We are so proud of APK Ambassador Ilse Talamantes and all she does for the community, and we wanted to get to know a little more about her. Read about her parkour journey and what motivates her below.
Give us a brief background about yourself and how you became involved in parkour.
Hi, my name is Ilse Talamantes Fernandez, I’m 25 years old and I’m a graphic designer, working in the marketing department at a Mall. I met parkour thanks to a friend who showed me a video, back in 2010, (can’t remember which one it was) and I got so excited, I thought that was pretty cool and I knew I had to try it someday. After a while, I heard there was a local parkour team, and they had classes, and without giving it a second thought I went to look for them so I could join them. I lasted there 1 year, they showed me how to train, move and do basics. After, I decided to take my one path and left the group because I felt I wasn’t improving there, I felt stuck and I wanted to know how much I could achieve, what other things I could do, also, I got injured pretty bad and had to rest a while.
How has parkour impacted your life? What are some of the positive benefits you have found from this sport?
It really has shown me how something can bring so many people together, and that people can be very supportive. I feel that I have one big family all over the city and also in other parts of the world. I’ve met so many people, I had the chance to go to the San Francisco International Jam twice, and one time to the Seattle Jam and it really feels nice to share something we all love, because I’m in love with parkour. The benefits I’ve found are that I can get out of my daily routine of work and go out to jump, relax and have fun, sometimes alone, sometimes with my fiancée or the parkour community. I also discovered that I can achieve so many things I never knew I could do with hard work and training; it has opened my mind a lot, and made me more outgoing, because I was very shy!
What are some challenges you face in the community and around your area.
The challenges I think we face are the training areas, we don’t have many places to go, we usually train near the beach, in a sports facility, or little spots we found, luckily, we are frontier with San Diego and sometimes we go there and train at the parks or the spots they have. Also that people still don’t know much about parkour and sometimes they judge without knowing what are we really doing. But every time someone approaches to ask, we try to explain in the most basic and simple way to understand it. Also it has helped that we’ve had exhibitions of parkour, and that way, people can see what its really about.
How did that injury affect your training and what did you do in the future to prevent this from re-occurring?
I broke my collarbone doing a bad dive roll, didn’t land it right because I wasn’t ready to do that move. Had to leave my training for 6 months, and after that, I committed myself to do the 365 parkour challenge, which I heard of the second time I went to San Francisco back in 2012. I started it relax and slow, and little by little I recovered my arm strength. With this challenge I really learned what parkour is, I felt a lot of support from a lot of people, and realized that parkour is to prepare your mind and body to gain strength, trust and security. Also that I would never do a move I didn’t feel safe to do.
Do you find it hard to be a Traceuse in a predominately male activity?
In my community it’s been hard to have more than two female practitioners, but I don’t get intimidated by the guys because they are and always have been very supportive, I’ve always felt that friendship. But sometimes I wish I could train with more girls, because we can push ourselves, like I do with my only traceuse friend here, she does something and tells me: “you can do it too! If I could, you can!” or vice versa, because we know we are kind of in the same training level, and we felt with more confidence, but also it’s always nice to see other traceuses, especially if they have an interest to train with other girls.
What advice would you have for women looking to be involved in this sport?
I would tell them that it’s a very beautiful discipline, but don’t rush or lose patience, it all takes time, with determination, training and hard work you can progress, maybe some will progress faster than others, but that’s no reason to compare yourself or be jealous, everyone is different, but with dedication, you will get there. And accept help from the ones that want to help you.
What is your favorite move(s)?
My favorite moves are the sit turn on a rail, I can’t get enough of that move or the precision jumps, those are the first moves I do when I see a rail or a place to jump to precision.
If you had any advice for the next generation of athletes what would you tell them?
Be humble and always give your best; you never know who you may be inspiring. Train safe and be safe.