[INTRO] I like learning from good teachers. I find either a good teacher or a good book is really helpful for me because its more about the quality of the teaching or the book instead of the actual subject sometimes.
So I’m Mandy. I like all sorts of movement be it parkour, martial arts, acrobatics, and I teach parkour here at the Monkey Vault.
Q: Can you tell us more about the Monkey Vault?
The Monkey Vault started in 2008 at our other location at Dufferin and Dupont. Then we moved here in December.
Q: What steps did you take in order to get the position you hold today?
I coach female classes here – at the old gym and at this gym – so I’ve been doing that for about a year now and at the beginning I started this training outside with the guys so I never had that sort of scene where there were females or many females involved in it. And so I travelled a lot. I went to Montreal, I went to New York to see what it was like to train with other girl sand to see how the communities there are developed and so I thought it was really interesting. I thought it was really cool to have females in the scene so I wanted to see if I could create something like that here in Toronto. So i started talking to Dan who runs the Monkey Vault here and talked about doing a female class. So we’ve started doing that and its been running ever since.
Q: How do you practice self care?
I follow 3 principles. The first one being “to always follow my curiosity” so if I’m curious about something always find I learn best when I pursue that. The second one is “to always persevere” and have a will to do what I’m trying to do. If there’s something that I’m super curious about but then I get de-motivated because it gets too difficult I do my best to find a way to see if I can make it interesting still if not then I move onto another thing. The third thing would be “to be kind to myself and to others” that’s something recently I found out about and I found it to be super helpful because if you are kind to yourself it makes it better for yourself and people around you if you’re at your best.
Q: Are there some Toronto-based events that you love attending?
The Keep Rocking You by Judy. I took her summer program last year and I found it to be super motivating. It was something that I’ve never experienced before where there’s a male dominated activity but there’s a group of females trying to get involved and get into the seemingly daunting community. It’s a break dancing program – I’m not sure if I said that or not. [interviewer laughs and says “no”]. It’s a girls break dancing program.
And my event actually, so we are running that here in Toronto. So it’s the North American Girls Jam. So that’s gonna be the first time that’s happening in Canada for girls all over North America coming in. So that’s super exciting it’s a travelling event it ran for 3 years in NYC first and this is the first time it’s going to be on Canadian soil. So that’s gonna be June 26th and 27th so the intent of it is to engage the community so if you’re new and you’ve always wanted to try the sport and you’re female the of course come on down and join us in that.
Q: What was the best lesson you’ve learned outside of formal classrooms?
I learn best when I’m not even in the classroom. I don’t really recall any of my lessons from classrooms but I think listening was the most important lesson – if that’s what you want to call it – that I’ve learned because we are always taught to read we are taught to vocalize our thoughts and we’re never really taught to listen and take in what we are being told.
Q: Is there anything else you wish to share?
I would like to see more people just being active and using their bodies and moving around space. We created this space because we wanted to see people move and interact with objects. It doesn’t have to be parkour it could be any sort of movement arts they want so if you’re ever interested in joining us in these activities or just finding your own then I hope to see you out here.