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.

Parkour family

During this time of year, it seems all everyone is doing is studying. I want to break free, go for a walk let off some steam. I want to run, jump and play. I believe we all feel like this. We can’t stay cooped up indoors for our jobs, our studying and our relaxing time, it’s wrong. When did taking time off or having a break mean not doing anything significant? We take time out from an office job or studying at the computer all day to browse the internet. When did that become the idea of fun?
To be happy, to relax we need to do something, anything. Go out for a walk, meet friends, try a new sport, anything. Just do something. Do you miss the time spent as a child playing outside? When you’d climb trees, run so fast you thought your legs would fall off and not care what anyone thought? You can have that back.
Why don’t you climb trees anymore? Why don’t you jump as far as you can? Why not go out and see how fast you can run? Society has told us we must act ‘grown up’ and that we must have fun in a certain ‘normal’ way. We are constantly told that we need to buy the latest phone or the newest game to be happy, but does this really make us happy?
Forget about what other people think: go out and play. The best times in your life are when you feel free. When you’re out with friends, lost in your own little world, when you don’t worry about everyone else. But we don’t do it, we are afraid of being judged. So we sit in silence tapping out conversations with our fingers, staring blankly into a screen. We watch videos of other people doing the things we wish we could, but think we never will.
I was like that; I believe that is why I hated being a teenager. I was too worried about what people might think to even attempt to be happy. But now I am part of a group of people, a group of people who are all so different but who all want to play.
‘Who are these bunch of nutters?’ You may ask. They are the Glasgow Parkour community.
When I first came to Glasgow I was sick of being stuck in my tiny room nothing to but browse the internet or drink. While thinking of how times were better as a child, I remembered a programme I saw on TV when I was about 11, Jump London. So sitting in my room, away from my family, my boyfriend and feeling more alone that I had ever felt in my life, I googled parkour in Glasgow.
I was not expecting much. Maybe a few videos of people who wouldn’t want to talk to me unless I was as good as them, but I was determined to try and contact someone.
Instead it turned out to be the turning point of my life. A bit over dramatic it seems, but nevertheless that it what it was. I had found a parkour class. Apprehensively I booked my first class, completely terrified I would be shunned for being useless or unfit, or even for being a girl. I was determined not to let this stop me though. I arrived in town for my first class no idea how I would recognise people, scared I was late and worried I was in the wrong place.
“Ah…” I spotted people jumping between bollards at the subway station. “That’s probably them” I thought to myself. I walked up still terrified that I wouldn’t fit in, but after talking to a few people realised it would probably be okay. They told me I would be fine though conditioning was probably going to be hell as some guy called Mick was taking the class. I nodded politely having no idea what conditioning was.
After being split into groups and having been for what was supposedly a “short jog” we were told we were going to start warming up. I hoped it was a joke, I was dizzy and couldn’t see, but it wasn’t. 20 minutes later I had been introduced to what felt like hundreds of new ways to be tortured, cat walks, side monkeys, duck walks and many other things that I never wanted to do again.
Then the fun stuff started and I was instantly hooked. I learned how to jump, how to land, a few different types of vault and most importantly, how much thought goes into every movement. I did my first route that night and still remember it to this day. Nothing, not even conditioning, (which turned out to be a horrible circuit of burpees (another great new fun thing), box jumps, reverse press ups and triceps dips) could put me off.
A week later and still not able to use my arms or walk without my legs collapsing I hobbled to the next class. For most of the next month I was unable to do a single press up but I’ll always remember the way, Angie, Kel and Rachel helped me through and the whole class made sure I never finished the set alone. Later when I went to my first women’s class, it was Fiona who wouldn’t let me give up or get left behind. During this time I realised just how special this community was.
Now I regularly train outside of classes with anyone who wants to go out to play. It was at one of these informal jams that I met Nina who, as well as being a brilliant traceuse, turned out to be one of the most encouraging people I know, famous for her phrase: “stop being a dick and just do it”. She knows what everyone is capable of, and wants to see them reach their full potential.
Every achievement I make makes someone else happy, and every time I see someone break a jump or do a vault for the first time I can’t stop grinning – it makes my day. Without meeting these amazing people I would never have a way to go out and express myself, to go out and just have fun. Parkour is always a welcome break to studying. It clears my head and helps me think, but it’s the people that make it so special to me. Without them I don’t think I would even make it through my next exam never mind a whole degree.

So I just want to say thank you to my Parkour Family.

