American Parkour Forum

Parkour and Freerunning => Parkour And Freerunning => Topic started by: Corndogg on January 07, 2010, 09:45:07 AM

Title: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 07, 2010, 09:45:07 AM
If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition, what would it be like?

From Rafe's article "Parkour and Competition (http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/4904/378/)" he states "I would like to see is us as a community finding ways to develop competitive formats that help us achieve the basic goals of this discipline, and take the future of parkour and competition into our own hands."  So let's take the bull by the horn and get it started!

What would a traceur-controlled parkour competition framework include, and exclude?  Should cover things like:
- Goals
- Values and ideals that should be supported
- Location requirements: indoor vs. outdoor, natural vs. man made vs. urban.
- Course requirements
- Length of course, including average time
- Competition rules
- Entry prerequisites
- Ranking or placing of contestants
- Awards, if any
- Things that should be excluded

Let's hear your suggestions!

There's also a thread on SFPK "If you were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition... (http://www.sfparkour.com/forum/showthread.php?t=528)" (from Oct. '07 no less!) that is worth reading to give you some ideas to get started.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: DevintheNinja on January 07, 2010, 10:26:49 AM
i say no competition. we have good exposure as it is no need to get this turned into "business"
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 07, 2010, 10:49:47 AM
i say no competition. we have good exposure as it is no need to get this turned into "business"


Thanks for getting that out of the way.  Hopefully you've already read Rafe's article?  The purpose of this thread though is to define a competition framework with the competition happening as a given, so any "no competition" comments are off topic and should be posted elsewhere.  Thanks!  ;D
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Adam C on January 07, 2010, 12:42:57 PM
I'd have real lava.  :)
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Rafe on January 07, 2010, 01:07:57 PM
Here is my suggestion start experimenting with it in your training, do time trials, do small races, play tag, etc.

Personally I think time trials have the best potential for showing all of the elements of parkour while still saying fairly safe, I would something very like the ninja warrior challenge but with the obstacle more directly like urban and natural terrain not as gimmicky and with more of focus on speed, and flow and less on climbing. More complex series of obstacles less one big movement.

I also think that doing a type of parkour border cross would be extremely fun and beneficial to training though the danger level would have to scaled down, when we have done this type of training we have done it out in the woods ala tegheads Rage froobling (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci6VFNSZt8I) super fun.

I don't think we need to spend hour discussing it on the net that misses the point, guys like Ryan Ford at Apex are already putting the ideas I purposed into action. We will be doing something similar at Parkour visions soon, just start pick a date make it small group of trusted and skilled traceurs and try it out.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Zachary Cohn on January 07, 2010, 02:30:43 PM
Rafe - I don't think we NEED to spend an hour discussing it on the internet, but I think it really helps develop people's thoughts and ideas who aren't located near Parkour Visions or APEX.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Gabe Arnold on January 07, 2010, 03:17:27 PM
I'd like to get this out of the way, I posted it in the Spam Thread but I wanted to make sure Rafe and others saw it. Yes, the letter form is satiric, this was just my compliments to Rafe.

To Rafe Kelly,

Your article on the front page was excellent. It's great to hear an influential name in the American scene, and someone I admire, talk about competition (in some form) in a positive way. I've believed in the good side of competition for over a year now and have been almost universally shot down when I try to talk about it in a positive light.

I believe that ignoring competition shows a weakness on our parts. It's like someone with an addiction. An alcoholic can abstain entirely from liquor or they go way overboard. They can't find a happy, moderate medium - they abuse it or they cut it out entirely. I think we as a community have been acting in a similar way for a long time now. We either embraced a bad, dangerous form of competition or we shunned it like a plague.

True power and discipline is shown in having control.

Sincerely, Gabe

Now, my ideas on competition. I posted this six months ago in August when I tried to get others to come up with competition ideas in this thread. (http://www.americanparkour.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,159/topic,20060.msg239344/#msg239344)

The decathlon is a track and field event in which athletes compete is a series of ten contests, ranging from running to jumping to throwing. The goal is to accumulate the most points by placing highly in all events; the athlete with the most points wins. I believe a similar system could be used to great effect to create a Parkour "competition". Rather than a singular event, such as an obstacle course of run, the athletes would have to compete in a series of singular events, "challenges," with the most well-rounded athlete being crowned the winner. It would show a certain level of mastery in many aspects of Parkour, but wouldn't be "Parkour" itself. (The Woodsman contests, which include tree climbing, axe cutting, and log rolling, show off the skills of a logger, but not logging itself. Same idea in a sense.)

There are numerous types of challenges that can be set-up, all drawn from real-world challenges found in daily training. For instance, a wall climbing event in which the competitor starts at the bottom of what is essentially a stack of over sized building blocks, and, at the signal, race up the vertical sides until he reaches the top. Best time wins. Another event would be precisions, with athletes given various "problem" jumps to perform, and the athlete who completes them in the shortest time with the fewest falls wins. One of my favorite ideas is an event in which a course, similar to the one used in the Barclayard contests, is outfitted with numerous lights that can be turned on and off at will. With the athlete starting at a central location, a light will be randomly flashed on and the athlete must reach the light as fast as possible. Once there, another light, always random, will flash on at another location, and so on and so on, until five or so lights have been extinguished. Best time wins. If that doesn't force athletes to use the fastest, most direct routes possible without flair (practically the definition of parkour) I'm not sure what will. The difficulty of course is making it fair and even for everybody but that's why it's an idea, not a fact.

A finale event could be an obstacle course, where the athletes show off their combined skills to conquer the ever changing course in as little time with as few mishaps as possible. At the end of the day, the overall champ can be crowned. This way someone who is excellent at precisions but only so-so at climb ups can win some events but not the whole comp. Only the truly "rounded" place highly. All the events would be scored equally (or roughly equally).
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 07, 2010, 03:48:42 PM
Rafe -

I think discussing it is totally relevant.  Its my belief that it was the lack of discussion years ago as people tried to hold on to the "no competition" mantra that got us to this place now.  Just think if we had discussed this years ago and developed the framework and already had it in place, would we have seen all these recent competitions run the "wrong" way by corporations today?  Instead the traceurs involved would have been able to use our resource and push a better competition framework to those running the competition.  This thread is trying to address a more structured, larger competition framework that could be adopted on a large scale, ie by one of these sponsored corporate competitions, yet still upholds the ideals we are trying to support.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Tom Coppola on January 07, 2010, 03:57:16 PM
Well to build off of Gabe's idea, I think the separate "decathlon" type events should include simulated situations, but avoid the compartmentalization of skills.  For example an escape from a simulated threat or a race to "reach" an object and carry it back to the starting point or a "locked out" event in which the athlete must climb to find another way into an area.  This format can have several routes (or no actual routes, it's the participant's job to find it) to the goal, all requiring varied skills to complete.
  
I don't exactly agree with the decathlon-type segmentation of different parkour skills (though its an interesting idea) like the precision jump event.  I think it gives the competition too much of an obstacle course feel and encourages too many limiting rules (ie you have to complete this only doing precisions).  I'd rather avoid displaying parkour as running through obstacle courses like ninja warrior and embed the skills we develop into actual situations in urban and natural environments while keeping the man vs. self ideal.  This will show audiences the purpose behind parkour not just the skills of the athletes.

Competitions like Ninja Warrior and the Worlds Strongest Man do a great job of displaying the abilities that the athletes have, but a parkour competition should extend further into the application and utility of the movements.

