Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

Celebrate Parkour Community Diversity

Tracers in the SF Bay Area are among the luckiest in the country. Not only do they benefit from an abundance of diverse training grounds, they also benefit from an abundance of diverse approaches to the discipline of Parkour. These practitioners are privileged enough to have two large distinct communities within the Bay Area that hold regular training sessions. Each community plays host to a variety of personalities and methodologies, and each caters to a different mindset. While the differences may seem subtle or even pointless to some, they are very important to the growth and enjoyment of many. The key is that different types of sessions provide different atmospheres. It is within these varying atmospheres that different types of progression can occur. Sure its fun to get big groups together once in while, but when we all train together all the time we eliminate several of those atmospheres. The benefits of diversified training are too great to ignore. Why eliminate something of value? We should celebrate our diversity. Bay Area tracers have the option of participating in one or both communities, and can glean valuable lessons from each. One of the great things about San Francisco is its cultural diversity. How fitting that the city be host to multiple culturally diverse groups of Parkour practitioners.

The idea that we all always need to be training in the same place at the same time is silly. It should not be taken as an affront when training sessions at different locations are held on the same day. It is a triumph! As a whole, both communities are providing multiple paths for the practitioners. Not to mention the fact that big groups attract more attention. By spreading out into smaller groups we lower our impact on the environments where we train and cause less of a nuisance to the inhabitants of the area. These are just some of many unintentional ways that these two communities are working together. These things need to be taken into consideration after the recent ban on Parkour in certain parts of New York.

Ultimately we are all sharing something together. This occurs whether or not two people are training in the same location. Why not celebrate the diversity we have, celebrate the options we have, celebrate the different atmospheres we create, and not get annoyed when one group decides to train elsewhere, but instead recognize that the differences in each community's training sessions can actually compliment each other. Such practices can only help the community grow as a whole.

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Comment by monk on September 18, 2010 at 12:59pm
confusion between what individuals want and the role of the organization is understandable, but one of BApk's goals from the beginning has been to provide a permanent and sustainable alternative to anything else offered. i think that might be part of the spirit of Chris' post

(hey Chris, it's nice to see you btw! :) )
Comment by marisa on September 17, 2010 at 8:18pm
I've run into the argument with BApk members in the past regarding the difference between individuals and BApk. No, it's not a requirement that any person go to any pk session ever. And, as I said in my original comment, no, it's not a requirement for BApk (the organization or representing individuals) to be present at every Monthly Jam. I just thought that the location of this month's Monthly Jam, one of BApk's favorite haunts, provided a good opportunity for BApk (the organization) to reach out to the greater community and expand its visibility, without having to expend much effort.
Comment by Seng on September 17, 2010 at 9:35am
Marisa, it seems like you're drawing a lot of hyperbole out of scheduling conflicts with one event. There are many regular sessions all over the Bay where members of different communities come together and train without making a big deal of it so I don't see how you would say that BApk is either small or disengaged. Is it just that BApk and SFPK aren't becoming one entity as fast as you would like to see it happen?

Also, aren't you a member of BApk? Should it be a requirement that every individual in every community has a obligation to go to sessions put on by other communities? Did you complete miss the few minutes at the PKVisions Summit when a number of leaders in different cities talked about burning out on parkour because they spent so much time teaching and training? It wasn't because they weren't getting enough new ideas to bring back to their home sessions. You have the energy, that's great; go and represent, spread the gospel, bring back new ideas, but please don't claim that those who have and continue to give many hours, fronted many dollars, traveled many miles in and out of the area and sacrificed time with loved ones to build this community are somehow not fulfilling what you believe to be their obligation.

@Gensesh- it's definitely a good idea to post transit options on your events, especially since the bridge tolls have finally made public transit a rational option again. I think it helped get SF people over to the East Bay when they realize the spot is only two blocks from BART and that Oakland isn't all out to mug them.
Comment by Chris on September 16, 2010 at 6:02pm
-BApk does not have a goal of staying small, but rather a goal of healthy organic growth.
-BApk does not want to be 'disengaged.' Instead we collaborate with many people.

For our many volunteers who may read some of these comments and feel under appreciated I want to say that you guys are doing a great job!
Comment by marisa on September 16, 2010 at 4:25pm
I respectfully disagree on the grounds that I have been here week after week and know exactly what "you" do. And I have no problem with what is being done. Just with what isn't.

But as was said earlier, if BApk wants to stay small and disengaged, then I guess that's fine.
Comment by gensesh on September 16, 2010 at 4:15pm
I'm relatively knew to the parkour scene in the bay area and and as a practitioner. Ive been training for 8 months and I personally do want to progress over a lifetime and I want to share my knowledge with those who seek it. I love parkour and I plan on doing it as long as I can. That being said since I first started I have interacted with the south bay and Santa Clara groups and the north bay San Fransisco groups currently Nomad and I host a standing Sunday jam in the mid peninsula. We only host a Sunday jam as we encourage our members to go to San Jose or San Fransisco Saturday and Friday jams. Ive trained in SoCal and in Florida as well so I feel like in the short amount of time Ive been training I have gained a decent amount of insight.

