Being Brave and Overcoming Obstacles

Why do we stop doing things that scare us? Not the things that will put us in grave danger, but rather the things that make us feel uncomfortable but could make us feel pretty darn good about ourselves if we successfully completed them. In the realm of physical activity, this is big issue. Often we stick to the basic jogging, riding, skiing because moving differently than we’re accustomed to is scary and fraught with danger.

In one of her blog posts BE BRAVE! “For big results, think small”, Julie Angel shares the importance of breaking the habit of letting fear stop you from moving. From trying something new. I had the pleasure of meeting Julie last year at the Art of Retreat in New York. I have already raved about her in my last post about the top females Move Me to Move.

JulieAngel AOR

“It became clear to me during my first class that I had unknowingly developed a certain habit over the past 20 years. The habit of avoiding challenges and therefore facing my fears. On the surface I was cool calm and collected but inside I was scared of everything. I no longer knew how to be brave mentally and physically. I suddenly had to think about how to move, WTF! When did this start happening?” – Julie Angel (Photo by Anya Chibis)

She’s an author and a movement advocate. The above article ties in nicely with my “Fierce New Skill” of the month; the kong vault. So take this month and break out of that comfortable shell of yours. Try a new skill!




Parkour Athlete’s Packin’ Inspiration

Photo credit: Chad Bonanno and Tempest Freerunning

1.Luci Romberg

There are endless good things to say about this powerhouse. I have had a she-crush on her since I begun my parkour journey and throughout my stunt pursuits. I had the pleasure of creeping out, I mean meeting, Luci at the first North American Parkour Championships. She graciously accepted my decision for us to be friends.
She continues to have an incredible career as a professional stunt woman (being brought on as Melissa McCarthy’s permanent stunt double), continues to set the bar for female and male freerunners at international competitions, and headed up an female empowerment initiative called Tru Beauty.
Training with her will have you levelling up, hanging with her will have you laughing uncontrollably, and watching her success will have you inspired.
Click here for Luci’s Tru Beauty video.

2. Mandy Lam

Mandy spends her time writing grants and getting funding to introduce women to the sport of parkour. She focuses on the physical and psychological benefits of the discipline, as a lifestyle change. An exceptional climber and well-travelled traceuse, Mandy brings a cheerful calmness to her practice. She is a wonderful personal to engage in tête-à-têtes with because she strives to gain real connections with those who she trains with. It is these one-on-one discussions that put her on my list.
Meet Mandy in this video

3. Brandee Laird

She moves like no one I have ever met. Her strength and fluidity is beautiful while her bag of gadgets and juggling skills keep you mesmerized. She cares deeply about equality and increasing the level of acceptance in the sport. Brandee has poured a great deal of time into building up a thorough coaching apprentice program at Parkour Visions, as well as a curriculum that is accessible to the entire parkour community and beyond. Above and beyond all that, she is a beautiful soul with badass dance moves and is a hoot to train with…especially at night.
Click here for Brandee’s movement reel.

4. Melanie Hunt

One cannot spend time with this energetic and intelligent human without learning something. She is a full-time high-school English teacher at an international school in New York, as well as an American Parkour athlete and coach. We bonded over physical literacy and multi-disciplinary learning at the Art of Movement this past year. Her passion for higher learning, at any discipline, is immediately evident. Our world needs more teachers like this. The ones who fight for better education, for gender equality and walks (freeruns) their talk.
Here’s Melanie’s Facebook page.

5. Julie Angel

Julie’s publihsed works got me really pumped to revisit the basic movements of parkour and get in touch with the origins of the discipline. Many people who read her book felt compelled to return to a style and mentality of training that the founders of parkour embraced. I have never considered myself a ‘purist’ but Julie’s work birthed a new love for the movement. Then there’s her See & Do project and constructive approach to women in parkour is so well articulated. I often find myself reviewing my notes from our talks in New York. So many great things to be said about this brilliant woman.
Click here for the See&Do website.

6. Alice Popejoy

Mother, academic and coach. This mama defies parkour convention and is currently rocking a research job in Norway. She takes an avid interest in applying her research to the betterment of the parkour community. In a footnote, she is also an inspiration as an athlete. She went from not being able to do a push-up to overcoming her physical obstacles and becoming a solid practitioner and coach.
Follow Alice on Facebook:

7. Natalie Nikiforuk

If you need a person to lift heavy things, she’s your gal. One of the country’s strongest powerlifters in her weight class, this traceuse brings a lot of diversity to the table. I met Nat almost a decade ago and we’ve trained, performed and competed together in parkour ever since. We have both been referred to as “hobbyists” to the parkour world for our focus on multiple disciplines. Well Natalie, “The Hobbyist”, Nikiforuk not only lifts heavy things, she trains race horses for a living, takes her parkour training seriously and gives back the parkour community. Nat co-leads an annual women’s parkour event called Varkour Day, she designs logos and digital animation for community members and she is extremely passionate about increasing opportunities for women in parkour. We just shot our latest video, which we’re very proud of (considering we shot it over a weekend).
Here’s a link to our first parkour video:

