Why do women not compete in sports that men are predominant in? Well, here is why! This Blog is a 7- to 10-minute read.
ACRO SPORTS – What is Acro Sports?
- A range of athletic or sports activities including:
- Acrobatic gymnastics
- Gymnastic formation
- A Human pyramid
- A Human tower and similar cultural activities, to name a few
What is Parkour exactly?
Parkour is a training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Parkour includes: running, free running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, plyometrics, rolling, quadrupedal movement (crawling) and other movements as deemed most suitable for the situation. Parkour’s development from military training gives it some aspects of a non-combative martial art.
Parkour is an activity that can be practised alone or with others and is usually carried out in urban spaces, though it can be done anywhere. Parkour involves seeing one’s environment in a new way and imagining the potential for navigating it by movement around, across, through, over and under its features.
The discipline was popularized in the late 1990s and 2000s through films, documentaries, video games and advertisements.
While there is no official list of “moves” in parkour, the style in which practitioners move often sets them apart from others and there are a number of movements considered fundamental. Some examples of common movements are:
- Vaulting over obstacles.
- “Precision” Jumping and landing accurately with the feet on small or narrow obstacles.
- “Arm Jumps” Jumping and landing feet-first on a vertical surface, catching the horizontal top with the hands.
- Using a rolling motion to help absorb impacts from larger drops.
- Running towards a high wall and then jumping and pushing off the wall with a foot to reach the top of the wall.
- Moving from a position hanging from a wall-top or ledge to standing on the top or over to the other side.
Why do women not partake in Parkour?
Whilst the majority of women don’t partake, some do.
Physical limitations do exist, and in many different forms, such as agility, muscle strength, cardio and endurance and body type.
Injuries can affect us all equally, limiting what we can do at any given time; but beyond this, our body type itself can often dictate our potential in any specific field of activity. Because women have a different physiology from men our approach to Parkour may, of necessity, be different as well. For instance, pulling up from a cat-leap scraping one sensitive chest can hurt, and it might deter women from repeating the movement. A similar scenario can result during vaults for those women who are somewhat bigger chested i.e. bringing the knees to the chest, the knees don’t get so close.
Running, in general, can sometimes hurt, and even some good sports bras don’t cure this problem entirely.
Does this mean we just can’t be as good as the men? No: it simply means that we may have to find a slightly different method.
It means developing the strength and technique to pull oneself up and over the wall without the chest making contact with the hard edge. It means learning to adapt our movement to flow over obstacles in a unique way. In short, one must realize, consider, and overcome limitations regardless of gender. Everyone, male or female, runs the risk of injury – just as in any other sport – but with careful training and proper preparation, this risk can be minimized or even negated entirely. Additional training, such as weightlifting, can help prepare for and avoid certain muscle injuries. I advise women, to work on upper-body strength; at the bare minimum push-ups, pull-ups, and abdominal, mental and cardio work. When women begin training with parkour, they will most likely not be able to pull themselves up from a wall-run or cat leap. Hard practice will give the majority of sporting women strength and improvement of one’s own abilities.
Practice with other people, regardless of gender or ability, can be beneficial when analyzing progress. An experienced man may know a great way to teach you something, but sometimes an inexperienced woman can also offer plain observations and advice more relevant to your situation.
Parkour is practised without equipment of any kind. Practitioners normally train wearing light, non-restrictive casual clothing. Traceurs who wear gloves are rare—bare hands are considered better for grip and tactile feedback. Light running shoes with good grip and flexibility are encouraged because they allow for more natural and fluid movements. Practitioners often use minimalist shoes, sometimes as a progression to bare feet, for better sensitivity and balance, while others prefer more cushioning for better absorption of impacts from large jumps. Barefoot training is done by some for movement competency without gear—while it’s noted that “bare feet are the best shoes. Various sneaker manufacturers have developed shoes specifically for parkour and free running. Many other companies around the world have started offering clothes targeted at parkour.
Risks and Safety
Parkour is not widely practised in dedicated public facilities. Although efforts are being made to create places for it, many traceurs do not like the idea, as it is contradictory to parkour’s values of adaptation, creativity, and freedom. Traceurs practice parkour in both rural and urban areas such as gyms, parks, playgrounds, offices, and abandoned structures. Concerns have been raised regarding trespassing, damage to property, and the use of inappropriate places such as cemeteries. Many parkour organizations around the globe support the Leave No Trace initiative, an urban version of the outdoor conservation ethic created by, promoting safety, and respect for the spaces used and their other users.
Injuries and deaths
Concerns have been raised by law enforcement and fire and rescue teams about the risk of jumping off high buildings. They argue that practitioners are needlessly risking damage to both themselves and rooftops by practising at height, with police forces calling for practitioners to stay off the rooftops. Some practitioners of Parkour agree that such behaviour should be discouraged.
Because parkour philosophy is about learning to control oneself in interaction with the environment, many parkour experts tend to view serious physical injury as a deviation from true parkour
Thinking you’re going to fail at something gives you a higher risk of doing just that. Committing to something you’re thinking about or knowing you will land gives you a higher chance of landing or completing the task. On biomechanical grounds, a single study found that certain parkour landing techniques may lead to lower landing forces and loads in comparison with a traditional sports technique
Overall, given the challenge, variety, and possibilities for self-improvement that Parkour has to offer, it would be great to see more women taking up the sport. From this woman’s perspective, there is a lot of headway for us to make.
If you choose to take up this sport, do not try this at home. There are many training facilities that have Parkour courses and don’t do this sport alone, join a group, because if there is an accident you can be attended to immediately.
If you have the itch, go for it! And it doesn’t cost you a cent!
After researching, the suggested footwear Manufacturers and brands are, to name a few:
The 7 Best Parkour Foot Wear – https://thebestparkourgear.com/
10 best Parkour Shoes – https://www.walkjogrun.net/best-parkour-shoes-reviewed/
South African Suppliers:
Sportsmans Warehouse – https://www.sportsmanswarehouse.co.za/footwear
Sabotage Elite.com – http://sabotageelite.com/about/
Salomon – https://salomonsports.co.za/
Footgear – https://www.footgear.co.za/
Tifosisports – https://tifosisports.co.za/product-category/brands/
When you are ready to hit the streets, please take a moment and bow to people that are disabled, that cannot take part in these sports.
Play Station Games
For all you avid gamers out there, Play Station has awesome parkour games, here they are:
- Infamous 2
- Dying Light
- Assassins Creed
- Infamous 2nd son
Keep an eye out for another one of my blogs: Aerobatics
My views, comments and content are strictly my own opinion and research and are not governed or influenced by any marketing of companies or brands. It is of my own free will to mention companies and brands that supply sporting equipment pertaining to the sport in the discussion.