What do you guys think?
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Casquinha on January 07, 2010, 04:32:12 PM
Here are three individual competitions:

1)  Skillset course -- More like an Ironman competition with skill challenges intermixed throughout the course

2)  Long course -- There's a start and there's a finish.  There are plenty of obstacles in between.  good luck!

3)  Short course -- A small course in which a traceur runs multiple laps.  There are a few obstacles.  A traceur cannot use the same technique on the same obstacle more than once.


Here are ideas for team competitions:

1)  Capture the flag -- Either tag-out or flag football style elimination

2)  Elimination -- (See Capture the flag)

3)  ... Ah who am I kidding?  Pretty much any game that can be done with paintball markers at range can be done flag football style with Parkour at close distance!
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Chris [.5gibbon] Stevenson! on January 07, 2010, 05:15:25 PM
i don't have time to read everyone's comments right now, but they already have the perfect parkour comp.  have you never herd of ninja warrior? haha  its perfect
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Grayson on January 07, 2010, 06:09:51 PM
I agree, ninja warrior or just an obstacle course where your racing against yourself and the clock, not against other people. There should be able to be multiple winners so it is shown that is isn't a competition of people but of an individual and time.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: matcauthon12 on January 07, 2010, 06:45:52 PM
I really like Gabe's idea with the lights. For whatever reason, that sounds like something that would be fun to watch and participate in, and could also be incorporated with what everyone else has said about the different kinds of obstacles.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Sam Chin on January 07, 2010, 06:54:35 PM
You guys have probably seen MTV Ultimate Parkour Challenge, am i right? And we all know how horribly it went. so hopefully we don't come up with an idea like that. :P
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Chris [.5gibbon] Stevenson! on January 07, 2010, 06:55:04 PM
i have since read rafe's article and everyone's post and i still think ninja warrior is perfect.  i even like the fact that it isn't marketed as parkour. haha  like a wise/crazy man once said parkour is lame. but thats off topic.
mtv pk challenge was stupid no doubt, but the part where danny dominated in the speed course was pretty cool. immagine if all those athletes speciallized in real parkour instead of acrobatics! no one would have got hurt (most likely) and the times would have been much quicker.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Chris [.5gibbon] Stevenson! on January 07, 2010, 07:01:24 PM
oh and tag in an obstacle dense location is pretty perfect competition for parkour too, but not as easy to film and sell as an obstacle course
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Hazim Salem on January 07, 2010, 07:37:58 PM
I read Rafe's article, and one conclusion is: Competition shows what really works.

Since "what really works" is what applies to real life, certain competition types will have to cover real-life situations; and those situations are TIRING.

That's why I suggest an "ultimate comprehensive endurance course." It could be a very long course (kind of a equivalent to a marathon), or it could be a short course done while being exhausted. I was inspired by MCMAP, where the students perform exercises until they are exhausted, then put to fight. If a person needs to escape for a long time, they need to know what are the best and safest techniques done with lack of energy. The goal is to reach the end with the shortest time.

For a long course, the participant just starts and ends. For the short version, each participant (not against each other) is put through the same tiring exercises (100 push ups, run in a circle, etc), which they must complete in a short time (to make sure they are doing them with the same intensity) or else they are excluded. That will guarantee they are all subjected to the same amount of torture.

As for safety, this is hard. To simulate real-life, the course has to be as real as possible. Real hazards combined with poor tired technique can be dangerous. On the other hand, the course could be gym-style padded. I think this can be choice.

Overall, this is my contribution to this topic, and criticism is welcome. Obviously, those who train for endurance will have the upper hand in this course. One final and important fact for this course: to make sure this doesn't turn into a marathon, incorporate as much climbing and hand-involved techniques as possible.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 07, 2010, 07:41:29 PM
where your racing against yourself and the clock

And against the course itself, which changes!
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Casey Boatwright on January 07, 2010, 07:54:46 PM
aside from the fact that i think there shouldn't be competitions just because the media will get it and warp it,        i feel if i had to choose something i would say a large portion of like i guess penalties or something idk    but like a lot of it should be based on whether or not they executed the move on their first try,   like thats what bother me with peoples showreels,  they only show their successes   and act like thats exactly how they do it rather than it really took them 30 tries,     


and if there is a competition i don't think it should be scored on who did this the prettiest or the fanciest type of thing,  i think it should stick with time trials and races and stuff like that,   and parkour sports,   like parkour idk football   lol,  because those they will be using their skills in a purest sense which i think is how it should be,   efficiency  not appearance    it should spawn from the philosophies of parkour,     there should be "real life" situations they have to act in,    like get somebody something in an alotted time or they person "dies"   or maybe  they have to carry something or they use the use of an arm.  or one eye is blindfolded,    or to pass on the next challenge they have to make this 12 foot gap somehow.   but the whole point of it is,  it's up to them how they get somewhere  (within certain paramiters).   i think it should truely match the art.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Dan Elric on January 07, 2010, 08:53:49 PM
Emphasize safety as a large contributing factor.  If someone does something risky they should be docked points.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: turtlekarma on January 08, 2010, 12:14:15 AM
What would a traceur-controlled parkour competition framework include, and exclude?  Should cover things like:
- Goals
Point A to B efficiently
Bonus points for flow
- Values and ideals that should be supported
Safety
Efficiency
Leave no Trace
FUNNN
- Location requirements: indoor vs. outdoor, natural vs. man made vs. urban
I guess those could be "categories" of competitions  (how is man made diff from urban?)
- Course requirements
has to have more then 1 conceivable way of getting from point A to point B...running in a line is boring to watch/do
- Competition rules
hmmm....be respectful of environment
No elevators, cars, boats, planes....etc to help you move, your body should be the means of transportation
- Entry prerequisites
have to be insured
- Ranking or placing of contestants
contestants in competition vote on other contestants
(dunno if it would work, but it seems to me that other contestants usually know who should win and who shouldn't)
- Things that should be excluded
massive drops

Use of an actual course, should be "natural" environment.  For example rent out part of a building complex and just have a start and finish...why build an artificial environment when there's tons of places that would suffice for competition. 

safety equipment (big fluffy mats)...shouldn't be doing stuff you need safety equipment for anyways, we train for real life...the application of the skills we have should be in situations and environments as close to real life as possible.... the risk is an integral part of pk, it's what keeps us from going soft. 
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Rafe on January 08, 2010, 12:27:14 AM
I don't think that debate is useless but I think we would be better of spending more time experimenting and actually trying ideas out instead of debating there merits online we will find what works out there playing better then we will in here arguing.

Hazim I think a super long event would be boring to participate it, boring to watch, would force low level movement, would destroy people athletically and from health perspective and it would be less realistic. Most emergency situations, if your going to chase someone or run form someone it will usually be decided in the first 30 seconds if not then your better off finding a automobile to continue the situation.

A mile event as part of more broad range event would be cool but thats about as far as I think is likely.

I also dislike the idea of decatholon style thing it would cause people to focus on specialize on single moves even more the beauty in parkour is not being able to 12 foot precision or 14 foot wall pass, its the ability to connect movements smoothly and powerfull the beauty is in the course not the single obstacle, At leat IMHO.'

The lights idea is interesting but unrealistic for communities to put on on there own that gets back into the corporate Idea which I think we should be avoiding at this point.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Hazim Salem on January 08, 2010, 08:26:56 AM
Hazim I think a super long event would be boring to participate it, boring to watch, would force low level movement, would destroy people athletically and from health perspective and it would be less realistic. Most emergency situations, if your going to chase someone or run form someone it will usually be decided in the first 30 seconds if not then your better off finding a automobile to continue the situation.

I couldn't agree more.