8. Erica Madrid

I tend to have a bias towards former gymnastics, mostly because of how athletically versatile they are. From her early Art of Motion days, Erica’s gymnastics background has influenced her movement style in the parkour and freerunning world and was able to flow between the two disciplines quite well. The reason I admire Erica, is not just for her practice but for her perseverance with making parkour a performance art. She was recently cast in the new Cirque du Soliel show, Votla, which highlights parkour and freerunning (among other extreme sport movements) in a very artistically centred way. I can’t wait to see the show, if you can, check it out! (Click here for Volta teaser)

9. Lindsay Darlington-Rowat (PK Generations)

Some of the first female content I watched on YouTube. I remember writing down her parkour WOD’s and emulating them. I was also simultaneously hoping for a female community such as the one showcased in the UK scene. She was one of, if not the first female Level 2 ADAPT certified coach. The physicality required to pass the original gruelling coaching course was extremely impressive. I haven’t met her yet, but she is an impressive coach and athlete.
Here is one of my favourite challenges she posted.

10. Caitlin Pontrella

Caitlin’s passion for parkour runs deep. Not only was she a partner of the Movement Creative, she continues to organize some of the leading parkour community development events (ie. Art of Retreat). Caitlin has recently acquired her full Architect designation. Mad props to anyone who can balance a full professional load with a full recreational lifestyle. I want to know her secret to balancing such an intense workload. This lady really makes me want to move!
Check her website out:

She inspire’s me to PK

Over the past two years, parkour has taken a backseat to various martial arts and my stunt training. The whole strengthen your weaknesses and maintain your strengths approach to building up a skill set. Being back in Calgary this winter has re-invigorated my parkour training. I have always enjoyed the community here and Varkour ladies make training so very enjoyable.


As I continue to work on my building my business, I find myself needing the motivation to balance training with business’ing. To be honest, I’ve always preferred doing over talking about doing it. That being said, it’s pretty hard to be a coach or a leader if you do not have any students or peers to coach or lead.

I am fortunate to be influenced by so many strong female parkour practitioners who not only walk their talk, but manage to enrich their lives beyond parkour. What better way to reflect on the power-femmes in my life, but to put together a Top-10 list.


So over the next couple of weeks I am going to highlight the parkour women who have inspired me, not only to move, but to give back to my community and to go after what I really want in life. Just a warning, this list does not just contain the “best” female parkour practitioners from all the lands. Those lists have been done and they’re so subjective. Skill alone does not an idol make. These lady freerunners have something in their practice (or outside of their practice) that gets me all fired up.

Feel free to share that well-rounded traceuse that lights your fire. I’d love to build a bigger list.



My first stunt audition

Holy smokes batman! This week I had my very first stunt audition! It is the first real indicator of progress because the only way that I found out about it was from people in the stunt community. If take this as a sign that I have not scared my new friends away and that I am a total b*tch. I had 24 hours to prepare for the audition that could have us doing anytrhing and everything. The only thing I did know about it was that it played to my parkour strengths.

I was so nervous and excited the morning of that I couldnt’ t eat breakfast or drink any coffee. I got there extra early and warmed up thoroughly. Apparently this was not your typical audition, which sucks because I had so much fun. The 40+ other people there were high energy, the stunt coordinator was very nice and the skills he asked of us were things I had already done hundreds of times. 

Was I the best there? no. Was I the best female there? no. Was I close? I definitely think so. What did I learn from this experience after having some time to recap?

– there is a fine balance between demonstrating what the coordinators want and standing out from the rest of the crowd (I would’ve taken more of a risk with some of my skills)

– shut up and listen

– anything goes….anything (it just might not be what they’re looking for but everyone is still supportive)

– networking 101: Introduce yourself at the beginning, thank them for their time at the end (facetime in this industry is key)

– a smile and positive attitude go frickin far (well that’s still to be determined as I am yet to get a call back…)

I had so much fun at that audition that I was not prepared for my commercial callback. We were in and out before I even realized I wasn’t in a gym anymore. So there it is, just as you are getting a little frustrated with your journey, something small but great enough happens to refresh your passion.

Athlete Inspired

Team Tryforce is born!

Hey There

OK so the motivational fire is still burning from my trip to LA. The day I landed back in Vancouver I was reunited with my TryForce Team mates. These ladies are some of the most talented traceuses in North America. Not to mention that they are an absolute blast to hang around. We rendezvoused in Vancouver to film our first video project. We share a common goal of increasing female parkour content in order to educate and inspire other people (women in particular) to try parkour.

