Parkour is an effective training method for strengthening the body and learning skills to overcome obstacles in your path. Unfortunately, many women are hesitant to give it a try. Maybe that’s you, or maybe you know someone who, despite obvious interest in parkour, refuses to take that first step.
Even if you love the idea of parkour, your head might be filled with doubts, questions and negative thoughts that hold you back. If you don’t break free from these thoughts, they can become brick walls that make you forever question your ability to jump, climb and vault your way into parkour.
I give a few suggestions in “Top Tips for Becoming a Parkour Girl,” but now I want to directly address some of the most common thoughts that keep women from trying parkour. Some of these sentiments apply to men, too, but they are particularly prevalent in women. Have any of these thoughts run through your mind? If so, check out the insights that follow.
“What if I’m the only woman at the parkour session?”
Some women may be lucky enough to jump right into a women’s meetup or an active parkour group with a female presence, but others have to start their parkour journey in an exlusively male community. This is an intimidating notion for many women, although some girls can dive in without a second thought. After all, no one likes being singled out. Parkour is still a male-dominated discipline, and that’s not likely to change for some time. Just remember this: the fact that most practitioners are men doesn’t mean that parkour is not suitable for women. In fact, parkour might be the most rewarding and empowering activity you ever try, if you give it a chance. Women all over the world are already training, playing and having fun with parkour, creating an ever-growing global community.
“If I try, I’m going to suck at it.”
Let’s be real. Everyone sucks when they first start training parkour. That’s what learning is all about. Your precision jump won’t look like a movie stunt on your first try, your shoulder roll will probably be awkward, and you might not be able to climb that wall during your first week of training. Instead of worrying about how fast you’re learning, set your mind to simply become better than your old self and to overcome challenges one at a time. Be OK with the fact that learning a skill takes some time and effort. Eventually, you will find your own pace.
“I’ll never be able to do what those guys can do.”
First off, parkour is about competing against yourself — no one else — so don’t waste time comparing yourself to other practitioners. Second, women aren’t men. They have different bodies, different centers of gravity, a different muscle growth rate and more. We will never be the same as men, but that doesn’t mean our movement is inferior. Women do amazing things when they set their minds to it. Just check out “5 Inspirational Traceuses” and “25 Awesome Traceuses You Need to Know” for some motivation. Also like the Rising Traceuse Facebook page for inspiring videos and photos of parkour women posted throughout the week.
“People are going to think I’m crazy.”
Everyone feels like others are watching or judging them, but women seem to be expecially self-conscious, perhaps because they are taught that way by society. In reality, most people won’t care that you’re jumping on curbs or vaulting over benches. Other practitioners will mostly focus on their own training unless they are looking to teach you or help you improve. In any case, mature practitioners won’t judge you as you’re learning. They’ve all been there. However, passersby may be curious about what you’re up to, especially if you’re training alone. If that makes you feel uncomfortable, find a parkour community near you to train with while you get over the initial feelings of awkwardness.
“I know some women train parkour, but I don’t know if I fit the profile.”
Some women think they are not fit enough, not coordinated enough, not tough enough, etc. to train parkour, but this discipline is for people of all types and backgrounds. Whether you’re girly or tomboyish, an introvert or an extrovert, an elite gymnast or a couch potato, there is no reason not to get out and play.
Whether you can take parkour classes at a local gym, train with a local group or just start drilling the basics at a nearby park, the important thing is to simply get out there and train. Once you get hooked on parkour, you may find that your initial concerns were never as big as you first thought.