The one thing about our community that I have noticed is that the south bay says the north bay doesn't participate and the north bay says the south bay doesn't participate or bapk or sfpk. I think the issue is firstly we don't hold enough rotating monthly jams. In month A it should be in San Fransisco in month B it should be in the peninsula and in month C it should head to San Jose rinse and repeat.

As a community we need to be able to communicate and address the issues of all groups and not just some and that's not happening. At the end of the day we need to remember there are differing skill levels and those that wish to truly progress such as myself will find a way to get to the people who have the knowledge. Having monthly jams and small jams are not mutually exclusive the small jams are where we progress as individuals. Where as the large ones are how we shape ourselves as a community as a whole not just in California but nationally and internationally. I feel like the bay area parkour scene would benefit greatly from rotating monthlies.

That being said sfpk needs to remember that the rest of us do not have communities that are the same size as them we don't have many members with 2 years of experience. Many of us are in our first year still and are looking to grow our communities locally and are struggling to do so. I understand that you might feel like we are choosing not to come but in reality its a two way street. When I first started training I only trained in San Jose I did not meet any one from sfpk. I have yet to have any one from sfpk come down to one of my peninsula Sunday jams.

In the span of four comment's on this blog communication broke down and that's sad.

I personally am trying to be active in all three communities and in communities outside of these if we want our communities to get along better rotating monthlies are the way to go. I would be more than willing to help coordinate and plan them with the south bay members and the members of the north bay.

Also just so every one knows cal train takes you pretty close to most of our penninsula training spots so you can either bring a bike and ride over to the site or get in contact with me or nomad between us we have seating for 8 or 10 people. From now on I will make sure to post this piece of information in our Sunday jam description.

These are my thoughts I'm new to the community and this is what I see. We need to get around this lack of communication and get back to the core issue getting the knowledge to those who don't have the same access to it.

I hope I didn't come of harsh or rude because I wasn't trying to I'm just genuinely concerned about our communities.
Comment by Chris on September 16, 2010 at 4:09pm
You don't understand because your perception is not at all what we do. We train in various places with a constant flow of new people. We help lots of people and they appreciate it. Why that bothers you so much is beyond me.
Comment by marisa on September 16, 2010 at 3:12pm
I just don't fully understand how continuing to train the same way, with the same people, in the same places, week after week celebrates diversity, but occasionally getting together to see different people, from different places, to exchange ideas is "silly."
Comment by Chris on September 16, 2010 at 2:25pm
- BApk has never refused help to anyone.
- BApk will keep offering our help to anyone who asks.
- BApk does not want to see anyone get hurt (suggesting that we do is just silly).

We respect the way you choose to help people, please respect ours.
Comment by marisa on September 15, 2010 at 3:52pm
The SFpk organized Monthly Jams are a celebration of community diversity. They are a forum of exchange, interaction, and play that consistently lack the perspective and experience of the BApk organization. Not by geographic factors, but, as it has become clear to me, by choice.

Yes, they are large events. We are, after all, a large community. Which is part of why they only happen once a month. But, the original sponsor and organizer of the Massive West Coast Jam can surely see the benefit of large scale exchange between traceurs.

SacPK, San Jose PK, CalParkour, SCPK, MarinPK, LathropPK, even San Leandro HS Parkour Club are some of the communities that regularly represent at these events. Why? To join the homogenous mass that is the parkour community outside of BApk? Of course not. They come to lend their individuality to the greater community.

If BApk, as an organization, doesn't want to be part of that greater community, fine. But let me say that I strongly believe that BApk's constant refusal to participate in wider community events, even those held in its own backyard, does a great disservice to all. Especially to the beginners who can most benefit from BApk's "hard work, slow progression" paradigm. When I see a refusal to collaborate with SFpk where beginners will invariable by involved, it says to me that, rather than help beginners progress safely, BApk coaches would prefer to see them get hurt at an SFpk event or leave with the impression that parkour is risky and dangerous. As someone who would never have gotten into parkour without BApk there to help me, I cannot hold to this.

I'm not saying that BApk needs to have a contingent at every Monthly Jam, but if you truly believe that you are training or coaching in a way that can benefit others, why refuse the opportunity to provide that training? Why give up the chance to inspire a new way of thinking or seeing? Why not give people the opportunity to find out for themselves? Why remove yourself from the discussion?

Because that is what is happening when you schedule a Basic Training Session a mile away from a large, established community gathering. By choosing to talk about basic training and slow progression a mile away, you are choosing not to talk to those who are involved in the larger conversation.

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