By Holly

What matters most

By Fiona B

As you can see from our new year’s resolutions, we all have goals and targets that we’ve set to improve our training. This is obviously a good thing, if you don’t try hard, you aren’t going to progress. Sadly, you don’t just wake up one day and get magically good at parkour (I know, I’ve tried). It takes hard work and a commitment to focus on areas you aren’t good at. However, while it’s good to be aware of where your weakness lie, I think it’s important not to get too focused on what you’re not good at. I am guilty of often confusing being realistic about my training with being pessimistic and end up being too hard on myself. It’s important to take a moment to remember all the things you are good at and look at how far you’ve come in your training.
I’m not the only one who forgets this. Too often I talk to people about their training and am saddened to hear how much they put themselves down about their abilities, especially since I know they’re better than they seem to think. Being surrounded by talented, strong people, it’s easy to always compare yourself to others and forget that you’re pretty amazing too. Lots of people are too afraid to even try parkour. When I first started parkour, I couldn’t do proper push ups or climb ups. While objectively I might not be the strongest person, or have the biggest jump, I have come pretty far from when I first started. There’s lots more things I need to improve on in my training, and it is important to be aware of these things, however it’s good to be proud of what I’ve achieved so far.
So don’t get too sad if your training stalls, if you’ve been trying to break an elusive jump since forever, or if it feels like everyone else around you is better than you at everything. Remember, you’re pretty amazing too! Think about everything you’ve done, smile, then get out there and have fun training. Because that, at the end of the day, is what matters most.


Angie in the Herald

So Susan Swarbrick wrote a lovely article about Angie and Parkour in Scotland in the Herald last year. You can find it at this link:

or read it here!


The risk is calculated. It’s a metaphor for life

Susan Swarbrick
Columnist and Senior Features Writer
Thursday 1 November 2012

WHEN Angie Rupp used to run to keep fit she found her mind would wander.

“I always got bored,” she admits. Casting around for something to engage her brain as well as body, the Glasgow vet stumbled across the perfect endeavour: parkour.

An urban pursuit which involves overcoming obstacles through creative use of running, jumping, climbing and balancing, among the sport’s most famous practitioners is Frenchman Sebastien Foucan, whose gravity defying moves were charted in Mike Christie’s awe inspiring documentary, Jump London, and with a starring role in James Bond flick, Casino Royale.

When Rupp, 35, heard about classes beginning in Glasgow she was intrigued. “I was hooked from the start,” she says. Almost five years on her passion shows no sign of waning and she recently became the first woman in Scotland to qualify as a parkour coach.

“I see parkour as a metaphor for life,” she says. “It teaches you to solve problems, be determined in what you do and follow through on your actions. You either do it or you don’t do it – and if you chose to do, then you do it properly.”

Remember how much fun it was as a child to move around a room without ever touching the floor? It’s a notion parkour draws its essence from. “It’s not tricky to learn because everyone can walk or run,” says Rupp. “Parkour takes basic movements such as running, jumping, crawling, walking and balancing, then progresses those on. It builds on basic blocks that anyone can do – that’s the beauty of the sport.”

“It’s fun to do, you are outdoors, learn a lot about yourself, get stronger, it’s a nice way to exercise and extremely social too. I would love to see more women doing parkour and we do run weekly female-only classes in Glasgow.”

Rupp dispenses with what she sees as a common misconception about the sport.

“People often have the idea that it’s for adrenaline junkies and that’s simply not true,” she says. “I wouldn’t say there is a thrill factor – at least not for me. The risks are all calculated. I would never do anything if there was a chance I could hurt myself.”

In addition to Glasgow, she has utlilised the city streets of Washington DC, London, Brisbane, Paris and her hometown of Munich. “Parkour has changed how I see the world,” she says. “When I go somewhere I now look at it completely differently than I perhaps would have before, not least when it comes to architecture. I find myself looking out for rails, walls and other things I could use to train on.”

The biggest lure, however, is the improved sense of overall physical wellbeing. “There is a strong element of cardio involved but it’s great for improving core strength and the upper body too. Basically, parkour is an all over work out – especially for the brain. I like progressing, learning and pushing my own individual boundaries to achieve more than I thought was possible.”

For more information, visit

New Year’s Resolutions

2012 has been a great year for women’s parkour in Glasgow. It’s been really inspiring to see so many new faces at jams and training, giving it their best and progressing each week. And it’s been a little sad to see a few old friends leave, but of course we know we’ll see them all again soon. But what will 2013 bring? Mostly, strength!! Here are some new year’s resolutions from us at Glasgow Parkour Girls


I want to be able to do 10 strict pull ups, do a handstand, be able to do beautiful climb ups and break lots of jumps… And rail precisions.