The lights idea is interesting but unrealistic for communities to put on on there own that gets back into the corporate Idea which I think we should be avoiding at this point.

Well, I don't think it has to be "lights." You could use people instead, which makes it more fun. In a gym, place available items randomly, then place like 5 people on the edge of the mess, then an overwatch can shout the name of a random person, and the participant has to get to that person, or his number or color of his shirt. That would make it affordable and simple to play.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 08, 2010, 10:59:20 AM
I don't think that debate is useless but I think we would be better of spending more time experimenting and actually trying ideas out instead of debating there merits online we will find what works out there playing better then we will in here arguing.

Who's arguing?  Everyone has been bringing up good points and I'll be making sure the thread stays on topic.  Ideas need to be shared so that people can try them on their own.  Why develop a competition framework in a vacuum when there is a huge sounding board available?  I'd love if you could share all the things you are experimenting with and address all the points in my original post.


that gets back into the corporate Idea which I think we should be avoiding at this point.

Why avoid the corporate idea?  Isn't that exactly what people have a problem with now, and wasn't your article about traceurs taking matters into our own hands and addressing that problem?  Again, avoiding corporate discussion is likely how we got to this point, putting it off only compounds the problem.  Corporations aren't going to adopt some unknown, experimental, informal competition framework, but if one was comprehensively defined then there's a much better chance of it being adopted.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Rafe on January 08, 2010, 12:08:39 PM
Heres the problem Corndog if the formats we purpose require a great deal of money to get off the ground they need a sponsor to make it possible this when things get rushed and done poorly thats what we have seen with the current formats outside of Ninja warrior. A group of kids who want to play baseball don't need to get a sponsor to help them they just need a stick and ball, thats a great sport format something lots of people can do and enjoy with minimal expense. When we develop and experiment with ideas like that over time we will have real format something with grass roots support that lots of people can engage and care about the represents what we in the community understand about the discipline.

I think anyone who is interested in this should go out this week with a few friends of similar capability and play around with what type of parkour competition would work in you area, bring a stop watch some chalk and open eyes for safety hazards.

Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 08, 2010, 12:31:42 PM
OK I hear that.

I guess at this point I'd encourage ideas all the way up the stack, from grassroots to something larger.  From ideas we've been discussing at SFPK you can have a very complete set of rules/requirements etc and still be able to implement it at both a grassroots and corporate level.  So I'd love to hear ideas from everyone, then I can help bucket them into categories based on ease of implementation, noting those which anyone could do and what things require a lot more resources.  I am aiming for a framework that anyone could use, and is enough of a foundation that can be scaled up if resources are available.  Cool?
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Jeff on January 08, 2010, 12:53:59 PM
I hear ya Rafe on actually trying lots of things out being of primary importance to getting to a workable format. For everyone who will try something out this weekend, report back here and tell us how it went: what worked, what didn't; what's scalable, what isn't. After all, what the Internet is good for is aggregating knowledge and getting it to people who can use it and build on it (for free). I think that's the primary goal of sites like this. But ideas build and are improved faster when they're shared, so post!

What I'd like to see is a few variations of competition. Track, gymnastics... just about every sport that has competitions breaks it out into sub-competitive formats. There's a separate 100-meter sprint and a 200 meter sprint, floor gymnastics and bar stuff, etc., each focuses on an area of skill. Parkour is just as broad in scope as these sports, and arguably more.

To that end, I'd like to see a short course, a long course, and something forcing people to improvise (like a "hidden" course). Also, I think creativity should be tested. That would prevent people from simply training for the likely objects and just learning kongs, speeds, etc. A bonus round for finding new ways to get over an obstacle that the other competitors didn't could be cool. This isn't to say we're testing freerunning/flips. This "innovative movement" category would still require judging based on utility, speed, control and precision. Or whatever. But would encourage the ability to demonstrate quick thinking and the ability to come up with options others haven't yet.

Also, and this would be hard to scale down to the grassroots level, but running the same course in different conditions. Wet vs. dry being the obvious example. Tests the traceur's range and preparedness.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Gabe Arnold on January 08, 2010, 03:35:43 PM
I also dislike the idea of decatholon style thing it would cause people to focus on specialize on single moves even more the beauty in parkour is not being able to 12 foot precision or 14 foot wall pass, its the ability to connect movements smoothly and powerfull the beauty is in the course not the single obstacle, At leat IMHO.'

The lights idea is interesting but unrealistic for communities to put on on there own that gets back into the corporate Idea which I think we should be avoiding at this point.

The "events" of a Parkour decathlon, in my idea, wouldn't emphasize singular movements. Doing the biggest precision wouldn't win it for you - doing a series of precisions, big and small, the fastest would win. For instance, a random arrangement of small platforms over a pool of water. Each platform's size and distance from each other would be different. Contestants would be tasked with finding a way from the start to the finish by the fastest route that works for them.

The events emphasize speed and control but push the athlete to show their abilities in multiple different categories, like precisions, climbing, pure speed, balance, etc. The final event would be a straight up obstacle course which would seek to challenge ability in every category.

As far as the lights go, it doesn't have to be lights. It could be as simple as 5 tennis balls stashed about an area. The runner gets a backpack and goes at it, having to collect all tennis balls as fast as possible. "Lights" can be anything. Hell, you could dust your hand with chalk and try to slap walls as markers. Very cheap, anyone can do it.

For an idea of what I mean, check out Pro Sportsman No. 1 (or Muscular Athlete Championship) from Japan. It's an event held once every year around New Year's. Pro and celebrity athletes are invited to compete against each other in a series of challenges that test everything from speed to strength to intelligence. Points are awarded for each event and at the end an "Athlete of the Year" is crowned, the one that combines the best of everything. And guess what? It's from the same people that gave us Ninja Warrior!

Pro Sportsman No.1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUSgId3pUcI)
Pro Sportsman No.1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y2VZVQrVVw)
2008's first contest (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV7D_kKuKd4)
2007's contests (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS2ZoQPndBA&feature=related)

Location can be anywhere but would work best as a man-made course either indoors or outdoors. Entry requirements would be a physical to make sure they're healthy enough to compete and then maybe qualifier rounds to narrow down the ranks.

--------------------------

And I know I'm about to draw down a hail of fire and flames but...seriously everyone, stop trying to equate a Parkour 'competition' with real life. It's simply not going to work. If Parkour, in the sense of reach/escape/helping others/saving yourself, was ever truly used it would probably happen spontaneously and actually look pretty sloppy. As soon as you know you're going to use it and prepare to move, you've lost the "purest" sense of Parkour. So I say drop the idea of "real world" application and create something that works and is fun. If you want to use Parkour as it was meant become a cop or fireman or something. The chances of ever having to use the skills we learn in day-to-day life is next to nil. At most you'll vault over a wall or climb onto a roof to get a Frisbee. A true Parkour 'run', combining several movements in the act of reach/escape though? Most likely no.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Chris [.5gibbon] Stevenson! on January 08, 2010, 04:45:09 PM
"I think anyone who is interested in this should go out this week with a few friends of similar capability and play around with what type of parkour competition would work in you area, bring a stop watch some chalk and open eyes for safety hazards."

