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Camila Stefaniu Ribeiro - Female Parkour Spotlight

March 21, 2018

 

Camila Stefaniu is an amazing athlete that I've been watching for a while! She has a beautiful flow comparable to that of the Spaniards and puts together smooth runs with sick parkour and clean tricks. Overall I just love her style. She is definitely one to look out for!

 

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How long have you been training?

I´ve been training parkour for 6 years.

 

What got you into parkour?

I know parkour because my brother accidentally stumbled upon the "Jump London" documentary on a national TV station and got interested at that, afterwards he went on to find videos, information and other things about the practice. We used to go to squares for leisure, while I always went to play soccer he started "jumping some walls" with his friends as they considered what they did not to be parkour yet, and were trying to get a hang of the basics first. He used to invite me to train with them and eventually I considered it and decided to give it a go, and haven't stopped since. With each passing day the movement grew into a bigger part of me... I was so young back then (2011, I was 8 years old) and we didn't have any support, we just used to see videos on YouTube for some guidance but we went on mostly by ourselves, our instincts.

 

What do you do for a living?

Currently I'm in High school, training and studying basically.

 

Do you have any other skills/passions besides parkour? If so, what are they?

I've tried many things so far in my life, from horse riding to chess and volleyball. Currently I'm also enrolled with soccer, I'm part of a nice all-girls local team that has been recently taking part in some championships and I've also been doing Crossfit. Besides sports and physical activities, I draw and write poetry during my free time, which are as liberating and expressive as parkour to me.

 

 

How do you manage fear when going for something scary?

Fear is constantly a big issue for me, I confess that I frequently block myself from doing things that I shouldn't be afraid of. Matters get worse considering that I live in a small town, so I train alone more frequently than not, completely on my own... I believe having someone by my side can help me manage my fears a great deal. If I find myself in a scary situation, I try to concile my mind with my body's capabilities, but it isn't always that simple when we're talking about fear. Scary situations are everywhere but I think how you deal with them is a very personal thing and I believe each person has to find their own way. I try to let everything flow but if I absolutely can't, I guess it's not meant to be that day. I can leave and try again tomorrow, or maybe next week, every experience can be learnt from and I'm not in a hurry.

 

Do you have any obstacles that interfere with your training? If so, how do you deal?

I'd say i have new obstacles to deal with everyday, but there are some specific things worth saying. I live in a small town in the south of Brazil, with about 40 thousand inhabitants, and this interferes with my training routine. I usually practice alone in public spaces like squares, staircases, ramps and in the streets, some landmarks with great possibilities or finding the less obvious ones with some creativity. It's been 6 years already and I guess I've been doing pretty well in these conditions. Although there's no dedicated parkour structure in town, there used to be other people that trained and we had a little group to support each other, but since my brother moved away, the group ceased to be, all of the others stopped training and I've been on my own. The thing with a small town is that there are two kinds of citizens: those that don't even know what parkour is and treat us tracers like vandals, wannabe criminals and madmen, and those that have heard of it and are extremely prejudiced, and act just the same. Not for few times has the thought of giving up and settling down on something with more social acceptance crossed my mind, and it took me a long time to get locals to be indifferent to my presence rather than scold me and dismiss my training as vandalism or even call the police. Now, being more specific, there's been some trouble for me that stalled my progress for a big part of the year. I had to deal with some health problems for about three months, as soon as I was getting better some other thing affected me and things got bad again. Not being able to move for all this time has been one of the most difficult things I've been through, feeling all my training gains from the months before slowly fade while I could do nothing about it. My friends helped me deal with the psychological aspects of the illness, and when I got physically better I started treatment to strengthen my immune system and resumed my training. I always try to solve my problems one at a time, but something I've learned over time is that if you let too many of them accumulate that can make you go crazy... We must try our best to never lose focus, never forget who we are and never hesitate to ask the people we trust for help. For a long time I was a very reserved person, I didn't open up even for the people closest to me and now I see how much it harmed me. I guess this covers most of my issues.

 

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out?

I believe that someone who's walking down this path should know that despite the numerous possible problems and obstacles in this flow, it will always be worth it to overcome both physical and mental challenges in training and in life, as parkour will bring incredible things and learning experiences, it makes it all worthwhile. Challenge yourself: train in the rain, barefoot, in high and low temperatures to deal with all kinds of situations, get out of your comfort zone, aim to convey your feelings through each movement and always keep in mind that there is no best tracer, there's only the tracer that is now better than he was yesterday.

 

Who is a woman that inspires you and why? (in or out of parkour/freerunning)

If I were to name them only within parkour there would be dozens, every girl I've trained with and every video I see wheter I know the author or not has the potential to make you learn, each movement is the expression of someone else's apprenticeship and journey and that's what really inspires me. The girls whom I watch by Instagram, Facebook or YouTube the most often are Tam, Renae, Lorena, Lynn, Hazel. Ilara and a few others.
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I can never forget to mention my mother here, since we're talking about inspirations, because she's my greatest role model who would give it all for something that she dreams of, and specially because she can lift almost as much as me even if she's several times my age (please don't kill me mom <3), she has such an unique personality and charisma... I can't help it but say everything I am today I owe her. Mother, I love you!

 

 

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