That’s a big lofty statement, but thoughts on that? If you want, I can give you a more specific prompt or you can just jump in. 

Kait Simpson: No, you’re good. I agree with you. I definitely think this is a unique sport where we know for years, this is how your freestyle will be recorded or judged. And then how many athletes are just like, “Hey, I learned this new skill and I think it’s pretty cool. So I’m just going to do it in the middle of my routine.” So I am… I’m very intrigued and very excited because that means like it is… like, the perspective of community sport or recreation will now transition and it will put it like almost in comparison to how gymnastic is viewed, right?

I don’t want any of that creativity to go away or to be jeopardized. Right. I still hope that, you know, in generations to come, we… a whole new generation of Robbies and Porters and Zac Strums or Zach Tomlinson and the Nicks, right? And the Stewarts and all that. And kind of going a little more technical in black and white, like that… I’m a little weary that that might happen, but there’s one way to find out, right? 

We can always do a second style of competition. Look at fusion. Fusion… it’s just, here’s two ropes and here’s as big as a stage you need, like, have fun! So as long as that opportunity to remain creative stays within the sport, because that’s one of the biggest things I love about this sport, I think that’s only going to help push the sport in the direction we want it to go.

15:29 How Kait Makes Lists Of Combos For Her Competitive Routines

Nate K-G: With your combos, you said you had a list of combos, what is it look like when you create that list of combos? How do you come up with or how did you come up with a new combo that was… that was worthy of potentially adding to a competitive routine? 

Kait Simpson: I am a huge fan of just going to the gym by myself, using one of the whiteboards there and jumping around. And what I generally do, like starting from the ground, I take two tricks where it’s like… I love this trick, or I know this trick scores well, or something like that. Or I know not a lot of people do this trick, which then gives you that presentation and it helps to stand out. Or I know my technique with this trick is very strong. That’s kind of where I start. And I make a list of those tricks that you know, I do want in the routine for any of those reasons. 

And then I’m staring at the board and I’m like, “okay, now how do I get from…” this is just an example, “now, how do I get from AS to Cross Pretzel?” You know, and then I’ll try it one way. Generally, rope manipulation would be the easiest way and I was like, “okay, well… can I do it through power? Can I do it with a multiple? Can I do it with a rotation?” And pretty much take the two tricks I know I want and try to put in a trick in between them. And generally speaking, you’re going to get two or three tricks out of that. Now, it’s a four or five tricks combo… “do I like this one?” “Yes? No?” “Do I want to tweak one of the tricks?” “Sure.” And then once that combos complete, it goes to the next stage of assessment. 

Nate K-G: When you say Pretzel, is that synonymous with like the Elephant where you do an Inverse Toad and a Toad on the same leg? Or is it a different skill? 

Kait Simpson: No. Pretzel is your Cougar. Cross Pretzel is a Toad, sorry. So AS to Toad, not Toad to AS. 

Nate K-G: Oh, interesting. The jump rope dialects are so… it’s like we have a million names for all the same stuff. It’s crazy. 

Robbie Csontos: I call that a Leg Over, 

Kait Simpson: Oh, sorry, Leg Over and Leg Over Cross now is one that is coming up too. 

But yeah, so instead of, you know, it is very common to go Toad to AS and that’s where I put it in that order. Okay, so let’s try AS to Toad, let’s put in a transition trick to get there. What’s going to come about? It’s fair game now and that’s kind of where some of my creativity comes from. 

Nate K-G: I love that you have a whiteboard at your jumping sessions. I wasn’t that in the earlier years of jumping, but now I really do approach things in a very systematic way in terms of like creating combos and stuff. So I really dig that a lot. That’s really cool! 

17:55 How Kait Creates Jump Rope Routines For Circus Acts

Nate K-G: Real quick, before we move on, I do want to recurse back a little bit to the circus. We were talking a little bit about circus and I’m curious what’s the difference between creating those combos and routines versus the way you approach it for any kind of a circus performance? 

Kait Simpson: Yes. So again, start with a song. Now you have a much longer song, minimum four and a half minutes usually. And start listening to the song and establishing what style of tricks or what accents would go with specific tricks or combos or types of tricks. So that’s all the same. 

Where it changes, instead of starting with combos that I like or combos that I want to have a part of it, it goes with, “what is the prettiest tricks I can do technique-wise and from an outsider perspective or an audience viewpoint, and what are those typical tricks?” You know, like the Butt Jumps… I will never ever put one in a competition. I have no desire to do one for fun but they are always going to be at a circus act, right? 

Same with stuff like that. So I’m considering, you know, I take technique and what I think is cool right out of it, and then I put myself or try to put myself in the audience and, “what is pretty? What is flashy? What is fun? What is big?” Another thing I consider is, “what can I do with facial expressions?” Because you have to be able to interact with the audience while you’re jumping. And because your body is so busy, either jumping or moving or twisting or turning the rope, a lot of it comes down to facial expressions, and poses, and winks, and stuff like that, right? And ensuring that you’re looking the audience in the eyes and you’re capable of doing it with that skill. 

So another thing too, is that… with competition routines, it’s 70 to 80%, because I’m also confident as a competitive jumper. When I’m on the floor I have confidence in myself that I will compete it clean. I like to think that, generally speaking, I don’t really make misses in single rope freestyle. Obviously, I’ve had bad routines and have made misses, but generally speaking, if it is a competition, like, it will be clean. So I go a little bit risky with that percentage base of success.

With the circus, it’s a hundred percent success or not at all. I find mistakes in circus acts, which are like, they’re inevitable, I make them too. It changes even if you have a quick miss and you get right back into it and it doesn’t affect your demeanor as you’re performing. It’s not like a hand balancer where the audience will never know if you’ve never made a miss. If your rope stops and you have to adjust to start your rope again, it is very black and white, so I take that very seriously. 

And then another thing too is your lights, your stage, your floor are all constant, generally speaking. So I know what releases and wraps I am going to do and can do because that is not a changeable factor at that point. I know what I’m going to be wearing and there will be dress rehearsals, where I can have a little bit more confidence in any mishaps in that regard and minimize that. So definitely a different perspective for sure. 

I just finished up a circus show this past Christmas and honestly, I think my hardest skill was eight multiples at the end of the act. And I had a TJ and the rest were Side Cross Open, Side Cross Cross, EK. So that’s where, you know, that combo, I would never even consider it for competition, but it’s the… the last eight count in the five minute show.

Nate K-G: That’s cool. It’s really interesting to… like, as a jumper to go through and break that down and realize, like, the fact that you have that perspective to put yourself in the audience’s shoes, and to know that there’s a big difference, I think is very, very critical. 

21:48 Why Robbie Does The Hardest Tricks He Can In His Competitive Routines

Nate K-G: Robbie, we did obviously touch a little bit on your perspective with routine building, but let’s, keep going with that. Have you always had a consistent way that you’ve constructed your routines? Or has it shifted over time as you’ve gotten more experienced with the sport? I feel like you’re a very full send jumper that like puts a lot of really hard skills in your routines. 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. From the first time I stepped on the competition floor, it has always been, “cram that minute and 15 seconds with the hardest skills that I can, hopefully you make it.” Just like you said, full send, just go for it.

But then as I got in, like later into my career, like Paris and Portugal and stuff like that, those world championships that I was at definitely was like, “okay, let’s go for clean!” Kind of toned it back a bit, just because a minute 15 seconds at that age was a really long time. So trying to get through it without coughing and having to stop halfway through to catch my breath was pretty tough. 

But yeah, for the most part, when it comes to routines and just that kind of thing, just full send all the time, cause you’re going to go for it. And like I said, just hopefully you make it, hopefully you practice enough to know that you can get through it, like Kait was saying 70 to 80% for routines. When I first started I was just shooting for like 60%. Like, hopefully I can make this 60% of the time. 

Nate K-G: Usually more successes than losses, hopefully. 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, but if you miss you miss. Like, I will say Lee was somebody that I really looked up to along with Mike Fry, and Mike Fry was the one that introduced me to Lee, growing up. And one thing that always stood out to me… it was nationals, we were in the Milk House in Disney World and Mike was like, okay, Lee’s coming up next. 

We were just standing on the balcony of the practice gym and Mike was like, “you need to watch Lee. He’s one of the most creative jumpers you’ll ever see and he full sends. And either he’s going to nail it or it’s not going to be great, but just watch and see what he does.” 

And I remember standing there watching him and it blew my mind, and I think that kind of set my mindset of, “Okay, full send! Like you’re either going to nail it or you’re going to bomb it, and people are going to respect it no matter what, because least like you’re pushing the envelope.” And yeah… sometimes you nail it, sometimes it doesn’t go that great. 