the zombie tag i was talking about works really well. we used to play it every saturday last summer as a way to apply all our training over the week.   rules: do some small competition to see who is it first (we used a rock paper scissors tournament) winner becomes it. and immediately the game begins. in order to turn someone into a zombie (on your team) you have to pin, submit, or hold them down for 5 seconds. the last person left is the winner! then they become it next round. all this happens in an area about one square block full of obstacles.  but now that i think of it, its not as safe as ninja warrior and once again it is harder to film and market than just a good old timed obstacle course like ninja warrior.  however, it is a great and fun way to train for parkour under pressure. 
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Zachary Cohn on January 08, 2010, 05:27:38 PM
I came up with a few ideas today and was going to run them at tonight's Primal class, but there wasn't a big turnout. I'll try at tomorrow morning's class, and if that doesn't work out I'll post them up here.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Tom Coppola on January 08, 2010, 05:35:35 PM
And I know I'm about to draw down a hail of fire and flames but...seriously everyone, stop trying to equate a Parkour 'competition' with real life. It's simply not going to work. If Parkour, in the sense of reach/escape/helping others/saving yourself, was ever truly used it would probably happen spontaneously and actually look pretty sloppy. As soon as you know you're going to use it and prepare to move, you've lost the "purest" sense of Parkour. So I say drop the idea of "real world" application and create something that works and is fun. If you want to use Parkour as it was meant become a cop or fireman or something. The chances of ever having to use the skills we learn in day-to-day life is next to nil. At most you'll vault over a wall or climb onto a roof to get a Frisbee. A true Parkour 'run', combining several movements in the act of reach/escape though? Most likely no.

So people who make videos with a story involving parkour used in a "real world" situation should stop?  I know you're not explicitly saying this, but there is a certain attractiveness to fantasy.  David Belle and the Yamakasi used to imagine themselves in these "real world" situations, but they probably never had to use the skills they developed in any "real world" scenario.  This imagination is where parkour came from.  Its only logical to me to create a competitive format that simulates these same types of imagined situations.  Not only would it be fun for the athletes, but it would provide somewhat of a storyline for spectators.

No one would think that the competition mirrors real life, the idea is to display parkour embedded in a situation (regardless of how likely it would occur).  This makes for an interesting format and shows a purpose to a non-practitioner audience instead of having them see the athletes jumping around on lifeless blocks for no apparent reason except to win a prize.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: turtlekarma on January 09, 2010, 04:11:42 AM
And I know I'm about to draw down a hail of fire and flames but...seriously everyone, stop trying to equate a Parkour 'competition' with real life. It's simply not going to work. If Parkour, in the sense of reach/escape/helping others/saving yourself, was ever truly used it would probably happen spontaneously and actually look pretty sloppy. As soon as you know you're going to use it and prepare to move, you've lost the "purest" sense of Parkour. So I say drop the idea of "real world" application and create something that works and is fun. If you want to use Parkour as it was meant become a cop or fireman or something. The chances of ever having to use the skills we learn in day-to-day life is next to nil. At most you'll vault over a wall or climb onto a roof to get a Frisbee. A true Parkour 'run', combining several movements in the act of reach/escape though? Most likely no.

I don't know if your responding to my suggestions about using actual urban landscape (as opposed to building courses) and no use of safety equipment were in support of competitions to test us the way we train and go out and play....in real life.

Most traceurs I know prefer training in an urban or natural environment, gyms and padding however useful to advance skill levels get boring.  So, why not hold competitions in real urban environment where sometimes grips suck and environment is sometimes sketchy?....something traceurs are familiar with?  When we jam, most people don't carry around fluffy mats to land on.  That's real world application to the life of a traceur in my opinion. 

I however agree with you in the whole slim chance of having to utilize skills learned in pk to run away from a bad guy.....I'm still (secretly) hoping a secret ninja assasin group will come to Hawaii to try and take HIPK down and the only way we can beat them is for someone to do a really long kong to press the self destruct button in the ninja's secret home base. 
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Scared Doggy on January 09, 2010, 08:52:09 AM
Can I just throw in something about parkour and competition really quick? I'm not flat out against it, I just have a hard time envisioning how it can be very successful. If you create a competition with alot of requirements, then you're going to have a new generation of traceurs emerge who only train within those requirements so they can get sponsored and become pros. So instead of traceurs trying to challenge themselves with different forms of movement, you're going to get a bunch of traceurs who aren't as
skilled and well rounded, but very efficient at simply moving through the environments(like Brayden Jones vs. Dim Monk). It's not at all bad if a traceur just wants be efficient, but when that's all everybody is training for, then you start to lose the philosophy of parkour.
Sorry for not really reading the other posts, I just wanted to get my opinion out there.
EDIT- One more thing, if you guys want to experiment with competition events, I recommend incorporating them into National Jams or really big jams. That way you can see what works and what doesn't.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 09, 2010, 09:25:04 AM
If you create a competition with alot of requirements


So what would a competition framework be that doesn't have a lot of requirements, ie what would the most basic, open requirements be?  E.g. Run through X number of checkpoints in any order and get to a final checkpoint as fast as you can, across an obstacle course with natural, urban, and specifically man made obstacles?
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Matthew Wang on January 09, 2010, 10:17:51 AM
There is one training method that I have used for awhile now. When I'm training, after completing a movement I will ask myself, "If I was being chased by someone at full sprint, would I have been able to vault/climb/jump this obstacle effectively?" If the answer is No, I go back at it again.

But the only problem with that was that I never actually knew what a real situation would be like. If someone was really chasing me. I could only guess.

Friendly competition would solve that problem. It would allow me to learn what being chased will be like. It will prepare me for when it really happens.

I've always viewed competition games like tag as good for Parkour. There is a lot to learn from it, as Rafe has stated in his article.

I'm all for this friendly competition. The obstacle course I participated in at Parkour Visions about a month ago was great. As I watched Tyson fly through it, I could only wonder what he was doing that I wasn't. After some revising of technique, I did a few things faster than before, but still needed lots of work. Personally, I think running through timed obstacle courses is one of the best ways to improve while keeping competition safe. This should be the first form of competition that should be exercised to beginners, as they can take their time with the obstacles, but learn to improve each time they do it.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Chris [.5gibbon] Stevenson! on January 09, 2010, 02:40:14 PM
Can I just throw in something about parkour and competition really quick? I'm not flat out against it, I just have a hard time envisioning how it can be very successful. If you create a competition with alot of requirements, then you're going to have a new generation of traceurs emerge who only train within those requirements so they can get sponsored and become pros. So instead of traceurs trying to challenge themselves with different forms of movement, you're going to get a bunch of traceurs who aren't as
skilled and well rounded, but very efficient at simply moving through the environments(like Brayden Jones vs. Dim Monk). It's not at all bad if a traceur just wants be efficient, but when that's all everybody is training for, then you start to lose the philosophy of parkour.
Sorry for not really reading the other posts, I just wanted to get my opinion out there.
EDIT- One more thing, if you guys want to experiment with competition events, I recommend incorporating them into National Jams or really big jams. That way you can see what works and what doesn't.
this is already the case with people competing with videos. this is why noobs are noobs.  if the new generation of traceurs emerge training for efficiency(what parkour is supposed to be about) that would be fine with me.  at least they wouldn't be taking big drops and doing stupid flips and twists and calling it parkour. they would be conditioning and training what works instead of wasting their time like most people.   p.s. im not saying that flips and flow ect are useless, because they have their place, but if your focus is on these things you will not do well in competitions… unless you’re a genetic mutant like danny.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Gabe Arnold on January 09, 2010, 02:50:51 PM
@ Tom and Ryan - I'm not saying that training for real world application is a bad thing. If that's your style than go for it and don't look back. I personally hold a view of Parkour as something more than simply 'A to B' but that's not the point.

What I was trying to say is that Parkour is a training method, a system, and a mindset. There is no such thing as a Parkour movement or a Parkour run. It's running, it's jumping, it's climbing. Parkour and everything else is our attempt to give meaning and direction to our movement.

