Georgia Munroe is an absolute powerhouse and massive inspiration of mine. I found her 2014 Archway video early on in my training and was shocked to see a girl push massive jumps that way! Her super smooth and powerful runs are a pleasure to watch. In my book, she's a superstar!
What got you into parkour?
So I grew up with two older brothers and as most sibling relationships go, I wanted to be as good or even better than them in everything. As a result I took up football, rugby and came along to boxing sessions with one of them whenever I could convince my mum to give me the money.
I also made a bit of an obsession out of gaming in which I would stay up all night on school days and smash through levels of zombies pumped up on nothing but flat coke and some left-over sweets. The curiosity started with two games in particular; Mirrors Edge with its dreamlike scenery and trippy jumps between sky-scrapers and Assassins Creed, the epic game series where the main character could dive off of tower ledges into bails of hay barely visible from his view point.
By this point, my brother and I began looking through youtube in search of real-life ‘Roof-jumpers’ (Damien Walters being one of the first I saw) …it really gave me a thrill to see these humans moving in a way that looked almost super human and I new straight away that I wanted to do what they could do.
What do you do for a living?
As much as I’de love to have movement as my only way of making ends meat, it only makes up a small part. I graduated from 6th form last year where I studied Physics, Chemistry, maths and music technology. Since then, I’ve been mainly working as a waitress and barista at the Fat boys American diner in London. During most evenings/other days I coach with my Team Esprit concrete also situated in London.
Do you have any other skills/passions besides parkour? If so, what are they?
Throughout the years I’ve picked up and dropped many things. I love physics and more specifically quantum physics as the theories and phenomena found within this subject absolutely fascinates me. During school years I used to run my own experiments, partake in various science projects and research about this subject for ages. I still get the urge to go to a library and read through their texts books.
Music was another big area of interest.As I couldn’t actually read music sheets, I taught myself classical pieces by ear up to a point where I could perform in various concerts during high school. However I’ve been out of practice for a while now with no piano of my own.
History is something I’ve always had as my second favourite subject to research in my spare time.im also very drawn to different styles of clothing throughout history so, when I could afford to buy the materials and equipment, I decided to teach myself how to make clothes. First thing I made…a bit much for a beginner to give a go but non- the less had worked…was a Georgian style dress with the large hips and frilly sleeves and let’s just say it was a killer to make. Now-a-days I get out my kit to make my own cosplay costumes for comic-con each year.
I’m not sure if it could be seen as a passion/skill but travelling/exploring different places is the ultimate thrill for me…whenever I feel stressed or have time on my hands, it’s the one thing I want to do most. Exploring different places (historical or for movement) really makes my day and I’d love to make this something I do almost daily.
How do you manage fear when going for something scary?
The way I manage fear has changed a lot during the years and changes depending on the type of obstacle. In the early years, I relied much more on friends to motivate me with the general “Send it!” ‘s being the usual boost. I couldn’t really overcome obstacles on my own which became a problem when we started finding our own ways of movement or when we didn’t train together as much. The next strategy was to take things slowly and learn to think through the techniques, foot/hand placements and power input that I needed to execute the move…I think this way of thinking came from studying physics + I soon realized that I was mostly determination and not much technique or control. During exams, however, this did not work and I soon become very stressed and rushed my progress by letting out my frustration through my movement. Even though this is a dangerous way of ‘breaking jumps’ referred to as ‘hucking’, it taught me to let my body do the talking and really feel the movement rather than just see its structure.
Now I try two ways usually. First way is to get into the mood of ‘letting go’ in which I assess the obstacle briefly(dangers + techniques to use + where/how to bail) and tell myself to “give it a go”…you’ll find that if you look at it for too long then you usually put yourself off overcoming it.if I feel it is possible with a bit more personal adjustment then put more/all effort into committing to it . To get into the mood of letting go, I simply try to see the ‘funny side’ of what could go wrong (don’t confuse this with carelessness/disrespect for the obstacle) and become excited about the possibility of getting the move/overcoming the obstacle as well as feel ok with the risk. This strategy works well when others are with you too and usually playing a game of challenge finding makes the scenario not as stressful.
If it is something truly scary then I firstly assess the situation then I calm myself and try to think of something I have done that is similar or harder than the current obstacle. Having someone to consult or who is nearby just in case something goes wrong takes out a huge part of the concern you may feel in the moment. For this to really have an effect you need to trust the person you are with at the time…I suggest going on climbing/roof missions with them is a great way to figure out who is capable and ready to have your back when things go wrong.
My methods haven’t always worked and sometimes you need to be comfortable with the fact that, even though you may be physically capable, at that moment in time you just aren’t ready. In that case, don’t get depressed and frustrated that you didn’t do it or let that obstacle define you as a person. Make a mental note of the challenge/move, tell yourself that by next week/month/year you are going to overcome this and then move on to the next challenge. You will realize that, even though you are training other things, you are subconsciously preparing yourself to overcome that obstacle in the future. Don’t ignore your feelings in the moment but don’t let them become the obstacle either, enjoy your movement and the challenges that come your way whether you overcome them instantly or with much preparation.
What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out?
The most exciting part for many is the first few months of training and you’ll find yourself learning something new almost every session but at some point down the line (maybe in a few months’ time or after a year) you’ll suddenly feel that your progression has halted. This is when you encounter your first tough mental barrier. It could be that you just can’t get your head around trying things at height or a certain way/type of movement boggles you (example- flow or flips),The people you always train with just aren’t available anymore or you’ve injured yourself, maybe you are not strong/powerful/flexible enough for specific type of exercise (example-muscle ups…your gonna love trying those out) or you’re just lacking motivation in general. When you do get to this point, which we all do plenty of times round, that’s when you really need to be honest with yourself and work hard in order to advance. It is easy to become complacent and choose to stay where you are, but not only is this killing the very drive that got you to your current point, but it can ultimately be the very thing that causes you to stop moving all together. Always try to figure out what exactly is the problem then plan on how you are going to overcome it, you may need to seek advice from others or generally find something/someone that helps keep you on track. And most importantly, keep reminding yourself why it is that you are training, a person moving with no purpose will soon move on to something else. Another thing, the ADD/parkour/freerunning isn’t just a way of moving, it’s a lifestyle. Cheesy as it may sound I really do mean what I say. It won’t take long for you to start seeing the world from an entirely different view point, becoming entangled in a world-wide community of strange and wonderful people, and uncovering potential you thought you never had. I have met my partner, made great friends and become part of families through this so I really am happy that I gave it a try. If find that it is not for you then no worries, go off and find your passion but if it is then hopefully we will meet one day…good luck either way.
Who is a woman that inspires you and why? (in or out of parkour/freerunning)
This is a tough one because I am inspired by different qualities found in different people (both male and female).I don’t have a definite answer so I’ll name a few and the reasons why.
-Tiny Tam because I feel my way of moving is in sync with hers. She’s a powerful mover and I enjoy power based movement the most so it’s great to some inspiration from her vids.
-flowing sanny because I really feel that flow is an area I need to really work on and she has a very water like feel to her movement with some really creative challenges.
-Ranae Dambly because I’ve seen how she overcomes obstacles…she really does try to push herself but also tries not to let frustration get the best of her. She is very focused on her movement but can also mess about and enjoy training with others of various experience.
-Katie McDonnell because I really admire her work drive, she is a very hard worker from what I’ve seen and she carries a sense of self-confidence that demands respect.
Check her out ↓