Nate K-G: What’s one of the biggest stunts that you were the most nervous to perform? Could be any of your routines, and I know that there, I know that you have a lot of them, so… 

Robbie Csontos: Well, so I wasn’t, I was a part of this skill. But I wasn’t the guinea pig, I guess. So this was in Paris and I was just the human launchpad of the skill, but it was in Double Dutch Triad. LJ, in the middle of the routine, the Double Dutch ropes separated on one end, LJ ran as fast as he could at me and I helped throw him through the air to do a Double Side Flip, where he hopefully landed on his feet. 

So we did it in that routine because the rules were you could basically do whatever you wanted. But LJ has landed, like, leading up to that landed so hard, either short or over, like it was a one in ten chance of us landing that. 

Nate K-G: That is such a hard skill to time right? Side Flip, a Double Side Flip. 

Robbie Csontos: It’s terrifying. 

Nate K-G: Like that’s ridiculous! Yeah. 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah.

Kait Simpson: Of course, it’s LJ and Robbie doing it, right? What other duo would try?

Nate K-G: I was going to say it makes sense that it’d be LJ. Cause like LJ, just tosses himself around anywhere. There are some really nuts clips of him, but yea, anyway, keep going.

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. So that skill was absolutely, like, the adrenaline just leading up to it, the whole routine, cause it was about halfway through the routine. From the second the routine started, that was the only, like, I obviously I was thinking about everything else, but in the back of my brain it was like, “okay! Don’t mess this up. Just make sure you set them high enough to where you can land.” That was one of the most nerve-wracking skills that I’ve ever been a part of. 

And I wasn’t even, well, I was in the routine and again, it’s LJ… cause LJ is freaking nuts. It was in our fusion routine. Where Brian went up to a Donkey Kick with his legs spread like in a Y, and LJ ran across the floor, dove through his legs, and ended up doing like a Back Roll… no, it was Jesse Crim in the Handstand. LJ Side Flipped through his legs, landed on Brian’s back and rolled off. 

All I was doing was turning the ropes, but that was one of the most insane jump rope tricks I’ve ever experienced and lost my mind on the floor when it freaking worked. It was insane!

Nate K-G: I have actually recently rewatched that because I went through and was rewatching some videos. The first time you watch the clip, at least the clip that I saw, you only see the turners, like that’s the width of like what’s being shown. 

So Brian does whatever he does, whatever Speed Step or whatever he was doing in the ropes, and comes out and he just like leans over and you’re like, “that’s weird. Like, what’s going on?” And you see someone do a Handstand and you just see enough to watch like half of LJ’s body just launch through his legs and it’s… it’s not even like, “oh, Brian was two shoes distances away from him.” He was right there, like, “no! Like, he was far!” And he just launched, like… that is crazy.

Robbie Csontos: Just thinking about that…. oh, just think about it, I’m getting goosebumps right now, just thinking about it again. Like… oh my gosh! It was, it was amazing! It was insane! 

Nate K-G: And the potential for things to go poorly…

Robbie Csontos: In practice, it went poorly. Yeah, it went pretty bad. A few times in practice, and just LJ, being the adrenaline junkie that he is, like landed really hard a few times. It was like, “all right, let’s do it again!” Me mentally, like I… ooh… I couldn’t do that! But man, it was… I’m so happy it worked. It was so cool!

Kait Simpson: So I’d like to elaborate a little bit more, but continue to talking about Robbie’s crazy stunts… Robbie and his team’s crazy stunts. So that same routine, World Jump Rope 2018, and again, we saw the one go very poorly in the practice gym as well, like even in Seattle. I sit there and I’m just like, it was in that same routine. There is a slight break and LJ is just laying on his back on the floor with the hands, like his hands behind his back. And then Brian just comes and grabs his feet and throws his feet so he lands standing up. 

Robbie Csontos: It’s a Back Flip from your back, from laying down. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah, from laying down on your back. And I was just like, I saw that one go a little bit poorly, so that one made me super nervous.

Nate K-G: Did he slam his head into the ground? 

Robbie Csontos: Oh yeah, he hit his head pretty hard a few times, but he eventually got it. 

Nate K-G: Before or after the concussion? 

Robbie Csontos: I I just thought that LJ is a freaking crash test dummy, but LJ… he’s just, he’s superhuman. That guy is… he’s incredible. He’s fearless. He’s a legend, oh gosh!

Nate K-G: Yeah, it’s a different level.

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. 

28:38 Robbie’s Injuries

Kait Simpson: The other one that comes to mind was Paris, 2015. Robbie and I weren’t together but we knew each other obviously through the sport, and what not? So I’m really good friends with Katie Eisenhardt, who at the time was the assistant head coach of Hot Dogs

So for most at Paris, I was just hanging out with Hot Dogs, right? And I had learned that Robbie had a very serious back injury and was still competing, and wasn’t even supposed to be walking. And in his fusion routine specifically, in of course, any routine, and there was a part of it where he had to do a Push Up to Crab. So Push Up, Front Flip, and land in a Crab. 

Nate K-G: That went from, “oh yeah, I understand what you’re saying,” to, “oh… 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah, so Push Up position, your feet obviously rotate over your head and then you land in a Crab facing the same direction. And if that goes poorly, your tailbone your upper neck and upper back are the main targets, right? 

Nate K-G: I personally have tried that. I’ve tried that skill a couple of times and I’ve landed on my back extremely hard. Fortunately, just the middle. So like, it just knocks the wind out of you, but, yeah. I could imagine laying on your tailbone or your neck would be way worse. 

Kait Simpson: And knowing that there was a relatively serious back injury at that time, even then I was just like, “Ooh, like flag on the play. Why’d you do it?”

Nate K-G: Wait, Robbie, why would you put that skill in a routine if you had a serious back injury? 

Robbie Csontos: Okay, because it needed to be done. 

Kait Simpson: Remember he creates his routines with a full send attitude? 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, it was… 

Kait Simpson: It’s a pretty good example. 

Robbie Csontos: In that routine, it was a waterfall sequence that we had come up with as a group. I’m trying to remember exactly what it was. Nick Back Handspring into the rope, LJ dove in with a Donkey Kick, I got in with a Push Up as they Belched down. And then we all did that Push Up Suicide-ish thing to Crab as Jesse Crim did the Suicide through the ropes. So the whole thing, it looked really cool. And obviously I wasn’t going to bail on it, so it was just like, all right, go for it.

But what had actually happened is… I think it was a week or two before we left for Paris. We were going through that and we had been practicing for hours. Like that group… we would get into the gym and we would jump in just like whatever would come to mind, it was like, “let’s just freaking try it! We might as well sit here for six hours and fail for five, but maybe we’ll come up with something that’ll work.”

Nate K-G: This is The Hot Dog team? 

Robbie Csontos: Yes, The Hot Dog team, the guys. So we had been practicing for hours and hours that day, and we were running the routine, and I came up short on it and I landed on my tailbone basically. So I had slipped two discs in my back when I landed. 

Nate K-G: That’s not even like, “aw man, like, I missed.” And then like, “I hit my tailbone.” That’s like, you came down hard, like really! 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, I came down really hard and that was the second time that I had slipped disc in my back. As soon as I landed, I knew that I was done. So I got up and I told everybody, I was like, we got 20 minutes to like, get through this before I’m going home and I’m not walking for the next couple of days.

So we finished out that practice. I went home and then went to see a doctor, and the doctor basically told me that I had no business going to compete. I had no business getting on an airplane. I needed to take some meds. I needed to go to the chiropractic, like I needed rest and everything. And again, it was just that moment of like, “nope! World Championships are in 10 days. So I’ll see you when I get back!” 

Nate K-G: My next question has to be, so how’s your back now? 

Robbie Csontos: My back is fantastic, I guess. It’s pretty good. 

Nate K-G: They’re already at a place, so they’re already, you know, they’ve just chilled there. 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. I mean, they eventually got back into place. So I’m just a bit more careful now, I’ll say that. 

Nate K-G: One of the things that I’ve come to learn over the past couple of years is how really important for just in terms of outside of jump rope, just longevity and living. How important it is to prevent back and neck injuries, and how extremely common they are, once you hit a certain threshold in your life. 

Do you do anything specifically to strengthen your back? Do you feel fine? Like how do you approach, especially as someone who has slipped disc before? 

Robbie Csontos: So right now I feel fine, but again, I’m not a competitive athlete anymore, so I’m a bit more careful. And I also understand my body a bit better than I used to and listen to it more than I used to. But right now with what I do for work, like I’m in the gym coaching Ninja Warrior and that kind of thing. So when it comes to conditioning and stretching and that kind of thing, I always make sure I do it with the students that I’m coaching. 

And the biggest thing when I had slipped the disc and stuff and was talking to the chiropractors and doctors and everything, they were really telling me that I needed to strengthen my core. So making sure that… again, just sit ups and that kind of stuff, like, just make sure that your core is as strong as it can be because… it doesn’t make sense to me, but everything is connected. 