With that in mind, a competition is our chance to see how our skills and abilities measure up. It's a test of our training. If we use that assumption, I feel the most prudent use of our energy and time is to create possibilities to push our abilities to the max. A recreation of the real world is a great idea and if you could find a way to make it fair to everyone I'd be all for it. But more than likely you'd get people pissed off because the wall that was sticky this morning is now slick as ice because so many others have used it already.

Real world venues are exactly as you said - unpredictable. And unpredictable equals unfair, with some people just getting lucky. Bats in baseball must be a certain weight and length to make sure the field is even. Runners must follow a course to ensure that people don't cheat and take shortcuts. We'd have to find a way to keep creativity in the contest while still making sure everyone stays equal.

As I said once before, a Parkour 'competition' isn't Parkour. It's a showcase and test of the abilities gained in Parkour training. If I was pressed to chase a thief through a city block I believe I could trust in my abilities to give me a good shot at catching him, even if I had been training mostly to conquer a pre-made course. You saw how fast Danny Ilabaca did the speed course in the MTV Challenge, and he's mainly described as a Freerunner with tremendous acrobatics. His skills carry over and vice-versa. I guarantee the longer others like King David and Phil Doyle train the more they'll have well-rounded skills.

There will always be those who specialize in one thing over another. And I think pretty soon you're going to see different sides of Parkour training. Just as surfing has many sides (competition, soul surfing, hobby, lifestyle) so Parkour will be: those who look to compete, those who train for utility, those who do it for love, and those who do it for all of the above.

@ Chris - Parkour as we know it and see most often in videos is not efficient. I'm sorry, I have a pet peeve about using the word 'efficiency' anywhere near Parkour. If you wanted to be truly efficient you'd do physical conditioning 90% of the time (so you could sprint nonstop and lift your body) and technique training the other 10%. You'd need only a handful of skills (like the climbup, speed vault, running precision, and drop) and that's it. If that's your cup of tea cool, like I said above, go for it. But my view of Parkour is something more than efficiency. My view is total control of movement in any application, from "efficient" to "for the hell of it". But that's where the separation of Parkour training comes in. Those who think one way, those another. It will all be Parkour training, just focused into a different outcome.

EDIT: And with that I'm getting off topic and I apologize. If anyone wants to discuss anything not specifically about competition please PM me and we'll continue it there. I don't want this going 5 directions at once.    
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Chris Wachtman on January 10, 2010, 04:28:36 AM
If I was in charge of creating a Parkour Competition... *BRAINSTORM*

My idea is something a bit different. I am imagining a large number of contestants. Im thinking of a system that allows for a wide variety of skill/age/gender/weight/height/experience among competitors. This is a parkour competition for anyone and everyone.

First, contestants show what they can accomplish in terms of basic parkour elements like wall run height, vault height/distance, rail balance, broad jump. We could even use the Athletic Skills Standards (http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/4749/407/) to categorize contestants.

Then, contestants are placed in an environment filled with obstacles. They have never seen this environment. The goal is to learn and adapt to the new environment to find effective paths. Contestants may brainstorm as a group. Judges score contestants on skill, innovation, and achievement. This is basically just a jam where points are awarded for discovering new paths.

After becoming familiar with the environment, contestants race against the clock from one point to another. Possibly slalom style through a series of gates. Contestants receive a time for their initial attempt as well as their best time out of all attempts. Having multiple attempts gives competitors the option to focus on improvement rather than ranking.

In the end each contestant has:
An athletic skill rating
A score by judges
Two time trial times

All around first, second, and third place can be awarded to the three contestants with the shortest times. Also, awards can be given for contestants in different categories based on athletic skill, judges score, age, gender, weight, height, years experience, etc... In this way there are many ways to organize and interpret the statistics. Competitors can see how they performed against others in any of their subgroups or compare their initial time trial to their best time and, without "winning" they can get a sense of accomplishment.

Esentially this method attempts to create a database of information to quantify the abilities and creativity of each traceur and emphasizes working within a group and competing within oneself.

Safety is addressed by allowing the contestants to practice moving through the environment before racing through it.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Rafe on January 13, 2010, 04:39:51 PM
Here is an  update from the parkour visions classes blog featuring one of our competive focused classes with videos of some of the different elements nothing revolutionary but maybe some ideas of simple ways to apply competition into your training. Was really fun day.
http://parkourvisions.posterous.com/11209-review
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Sparklefish on January 13, 2010, 06:26:14 PM

So what would a competition framework be that doesn't have a lot of requirements, ie what would the most basic, open requirements be?  E.g. Run through X number of checkpoints in any order and get to a final checkpoint as fast as you can, across an obstacle course with natural, urban, and specifically man made obstacles?

That's essentially what was set-up at the SFPK November Monthly Jam in Santa Rosa, only we only used urban obstacles.  Certain rails, walls, planter boxes, etc. were marked with leaves and traceurs were timed in their runs.  Super basic, takes 5-10 minutes tops to set up.  A roll of blue painter's masking tape would be highly visible and allow you to mark obstacles, then peel the tape and leave no trace aftwerwards.

It was fun, btw.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Cody Bolen on January 14, 2010, 07:02:25 PM
*My idea of Competition is going to make the assumption that we have unlimited resources to work with.

There's is a Circular area with a Diameter of 200 meters, this area is filled with obstacles, none making one straight line or an equal height all the way through. The obstacles would be boxes and rails of various sizes and heights from the ground, none of them having an obvious movement to pass it (by that I mean no boxes that are made specifically for kongs, double kongs, or any other movement). There are lights that are around the rim of the circle and other places within the circle itself that contestants are required to reach. Here is the key element that is required for this to be fair for all competitors, no contestant may see the course before hand, they may not watch others runs or here of their times, and the series of lights must be in the same order to assure fairness. Best time indicates winner. Since the course is designed before hand there would be plenty of time to determine camera placement and such.

I think that the Red Bull Art of Motion has the freerunning comps covered, although it may not be popular amoung some of you, personally I like it.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: NOS - from Parkour Mumbai on January 16, 2010, 08:58:21 AM
Quote from: Scared Doggy
If you create a competition with alot of requirements

So what would a competition framework be that doesn't have a lot of requirements, ie what would the most basic, open requirements be?  E.g. Run through X number of checkpoints in any order and get to a final checkpoint as fast as you can, across an obstacle course with natural, urban, and specifically man made obstacles?

Yeah, I guess that could work.
What we could do is have absolutely no rules or regulations at all, except for a few ground rules like - "This is the confined area in which we are holding the competition. Your starting point and destination are marked as Point A and Point B, with the area in between covered with obstacles. The only rule is to get from Point A to Point B as fast as you can, without going outside the confined designated area. The first one to get to Point B (or you can also have a timed run) wins.

And you might want to vary the positioning of the obstacles every competition to avoid the pitfall of having the neurological pathways of competitors getting used to a set pattern, and keep them on their toes all the time. You don't want people training for a competition memorising the placement of obstacles and the path they're going to take through it (like the Ninja Warrior competition), and in the process forgetting how to move naturally (kinda like Bruce Lee's argument against practicing set forms or katas).
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Mark Lewis on January 17, 2010, 11:01:14 PM
I believe the problems of competition have all been discussed to death. I also agree that competition is inevitable as Parkour becomes more popular and marketable (thus potentially profitable). If we accept competitions as a given, since we are all very aware of how many problems it could create, our best option is to make it our own before it gets made for us by individuals/organizations outside the community.

