Parkour and Freerunning “Why Competitions are part of our Future but not our Dogma?”

It’s clear as night is to day that competitions are here to stay in the world of Parkour and Freerunning.  The OG’s, Purest’s, Extremist’s and New Age Practitioners are starting to split to far ends of the “Art of Movement” and Creating their own universes of what they feel the best thing is for Parkour, Freerunning or L’art Du Deplacement.

The thing is deep down we all want to have a common ground and understanding of origin and not lose the spirit that started the movement.  I say Spirit and not practitioners because as much as I believe the Yamakasi were the first to give form to the Foundation or the Free Movement we see today they were only being driven by spirit and an energy they could not describe and thus movement followed.  Play sparked challenge, challenge built strength, strength built spirit and spirit encouraged play…The cycle has continued since.

So this spirit of Movement cycled and cycled again, refined yet raw, solid yet formless, mystical yet tangible is now at an impasse. Ironic considering that’s what drives it.  Something that seems impossible just takes one person to look at it differently or themselves differently and suddenly impossible becomes probable, probable becomes trainable, and trainable becomes doable.  So why are we at an impasse if this art is so much about passing the impassable?

Some people think that major corporations are trying to cash in on a very profitable new art that is seeing gyms and fitness communities growing like wild flowers.  And in some cases that may be true.  But I don’t like to think that everyone is a crook, I just don’t.  Some think that the art form should be free of charge and to an extent it is free of charge because if you have the right mindset and access to the internet quite frankly all the information to train yourself to become what ever you want is available for free.  Now when it comes to seeking out the help of others I don’t always agree that private services should be free. I will more then happily donate my time to people that are willing to listen, but many people need a whole lot more then just to see and replicate. They need help on a whole other level and that takes time and resources and that should be paid for.  I often say when I became a movement teacher I also became a councilor, a mentor, a multi linguist, an architect, and engineer, and innovator…I became whatever my students or followers needed me to be. I may have not wanted to but I was obligated to. That’s the path of a teacher like it or not.

This spirit of Movement, why are we so pulled apart right now?  The answer is Passion.  It is not Ego, it is not Economy, it is not arrogance.  It is one hundred percent passion.  passion forged by sweat, tears, blood, callouses, friendships, comradery, time, faith, hope, love.  Right now we are up in arms because of our passion for these arts what they have taught us and our paths intertwined within them. We don’t want our memories, legacies, or intimacies ripped from the hands of this beautiful creature that has nurtured us into the strong people we are today. We are afraid of this change that is happening because it seems to go against all that has made us to this day.

For any of you that have been in the movement arts for a long time and have had to put up with the up and downs and failure  and success in training you personally know that at times it can be very hard to find direction.  We train on a path of pleasure and mystery and become something, but then what? We are this developed being and now what, where do we go?  With no direct path do we just stop and let all that bodily knowledge go, do we just walk away from it?  I’ve seen people do that and some with good reason, some with perfect reason, but most with confusion and depression as they let go of something that was really bringing them happiness.  Happiness of course is not a continuous state of being but something you work for.  We let go of that.

I see three Factions.  L’art Du Deplacement the art of movement and an all encompassing lifestyle that allows you to see any and every moment as a way to train your self physically, mentally, and spiritually for all obstacles within life. This even includes such things as meditation, inefficient practice, or even other arts, the sky is the limit but the philosophy is clear “Strong Body, Strong Mind, Strong Person” Parkour the art of training for urban and natural obstacles.  Speed, efficiency, run, jump, climb, stealth “I want to get from hear to there how do I train for that?”  Freerunning has a base of Parkour, but an emphasis on creative and expressive movement. (of course expression is in the eye of the beholder watch it haters) Without Obstacles freerunning cannot exist as that clearly becomes dance or tricking a topic for another time.

Three Factions…All with roots all with the same Spirit and all taking slightly different form. The problem doe not lye in the practice. The problem is the onlookers.  The people that see something for the first time and their experience with it.  The digital age was a double edged sword.  It brought this Spirit to the whole world and at the same time it was delivered by a once and sometimes still naive and innocent culture.  Unbeknownst  to the plague of freedom they were unleashing on the world.  Giving power where there was none, giving hope where there was none, giving purpose where there was none.  That’s the power that movement has…”It is a transformation vehicle”

Three Factions being picked apart by new untrained eyes, untrained minds, and untrained hearts.  Picked apart and only taking the pieces they liked.  Untrained eyes, minds and hearts. Naive and innocent and given all the power.  It takes time to train mind, hearts and eyes.  It takes time to develop.  This young art is still developing and due to the digital age has spread like wild fire with little to no direction for much of the world.  Many teachers are trying to change that.  Many have already.  But the world is big and many of those naive minds have taken the parts they want and began running with them.  Many of them do not care, at least not right now, about the Spirit that needs to be respected that began this movement.

And so we come to it, this “competition.”  I personally am okay with it because it is a way to install direction.  It is a blank format that has the power to bring those naive minds, and the developed minds together in a place of understanding.  It used to be and in some places still is Jams. But putting those together is not for everyone and not possible by many.  With Competitions we can have a controlled environment (at times) in which we can all be there with the same message.  Our sport is the freedom to move any direction and we have moved here.  I don’t see it as prostitution of an art I see it as a branch of an art.  We are a mighty complex tree and we all live here and every branch has something to give weather it is training for a competition or training for yourself there is a time for everything. If my knee ever does heal I want to compete myself because as good as I am giving myself direction because I love to train and always will, I feel that training for a competition can give you better plan of where you are going.

Again I will say there is room for us all in this tree.  I can pridefully say I have been around long enough (10 years now) in this tree and have seen and trained in all of the three branches and they all have purpose.  To say that competition doesn’t is to be blind, to say that self practice doesn’t is to be just as blind.  People are different and have different needs.  As a teacher all I can do is steer them in the direction I feel they will flourish, I can only talk to those who will listen, and I can only paint the picture that is most truthful for my universe.  To my students I say this. “You can choose your own path, never let anybody decide it for you. Only take their guidance as an idea. You decide whether that idea has merit. This Spirit has power strong enough to heal you in all its ways whichever way you chose is the right way, because you chose it”

Please see the good in each other and let the tree keep growing.


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