So making sure that I stretch, making sure that, like, the big thing is like… my hamstrings and quads and my core are as strong as they can be. Making sure that I have some sort of flexibility throughout all of those muscle groups and everything. That’s made a huge difference for sure.

Nate K-G: That is usually like the number one thing that I have to work on. If I’m feeling weak with my strength skills, I immediately go to core. I’ll be honest there’s times where like, I haven’t really done any jumping at all. So I know like my whole body is just like weak, you know? In that situation, I will obviously strengthen the legs and stuff, but I’ve always found that the core, for me, usually the weak link for whenever I’m feeling not sharp with my strength skills and stuff like that. So that makes a lot of sense to me. 

Wow… that is a gnarly injury too… to have to sustain that and keep pushing through. I feel like you’re a pretty lucky guy for having come through that and then not have a serious injury while at a competition. 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, well in that, so the first time that I actually slipped discs in my back was nationals 2010. I was competing Double Dutch Singles with Brian and Nick. And in that routine, it was the same trick, it was the Push Up, Front Flip to Crab trick. And again, I came up super short and as soon as I hit the ground, I was like something’s not right. But then we were going straight into Nick’s strength part in that routine to finish it off. 

So we still had another 12, 15, 16 seconds to finish the routine. But as soon as I got up and tried to put pressure on my left leg, it was just like, I couldn’t even stand on my left foot. So thankfully, I was just turning the rest of the time.

And we got through it and everything, but as soon as I got off the floor, I was like, okay, clearly, my competition day and week is over. So the other events that I had to compete individually obviously, like I didn’t compete those. And at the time fricking Zev Troxler, who again is another incredible jumper, freaking filled in for my spots in the other routines. And they freaking won everything, which was insane. 

It was so cool to see like him step in the group, still freaking succeed, all the work that everybody had put in, go out there, walk away with the win and everything. And it was… it was cool, even though I couldn’t compete and like I was frustrated with myself, just seeing the other guys and my teammates go out there and just freaking rock the entire place was amazing. That in itself was worth… was worth everything. 

Nate K-G: Was that the same year? Cause you said 2010. 2010, I remember watching you do your singles at grands.

Robbie Csontos: It wasn’t 2010. No, it had to have been 20… 

Kait Simpson: 14. 

Robbie Csontos: Okay. Well she knows better than I do. 

Nate K-G: 2010 was a… I remember watching your singles live, and I was like, “that’s my goal!” 

Kait Simpson: I want that!

36:18 Why Robbie Uses A Beaded Rope

Nate K-G: That’s literally what I thought, I was like… I think that was probably around then is when I decided to start using a short handle beaded rope. I’m like, “Nick uses a short handle beaded rope. Robbie uses a short handle beaded rope. These guys look really good. Yeah, LJ does. I think I should try using that. Maybe that’s how they’re so good!”

Kait Simpson: It’s in the beads. 

Nate K-G: Yeah, exactly. Exactly!

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. The only reason why I ever started using a short handle beaded rope is because Nick used it. And I was determined at a young age to be pretty good at jump rope, and I want it to be the best. And watching Nick, and just like his style of jumping and his power, and watching the way that a beaded rope moved through the air, and just from an audience’s perspective and a judge’s perspective, was so clean and it was so nice to watch! I was like, “all right, that’s it! That’s what I want to use!” 

So I actually asked Nick, and this goes back to 2008 in South Africa. Nick wasn’t going to worlds that year and I asked him, I was like, you know what, “Nick, I’ve looked up to you forever, can I get a black, yellow and white Razzmatazz, short handle beaded rope? Cause I want to compete with it.” So Nick sent me a rope and I trained with it with that routine leading all the way up to it. And I lost the rope the day before I competed. 

So I went from a short handled beaded rope to a short handled white licorice rope the night before competing. Practiced sections of the routine, leading up to the actual competition and then competed with a completely different weighted rope. And it was gnarly. And Nick still doesn’t let me live it down because I lost the rope that he sent me specifically, because I wanted to compete with a Razzmatazz rope. 

Nate K-G: I’m not gonna lie. I’m a little bit curious as well. Like, how did that… did it just like… did it not make it on the plane? Did it… did someone take it? Like… 

Robbie Csontos: No, It was all the way in the practice gym and my mom was sitting there. My mom, she pushed me like to my absolute limits. Like she’s actually, probably the main reason why I was as successful as I was. The requirements were to compete that or perform that routine five times in a row with minimal breaks in between. And then I could go back to the dorms or whatever we were staying in for the night. 

And so I had done the routine a bunch and I set it down and… I don’t know why I walked away, but I walked away for a period of time. And then when I came back where I threw the rope down, it was gone and I literally couldn’t find it anywhere. No idea where it went or if I just didn’t see it or what. 

Nate K-G: What if Nick was just there and he just like swiped it just to mess with you? I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. 

Robbie Csontos: Oh man, you know what, if he did? I would thank him because that put me in a mindset that I don’t think I had ever been in until that point, because having to find a different rope that was completely diff… like a licorice rope instead of a beaded rope, forced me to go into a completely different level of thinking and focus because there was no margin of error.

It was… I had to pay attention to how the rope was moving. I had to pay attention to the weight of the rope. When it comes to mic releases it’s a totally different hand motion. It’s everything is totally different. So it forced me to not think over a single jump. It forced me to focus on every single jump, every side swing, every cross, everything. It worked out because that was probably the cleanest routine I’ve ever performed in my entire life.

Nate K-G: I’ve only ever watched that video. I’ve never had the context and from watching it, it looks like, like I said earlier, it literally looks like you did that for like an entire year straight. So that is crazy to hear the backstory to that.

40:19 Skills Kait Created

Nate K-G: You two have done, obviously a lot of jumping. There’s been a lot of… you’ve worked on a lot of skills over the years. I’d love to know if there are any skills that you’ve created? And to tag along with that, do you think that there are new skills being created? And what skills have either of you created? 

Kait Simpson: I think there’s definitely new skills that are being created. What I find very interesting… there’s a general trend for type of trick, and then they kind of have their era, and then it transitions to another type of trick. 

So my last few years as a competitive athlete was when things got super wrappy and super intricate with releases. And before that, I think it was the era of biggest but also intricate quads and quints, right? And then before that, I don’t really know cause I was young and I’m just… I’m not sure. 

I don’t know right now on a competitive level because of, you know, IJRU only being like on a virtual for its first year, right? There’s no IJRU this year. It’s hard to kind of measure where that trend is. It’s like that one jump rope song that apparently is going to be for 70 routines that year, you know? 

 So yeah, there’s definitely new skills being built for sure. I think the social media and adult community that is exploding is definitely going to be, you know, adding their own little bit of spice to it as well. In their regard, it’s definitely more footwork and like dancey style, right? 

And there’s new skills coming and they’re like, I don’t think I saw a running man and until I saw it on social media about a year ago, right? And now it’s everywhere. So. Yeah, definitely new skills being built. Yeah, and I think it definitely has that type of skill trend. 

For me, I don’t think I’m the first person, for some reason Lee is coming to mind. But there’s a few tricks that I have that… I dunno, I feel like they’re like me tricks.

The one that I think Lee did first, I’m not sure, is Donkey Kick TS and it’s just a different way to do it, right? And I’ve been doing that one for years. 2007 was the first year I ever competed a Cross from Donkey Kick or Cross from Push Up with a single rope. And I had never seen that prior to, and I have not seen it unless I taught that person. So that’s one, I take pride in, I think I have created. 

Nate K-G: When you say crossed arm, are you talking about your hands are crossed as they’re on the floor? 

Kait Simpson: Yep. 

Nate K-G: Nice!

Kait Simpson: And then when you land, generally…

Robbie Csontos: It is terrifying. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah, first year I competed, that was actually January 2007 and that was my second year jumping.

Nate K-G: Wow! Good for you! I feel like a lot of newer jumpers are… well, I don’t know about now, but at least really, I feel like it was somewhat you’re more predisposed to finding a new skill because you didn’t know any limits. You were just like, “let’s just try something!” 

Kait Simpson: So, no sense of fear… from when I started at 12 to probably about 19 or 20, and then all of a sudden, like, I’m just like, “you want me to do what?!” 

And one skill I’m like 98% sure I have created is you’re going into an AS, and then you jump up and you do a Side Swing, Double Under TS and then land in a Push Up. So it’s technically a Triple Under TS Push Up. I’ve always done it just starting in an AS and then it’s Side Swing Cross to TS land in a Push Up. And I’ve not seen that done anywhere else either. And I can actually still do it, I did a couple of months ago, which I was pretty proud of. 

Nate K-G: That is a terrifying skill. 

Kait Simpson: No, it’s fun. 