That said, we should try to design competitions that minimize potential downsides and emphasize values that we as a community say are important. It is important that we make all of our potential weakness into strengths. We need to take the threat of competition and turn it into an opportunity.

In designing games for my local group, I like to try to encourage problem solving and focus more than anything. The most enthralling are the ones that instill a sense of urgency in the practitioners. When there is an interesting problem, we naturally compete to solve the problems first or to provide a more elegant solution. Here are a few that seem to work the best:

Genocide
This is very similar to traditional tag. 1 person is the hunter. There must be predetermined boundaries to the game (spots with varied obstacles are the most fun). The hunter starts in a designated starting position, everyone else fans out. When each person is happy with their starting position they raise their hand in the air. When the hunter sees everyone with a hand int the air the round begins. The hunter then attempts to chase down and tag every other individual. When each individual is tagged they move outside the boundary of the game. When all individuals have been tagged the round ends. Each person rotates into the position of hunter once. The round is timed from start to finish with a stopwatch, shortest time is the winner.

Try this game in many different areas to further test your skills. I recommend shifting often and keeping boundaries relatively small for this one (expirement).

Fox and Hound
Just like genocide except you have one Fox and everyone else is a hound. The hounds begin in a pack at a designated starting point (boundaries of the game pre-set). The Fox chooses their starting position and signals with a hand. When the fox is tagged the round is over. Each person rotates into the position of the Fox once. The rounds are timed by stopwatch, longest time wins.

Again, different locations add more flavor. This game however works better with a larger boundary than Genocide.

Fruit Thief
This is yet another tag variation. This one can be slightly altered to change things significantly, but this is what I believe works best:

Assign everyone a number, write the numbers on a slip of paper, draw them randomly. Put the names in a bracket as drawn (bys are okay for friendly competitions). Choose boundaries for the game as well as a starting point for each player (I find it is best to start the players within 10-20ft of each other). Before each player faces off, flip a coin to determine who the thief is. Once the players are set, the thief has to evade the other player for 3 minutes. If successful, the thief moves on. If not, the other player moves on. Continue eliminating until a winner is crowned.

Try this game in different areas. Try it with more or less time on the clock. Try it with different initial placements. If you are familiar with everyone's abilities don't be afraid to seed match-ups accordingly.

Scarves
This is probably my favorite. Give everyone in you group a scarf or bandanna and head to one of your favorite training spots (or anywhere really). Choose a starting point. Let everyone stand at the starting point together for a moment and have a look around. At once, everyone picks a spot to tie (or simply drop) their scarf. Once the scarves are in place each person must begin at the start and then collect each scarf (in no particular order) as fast as possible. Reset the scarves after each run so that everyone tries the same scarf positions once. Fastest time wins.

Try many different scarf locations. Try this game in many different locations. Give everyone 2 scarves to place instead of one.

---------

I think all of these could be slightly adapted to provide a solid event for a Parkour comp. In general I like the idea of using naturally occurring locations and changing location for each successive comp. So long as boundaries and starting positions are standard the games remain pretty fair. I think that randomizing locations and the random pairings in Fruit Thief are "fair" over many trials (law of big numbers). If you were to use only these events for a comp, you could test a broad range of ability by simply putting each event in a different location. This would keep things interesting for both competitors and viewers. I also believe that games along these lines emphasize the best of what we try to encourage in Parkour while still providing a competitive proving ground for skills that just plain work.

As far as "winning" is concerned, I would handle it like this: name a winner for each individual event, create an overall set of standards that reflect our ideals to be judged over each event and score them in terms of points (each competitor would have a score in every category for each event), the highest scoring competitor would receive a separate title (in essence winning the entire comp). In this way we can promote adherence to specific ideals in every individual event and create a situation where it is entirely possible to win the comp without winning any individual events.

I don't feel like digging further into specifics would be any more illuminating to this line of thought. The rest is pretty much nuts and bolts. What do you think?
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 18, 2010, 10:30:02 AM
I don't feel like digging further into specifics would be any more illuminating to this line of thought. The rest is pretty much nuts and bolts. What do you think?


The more specifics we define, the less specifics corporations define  ;D
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Zachary Cohn on January 18, 2010, 10:38:24 AM
Three ideas I had. I haven't been able to test them yet:

"Flow"
-Grab any one obstacle.
-Create a 5-10 second flow routine with that obstacle.
-Bonus points for using not-standard vaults, interesting and unique applications of standard vaults.
-Judged on creativity, flow (how smoothly everything fits into each other). Speed is a factor, but not weighed heavily.

Grab & Return 3 Flags.
-A TON of obstacles come out, the entire class moves everything around and sets up the obstacles. The Arbitrator puts 3 flags throughout the course (on, in, under things. At least partially visible), and the runner has to grab one, return it to a central "bin," then go for the next one. At the end, they have to return to the starting box.
-The whole event is timed.
-Also a "Coolest solution" voted on by everyone else. Get points for doing things differently (how you use the obstacles, flags, etc).
-Two runs, take the best time.

Flag Relay
-Set up an obstacle field.
-Separate into two teams.
-There are two stopwatches, one for each team.
-Team A starts, their stopwatch starts, and they have to plant a flag and return to the start.
-Team B has to retrieve the flag (while their stopwatch is running). Team B then plants the flag, and then Team A retrieves it.
-Each team is timed on planting the flag and retrieving the flag, and the team with the lowest final time wins.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Mark Lewis on January 18, 2010, 10:45:40 AM
Three ideas I had. I haven't been able to test them yet:

"Flow"
-Grab any one obstacle.
-Create a 5-10 second flow routine with that obstacle.
-Bonus points for using not-standard vaults, interesting and unique applications of standard vaults.
-Judged on creativity, flow (how smoothly everything fits into each other). Speed is a factor, but not weighed heavily.

Grab & Return 3 Flags.
-A TON of obstacles come out, the entire class moves everything around and sets up the obstacles. The Arbitrator puts 3 flags throughout the course (on, in, under things. At least partially visible), and the runner has to grab one, return it to a central "bin," then go for the next one. At the end, they have to return to the starting box.
-The whole event is timed.
-Also a "Coolest solution" voted on by everyone else. Get points for doing things differently (how you use the obstacles, flags, etc).
-Two runs, take the best time.

Flag Relay
-Set up an obstacle field.
-Separate into two teams.
-There are two stopwatches, one for each team.
-Team A starts, their stopwatch starts, and they have to plant a flag and return to the start.
-Team B has to retrieve the flag (while their stopwatch is running). Team B then plants the flag, and then Team A retrieves it.
-Each team is timed on planting the flag and retrieving the flag, and the team with the lowest final time wins.

I really love Flow and Flag Relay. I will definitely be trying these out very soon. Thanks for the ideas Zach!
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Zachary Cohn on January 18, 2010, 11:13:07 AM
Thanks! I'm hoping to try them out at Primal Fitness soon, just need to wait for a really big class of advanced students.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: DaveS on January 18, 2010, 07:46:27 PM
Despite the fact that anti-competition statements are apparently not allowed in this thread, to answer this question I have to start with this statement. If I was in charge of organising a parkour competition then the first thing I would do would be to make sure that there was a specific purpose behind organising the competition and that there wasn't a better way of achieving it.
(Aside: I did read Rafe's article, but all it convinced me of was that more thinking needs to take place and that too many people prefer to give up rather than face difficulties. I'm still not convinced competition is inevitable, I've seen no strong evidence to indicate that competition is more useful than alternatives, and I still don't think a competitive attitude is in any way desirable within parkour.)
Whatever you might think about competition, I think it would be a good idea for everyone to follow this line of thought through if only to try and produce a better way of explaining it to the rest of the community. If it does prove useful, then the more people support it and are involved the more useful it will be. Personally I think it's a crazy idea to do anything without a solid understanding of why you're doing it and a thorough exploration of alternatives. You need to hear opposing arguments (whole arguments, not just brief opinions) to make sure your own are strong.


