Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

I think that we need to discuss competition in parkour, as it is a major issue these days, especially with this:

Please, post whatever your opinion is. Speak the truth.

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I'm anti-parkour competition for three reasons:

1. Competition in parkour would lead to dangerous situations, injuries, and probably deaths. If you are not sure about attempting something, but the guy you are competing with does it, then you will want to do it too, and that is just unsafe. Period.

2. A non-competition environment is better for beginners. If you were a beginner, would you like to be worse than everybody, but have everybody teaching you and helping you out, or would you like to be worse than everybody and have them beating you all the time, and focusing on winning instead of helping you? Think about it.

3. David Belle created it as a non-competitive discipline. It is meant to be done for yourself, not to impress other people, or to be able to say that you are better than other people. We need to respect what it was created as and what it was meant for. I do not train so I can impress my friends or say that I am better than them. I train for myself, so that I can get stronger and more coordinated, and so that I can get away in the case of an emergency.

If I saw a parkour competition, I would tell the people participating that competition is not parkour. Then, I would leave and not participate.

What would you guys do?
I do not opposed competition which identifies as parkour. Let's not forget that the essence of parkour movement is efficiency so in that light any race by human power alone would qualify, especially one over an obstacle course.

I think it is important that any competition find a way to appreciate management of great risks while not glorifying recklessness. The argument that parkour would lead to dangerous and perhaps lethal situations ignores the fact that most professional, competitive sports are also played by non-professionals and there is rarely an argument in those sports that recreational practitioners are powerless but to emulate the pros. Certainly there are pursuits such as rock climbing, sailing, cycling, surfing, etc. in which professionals and amateurs alike have been injured and/or died in competition as well as in recreation, but I think that supports safety training more than abolition of competition. Parkour is as dangerous as we make it and it's up to us individual traceurs and traceuses to recognize the dangers that we put ourselves in and be honest with ourselves about the risks we are willing to take. Competitive arenas may promote increased risk in reduced timeframe, but assessing them at speed is a more essential skill of parkour than a smooth kong vault.

Community and competition are not mutually exclusive. As much as we would like to remove competitiveness from our learning environments (which, again, are not inherently linked to tradition judged or head-to-head trials), we all compete with ourselves and whether we admit to it or not, many of us also compete with those we train with. I go to jams not just because I like y'all, but also because many moves don't seem acheivable until I see someone else do it first. I'm not always so confident in my abilities that I can see Kaos or Aero complete a move and assume I can do it straight away, but it does assure me that it's possible. I am always in competition with myself to improve and I would encourage people to create positive, competitive relationships to help others improve.

David Belle has also said when looking at two paths, take the harder one because that is how one improves. Creating and maintaining and environment that is both positive and fiercely competitive is not easy, but it can break limits which might take much longer to even reach without it.

I realize that competition does not work for everyone and perhaps doesn't even work for anyone all the time. Having grown up playing competitive sports, it has worked well for me in the past to the extent that I get disappointed when I am immediately successful at something new or when I make a team only to discover that I'm not the worst in the bunch- it means that the ladder I was set to climb is shorter than I thought and that I may have to extend it myself.

So basically if I saw a parkour competition, I would watch as much as I could, learn as much as I could and, if at all possible, assure that the positive aspects of parkour get at least as much recognition as the spectacular ones.
Regarding the difference between parkour, freerunning, art of displacement, etc., there are many online videos where Belle, Foucan and the Yamakasi guys repeatedly say that there is no difference for them. What matters is the mindfulness and the heart in the movement, the name is not really important.

interesting you put up that video, because in the very same interview they talk about how they disagree with competition in parkour/yamakasi/l'art du placement

one point i find very important in the fact there's no competition in parkour is how free ideas and techniques may be exchanged. There is no reason to horde styles or conditioning methods, you aren't fighting anyone. If you teach someone how to do a technique better than you can yourself, it's no threat to you. in fact it's an accomplishment. parkour is about helping others, teaching others. in competition you'll always want an edge, by power, skill, or strategy. that's how you win. that makes no sense within the parkour discipline.
Yes, I agree with Orem and Duperhero. About the video, I think he is not trying to say that freerunning and parkour are the same thing. I think that he is trying to say that it is really the mentality that matters, not the name of the sport. Saying "freerunning" instead of "parkour" does not make a difference, while the difference in the mentality of the two is meaningful.

I think they chose the wrong name for this competition. Parkour is referred to as the art of efficient movement, while freerunners is referred to as the art of free movement. No matter what, if you are being judged on "style," as the atheletes in this competition are, the movements are not efficient, and therefore not parkour.
I thought their point was that there is no difference in either movement or mentality, they are the same aside from the words and etymology.
First, parkour competition is an oxymoron. By definition parkour is not a competitive activity. It is important to make a difference between organized competition and what msgr33 is describing. There is plenty of room for friendly competition or self-competition, but it is not even close to the same thing as an organized competitive event with prizes. It is two different discussions entirely. We all strive to progress. Whether we healthily feed off the energy of others or struggle against ourselves it doesn't matter. Those are fine. But trying to best someone for a prize is something completely different that has no place in parkour. David said that the true competition in parkour is to see who can be the most helpful. Thats parkour. If someone slaps the term parkour on a competition then they are probably just trying to use the term to make money.

It is undeniable that competition increases injury. This is very evident in major leagues such as the NFL where players drop dead on a yearly basis from exhaustion. People strive so hard for a competitive edge and are pushed so hard that they end up killing themselves. This can been seen on a smaller scale in the Red Bull Freerun competition that happened a while back. They gave first place to the guy that broke his arm after a very dangerous stunt...sad.

The company hosting the "parcouring" competition is very deceitful. Kultos Entertainment invented and copywrited the word "parcouring" as an attempt to cash in on a new "youth trend." Their scouting department went out to several sites in 2006 to gather information on the parkour community. Here are some tidbits from their website:

"KULTOS Entertainment Ltd. is the agency for unusual sport events."
They "developed the concept for the new Fun and trendy sport."
"They e.g. obtain a similar life feeling as Snow or Wakeboarden: Young, sportily, dynamically and trendy."

Basically Kultos researches youth trends, invents and copywrites names that sound very similar to the trend (parkour / parcouring) and creates "World Championships" to capitalize on the trend.

In the case of their "Splash Diving" competition they actually got the practitioners of an existing activity to change the name of their original sport to the one Kultos invented. No doubt they want their new word "parcouring" to become synonymous with parkour. Shameful.
It's not that I agree with Kaos because I'm his student or his friend (which I am), but because he thinks logically, he has strong yet respectful opinions, and most importantly he backs up his statements with thorough research and sharp analisys.
Of course, I happen to share his feelings for parkour and for any attempt to exploit the discipline too, but that doesn't matter much...

What matter is that I believe he's right and his current of thoughts deserves support.
Yes, shameful. I had not researched this company, so I didn't know about this. I would agree with you that the point of parkour is not to do better than others, but to challenge yourself and progress.
competition may help certain people but for me it just makes the sport a whole lot more un-fun :) i think if the purpose of parkour was to be competitive, we wouldn't be able to meet such cool people as the people here on this site
sounds like a mistake.

eff it, if nobody goes or cares, maybe it'll just fade away. or they will buy the whole pk scene and own us all haha
What I think you're talking about is friendly competition. Like to see who can get from A-B in the quickest time with the most efficient route. This kind of competition is fine because there is no reward except for a heightened feeling in your skizzles. However in a monetary competition with prizes, people would do crazy things and push themselves past their limits. THis would obviously cause problems and that is primarily why prize competitions are horrible and only tear the parkour community apart.


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