Nate K-G: A TS… and then any version of a TS and then Belching all the way going down to the floor into a Push Up is like… wow! Cause you’re so restricted and then you have to return back into the Push Up. Man, that is cool! But it was really cool. 

Kait Simpson: I think it was 2012… was the first year I competed that. And just for fun, when I was doing the Christmas shows, I was like, “see if I can still do it… yeah, I can still do it!” 

Robbie Csontos: Nailed it! 

Nate K-G: Wow! I love that you said not only would you do it, but be like, and then that’s the first year I competed it. Like, it’s one thing it’s like, think of a new skill and do it just while you’re with your team or you’re hanging out, but it’s another to actually perform it on the floor. That is very big difference! 

Kait Simpson: There’s a sense of pride. Even if I was not the first person to create it, like I’m not too concerned about that title, but there are tricks I’m proud of. They’re like my staple tricks to my routine. You will always see a Cross from Donkey Kick. I will always do one. It is their happy birthday.

The AS Triple Under TS Push Up is something I’m proud of. It’s intricate, it’s hard, it’s technical. You have to be precise. And it’s something I’m very comfortable doing. Like, there’s a huge sense of pride in that. And with some of those skills it takes an educated jumper to recognize the skill behind it. You know, I would never put that in a circus act, but every if I was to ever compete again, you can guarantee I’m going to do an AS Triple Under TS Push Up.

Nate K-G: Yeah. Seeing skills is very challenging unless you’ve been in it and been watching these skills over and over and over hundreds of thousands of times. But it’s, it’s funny, like, as you’re describing that, you say, “I’m pretty sure I’m the first.” It’s… you can never really be sure, because like, people could have thought on the same thing, but like, you haven’t seen it.

Like when I’m thinking it was, I don’t know, it was probably 2009 or 2010. Jeremy Lindström visited my local team that I was on and we were hanging out at the gym. We were chatting. I was like, “Hey, maybe we’re doing a mic, but like coming up from a Push Up,” and like, we were just chatting, he’s like, “no, I’ve never done that.”

And so we talked about it, he ended up doing effectively a Push Up and then a Double Under Mic Up and caught it. And it was like, really cool, but I couldn’t do at the time, but I was like, this is sweet. And so he’s like, “what do you want to name it? I haven’t seen it.” So we were talking about stuff like that.

And then like a year or so later I saw like Adam Jernberg, Stewart, Dylan, Jacob, like all these different jumpers start doing a Push Up Mic Up, like a Handstand, Mic Up or like a single hand in Handstand. And I was like, that’s cool. And like, I know Jeremy had gone to camp and child people, and if that’s the situation where like, those guys… all those jumpers so talented, like I would imagine they were just at practice and thought the same thing that I thought. And it’s like… so you never really know which one came first, but in your heart, you’re like, “I think I’ll personally just take credit.” 

Kait Simpson: Yeah, and that’s the thing too, like, without proper documentation, like a video post on YouTube of the first time you’ve done it, and then, you know, it would have to have the same name for the search to be effective, you know? Or a dictionary, like Dylan Plummer make another app for, you know, recognize who created what. 

Nate K-G: Take Lee’s skill notation system, and then just put that into an app with videos of all those hundreds of thousands of skills. 

Kait Simpson: And then connection of skills. So if you have an EB TS, you now have to give four credits because it’s two skills. But yeah, so I never want to take away that from somebody, if I am incorrect, but to my knowledge. 

And then there’s also the definition of, okay, you did it in practice, does that mean you created it? Or the person who quote created it is the first one to do it on a… sanctioned event by some sort of jump rope? Or whether it’s a workshop? Or whether it’s a camp that is sanctioned by some sort of jump rope board? What’s that definition? Or where is that scope of who owns it? Where does that come from? Very grey area. 

47:50 Old Skills Given New Names

Nate K-G: I’ve chatted with a couple of jumpers about this subject, to add to that point, not only is there the ‘who did it first’, then there’s ‘what even constitutes a new skill?’ Because like… are there new fundamental movements being done or is it a new way to add existing skills together that hasn’t been performed before? And those… 

And this comes up a lot, especially with recreational jumpers, who… I see this a lot with like the EB. A jumper learns the EB for the first time and like, it’s just new, so it’s not going to look like super refined yet. The rope will come like at an angle, and there’s like a lot of like front arm movement, and it looks visually very different than an EB, if you’re not used to seeing that, and so people will rename that skill.

And I’ve seen the EB renamed. I’ve seen the Southpaw is now the name for like a Swing Open Double or variation of that. It’s funny to see when a traditional Southpaw is like performed, it’s the arm that’s moving across your body into the wrist on wrist swing is slashing really hard, but the other hand that’s neutral is just kind of relaxed, which is different than the way we would typically do a Swing Open in competition, right? Both arms are pretty much working equally. 

This topic is always interesting because of the perception of what is a new skill and then also like the technical detail, like what even is a new skill? 

Kait Simpson: Also too, you can then have, is it a new skill? Is it a variety of an already created skill? Is it a new combo, right? Is it let’s say hypothetically a combination is three tricks amalgamated or more? And it can get very complicated very quickly. But yeah, as far as I know those are the three skills, the Donkey Kick TS, I’m sure has been done. But the other two? Yeah, I am somewhat positive for that, I may have been the first.

Nate K-G: That though, all of those, like the fact that you’ve, that they’re so TS dominant is very impressive because the TS, just for what it is, it’s such a… such a challenging skill to like, not only get, but get cleanly. You know, you could pull it off, but like to get that clean enough to do those skills you talked about is like really some very high level proficiency with that. 

Kait Simpson: And now… I’m engaged to a man who… fingertips don’t even touch behind his back.

Robbie Csontos: They used to… but not anymore. 

Nate K-G: It used to…

50:14 Skills Robbie Created

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, that leads into… so… well, TS is super hard for me now. I’m like the wide shouldered man with tiny little arms, and like a T-Rex that the arms just don’t cross the way they used to. But there are actually a couple of tricks that… fairly certain I was the first one to do.

First one was a Mic TS. So it was a Mic into a Triple Under TS. I competed that in… 2006, 2007, something like that? It was a grand nationals, I competed that… I think that was the first one that was ever competed. And then another trick that I was told, I was not allowed to compete, because somebody else wanted to competed first and I respected that, was a TS Double Under Frog. So…

Nate K-G: Wow! 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, which… 

Kait Simpson: is kind of aneurysm with TS. 

Nate K-G: Yeah. I was like, you both are so… which I respect, but those are such challenging skills, that’s awesome! A TS Double Under Frog is another level, by the way. Like… that is not a Cross Frog, that’s like, that is way harder! 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. So I remember being that was when I was jumping with the Heartbeats in Ohio and it was practice one day and I was like, “all right, let’s try it!” Cause I… that was just after I had gotten the Mic Triple Under TS and I was like, “all right, cool! Let’s see if I can go to a Frog out of it!” And I just was like, couldn’t get that because the timing and the speed of the rope and everything, it was just a nightmare. So then I was like, let’s just break it down and let’s try a TS Double Under Frog. 

Nate K-G: I love how your mindset is like, “well, if I got the Triple, I should just make it a Handstand!” 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. Well, back in the day it was just like full send, like…

Kait Simpson: And knowing Robbie, it was two footed because Robbie doesn’t do one footed Donkey Kicks. 

Robbie Csontos: Well, with that one, it definitely was two footed because… yeah, the timing off of one foot was… in my brain doesn’t really work.

So I was in the gym and it was just during practice and I was just trying Mic Triple Under TS Double Under Frog and it wasn’t working. So I got rid of the Mic part of it, and I was just trying TS Double Under Frog. And I got it a few times in practice and I told Mike Fry and Lisa Brown, I was like, “check this out! I got this!” And they were like, “that’s super freaking cool! But you can’t compete that.” And I was like, “but I just did it, like, why not?” And they were like, “well, there’s another person who is about to get it and they want to competed first.” I was like, “all right. Fair enough. Leave it alone.” So then I just went and competed the Mic Triple Under TS and I left the TS Double Under Frog alone. 

Nate K-G: We will categorize that under another thing in the list of ‘ways that jumper is a sport, but doesn’t necessarily act like a sport all the time.’ man, listen, someone else wants to do this. I think you’re gonna have to take that out of your routine, even though it would score really well. Yeah, you got it!” 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, I wish I remembered the person who was trying to compete it, but I don’t… and even if I did, I wouldn’t put the name out there or anything, but I will say I was the first male to get it. Cause I don’t remember the jumpers name, but it was a female jumper who was trying to competed first.

So I was just like, “all right, cool! Whatever! I got other tricks I can compete.” 

Nate K-G: On the flip side of that, I do think it is really cool to respect. Like, I think that that’s really unique about the sport as well, as like just the nature of like, actually caring about other jumpers and not just trying to win at any cost. You know? 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. 

