Edinburgh women take leap to become first in Scotland to qualify as parkour coaches

It shot to popularity with a stuntman’s video of death-defying feats and has its roots in military training but parkour has seen a growing number of women take the leap.

By Jolene Campbell
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 10:26 am

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

Now, two coaches with Edinburgh-based Access Parkour have made history by becoming the first women in Scotland to qualify as lead parkour coaches.

The sport which involves moving creatively around urban obstacles was made famous by the video ‘Speed Air Man’ by David Belle and later by daring rooftop scenes in Casino Royale.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Amelia takes the leap as parkour coach PIC: Access Parkour and Donald Dalziel media

But coach Amelia Penfold says parkour is not for adrenaline junkies – it’s ideal for for everyone of all ages and backgrounds.

Amelia is now using her skills to encourage more women and girls to take up the sport, after getting her Level 2 Parkour UK qualification.

For International Women's Day, coaches have organised free women-only tasters of the french street art, which can be traced back to World War Two resistance fighters.

The 23-year-old said: “It does look cool traversing across rooftops but it doesn't need to be extreme. You don’t start a sport at Olympic level.

Amelia takes the leap as parkour coach PIC: Access Parkour and Donald Dalziel media

"Parkour is grounded on ancient athletic principles. You learn to use full range of your movement. People grow in creativity, develop team work and gain confidence.

“Despite the stereotype it's not all fit young men doing extreme, death-defying stunts. For some it’s just for the fun of being outside and having a laugh, getting exercise and taking on a challenge with friends.

"The first time I did it I jumped between kerbs and low walls while it was pouring with rain. I’ve never looked back. It’s so satisfying to control your movement. I like having a goal, taking bigger or higher jumps or tackling new obstacles. It is a bit of a rush when it gets hard or frustrating and I get to the edge of my physical abilities. But I push myself so it’s a mental game too. Training does takes discipline if you want to improve.

"I’ve had a fair number of injuries when I’ve been reckless. When I started out I thought it was tough to have bruises and scrapes. I’m much more sensible now.

“It’s not a traditional sport with set rules, it’s only limited by your imagination in everyday spaces.

"During lockdown I was able to get out and the parkour kept me going. I got into the safety of a fitness regime with it mostly just jumping over kerbs and fallen down trees.

Now the sport Amelia started for fun as a teenager has become a way of life. She hopes that women reaching the top as coaches will help level the playing field.

She added: "Since I started training as a coach all my coaches were men. But I’ve had amazing support from all of them.

"I hope women will give it a go. It’s not competitive, it’s more about finding your own level. And it’s a supportive community around you.”

"Once you start moving through your environment you start seeing things in different way. Instead of stuff in the way it could be to bounce off or I’ll think I could do a stick landing on that. It gives you freedom to play in a way and to really enjoy it without being self conscious. It’s a way of life.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.