Let’s face it. We haven’t seen nearly as many women practicing parkour as we’d like to. In fact, a lot of people who don’t practice parkour have no idea that there are any female practitioners out there. Fortunately, that’s all starting to change as strong women like Caitlin Pontrella take to the streets.
To read an interview with Caitlin Pontrella by fellow traceuse Brooke Bjerke click read more...
Caitlin recently participated in the American Parkour Instructor certification course that took place back in May. Brooke Bjerke had the opportunity to talk with her about the event afterwards.
Caitlin explains that the course was a combination of demonstration, lecture, and some teaching. She added that the course was very discussion based, which was effective because participants could pick up teaching methods from each other.
Caitlin was the only woman in attendance at the certification course. I asked how she felt about that, and she replied that it didn’t affect her too much. “I am very used to being the only woman at parkour events. I make a point not to make a point about it.” She adds, “My gender doesn't define my capabilities. Furthermore, we were all treated equally and all had the same expectations to pass- as it should be.”
It’s no surprise that Caitlin was the only traceuse taking the certification course. As she explained in the interview, an 8 to 1 ratio isn’t very surprising at this point in parkour’s developmet. However, that ratio is gradually changing as more women start to get involved in the discipline. When asked if she thought more women would start taking the certification courses in the near future, she replied that “Most practitioners are men, thus most of the participants [in the certification] are men. I think as you see more women involved in Parkour, there will be more interest in teaching.”
According to Caitlin, she is the kind of traceuse who doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She’s confident in her physical capabilities and has "a great jump", although she sometimes holds back when practicing in a larger group. When I asked what the future holds for her in parkour with her new certification, she said that she will continue to train and travel.
“I really want to encourage more women to come out and move, to get stronger and be confident. Though it is still in its very early stages, I would really like to start a not-for-profit in this upcoming fall/next spring that brings movement to young children in the city, teaching them the value of risk and the importance and ability of overcoming obstacles.”
Caitlin and Brooke both agree that women and men should train together. Women’s jams are in no way encouraging segregated training. These jams are just a great way for women to meet other traceuses and gain inspiration and courage from each other. As more and more women begin to see what they are capable of in the discipline, parkour will hopefully be seeing a lot more traceuses in the near future.
By: Brooke Bjerke
Know any traceuses in need of guidance. Send them over to the womens' section on the APK forums.