thedeadparrot: (flying)
(posted by on Sep. 11th, 2017 09:19 pm)
I took a parkour coaching certification course a few weeks ago, and I'm still processing it. It was three full days of training, both physical training in parkour but also training in how to approach coaching. It was definitely not the sort of thing I was expecting to be as draining as it was. Coming off a work week, it felt like I was being shoved into another job. Which it kind of was. Coaching is a job.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was the only woman there, and I was the oldest person there by about 4-5 years. I was still the slowest and the weakest, but not by as much as I was afraid of. I could keep up with the whippersnappers for the most part. It was tough, but I could handle it.

The real challenge was in the coaching. I felt somewhat prepared, having done a ton of TAing in college and going to a million classes in the area and watching what the coaches do. It turns out having the responsibility for the physical and mental wellbeing of a group of people (a bunch of the people in my class were teenagers) is way different than trying to teach them what a for-loop is.

One of the sessions I had to teach was almost a complete disaster. Granted, I only had three minutes to come up with something and was forced out of my comfort zone to teach the thing. Yeah, that didn't turn out so well. But I survived it.

I survived the whole weekend, actually.

It was an intense three days. The group I train with is intense. They believe very strongly in the importance of being intense. The mental part was a part of that, because parkour is a mentally taxing discipline, and I've seen it in myself and others just how much our mental barriers can keep us back. I value their intensity, because it also comes with a deep sort of self-reflection.

I've watched their Women's International Parkour Weekend 2017 video a whole bunch of times, especially when I feel in need of motivation or inspiration. And I love the Traceuse Portrait Project that came out of it as well. Maybe next year, I'll be able to go in person and experience that energy for myself. I'm definitely thinking of going to Vancouver for another women's jam.

Anyway, now that the course is over, I still have to do 20 hours of supervised teaching. My first class is this Friday. Eep. I guess we'll see how this goes.
thedeadparrot: (need for speed)
(posted by on Jun. 28th, 2017 08:53 pm)
This past weekend was an awesome parkour event that left me exhausted, miserable, thrilled, thoughtful, and delighted. It's my second year going to it, and I think I got a lot more out of it this year than I did last year.

This isn't limited to parkour, but there's both a mental and a physical component to the sport. The first few years of training, I could mostly blame my issues on the physical side of things. I couldn't get my body parts to move in the right ways. I didn't have the arm or leg or core strength for anything. Some of these things are still true. My physical capabilities do limit what sorts of moves I can pull off and at what heights. But now the mental difficulties are starting to come into it.

There's a lot of talk about fear when it comes to parkour. How to approach that fear. How to overcome it. How to deal with it. You hit a certain point and then everything you try in parkour becomes about fear. It's not like, 'jumping off buildings' fear. It's 'trying to jump one step higher on a set of stairs' fear. I feel like recently, fear has dominated my training. I go to classes, which is great peer pressure and a great way to have a set schedule, but it's not great for doing what they call 'breaking' jumps. Finding something that is terrifying and breaking it down into smaller pieces until you achieve it.

I hadn't realized how much that fear had been eating away at me until this weekend. I would love to say that I overcame all of it and got in touch with my inner badass and now I'm doing ridiculous things. That's not how it went. It mostly went 'omg, I'm too tired to try this thing. man, I would love to do this move, but I'm not strong enough and I'll totally clip my toe. oh no, my feet are sore so I can't land anything' over and over and over again. There were a few exceptions. One session, the coaches decided that 'we're going to exhaust you until you can't think and then make you try to break a jump'. I exhausted myself, but I also broke a jump. Kind of. I went a little easy on myself. But that session stuck with me.

It's good to be shaken out of your own complacency. I need to find more ways of confronting my fear head-on. The solution isn't to throw myself at things and hope they work, either. I've already injured myself a few times that way. The solution, I think, is to carve out more training time for myself. To spend more time getting in touch with my fear. What it looks like. How it works. How valid is it. How to manage the risks when I do push myself past that line.

Easier said than done, of course, but I'm glad I can see the shape of it.

Also, I need a parkour icon, goddamn. I should make myself one.
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