50 proper pushups in a row, running/jogging 5 miles, not being scared of rail vaults and stop being terrified of precisions onto something that isn’t a line on the ground


Pistol squats, 10, both legs 2. Add 15kg to my max leg press (I’m due for shoulder surgery in February, so I’ll be limited in what I can do. Squats are out, unfortunately, I have to make to with training in a gym with leg press machines. Nasty as they are.) 3. Start a blog about my recovery from surgery to keep myself motivated and on track. 4. Be militantly cautious during my shoulder recovery. This will be the hardest. If it takes months and months before I can do a push up again, I just have to be fine with that.


3 way splits/side planche/back planche/roll ups on straps/15 strict pullups/round off flicks/1 minute handstand hold etc et


Mine would have to be to become good at climb ups and push ups, manage to comfortably run a decent distance (more than a couple of miles), and generally get stronger

My First Class

We asked Ama, who has just taken up Parkour to tell us about her experience of comming to a class:

“I am surrounded by a very supportive, enthusiastic parkour community, here in Glasgow and I have done everything in my power NOT to become a part of this community. The fear that roiled in my stomach, yes because of my fears that I would fall or hurt myself or look like an idiot, but mostly because I just felt like I wouldn’t be able to do it. I wasn’t fit enough, fast enough, physical enough or anything, and would just be slowing everyone else down.

When I finally decided to face my fears and go to a class, I was so surprised, relieved, and excited. Everyone was so nice! People stayed back with me in the jogging and encouraged me step by step by step. Every exercise was about pushing your own physical limits, just giving it a go and not being the best or even necessarily succeeding but improving, getting stronger and working your body and your mind beyond where it was tells you your able to go.

I’ve now been to two classes, and though I still get terrified the whole night leading up to the beginning, the feeling of pride and growing confidence is a high its hard to beat and after two hours with these girls, I feel we’ve been friends for years. Thank you Glasgow Parkour Girls!”

(Photo of the girls warming up)

Some thoughts from Kate and Susie

We asked two of our younger pals currently training parkour in Glasgow, Kate and Susie, both 16, to tell us about their training and offer their advice on getting started with parkour.

How did you get into parkour?
Kate: I had seen some people on TV doing it and I thought it would be amazing to be able to do something as awesome. My friend had already found a youth class that she had began going to, so I thought I’d join her.

Susie: Honestly, I found out through the internet/gaming. I played a pretty popular game called Assasin’s Creed, and thought what the game character was doing looked cool. Then I googled parkour in Scotland and I started taking classes. Oh, and one of my friends showed me a lot of videos of people ‘failing’ at parkour and hurting themselves on youtube… xD

What is your favourite thing about training parkour?
K: You never know what you’re going to faced with next. And when you’re able to do something that you may have thought there was no way that you would be able to do, it feels like an amazing sense of accomplishment

(Kate jumping)

S: When you haven’t been able to do a certain movement, but then after some training, you overcome it. It’s like ‘Woah, I actually did something kinda cool.’

What was the hardest thing when you started?
K: Being able to get over my fear of falling and hurting myself. But I came to realise that thats the way you learn; you have to get a few bumps and cuts along the way to learn from your mistakes.

S: Undoubtedly, the warm ups at training. In fact, I still have problems with them sometimes. My only advice for that is, make sure you eat something before you start any intense training.

Whave you acheived in your parkour training that you are you most proud of?
K: I’ve gotten over my fear of heights. When you’re working up high you learn to control your fear and just go for it.

S: Honestly, I’m just proud that I’ve been able to keep myself fit and in shape. It’s a really healthy and fun workout, and I’m normally a lazy sort of person.

What kind of music do you listen to while training?
K: Mostly anything, but I think it’s probably better if you listen to something chilled and relaxed because it’ll make yourself loosen up a bit and also become relaxed.

S: Music? Ehhh… Not sure. They play some music in my class, but I’m normally too busy chatting away to friends or exercising to notice.

(Susie being a ninja)

Do you prefer structured classes or jams with your pals?
K: I love both so much. Classes are more structured and you get to learn more things and get help from people who are experienced. At jams you get to know lots of people that share a common interest with you, and also get help you when you need it. It’s like one huge community that keeps on growing.

S: I think I do enjoy the classes a bit more, but only because there seem to be more people around. Jams are good too, though.

What advice would you give to other teenage girls who want to try Parkour?
K: Just go for it! You may be like me, and nervous at first but it’s so worth it in the end. The things you learn and the people you meet last a lifetime if you keep it up :)

S: Just do it! If you’re reading about it on the web and wondering, like I was, and you’re maybe just a tinsy bit shy, then honestly, just go for it. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done :D

November Girls Jam

It’s time for this month’s girls parkour jam!!

These free jams open to anyone from beginner to the super experienced and are a really welcoming and friendly way to try parkour and to meet Glasgow’s growing female community!
So come and give it a shot, it’s free so you have nothing to lose =p !
Meet at Kelvinbridge station at 1.15 , and we’ll go from there!