Kait Simpson: Well, it’s that sense of humility, right? Well, I know I did it, I don’t need a title, I don’t need everyone to know, I don’t need to be put on a silver or not a silver platter, but on a pedestal for it. It’s just, “I got it! Sounds good. What else can I do?” 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. I can also respect the heck out of that because there’s also been times after that, where I’ve tried to develop tricks and I’ve come up with a few tricks that I actually got to compete, but other people had also been able to do them and they didn’t compete them because I was so pumped and excited and jacked up to competed myself.

So other people have done the same with tricks that I’ve tried to come up with and develop as well. So… it’s all in being a good sport and everything, and also just respecting other jumpers. Cause there are so many tricks that I’ve tried to compete and it failed miserably and other people are like, “well, I can do those!” And I was like, “then freaking competed!”

Nate K-G: Then do it! 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, like, and there’s other tricks that people have come up with it, I’ve tried, and they were never consistent, but I could do them, but just out of respect for that person, because I could realize and understand how difficult that trick was… they can have it. It’s just cool to know in the back of my brain, like, “yeah, I did that. I can do that!” 

Nate K-G: The other thing too is like… these skills while they are very challenging, you probably have at least five other skills that you could swap that, from a points perspective, are going to land pretty similar. Since the judges in jump rope… the ability to know the exact difference between those skills is probably… you’re probably safe on that one, depending on who’s judging that day. 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, another one of the tricks that I came up with was this is the one I competed in 2010, the year I tied with Billy. In the routine… cause I didn’t do it during the prelims, cause I was like, let’s just try and make it to finals. I want to get to finals, just freaking go for it. It was a Johmmy Mic Quad. So a Side Swing Leg Over Mic Release, catch and land. 

Nate K-G: Oh, I remember that. 

Robbie Csontos: Dude, that trick… I remember… so I hit that trick then I forgot the rest of the routine. kept like stuff. 

Nate K-G: Was this 2010? Cause I feel, like, I remember in my mind that sticks out as the year I saw you do that skill and I had to rewatch it so many times, cause it was like, “I don’t think that that’s actually possible. Did that really happen?” 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah, whatever year I tied with Billy, that was a year that had happened. I’m pretty sure it was 2010. It was the first year that I moved to Seattle, I believe. So I hit that trick and I did a couple more multiples and then was supposed to do some footwork and stuff and just totally blank because I was like, “well, I got the one trick I wanted to hit in this routine!” 

And also like, just hearing people’s reaction to the trick… Normally when I compete, it’s just like, I totally black out. It’s like looking through a pinhole or like a keyhole. It’s just like, I’m so focused on what’s going on, but that was one of the few times in a routine where a trick hit, and I was like, “holy crap! People understood what just happened!” And I can’t believe that it just happened because that was one of those tricks that I had only hit a couple of times before in practice. And I was like, “oh, let’s just 

Nate K-G: And if I remember it correctly, which I could be wrong, but I think that the combo that you did, I think it was at the end of a multiples combo. And I think you had prepped it in a way where at least the skill prior was a relatively straightforward, like Quad or something, where I think two rotations are probably like an opener it’s like a Cross Open or something.

So it gave everyone like an opportunity to like slow down a second and see what you were doing, but then you were like, “yeah, here’s this trick. Whatever. No big deal!” 

Robbie Csontos: “Just freaking go for it!” And that’s the thing when it gets to finals and stuff, there’s no reason in my mind to hold back anything.Either win big or lose big.” but at least people will like understand what you were attempting to do. People were respected and that’s why I’ve always competed. 

I’ve never really cared about the judges themselves because I respect, like I respect the judges of course, but jumpers, physically attempting tricks and working on tricks and coming up with new skills and watching routines. And I’ve always tried to impress the jumpers. I’ve always tried to impress the people that I looked up to. I was trying to impress Mike Fry, back in the day to Shawn Colemans and just people like that. I’ve always tried to drop their jaws because if I dropped their jaws, hopefully the judges will do the same. 

Kait Simpson: I think one thing about that story that stood out to me right now is… it was that big of a trick in a moment. It pulled you out of your competition head zone. And it’s like, okay, who cares if you forgot the rest of your team? The fact that you were pulled out of that mental state to enjoy the moment, and appreciate it, unhear it, is huge. I just think that’s super cool.

Nate K-G: And it’s a really hard skill to land. Even if you’ve done it a bunch of times, that skill is so sensitive to timing and to… to how fast the rope is going. I don’t know how confident you were before that, but I feel like that’s a really easy skill to just slightly miss the handle and then it’s over. 

Robbie Csontos: Not a 10 confidence. Leading up to it for sure, because I was like, “you know what? Screw it! I’m just going to go for it! And people are like, “no, no, no, no, no, no! Don’t! Just do the routine cause you know you can do it.” And I was like, ” no! Forget it! I’m just going for it!”

58:55 Robbie’s Top Competition Memories

Nate K-G: That’s funny! Out of all the routines and performances that you guys have done… what, if any, stick out as like some of your favorite are the ones that you’re most proud of? 

Robbie Csontos: I got one. I got a bunch actually. So the last fusion routine that the guys from Hot Dogs and I competed with Nick, I think that was Paris, was amazing! Like competing on the floor with those guys, even performing, whether it was at competition or anywhere else, like… looking back on it and thinking about it just gives me so much happiness and then competing with that core group for so many years, and then not being the last one… really, that’s the one that’ll be burned in my brain forever. 

And then the following one that we did… it was the Purple Washington Huskies fusion routine. That was the first year that Nick had moved from Seattle to Tennessee. And so Nick, wasn’t a part of that group physically, but going into that year, we were all like, “you know what? Let’s do it again!” We’re just going to do it and we nailed the routine. That was the one where LJ at the end of the routine did the Punch Front into the jacket at the end. 

Yeah, that fusion routine… that was where we all, like… we kind of had a feeling that it was going to be our last year as a group competing fusion. So we’re like, whatever ideas we have, just again, full send, keeps coming to mind. Any idea we had, we tried. In some of those tricks in that routine, those tricks were just come up with… come up with because everybody was like, ” this seems impossible, but let’s try it!”

Nate K-G: Any of those that you guys were tossing around in practice that never made it out of the gym because they were so crazy or something? 

Robbie Csontos: That’s the thing… when it comes to that group of guys, there were so many things that never made it out of the gym because they weren’t consistent enough. But there were so many tricks that we had almost gotten, but then we realized like, “Hmm, maybe a bit too much.”

 I don’t know with that group of guys, it was just, whatever you can think of, you can at least attempt it and you might be able to land at once or twice. I don’t know that group itself, there was, there was no such thing as impossible with that group. When it came to fusion routines and competing, there was no such thing that was too far.

Nate K-G: Well, you were defining what was possible, like, that group was like, “well, I know that this is supposed to be the limit, but I think today we’re just going to change that!” 

Robbie Csontos: That’s literally what we try to do. Like… 

Kait Simpson: casually over coffee too

Nate K-G: It’s just like stretching, is like, “I think that things are a little too vanilla. So let’s just like, I don’t know, let’s just toss LJ around and do some Double Side Flips or something.” I don’t know… 

Robbie Csontos: So actually, at that competition, at the end of the routine we were supposed to do… it was the DDC. We were supposed to do the Double-Side… Assisted Double-Side Flip at the end, but for the DDC, the rules were a bit different than the… at the time, world jump rope rules, and you were not allowed to throw Double Flips in DDC at that time. 

Nate K-G: ” Yeah, we’re not going to have any medical people on staff… so like, please don’t do that!” 

Robbie Csontos: Yeah. Well, the rule was… any trick that seems too dangerous will automatically disqualify you from the competition. So Jun, at the time, was the director of DDC that partnered with World Jump Rope. We went straight to him and we were like, “so technically it is a Double Flip, but it’s an assisted Double Flip. So does that fit the rules? Does it not?” 

And he was like, “well, let’s see it!” And LJ landed pretty hard one time in practice, and he was like, “Nope, too difficult, too dangerous.” So we were just like, “all right, forget it!” So we competed in the Double Dutch Triad, and then we only did a single assisted Side Flip at the end of that routine.

Well, yeah. Getting back to your original question. Sorry, very long-winded. So with that group, once Nick had moved to Tennessee, that routine, we were like, “screw it! We’re just going to try everything.” We’re just, “let’s get wild and just try and push things!” 

And then fortunately, we came out on top on that routine and it was awesome because as soon as we… our names were called, that was the first year Nick didn’t compete with us, but we made sure Nick was the one to come up with us onto the podium and like receive the trophy just because we respected Nick, and we love that group, and we love Nick, and we just love everything so much that it was like, “no! You were also an inspiration for this routine. So you’re still part of this group. Let’s go!”