So, to make a competition worthwhile you would need to ensure positive effects while eliminating the negative effects.

Participants, organisers and spectators should all get something useful out of it. It should be useful from the perspective of both parkour (development of practical, fundamental skills) and the people themselves if they aren't practitioners (fun, enjoyment). Everyone should enjoy themselves and develop skills or learn something.

Goals
These need to be the same as for parkour itself. Which means they should be as close to those of real life as possible. The best way to do this is simply to get the practitioners to practise parkour itself. The organisers set the precise nature of each obstacle and each participant tries to overcome it on their own (this is how many Bouldering competitions work, a sport very close to parkour). The organisers benefit from the challenge of identifying the obstacles, practitioners benefit from the challenge of getting past them, and spectators benefit from seeing solutions to realistic problems they might face.
If you wanted to expand it you would set obstacles that required other skills as well as movement, to test how effective a person's training has been at preparing them for life. You would also allow participants to talk to each other about the obstacles and share suggestions, adding in a test of communication.

Ranking/Placing
With obstacles it's easy. Whoever gets past the obstacles to the destination is a success, and it's impossible to argue as long as the environment is kept the same for all.
With keeping it to parkour, each obstacle has clear success and failure. There is even no need for an overall winner. You could have multiple winners for each obstacle, and different winners for each obstacle. That way you could bypass all the negative effects from having only 1 winner and many losers, including competitiveness, at the same time as highlighting the fact that everyone is different. You also bypass the many problems from subjective judges.

Values and ideals
Those of parkour and none other. Development of all fundamental capabilities to help people get past all obstacles.
That covers everything positive and useful, and rejects everything harmful and pointless.

Location
Wherever new and varied obstacles exist. That shouldn't be very limiting for creative organisers, as we all have to go through this process in order to practise parkour. Would also mean non-practitioners would find it harder to organise similar things, another benefit. Obstacles should exist already, to make sure they are realistic. You could either use a variety of locations, or else recreate existing obstacles in a particular area in a realistic way.

Course requirements/length
Everything. As much variety as possible. Specific obstacles can be long or short, but they should be challenging in a variety of ways. Obstacles shouldn't be adjustable because it's unrealistic, and unfair because of the inconsistent ways in which different obstacles can be adjusted.

Rules
Same rules as life, i.e. none. Get to the destination. You get there, you're a success and you win.

Entry requirements
To keep things realistic and to make sure movement tests all skills (including mental ones) no participant should be insured and no safety measures taken by organisers. No safety measures makes the situations real and forces participants to think and rely on themselves, making it a fair and accurate test. Otherwise, physically fit but mentally weak practitioners will be more successful, which is the reverse of reality.

Awards
None. Everyone benefits intrinsically so a parkour practitioner has no need. Extra rewards makes it unrealistic and therefore less useful. It also reduces the cost, reducing the need for immoral corporations.

Overview
Organisers identify a series of obstacles, complete with start and finish. Participants try and get from start to finish, attempting the obstacles in the same order. Their either do or don't succeed. That's about it.


We know the basic format works because it's used in Bouldering. It's still not ideal, because there would still be some fame attached to succeeding and therefore some corruption of goals, but it gets past most of my objections and it's a sight better than the dance-offs.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Gabe Arnold on January 18, 2010, 08:51:47 PM
^ Ninja Warrior/obstacle course with no monetary reward and more attention paid to the mental aspect.

I don't mean to belittle a sound idea (I like it a lot actually) but what you've described is essentially that. In Ninja Warrior there can be multiple winners or no winners, much like you said. The contestants are given a problem to solve (the course) and few limitations other than to stay to the course. They are allowed to discuss with other contestants and often form cadres of friends. (The All-Stars, for example) There is a relatively small reward for the effort involved (barely $10,000 I think) so the goal is an internal one. Makoto Nagano may have become famous for winning and makes a little cash for appearances but I believe he still pilots a fishing boat - he hasn't "sold out." And many people who watch the show are inspired to try it themselves, thus they start to workout and frame a mind for overcoming obstacles and problems.

Again, not trying to cut short your idea, but it's a modified Ninja Warrior in my opinion. And that's not a bad thing at all, because it proves it can be done and done well. (Although I think some kind of safety measure has to be made, if nothing else a physical or test at the beginning to make sure contestants are capable people.)
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: DaveS on January 19, 2010, 04:07:27 AM
Yes, that does sound similar to what I described. So that's another reason to think that it would be viable.

I've only ever seen a couple of short clips from Ninja Warrior so I've no idea about the background organisation. The courses there seem pretty varied but rarely approach anything realistic, so that would seem to be the major difference with my idea. I forgot to mention it explicitly before, but included with the idea of realism would be the idea that participants couldn't study the obstacles beforehand to prepare specifically for them.

Why do contestants have to be capable? I would think it would be far better to have a range of ability levels to show spectators the proper perspective. That would reduce the chances of people thinking they can automatically do it and trying it for themselves in dangerous situations.
Title: Q
Post by: Jacob Siler on January 19, 2010, 06:48:17 AM
I agree with a lot of things said, sorry for some repeats
1. skill proficiency (i.e) highest wall run, longest vault, fastest rail QM, ect.
2. Sprint course 100-400meters w/ several obstacles and options for directions
3. endurance course - 5k with options and obstacles (i.e) can't touch stairs, stride runs, QM section
4. Navigation section with check points and mandatory obstacles and checkpoints, like a true urban adventure race. possible combined with the endurance course.
5. Demo course. Jam session format with the participants as judges.

Everyone that competes a time trial or race gets a gift bag, like running a marathon.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: jp2ykz on January 20, 2010, 11:01:29 PM
I envision Tons of different and interesting categories down the road as more attention gets payed.

For now I will just give a basic breakdown of a really efficient way to get this type of thing off the ground with out big corporate sponsorship. At the same time it should be attractive to corporate sponsors Money is good for Traceurs not bad!!!

Build a course out of things that many Traceurs have like paracubes and other variations there of, and scaffolding if possible. These should be put it into an environment that is already ideal for PK (like a college) Getting permission is the hard part even if it is a city park but definitely doable. Others on the sight have more experience with this stuff than me and it will probably require some foot work too.

This is so there is a high volume of obstacles in a smaller than normal area and it will be more exciting!!!

I would have some music playing in down times if possible to keep people from getting board when there is down time for one reason or another. Who knows some competitors may want music for their runs.

I think when every one is seated that some one has a speech prepared that explains the history, definition of parkour and where the sport is going including free running. Then they should announce the basic layout and judging of the competition.

There should be a few category's only at first because too much too soon will just make it look disorganized and  if any of you have ever helped with events of any type; putting one on is allot harder than it looks.

My ideas to keep it simple for categories are:

#1: The speed course. This will entail all participants to do time trials along a set course laid out by an experienced Traceur. There should be three routs total. One that has more ground level stuff and is focused on pure speed. The next one should have a focus on more technical things like precisions, climbing, balance, strength. The third should be a hybrid between the two. The participants should have multiple ways to approach the obstacles but must stay within certain parameters of the course that is laid out so that it can be effectively timed. The best combined time will win and separate recognition should be given to the winners of the other races if it's not the same person. I'll talk more about prizes and winning abit later.