Our reunion began with a parkour competition, which is always fun for me. Not that I’m a competitive person at all (insert extremely sarcastic tone and eye roll here). Thankfully, parkour is an activity where competitions do not bring out the neurotic side of me that other sports like gymnastics, wrestling, track & field did.

This competition was held indoors and included 3 events: a skills portion, a speed course and a freestyle event. To be honest, I was hesitant about competing in front of my peers because then I would have to face the reality of where my injuries, and training are at. I worked in the morning and at the last minute, I decided to suck it up and approach the competition as a well attended, intense practice.

There were so many ladies who came out to compete as well. Incredible energy! Everyone was cheering on everyone else, it was impossible not to enjoy participating. I ended up 2nd place in the speed course and I won the freestyle competition which was very cool. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am really glad I went and it was a great start to a weekend with my Team.

Over the next 4 days we went around various locations in Vancouver and through as many lines and tricks together as the limited sunshine would allow us to film. Our bodies ached and stress levels were a little high as we had to get a lot done in such a small amount of time. On the last night we went to the local community centre for some hot tub time. The video will be edited through January and one of the girls on our team designed the opening and the logo. All of this female parkour talk and time has reignited my desire to spread my varkour movement across Canada and beyond.

Stay tuned.

Athlete Inspired

Cali sun, training fun

Hey There,

My least favourite thing in the world is when someone promises me they will do something / go somewhere with me and then bail at the last minute (or were never capable of making such a promise in the first place). It seriously drives me wild. I’m not talking about the acquaintance who throw’s out the “we should grab coffee sometime”, or the “let’s totally meet up for acro yoga” statements. We should all know that those tend to be fruitless invitations and any follow through is a bonus (or an acquaintance who should be bumped up to friend status). I’m talking about the “let’s meet in insert city from insert specific dates” or “I’m booking my tickets tomorrow to visit you insert specific dates” person who waits until you’ve either booked your plane ticket or turned down an equally exciting invitation, from someone who will actually follow through, to cancel on you (and never with an understandable excuse or rationale).

I’ve learned a valuable lesson with regards to these people and avoiding the devastating disappointment that can follow. You have two options: 1) disregard these invitations all together and make your own plans (and in the event that they do follow through and your schedule is somehow empty, great), or 2) give yourself and them a deadline to send you proof of executing such plans and if / when nothing appears in your inbox, proceed to make your own plans. Life is too short to miss out on a great adventure. As long as you are able / comfortable traveling solo, my advice will not leave you disappointed.

Why this rant? Because, this exact scenario is what landed me on a 4-day escape to the sunny beaches and hills of Los Angeles. I chose option 2 and this will be the first trip to LA sans friends. I will meet up with some parkour and circus people in the city, I’ll run and read on the beach, and I’ll enjoy some quality solo time. Introspection here we come! Never a bad thing when it’s sandwiched by a morning surfing session and an evening training session at the famous Temptest Freerunning Academy.


“You got skills girl…now get more”

Hey There,

Training continues, progress is made and inch by inch, I feel a little closer to my dream. I have been thoroughly enjoying the variety of my activities. Circus in the morning and a myriad of gymnastics, parkour, stunt fighting, trampoline and tumbling in the evening and weekends. Maybe this is only true for myself but I felt like I would come to Vancouver to showcase my skills to the industry and they would either take-it or leave-it. Much to my pleasurable surprise, my skills were seen, acknowledged and then a new checklist of skills (much like a Costco shopping list) appeared. Gymnastics – check. Parkour – check. Circus aerials – check. Now throw in some sort of martial art, some weapon manipulation, facial and body reaction training, and falls (from height, from combat, tripping over your own two feet). So cool!

Flipping through the air, being arm thrown to the ground (a wrestling / judo technique) or dive konging (a parkour technique) over an obstacle are great but film is all about telling a story. How did you get hurled into the air to flip? What fight sequence led up to being arm-thrown and how much ‘pain’ will be acted out as you hit the ground? What band of alienesque ninjas were chasing you down the streets as you approach various obstacles to kong over? Being comfortable and competent with all of these elements is, I’m told, what makes a good stunt performer.

Teaching the body new things is truly what I live for. Our bodies are such amazing instruments and tied so closely to our minds. Evolve or die. There is absolutely nothing desirable to me about doing the exact same thing every day for the rest of my life. I may be on the other extreme right now where every day is a mini-adventure, but research suggests that both longevity and happiness is tied to this idea of constant learning. 

As I see this mountain of work and skill acquisition ahead of me, I waiver for a moment. “I still have so far to go, so many hours of training. Do I still want to do this?” I say to myself. “F* ya!” is the almost immediate response that escapes my lips.