So it was that moment… I’ll never forget. That moment was definitely on top. That moment was… everything was so raw and everything was just like, going back to something I said earlier, trying to impress the people that I looked up to. And at that moment, Nick, who I looked up to since I was fricking eight years old, I competed with him, we’ve won together, we’ve lost a lot together, live together, everything. And then… for him to be like of the main inspirations for that routine, just, I don’t know. It meant a lot. 

Nate K-G: Well, it seems like it also… that kinda capped off a huge era in your jump rope journey to some degree and you could feel that. To end on such a high note is pretty awesome. 

Robbie Csontos: From that moment… like you said, it kind of capped off in era. And in my career at that time, I kind of knew… and I had even mentioned just shortly after that, if I never win another championship or compete another perfectly clean routine, I don’t care. But I want to coach kids to feel that emotion and that satisfaction throughout their career from then on. And that’s where I kind of like had realized maybe my competitive side is kind of coming to an end, but my coaching side is just getting started. I had been coaching for so long up until then, but that kind of is where I knew that one chapter had ended, but the next one was literally just starting.

01:01:40 Kait’s Top Competition Memories

Nate K-G: That’s really cool. Before we move on to coaching stuff, Kait, performances, routines you are most proud of. 

Kait Simpson: Okay. So I have two. I’d also like to include a moment which I think really defined my career a lot and also it speaks for the type of people we have in this community. 

So start first one… one routine that always sticks with me, it was a Double Dutch Pairs, 2012. We were at our nationals and trying to qualify for FISAC that year. And I was skipping with Matt Delorey, Sandy Kish, Brittany Harding, and then Shelby toes, and myself. So it was Double Dutch Pairs, we started training mid August and our nationals is the following May, and we were doing all eight events. Now we were going for overall or all around, whatever you call it. And then I did four masters events and a group or a team show right too. So I just, I do it all. 

So the eight group events were coming along really well, but Double Dutch Pairs was just one that we always got stuck on. We had the pieces figured out, but if we got the parts, the transitions we were still hit and miss, or if we got the transition, we didn’t get the falling part. Pretty much we did not have one run through without four to five mistakes. And we’d been working on it since August. It was just not… it was not a thing. But we want to go for overall. Where like, well, we need to do it, take the overtime deduction. Our music is not going to line up because we’re going to make a miss and a Double Dutch stats at five to seven seconds minimum. You know, you trail behind that timeframe, at least. 

So we went and it was literally perfect. We hit every single musical accent. We did the whole thing clean, and like, not even a tiny nick or bobble or minor, hit every single accent. Everything was smooth. Went perfectly with the music, finished right at 1:13, with the end of our song.

So yeah, so we lost our minds, we were fired up. We actually ended up doing a clean sweep that entire national sweet place first in every event. So that was really exciting. And that was the one routine where we were just like, ” well, I’m going to tell my parents to go to the washroom at this time, you know?” But, yeah, so we do have a video of it still. It’s one of my favorite Double Dutch routines of all time. Again, partially because of the backstory and especially it’s Double Dutch Pairs, it’s not even Double Dutch Singles, right? 

Nate K-G: Double Dutch Pairs… if you’re in a good team, that is like… it’s so hard to find something more exciting than nailing that routine with your friends. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah, and it was an intricate routine, like, we had our back tucks, we had two of our major power combos, all done with Wheel, with Rotations and Crosses. We had a C in Tower. We had a bunch of, we call them Chuck Flips, but like Wheelbarrow Flips. There’s a big trick that Matt and I did. Our multiples were only doubles and triples and quads, but they were intricate, you know, jump throughs and restrictions with the turners. And so like, it was a well planned out routine. We just had never been able to do it. So that one always sits well with me. 

Nate K-G: If you have the video of that on like YouTube or something, please send that over, because I will definitely include that video and many others in the show notes for this episode. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah, it is on YouTube, so I can do that. 

Another one that… I don’t want this to come out poorly and I don’t want this to come out in an arrogant manner. But from… I graduated university in 2016, I started a university team in 2014. So I was competing with myself and then I helped the girls compete for our regionals provincials. And then, Eilea and I were also competing together at this time. So I had my own training team events for worlds. I was training team events for local stuff with my university team, obviously in university, and doing all that fun stuff and also commuting. There was an 18 hour difference between my world’s teammates and where I was living.

It was a hectic couple of years, but I loved it every second of it. So there was, I had a really good routine, 2014, and then 2015… worlds, you know, it was the worlds 2015. And I was like I completely forgot that I did not create and start execute a single rope freestyle.

So I just took my old routine, which you know, got me first in 2014, and threw it at World Jump Rope and I placed at World Jump Rope with it. And then 2016 came, you know, same thing, just completely forgot. Did the exact same routine, threw it at Portugal, and one age category and, and grands too, right, like it’s I, again, I don’t want this to come off arrogant. That’s not what I’m getting at. The reason why this routine means so much to me is because I think that represents and shows, and kind of speaks for itself that the routine itself and the quality of the routine, to be successful in multiple competitions for three years… indicates that… it’s routine I’m proud of. I created it from scratch. Again, you know, with the… the system that we discussed earlier.

Nate K-G: With the whiteboard! 

Kait Simpson: Yeah! Yeah. So it’s something I’m really proud of. 

Nate K-G: That’s really awesome. That is a very big deal because for those who are not familiar with competitive jump rope, like every year, everyone shows up with harder skills, better combos, and like, it’s not similar to the last year. Maybe some jumpers are doing similar types of combos, but like everyone has gotten better. Everyone to some degree has gotten better. So to go through three years of success with the same routine is like, that’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal. 

Kait Simpson: Very very proud of that routine. It was actually to the, like, Aladdin, the “One Jump Ahead” song, like when he’s running through the village, it was choreographed to that song. So I had fun. Again, like the facial expressions and the accents and all that. So yeah, it was a good one.

Nate K-G: We are going to work towards wrapping up soon. We are 100% going to have to do a round two! Because I feel like we’re like, I’ve had so… I have so many topics. I was like, yeah, we’re going to get to all this. Like, everything we’ve talked about is so great, but there’s still so much more, I have questions for both of you. But to start working towards wrapping up…

01:10:28 Kait’s Coaching History

Nate K-G: Let’s move into coaching because that is, like, such a huge part of jump rope. Like, as soon as you learn a skill, you end up teaching it to somebody else, pretty much. And I would really like to know the different types of coaching you’ve both done, because I know that there’s different types as we’ve kind of alluded to in this podcast. And then like your favorite so far, your favorite type that you’ve done. And it’s probably going to be a little bit challenging to pick one because all coaching is very fulfilling, but yeah… 

What types of coaching have you done? And then which one kind of sticks out as preference? Either way. 

Kait Simpson: Obviously started teaching my team, Jumpsations, the recreation program, transitioned there to head coach of the recreation program and running it. And then teaching competitive while being, you know, one of the older high school athletes, being a mentor for one of the other groups while still competing yourself.

Nate K-G: That’s hard to do. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah. It’s so much fun though. University… I started a team there, which is a whole different style of coaching, right? These girls are 21 and have never picked up a rope before and, “okay! Well, this is your first one, you have 13 events, are you ready?” And they’re like, “wait, what?!” 

Nate K-G: Oh so you guys actually… so you competed with that team? You didn’t just have like, a club, like, you actually competed. 

Kait Simpson: No, we had a, a club which was recreational only and then I had a group of six. So a group of five, cause in Canada, your combined group can be five people and then one girl that just did masters. But we only did local competitions. So we would do either, if there was an open we could attend, and then we had our regionals and our provincials. And we did that for, sorry, for that team, at the time they weren’t interested in worlds and I get it. That’s when you know… finances sometimes make that decision for jumpers. 

Nate K-G: It’s also a whole other ball game too. Like showing up to hang out with your friends and learning new skills and having fun. It’s still fun with jump rope, but you have to have that like extreme focus on competition as well. So it’s a very different vibe, yeah. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah. And then circus coaching too, is different compared to competitive jump rope coaching. So definitely, I’ve done a handful of it. I think my favorite is coaching competitive athletes, but I like to stay between 10 and 15. Let’s say, generally speaking a jump of athletes will hit their peak and their biggest achievement in their jumper career is generally 18 and on. If you’re super good like Robbie, you know, when you’re nine, but yeah, generally speaking, right? And I like to kind of be that coach that is, you know, has them the stage before, where you can really engrain a technique, mental, preparedness, execution and thought process, skill development, help them dive into their creativity.

You know, I may never be their coach on the floor, if, and when they win a world title, but I like being with that age because I feel like they’re sponges and there’s enough competition and they’re competitive, but there’s also still just pure joy from it. And really just helping develop them as athletes. And then they can go onto the next coach who can push them to that world title or national title they want. I kind of like be doing a little bit more of the foundation.

