Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

From the post in the "resources" section:

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Dear BApk members,

We would like to inform you about an upcoming event that may shape the public perception of our discipline. This may affect current practitioners in their daily conversations about parkour, but more importantly it will affect the mindsets of would-be practitioners, general public, media and authorities. If you have been with us for a while or have read through our documents, you already have a good idea how we feel about this. However, rather than preach to you we thought it best to give you the details so that you can make an informed judgment.

This month production begins on a MTV television series called "The Ultimate Chase" that will attempt to portray parkour and freerunning. As the title describes, the series will set well known practitioners (Danny Illabaca, Ryan Doyle, Oleg Vorslav) as well as lesser known practitioners (Brian Orosco) against each other on an obstacle course. "The Ultimate Chase" which will be introduced by a one hour special will feature both man vs. man and man vs. course events.

The show is the brainchild of a few entertainment professionals who formed the "World Freerunning and Parkour Federation" (WFPF) by signing athletes from around the world who were trying to break into the entertainment industry. Televised obstacle courses have been around for some time, but this rebranding for English audiences will take advantage of the popularity of the disciplines of parkour and freerunning. The WFPF claims their competition remains true to the philosophies of both parkour and freerunning which were founded and defined as non-competitive disciplines.

While their audience will consist largely of non-practitioners, the WFPF has worked closely with practitioners to form a palatable marketing strategy for the existing community. It is their position that competition is the inevitable future of a discipline which is practiced by tens of thousands world wide in a non-competitive fashion. While this may seem illogical, their position comes into focus when considering the money involved. It is virtually impossible to make money off of parkour in its current non-competitive format. It cannot be argued that a competitive format is more lucrative. This 'inevitability' stance has been trumpeted for the past several years only by those interested in profiting off the community (i.e.: Mark Toorock of APK, and Paul Corkery of UFF), but was shot down by a global movement which popularized such slogans as "Pro Parkour, Against Competition" and "Competition is not inevitable, it is just another obstacle!" To further satisfy the non-competitive community the WFPF claims all competitors will strive together in a communal fashion. However, they diverge from the community theme when they claim on their website to be a "Federation for the teams". The global parkour scene is not made up of teams, which are generally viewed as a means to further careers in the entertainment industry, but rather all-inclusive communities that foster the utilitarian parkour philosophy.

While the WFPF has taken a direct page out of the APK/UFF playbook, they are not collaborating with the two organizations since initial discussions turned sour. Both APK/UFF and WFPF camps claim the opposition is taking advantage of their athletes. Although some WFPF signees are rumored to be unhappy with their contracts, for those willing to partake in a competition labeled as parkour the partnership with WFPF seems like a step in the right direction in terms of safety. The industry professionals will be using the UFF Barclaycard competition as an example of what not to do. At the aforementioned event there was only one medic on site when an athlete was seriously injured, and required emergency treatment. The entire event had to be put on hold until the medic returned to a jeering crowd and uneasy participants.

Here is the first press release from the WFPF. Hopefully you feel we gave you some intelligent insight on this upcoming event, and can make more informed decisions about it.

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I'm willing to do everything in my power to fight AGAINST this. I will be starting a group soon for this purpose. Stay tuned for more details.

Let's at least try to minimize the effects of this problem.

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Definitely not encouraged by this trailer. It's stuff like this that makes me never want to give anyone the slightest hint that I even think about doing parkour.

Then don't.

 

I don't think much of pk competitions, but they, like the pk community, are going to represent a wide range of styles and appeal to a wide range of people. That's good for all of us and should be encouraged.

 

Personally, I'm just hoping for a competition that's more fun for non-traceurs to watch than Sasuke or MTV. I think I'll finally get it when they produce Survior: Rage Frooble Island.

So you're saying that if I find this show so antithetical to how I approach parkour that it drives me to keep my parkour a secret or to not do parkour at all, that is good for all of us?

 

I don't think visibility and growth for the sake of themselves are necessarily good things. Just as we as individuals work on steady progression in movement, we as a community should be cautious  to avoid to the setbacks of going too big without having developed a solid foundation.

It's true, Seng. Anything that causes you to stop practicing parkour would be a loss to us all. ;)

 

I'm kind of serious though. My point is that I don't really care what you call it or how you practice it, just that you do. I care that you do because you get something out of it and I'm a nice person that wants people to be happy and have fulfilling experiences. If you're not getting anything out of what you're doing, whether it's practicing parkour or telling people that you do, then stop.

 

In regards to what we as a community "should" do, this highlights a major difference between us that I think comes from how we view "the community". I don't think a community grows and progresses the same way an individual does at all. Just like I don't think the way a group chooses to behave should determine how I choose to act myself.

 

Either way, I'm pretty sure if we took our training half as seriously as we took these philosophical discrepancies, our parkour would be a lot better - competitively or otherwise.

I think I was unclear about what I meant by "giving the slightest hint"- I don't get pleasure going around telling people I do parkour, because I don't (tell people or feel good doing it), but people end up knowing anyway because it's hard to contain something that inspires such enthusiasm. I meant that anytime someone sees extreme parkour action, they are going to end up asking that one actual tracer they know if they do that crazy flips off of buildings stuff; maybe that one tracer does do those kinds of jumps, or maybe parkour just happens to be what they're into right now instead of yoga or basketball or something else and then the interaction so often ends up like asking it two people are cousins just because they're both Asian but one of them is Tila Taquila and the other is an adopted Korean American software engineer.

 

Can you clarify for me how you believe a group grows differently from an individual? Certainly an individual should retain self-determination even within a group, but what do you see as an individual's responsibility regarding the group(s) in which they consider themselves members?

 

I don't find that my physical training can be separated from how I approach these philosophical questions- they are the same actions in different media. While I feel I have a lot to learn in both realms, I'm just not sure what you're getting at about how our parkour would being a lot better.

Clarification: Consider a very secluded community, say an Amish village or an Amazonian tribe. An individual in that community can certainly grow and progress: they can flourish spiritually, expand their physical capabilities, develop and evolve a perspective, become wonderful or terrible people, etc. etc. etc. However these communities, without exposure to other populations or physical circumstances don't, strictly speaking, "grow and progress." Historically they've been found to stay very much the same. This is what I mean by a community does not grow and develop the way an individual does.

(Yes, I was a bit of a sociology geek in college. No, I'm not comparing bapk or anyone else to the Amish)

 

What I'm getting at is that we should all talk less smack and train more better.

 

Also, Tila Taquila could totally have an adopted Korean American software engineer as a cousin, so don't be hatin'

Caring about how others practice is the foundation of this community.  It is how we keep each other safe.

as long as we dont care so much as to exclude practices that others believe in.

 

safety is relative, any person who has trained for an extended amount of time can attest to that.

or rather, danger is relative.

 

Which is probably on a tshirt somewhere.

If someone believes in and practices something that is toxic to our community, we should certainly exclude them (after trying to reason with them).

Tempest promotes the show on Conan 2/15:

 

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