Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

From the post in the "resources" section:


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.


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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Replies to This Discussion a reference, and for a wider audience discussion, it may be interesting to check out the conversation that will take shape on PKNA, on the same topic.
The group is up! It is called "Traceurs Fighting Commercialization". Go join, and start fighting commercialization!

Here are some thing that you can do: 1. Send messages to MTV about "The Ultimate Chase" (Contact information to come).
2. Send messages to contestants of "The Ultimate Chase" (Contact information to come).
3. Send messages directly to the WFPF (Contact information to come).
4. Add anti-competition and anti-commercialization slogans to signatures on parkour and freerunning forums. ("Pro parkour against competition")
5. Help direct brand new practitioners to accurate information about parkour and freerunning.
6. Don't watch "The Ultimate Chase", don't support practitioners who are on the show, don't purchase items from parkour and freerunning companies.
7. Get people to join this group!
8. Crate accounts on many parkour forums, then post information about this problem.
9. Post anti-competition and anti-commercialization comments on internet videos that promote or involve competition and/or commercialization in parkour and freerunning.
10. Don't compete, and don't support companies who want to take over our discipline!

where can i get the proparkour against competition and commercialization sigs?
on the BApk and competition resource page!
...and fresh from the press and "color coordinated", HERE!

Please review also the insightful, and somehow debated, previous thread titled "Parkour+Commercialization".

Also BApk official position about competition in Parkour, falls back on a lot of the same ideals that are applicable in this circumstance, namely:
- refuse of "parkour elites"
- refuse of antagonist mentality
- refuse of unsafe/unhealthy behaviors
- refuse of instrumentalization and/or appropriation of parkour
Just addressing the statement "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." for the moment, while competition creates an obvious event around which to promote/associate a brand, to think that elimination of competition is the single magic bullet to stop commercialization would be naïve. Many active lifestyle brands- Lululemon, The North Face, Chrome, Patagonia, etc.- have proven that competition isn't necessary to loads of cash off a niche pursuit. In fact, I would say that given the saturation in the competitive sports market, it might actually be more lucrative to sell the anti-competition rhetoric.
Competition can inspire traceurs and traceuses to attempt feats they may not be ready for. The aforementioned UFF Barclaycard competition accident:

Stephane Vigroux does not like it either!!! Now we have actual ideas from one of the founders, even though he was technically 2nd generation, not a founder.
I feel bad, My dad an I laughed at his idiocy.


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