Nate K-G: Yeah, that’s awesome. Oh my gosh. Yeah, I agree with you on that. I haven’t personally coached as much competitive. I’ve never coached an actual competitive team, like, long-term, but I can absolutely understand what you’re saying with that, with getting them set up for whatever comes next.

01:13:57 Is There A Peak Age For Competitive Jumpers?

Nate K-G: Robbie, before we answer… before you answer that question, I want to sneak in a question for you guys. Do you think that the nature of the sport is for athletes to peak with their skills at 17, 18, 19? Or do you think we just haven’t seen what’s really going to happen with jump rope, because we haven’t seen enough athletes continue until they’re 25, 26, 27, 28?

Kait Simpson: I’ll be quick because my answers short and sweet here. I think growing up and when I was younger in the sport, it was 15, 16, 17, because most athletes stopped at 18. And then by the time I was 15, 16, 17, that people within the same year or two of my age, we all stayed. We all just kept going with it. And that’s where I think that peak or the pinnacle of your career is now added at a later age, for sure. And I think it’s just because people are continuing on with the sport into their thirties and forties. 

Robbie Csontos: I will say, I don’t think there’s any such thing as a peak time or peak age, because look at Lee. Lee still freaking crushing life and crushing jump rope. Still freaking innovating new tricks, new skills, new styles of jump rope. 

Stewart stopped jumping for a little while when he was in college in university and stuff. And he’s at the top of his game right now. Nick’s still doing fools and he’s 34… 35. Like, there used to be, like, air quotes, ‘prime age’ or ‘prime, like, number of years.’ But I don’t think that exists anymore because people are taking better care of their bodies. People are still motivated. People are still innovating. And just because you can’t do Double Back Tucks or Double Under Donkey Kicks or whatever, like, you can still compete.

The tricks that people are coming up with now, are tricks that 10 years ago people would think they were impossible, but there’s people in their thirties, forties, and whatever coming up with those types of skills and everything. So I don’t even consider there to be a such thing as like a prime age for jump rope anymore, like, it doesn’t exist in my brain. 

Nate K-G: It seems like it matches physiology in my perspective, like ideal situation in a currently not real-world, but hopefully someday will be real, you have all these jumpers who have done it in youth and continue up to 30 and potentially beyond. I feel like if we had a large enough number, like, statistically significant number, I feel like you would start to see that it would match other sports.

Other sports 21 through 26 is like kind of the years where your physiology is best primed for peak athletic performance, the best of the best. Then after that, there’s just biological considerations where you would, you would slow down, you could still do phenomenal skills, but like you wouldn’t be at the top of the top anymore. It seems like that’s eventually where jump is going to be going, especially considering Speed Step and all the craziness that’s happening with that.

01:16:52 Robbie’s Coaching History

Nate K-G: Yeah, that’s not to take us too off track, but Robbie your coaching, your favorite type of coaching? 

Robbie Csontos: Okay. So I’ve been coaching… well, since I started jump rope, when I was young, I grew up jumping with the Heartbeats. Started when I was 10 years old or nine years old on that team. And growing up, jumping with Mike Fry, Matt Grayson, to Shawn Coleman, and then being around like Marcus Taylor, and like local competitions and stuff, and just coaching younger kids and being like an instructor at the very beginning, like, that was the dream, to be good enough to be able to go and help coach other people.

So growing up, USA jump rope used to have Northern camp and you had to be, I think, 12 years old to even apply to be an instructor. So my ultimate goal up until I got that, and even when I got it, accepted to be an instructor at that camp. Like, that’s always what I was striving to accomplish. And then every year, new kids coming onto the team and being like any new skill that I got, trying to get them to get… because again, it all comes down to pushing the next generation forward, trying to get them one step ahead of you. So they’re set up for the next generation, be one step ahead of them. 

So I did that until I graduated high school with the Heartbeats. And once I graduated, I moved out west to Seattle to jump with Hot Dog USA. And there, just like, “Hey, I coached a bunch of recreational programs. I did a bunch of afterschool programs, set those up with some of the high school kids and middle school kids there to kind of get them into coaching and whatever, just at a recreational level.”

And then got into like hardcore coaching, competitive with Hot Dog USA, and coach them for nine years, eight years, something like that. I don’t even remember… I coached them for a long time. And then once I moved here to Ontario, I coached with Kait and the other coaches for the Jumpsations, the local team here.

And then I got hired to coach Ninja Warrior. The circus school that Kait coaches at and works for, they also run a Ninja Warrior program as well. So they hired me on as the head coach of their gyms. So I coach at two different locations, I work with 350 kids a week, like, run in different programs and stuff.

It’s… it’s amazing! And it’s right now, I’m going to say that that’s my favorite thing to do because it’s so new… it’s a completely different… it’s similar in the fact that there are some kids that are just in for recreation and then some kids are there to, like, we have some kids that I help coach, that they’re going to go compete at the world championships, this coming summer.

But having to learn something completely new, understanding the basic, like, how to move your body, air awareness, how to fall, that kind of thing. Like, I understand because with jump rope, that’s just something you learn, but also having to find different things in their movements and in their training, is completely new to me. But learning how to spot those things and how to correct those things and how to… how to push those kids. It’s… it’s unbelievable! I love it! 

I love jump rope and I will coach jump off every sec, every chance that I get. But right now with the position and the work that I’m doing, if I can’t coach jump rope for a living, like I found another place to coach for a living. So I just love the fact that I get to be a coach forever. Then I get paid to be a coach.

Nate K-G: 350 students is no joke either. I coached… my non jump rope coaching was for a youth summer camp in Santa Barbara, UC Santa Barbara for the faculty and just local parents in the area during the summer. They can just drop the kids out there for camp. 

They hired myself and another friend of mine to coach the gymnastic sessions. They kind of broke it out into little like stages, right, so the kids… every hour go to a different section of camp or whatever. And we were the gymnastics. We didn’t have that many, I would say… I mean, maybe… maybe we had 60 total kids, there was like… there’s a lot of groups, but like, you know, it wasn’t too wild. And like, even then, like even seeing like three different groups of kids every single day for a week, like, that’s a lot! 

When you’re in a gym… these kids weren’t flipping, this was basically glorified babysitting. Because you haven’t had time to work with them on like real stuff, you know? But like, even then, it’s like, you gotta be careful with these kids! They don’t like destroy themselves or they see a foam pit and they think they can dive head first, and just like, “Hmm, not so much!” So when you say 350 and a Ninja Warrior… that’s a big job. 

Robbie Csontos: But it’s so much fun because the kids, again, a lot of them are rec kids, so they’re coming in just because they enjoy being in the gym and being active. In some of them you see something like a switch, flip in their brains, where they’re like, ” I just did that!” And then, “now let’s see if I can do this.” And just being aware and reading kid’s body languages, but also pushing the kids beyond their comfort zone. 

I do a lot of classes with kids who are on the spectrum, or they have ADD, ADHD, that kind of thing, like anger management things. And they come in and there are certain days where they come in and they’re just fuming, having a terrible day, their shutdown. They don’t want to warm up. They don’t want to participate. They don’t want to do anything. 

But then, being able to work with those kids and to be able to just talk to them and then just slowly get them to do things in the class, and then they leave and they run up to their parents, give them a giant hug and say, “thanks! I loved it. I can’t wait until next week!” Give you a high five and say, “so I’ll see you tomorrow, right?” And it’s like, “no… you got to wait seven more days, but I’ll see you next week! Great job today!”

So like moments like that is where it’s just like, “all right, cool! This is what I want to do!” 

Nate K-G: That’s really tough. That is a different skill layered on top, to have a kid to come in and to have to not only instruct them, but work through the emotions, to get up to the point where you can instruct them successfully and safely…

Robbie Csontos: Well, it’s also cool too! Cause… cause even going into work for myself, sometimes I go in and I’m not in the greatest mindset, but working with those kids and seeing just athletes in general, whether it’s in the jump rope gym or the ninja gym, or just outside, walking down the street… like, if there are kids that come up to you and you get to interact with them, for me, it changes my whole mentality and outlook on the day because it’s like, “cool! You… I helped you,” I guess. 

But at the end of the day in my brain… coaching, whether it’s jump rope, Ninja Warrior, or whatever, I think it helps me more mentally than them, but they’ll never know that. I’m the only one that knows that, and that’s why I love coaching so much because I like to think I get more out of it than what they do… and I get to do it for a living.

Nate K-G: Well, they get that… that moment of excitement when you’re coaching someone, whatever it is, Ninja Warrior, or jump rope, any sport, when you’re coaching them, and there’s that moment where the kid succeeds and they’re like that euphoric, super pumped feeling, you also get that. So you didn’t have to destroy your body to earn it, but you still got the excitement and you get at times all the other kids you work with! 

Kait Simpson: You get the nerves… 

Nate K-G: And you get the nerves! Yeah, that’s very true! 

