Shetland Parkour Experience

By Fiona B

Image

Last weekend was SPE 2, a 4 day parkour event hosted in Lerwick, on the stunning Shetland Islands. A group of us travelled up from Glasgow, with a 15 hour journey up north from Aberdeen. The ferry ride from Aberdeen proved to be eventful for all the wrong reasons, but luckily us parkour ladies are pretty hardy, and it takes more than 8ft waves and extreme sea sickness to stop us from jumping.

And so we staggered off the boat and lurched along to what turned out to be an amazing weekend of training. The itinerary for the weekend was pretty intense, with multiple classes running each day, and it proved to be a lot of training even for more experience practitioners. However, we were treated to some fantastic weather (and sunburn) and incredible training spots. Despite Lerwick being a small town, the quality of places to train is unreal. And where else do you get to train on natural features like rocks, 15 minutes away from more urban spots?

Image

All the classes were great, with all of us conquering at least one new thing. We’ve all returned from Shetland feeling confident and renewed in our training. It was especially great to have women’s only classes, run by Shirley Darlington from Parkour Gen, which provided that essential time to train with other parkour girls from around Scotland.

The weekend created so many amazing and memorable moments: watching the moon rise after a night mission, the sense of accomplishment after finishing the 7am wake up class, the exhaustion of the Final Push, that feeling you get breaking a jump… These kinds of gathering also offer a chance to meet lots of other practitioners – from those we haven’t seen since last year, to new pals we’re already planning to see again. Where else can you go and know you’re gonna get non-stop quality chat all weekend with people you’ve only just met?

Image

I could write for pages about all the amazing things we did, and the great friends we made, but ultimately it is summed up by the name of this event. Honestly, I first thought the idea of a Shetland ‘experience’ to be a little cheesey, but that is literally what you get with SPE. I would seriously encourage anyone who missed this year to go next year. It’s one of the best parkour events out there and incomparable to anything or anywhere else.

(Keep an eye out for more photos going up later)

Some thoughts on fear

By Kelley Glaister

480457_535042746517178_1921076408_nWe all encounter fear regularly in our training, and, arguably, if you don’t, you won’t progress very much. We know that type of fear and we know how to use it. A physiological reaction to perceived threat. The urge to turn or run away. Or limbs locking up near the edge of a high wall. This is fear of physical harm, and it is justified. Moreover, it’s useful. It’s a physical signal that there is risk involved in what you’re about it do, so be careful. This we can call Proper Fear.

Proper Fear. This is the fear the practictioners talk about a lot. And we all have our ways of overcoming it, or using it to our advantage. One aspect of this kind of fear is that you can talk to it, face it with logic. Facing a new jump that fills you with fear, you can mentally catalog every jump you’ve done of a similar distance, every balance at similar height, as proof of your ability to do this one. You can take note of the fatigue in your legs, and judge if it’s time now, or if you should come back. Then, breathe in, breathe out, empty your mind, and if you’re ready, the jump jumps itself.

But there is another kind of fear. The other fear is different. It’s not tied to a particular circumstance, nor to bodily effect. It’s a general, pervading fear. Fear that you’re not good enough, fear that you look stupid. Fear you’re too fat or clumsy or old to be doing this and that everybody knows. We’ll call that one ‘Stupid Fear’.

It’s not restricted to the moments before and around a jump or new challenge, like Proper Fear. It can be constant. It’s what stops you from going out training when your better angels are screaming in your ear to get outta the damn house and move.

The nagging worry of Stupid fear usually appears in a form similar to “What if people see me training and judge me to be inadequate?” You might as well ask “What if I get attacked by a pack of zombie dwarf rabbits?” In both hypotheticals, it’s highly unlikey to happen, and will cause no damage if it does. People are usually only thinking of themselves, and any judgment they come to will be more of a reflections of themselves than on you. And if they do? So what? What’s the damage? None.

Proper Fear and Stupid Fear don’t have much in common. I think a problem can be when we treat them the same way.

In the case of Proper Fear, the question is “Can I do this?” And often, the answer will be no. Or more accurately, not yet. Because we need to grant the premise of the fear; there is a risk to our safety, so we need to assess it accurately.

But with Stupid Fear, if the question is “Can I do this?” it refers to training or progressing at all. And the answer is always yes. I know I can get out into the world and move with confidence and more importantly with joy. But that’s the wrong question. That question grants the premise of Stupid Fear. A premise which has no real worth. When facing Stupid fear, the real question is… “Yeah, so what?”

Truth is, failure isn’t actually scary. I fall on my arse and laugh like a banshee about it. I scrape my shins. I fall in puddles, and get filth in my clothes and hair and walk home looking, and grinning, like a maniac. I’m not saying I know how to avoid Stupid Fear entirely, but I do know what works for me. Move. Run and jump and skip, and yes, fall sometimes. I’ll tell you this, if you’re moving, Stupid Fear can’t keep up with you.