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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...actually, a great "action" would be requesting (and getting) as many tickets as possible, and then... not showing up! Lol...
'Cause it's not that they'll let you get in an LA studio (even outdoor) with signs, or would ever let you protest there.

And if you would set up a demonstartion outside, at the doors, they are not gonna cover it... which would mean "it never happened".

They wouldn't cover it, because this is an issue relevant only for existing traceurs (and not even all of them).

IMO, this is a struggle which will take place where parkour is born and grown: online and within the communities...

The WFPF (which will turn out to be just an association of professional athletes competing among them, if anything... basically a circus...) will not provide free classes for people who'd want to pick this up.
Those people will go to the net and find.... "us"!
That's why it is so crucial that the communities discuss this among them, and, one way or the other, parkour or freerunning, flips or no-flips, they should get ready to guide the new wave of beginners towards safe and progressive practice, with an eye for longevity in their training...
Do you think we should actually try to request tickets and not show up? I wonder if you have to give a lot of personal information to get tickets...
I don't think it'd actually work; I'm sure they'd just have other people go instead. Besides, it seems a little spiteful.
..."spiteful" in the sense of trying to harm the show's fake success, yes. ("fake", because manipulated by giving away free tickets...)
"Spiteful" in the sense of "nasty, vindictive, cruel, malignant, malevolent", I'd say no.

All the forms of protest hypothesized are pretty mild, really.

..even if you would have to give a lot of personal information, think about it, what are they gonna do? Fine you because you didn't take advantage of a free ticket? They may never award you another ticket... ever...
In case it matters.

But, again, for this to have an effect, it should have been a national action...
Unfortunately, you've seen the turn the discussion took, on a 'national level'.
We could just keep on changing our names and asking for more tickets...
hillexallen: I believe you're misinterpreting or misunderstanding the responses you've received on SFPK.
Oh, man, way too many replies in this thread. Which comment were you replying to again, Beretta?
hillexallen wrote:
"Maybe the websites shouldn't have split. We would have more sensible people over there. lol Of course I am just kidding, but I am really frustrated with how none of them seem to understand that the mission of the WFPF is nOT to advance parkour and freerunning."

My comment was a response to that. It's way too strong to say none of the people participating in the discussion on SFPK understand the mission of the WFPF. The fact is we all have different opinions about it.

Personally I think MTV is silly. I also think it is inevitable that individuals and companies will attempt to commercialize parkour in various ways, as has already happened (i.e. classes, websites, clothing, shoes.) Each of these things will change parkour and who practices it, in both good and bad ways.

Whatever happens, I will continue to train hard and focus on creating things within the parkour community that I enjoy. I will work with others who inspire me to train harder, and I will try not to judge people who choose a different path from my own.

Here's the thread on SFPK.
...thanks Beretta, for specifying and also just for leaving us a note.

I agree with you that generalizations will not help any of us, or the cause of parkour (if there is such thing...). People are different, with the most diverse backgrounds and experience baggage (some still with a fairly light baggage...), and they react to various situations in the most articulate ways.

Nevertheless, I also think that the obvious enthusiasm mixed with a healthy passion for the discipline, may very well trigger a common sense of protection for what, as you described it, is being done daily by the many communities:
- running regular free beginners sessions;
- involving people of all ages, genders, ethnicity, social status;
- encouraging people to train healthy, safely and for the long course; etc.

All these people express the freedom of choice to organize themselves, train, enjoy, progress, and protest, if they need to.

We all know that neither the WFPF, nor MTV, will ever provide extensive, knowledgeable information, and free classes or helpful training for people who will want to pick this up.
Those people will go to the net and find.... "us"!

That's why it is so crucial that the communities discuss this issue among them, and, one way or the other, parkour or freerunning, flips or no-flips, they should get even more ready to guide a new wave of maybe over-enthusiastic (=thrill seeking) beginners towards safe and progressive practice, with an eye for longevity in their training...

So, more than an anachronistic fight against the moderate commercialization of certain elements of the parkour practice (equipment, coaching, professional work), I believe this fervor is to be connected to the perception of commercial exploitation created by what becomes basically a single talent scout agency, piggybacking on years of volunteer work and good-will put in by the thousands around the world.

If anything else, Alex thread, and posts in general, stimulate people's discussion, and at the very least made you 'chime in' here. ;)

For this I'm thankful to him...
I haven't seen one of these IBM, pre-Windows, dot-matrix inspired drawings in a looooong time.... lol!
"Part daredevil" ?????? "stunts" ???


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