01:23:41 Kait & Robbie’s Relationship Story

Nate K-G: Is there anything else that you guys want to touch on before we wrap up? We’ve both covered a lot of awesome stuff and have not even scratched the surface of all the questions that I have for you guys. 

Kait Simpson: It’s funny. When Robbie and I first started dating, he came to visit me for the first time. Cause we were long distance for the first two years of a relationship, and he came to visit me for the first time. 

And the very last night he was there for his trip, we just started talking about jump rope, and of course it came up in conversation all the time, but it turned into a conversation like this, about jump rope. And all of a sudden we blink and it’s like 1:00 AM! And it was like seven hours of just jump rope talk, and then he was like, “you know what? Screw it! I’m staying another day!” Extended his flight and it just became this whole massive talk. 

Robbie Csontos: We talked for days about it. 

Nate K-G: We do have to touch on the origin story of the relationship. We can’t close out without that. What is the origin story of how you guys came to be in a relationship? And now you’re engaged, yeah? 

Kait Simpson: Yep! Yes we are! 

Nate K-G: Congratulations!

Kait Simpson: Thank you.

Nate K-G: Nice. Wait a minute, was that like somewhat recent? 

Kait Simpson: Yeah! 

January this month. 

Robbie Csontos: first. 

Nate K-G: Oh my gosh! Wow! Perfect timing on my end for the podcast. I’m just kidding. Yeah. Let’s hear it. Let’s hear the origin story. This is awesome! Cause I love when there’s a successful jump rope relationships, you know. 

Kait Simpson: The first time we ever met was at jump rope workshop 2007, Gas City, Indiana town of 12 and a half. 

Robbie Csontos: Jump rope camp. 

Kait Simpson: Yep. A couple of teammates and I came down to participate cause my hometown is only seven hours from Indiana. Yeah, Robbie was my instructor, and I was there just trying to learn, right? This is again, only my second year, so I just wanted to be a sponge, right? 

And I distinctly remember… it’s funny cause we actually talked about two-footed Frogs. I distinctly remember he was teaching power for single rope and I was in his group. That’s the first time I ever met him and we were doing like Donkey Kick Toad, Pretzel Toad, stuff like that. And I was like, I am capable of this. Can you make it bigger for me, right? 

And it was Push Up Toad to two-footed Frog. I did Push Up Toad one-footed Frog. And he was like, “yep, that’s the right idea, but, you know, take off on two feet get your hips up for your Donkey Kick.” And I looked at him and I was just like, “nope.” And he was like, “what? You’re not going to try it?” And I was like, “nope.” 

Nate K-G: “No, it’s not happening, dude. Give me… give me a different combo!” 

Kait Simpson: Yeah, and then you did, right? But it’s just funny how even then, he was trying to guide me and support me and help me. And I was just like, “what’s your, what’s your second option?” 

Nate K-G: What’s your second option! That’s funny! 

Kait Simpson: We officially started dating… fall of 2015. Just knowing each other through the sport and all that fun stuff. Yeah, just talking…

Robbie Csontos: …in Paris. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah, not really in Paris. 

Robbie Csontos: we were at the world championships in Paris. Her and Eilea, they were hanging out with Hot Dog USA and stuff, and I’m just talking throughout the week and everything. 

Nate K-G: That’s why you were hanging out with Hot Dog and you’re like, “I got to go hang next to Robbie, but I can’t make it look weird! So I’m going to say that I’m just hanging out with the team.” That’s smooth! 

Kait Simpson: No, it actually wasn’t even like that. It’s just cause Katie and I are super close, right? So, you know, it was just Eilea and I, from Canada, there was some girls from BC, but there was no one else representing Canada from Ontario. So we’re just like, well, we don’t have anyone else to hang out with. So yeah, just, you know, through practice gyms and warming up and stuff and got to know each other a bit more other than the, “Hey, how are you?” And, “Hey, congratulations!” Right? 

Robbie Csontos: And then she came up because she was leaving for the flight, and she came up to all the guys and I, and gave us hugs and said, “all right, we’ll see you guys later!” And she walked away. 

And I specifically remember I looked at Garrett Johnson, and I was like, “there’s something about her. I think I want to keep talking to her.” And he was like, “what?!” And I was like, “yeah, there’s just something about her.” So then we started talking and stuff and kept talking and then started dating. And here we are, what, like 30 years later, 

Kait Simpson: Six and a half. 

Robbie Csontos: Six and a half. 

Nate K-G: I don’t know The the whole… the pandemic time is kind of a black hole. So that could be one year, it could be 30, you know? 

Robbie Csontos: Who knows? But it has been awesome. 

Kait Simpson: Yeah. We did two years long distance. And then I moved to Seattle and lived a year there in Seattle with Robbie. And then I had a couple of family members that were really ill, so I came back to help them out. And I was like, “Hey, I’m probably going to be here longterm. You should come to Canada!” So yeah, he came to Ontario. We did another international move, round two of immigration. We got a little home out on a 65 acres just outside of the city. So…

Nate K-G: I feel like the long distance thing is so common with jump rope, because like, you meet so many people, but like they’re never from your team, most of the time, and so like, you’re like, “yeah, I just met this person from literally the other side of the country. It’s no big deal. And yeah, I think we should start dating.”

That’s funny. That’s cool though. Honestly, it’s so awesome. Like, jump rope has given so much, and then like in your case, it’s even given you a partner, you know, which is amazing! 

Kait Simpson: And we did compete 2016 together and we actually ended up medaling at worlds. So… 

Nate K-G: Let’s go! Champions through and through. 

Kait Simpson: I wanted to do a wheel, but Robbie said, no. I like wheel cause it’s intricate. You have to think about every, every half inch, right? 

Robbie Csontos: I don’t like crosses.

Kait Simpson: Yeah. He just wants to jump high and flip.

01:29:07 What Is Jump Rope To You?

Nate K-G: That’s fair. This has been such an awesome conversation. Let’s up with the last main question, which is, “what is jump rope to you?” It’s a lofty one. a fun one. Whoever wants to go first. 

Kait Simpson: He does. 

Robbie Csontos: Jump rope to me is the ultimate outlet for any emotion that I’ve ever had. It’s the ability to relieve anger or stress when you have it. It’s also an awesome outlet for happiness and joy when you have that. It’s the ultimate expression of, again, like, emotion. It sounds weird and it’s hard for me to put into words, but… it’s the ultimate outlet for any feeling that I have. 

It’s also a great motivator to keep pushing yourself, to keep pushing others. Jump rope is happiness, in a sense. Because whether you’re the one that’s happy, whether you’re coaching others and they’re happy or working with somebody else, and then they’re happy. It’s the ultimate outlet and I love it. I’ll never give it up.

Nate K-G: That’s amazing. That’s a good answer. 

Kait Simpson: I don’t want to go after that one. 

Nate K-G: No, no! It’s cool! It’s gonna be even better! 

Kait Simpson: Okay. So to me, and it’s gonna sound weird at first, take it with a grain of salt, jump rope is my life coach. And what I mean by that is… it helped define me of who I am as a person. It helped gain confidence, has provided countless opportunities. And because I had that confidence, I was able to say yes. 

It has brought me my closest and truest friends. It has brought me people in my life that I look up to endlessly. And I aspire to be like, and I have those role models in my life because of this, quote, “life coach.” It brought me, him, poor guy stuck with me now. 

It has been a part of my life in every aspect. And even now, with work in my career, in my profession, there are certain opportunities coming up or scenarios in my career outside of jump rope. And because of what jump rope has taught me, and because what I have learned from jump rope, I handle them a certain way, and it’s made me a better person in that career too, right? So yeah, jump rope is my life coach.

Nate K-G: I think that’s amazing, but I understand what you’re saying with that, because it’s like, there’s no part of jump rope that doesn’t teach you a lesson. Whether it’s the successes, which teaches you to be humbled on other things, or the failures of like knowing you’re showing up to literally, actually be, like, whipped or to fall or to face plant for like hours. And then you’re still going to get up. 

Kait Simpson: And be okay with it, right? 

Nate K-G: And be okay with it! Yeah, exactly! And be ready to keep showing up for years. I think that’s such a great term to you. It’s your life coach. The truest version of an actual life coach. 

Kait Simpson: Well, feel free to use it and you don’t have to give me credit.

Nate K-G: You guys, this is really been… it’s been really fun podcast. We absolutely have to do round two, because there’s still a bunch more questions, but thank you guys for taking the time and chatting with me today. 

Robbie Csontos: Awesome. Thank you!

Kait Simpson: Nate, you are absolutely amazing and a pleasure to just hang out with and talk about jump rope. This has been a great saturday afternoon.

Nate K-G: Thanks guys, I appreciate it! I’ll be catching up with you soon! 

Robbie Csontos: Alright, sounds good. 

Kait Simpson: Thank you so much, Nate!