An action packed trip home

July 2014

Hey there,

Last week I got to head east, to my home province of Ontario, for the North American Women’s Parkour Jam. The video is from my favourite training spots from the weekend. I was given the privilege of running one of the workshops at the event and there was to be more than 80 women there. But more on that later. As almost ALL of my family still resides there, the trip made for the perfect opportunity to visit everyone in my family tree and train parkour with some badass ladies from all over the continent.

My little brother, quite possibly the most amazing person in the world (in my world anyways) let me crash at his place for the week. He took me to his work, drove me around the city and got me an air mattress to sleep on. There was a time that I could sleep for hours on a hardwood floor, in the fetal position on a lumpy loveseat in your friends university rental or sitting upright in the middle seat on a 9-hour flight to Europe. Those days are sadly long gone. Hence the air mattress.

The six days that I was in Ontario were quite action packed. That’s an understatement. My friends mock me relentlessly when it comes to how many visits, activities and various errands I smush into a single visit home. I managed 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 3 coffee / tea dates, 3 dinners, 2 desserts, and 2 catch up sessions over beers and only one of the events were with the same person. It may sound like bragging (and it might be a little bit haha). I feel that that level of scheduling can be an art. Actually, it only works because the lovely people in my life are willing to drop everything just for a quick visit. And besides, I always return from Ontario very well fed.

Anyways, back to the parkour. I spend most of my time training parkour surrounded by men. Not men, boys. Rarely are they over 20 years old, have ever lived away from home or have had to balance training with a ‘career”. They are awesome to train with because they have so much energy, a youthful exuberance at all times and I always level up because their skill levels are typically far beyond mine. Rarely do I get to train with girls. I teach a lot of women, but training at the same level with another female doesn’t happen often. So, to be at an event where so many lady traceuses (women who practice parkour) was incredible.

Scaling a wall with Brandee Laird and Alyssa Serpa Photo by Anya Chibis

Scaling a wall with Brandee Laird and Alyssa Serpa
Photo by Anya Chibis

The energy at the North American Women’s Parkour Jam (NAWPK) event was so positive and intense. It was not like being at a dance or cheerleading event where cattiness oozes out of everyone’s pores. There was a genuine, supportive vibe. These chicks were throwing down their best skills. Climbing anything they could climb, taking on any challenges another practioner would come up with. The event was 2-days long and had a challenge night after the first day. A quick word on the challenge night. It was design by male practioners who clearly had no idea what our skill level was. My hope for next year is 1) Females (or men who frequently train with women) design the challenges and cater them to all the levels, 2) That the minds of all of those guys at the event that were blown by our “mad skills”, took note for next year. And so concludes my rookie attempt at a quasi-feminist rant. Learning experience for everyone!

Sidenote: I still had an absolute blast and getting to ‘compete’ with the top ladies in the discipline was pretty darn cool.

At the end of the last day I got to run one of the workshops. I covered flexibility and the role joint mobility plays in injury prevention. A topic I am quite passionate about and one that I have gained a lot of first hand knowledge through my lifetime of injuries. If only I knew then, what I know now…(those might be song lyrics but they work) I could’ve saved myself a shoulder surgery, 2 bulged discs and a couple concussions. I said goodbye to all of my new parkour friends and will hopefully get to train with them again soon.

Athlete Inspired

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Getting My Bearings

Hey there,

So my first week in Vancouver was a bit of a blur. The day I arrived was the first day of a massive annual parkour event called PKBC. For three days almost 100 traceurs (people who practice parkour) trained inside the Origins gym, out in Squamish through the rocks and boulders and all over downtown Vancouver. Being more of a veteran to these sorts of events, I paced myself over the 15 hours of training. True to form, all of the young’ins busted out their big tricks the first night, giving into their excitement and devouring the adrenaline filled vibe of the group. Rookies. Though I was sore and stiff every morning, I completed the weekend without incurring any injuries. Yay me! First time for everything.

I settled into my room in the beautiful part of Vancouver called Kitsilano. I am renting from a lovely couple who have an adorable dog and a full supply of delicious coffee / tea. I do not consider myself a coffee snob, to be perfectly honest I do not like the taste of coffee. And yet, I tend to drink copious amounts of it and I seek the premium stuff. No Starbuck’s for me if I can help it. There are tons of independent coffee shops in my area so I have tried to find my favourite spot. No luck yet but I will keep searching.

Speaking of coffee, the main part of breaking onto the stunt scene is to network with current professionals. I have been fortunate enough to have been given a few contacts to meet up with over coffee (lots and lots of coffee). They had invaluable advice to give:

  • the gyms / facilities to train at where stunt doubles themselves train (to get noticed, further network)
  • signing with a background agency to get on set
  • building a stunt resume
  • the basic outline of a demo reel
  • various methods of getting your information in the hands of a stunt coordinator
  • the creepy guys to avoid taking stunt courses from
  • NOT to sleep with any stunt doubles or coordinators (deemed professional suicide if it goes badly… or well)
  • BE PERSISTANT!

The biggest piece of information they gave me was the potential timeline of breaking into the industry. Every single person I asked said that a minimum of 1-2 years should be expected to become a paid stunt performer. Two years! Yipes! I had only allotted 3 months. That was a kick to the proverbial junk. Everyone’s timeline and experience was different but it quickly became evident that getting one’s “big break” was going to take more sweat-equity than I had originally thought. They really make you put in your time, regardless of how talented you are.

So, one week into this pursuit and I’m already contingency planning. For now, I’m pushing ahead with training, networking and exploring my potential new home. When in doubt, sweat it out…literally. I’m going out for a run.

Athlete Inspired