#2: 
Skill. This is the closest to freerunning. This part of the contest will be all technical stuff feats of balance strength skill moves like wall spin/flips tricking moves. There should be three categories that this section is judged on within a set time limit around 2 to 5  minutes (not sure how long the contestants will last doing full intensity moves.)

The categories for judging should be difficulty creativity of use of course and flow. So if some idiot just did tricking combos wouldn't really score that high.

#3:
This is a hybrid category speed and power is paramount and there is no time limit. Anything goes; difficulty, course creativity and use, speed and power, flow and style are all judged. This session really favors the highly conditioned athlete with all of the skills of a modern Traceur/Freerunner.

Now for the the awards ceremony. Of course first second and third of all of the categories and classes
(Girls 13-17, Girls 18 and up, Boys 13-17, Boys 18 and up.) In the future you may add an aperture and pro division Pros compete for cash and amateurs compete for prizes. Also team categories may be a good idea.  But in the beginning just keep it simple with the age groups.
Prizes will have to depend on the event and the organizer and be based on the resources available. Either cash from event sales or sponsors, sponsor prizes, acclaim, a ribbon or trophy or whatever can be pulled off. Also there should be a couple off categories like best up and comer, best single run (from the speed challenge category) if someone did well in all categories, strongest runner, most stylish, most powerful. These are really up to the event organizer and may wanted to be mentioned to the contestants before the competition but the organizer should maintain a little flexibility encase something happens in the event that is really note worthy. These categories will be more clear after a few events and being able to play with what dose and doesn't work well. Be creative and take input from contestants and spectators/sponsors.         

That's pretty much it just make sure you have a really good, legally sound waiver and ALL contestants sign it and your golden.

After you get the hang of this event framework that has in similar form worked for high school snowboard teams and small town skate contests and feel confident with what has been proven to work you can adapt the framework, add different aspects or create new and different competition circuits.

PS. I do recommend if possible setting up a few events during summer season preferably (but also dependent on where you live.) This is so the contestants have a set training schedule to keep and they aren't caught off guard by a surprise event that is in a less than optimal point of their training schedule.

Hope this helps If I left anything out or you have questions please let me know and I will do my best to help.   

I left out marketing and sales for the event because its late it's allot to get into but if you are interested I wouldn't mind giving some ideas.   
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Fletcher Hawke on January 21, 2010, 07:29:04 AM
Short version: if I were in charge of creating a parkour competition I would do one of three things.

1.  Push alternatives.

2.  Similarly, eliminate every truly "competitive" aspect possible --make something along the lines of Sasuke or Dave S' idea above.  No judging, no style points, no ranking or top time.  Complete or don't.  Then do my best to keep parkour and freerunning out of the actual name.

3.  If the organizers wouldn't go for either, tell them to go f*** themselves and walk away.




Dave S already put it more thoroughly, more eloquently (and more tactfully) than I am inclined to.  Parkour becoming more prominent is probably inevitable.  The various hows--of which competition is only one--are not.  Competition, at the very least with any real staying power or influence, is only inevitable if you make it so.  Even if it were, I have serious doubts about the logic or wisdom in joining the competitive push as "damage control."  There's a fine line between compromise and complicity.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Corndogg on January 21, 2010, 02:03:39 PM
Good background threads

Building a Competition
http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,4903.0.html

Ninja Warrior competition is acceptable?
http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,18757.0.html

Parkour "Competition" Ideas
http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,20060.0.html
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: jp2ykz on January 21, 2010, 02:53:22 PM
Yeah there are allot of good ideas both in those threads and this one.

I do like the touch points for the speed competition to allow for greater freedom by participants. But lots of the stuff that has never been done before or quarantining off large sections of a city and getting permission is simply unfeasible.

Allot of creative ideas are great to think about and have ideas for the future but it is most important for events to be successful. Events are HARD to organize, market and pull off. There is lots of stuff that is not being taken into account by many of the people posting and it doesn't sound like many of them really care (or maybe just don't know what it really takes) if an event is successful. Just that it is true to an arbitrary, vague and illusive concept of what "real" Parkour/Freerunning "should" be.

"Real" Parkour/Freerunning to me is part of a personal and social evolution that WILL change, like all things do.

I just want it to be successful and continue to be a thoughtful discipline. So I just want to add a bit of realism to this thread so that when these events do go down people have a useful and pertinent resource.

PS. I am not saying that people aren't being sincere. There are allot of useful and good ideas here.

I just want to make sure that the very real technical challenges of putting on an event, are honestly considered.  :)     

Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Rafe on January 30, 2010, 07:11:02 PM
Everyone interested in competive obstacle coursing should check out this thread and the videos in it.
http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,24008.0.html
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: jp2ykz on January 30, 2010, 09:46:26 PM
I really want to check it out but just links to a bunch of thread topics (kind of like when you hit the home button but with some retired threads and other stuff).

I didn't see the specific thread that you were referring to??
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Rafe on January 30, 2010, 09:49:42 PM
weird its works for me check out the ultra obstacle course thread in pics and vids.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: jp2ykz on January 31, 2010, 04:20:03 PM
I found it.

Thanks!

Looked like a good test of conditioning incorporating allot of Parkour like stuff. However, by looking at it it doesn't seem to be Parkour to me. I mean I guess some could look at it and say that it is Parkour but for me it would have to have more urban style obstacles.

Definitely cool food for thought though..

It's always smart to know what others have done before because they have probably thought it out allot better than you if it is your first time,

Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Rafe on January 31, 2010, 05:01:09 PM
However, by looking at it it doesn't seem to be Parkour to me. I mean I guess some could look at it and say that it is Parkour but for me it would have to have more urban style obstacles.

Why do you think parkour is defined by the type of obstacle, can the ability to overcome obstacles not be trained in natural enviroments in designed enviroments what makes something acceptably parkoury terrain? Personally nothing bugs me more then when people refer to parkour as an urban sport when the first videos made by David and Co feature both natural and man made enviroments and David Says it can be practiced in the artifical or natural enviroment. When the the yamakasi say they body of ADD was born in Evry but the spirt was born in sarcelles(in the forest). Running, jumping and climbing are running and jumping and climbing whether you do them in the city, the woods, the beach or on a military obstacle course.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: Alissa J. Bratz on January 31, 2010, 05:03:16 PM
Okay I skimmed the thread. Maybe someone already suggested this in this thread, but a few years ago when there was another thread on this I suggested a time trial kind of thing:

Cordon off an area of city or park (or set up a bunch of obstacles randomly in a fixed area, to simulate an urban or nature environment).

"Hide" or place markers throughout the zone: flags, buttons hooked up to a counter/sensor, etc.

Set a starting point and an ending point.

Gather all the competitors at the starting line, fire a starting pistol and start the clock.

The winner is the one who has both the best time and hits the most markers.

Points system can be developed to rank competitors based on some matrix of time vs. markers, as well as points for techniques used, creativity, etc. ( <-- this part needs to be thought out in more detail).

:)

I do like a lot of the ideas that have been thrown out so far (what I could read in my skimming).

There could also be kind of a Peoples' Choice Award or something, where spectators, or the other competitors, vote for their favorite traceur based on criteria such as dedication, humility, discipline, safety, etc; those non-tangible qualities that we still value highly in our discipline.

I dunno. A girl shall think on it.
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: jp2ykz on January 31, 2010, 09:20:48 PM
Hey Rafe,

I actually pretty much agree with you. I think all kinds of things are considered Parkour and that the definition will change and evolve with how people use the word just as all words do. As far as the natural terrain I just forgot to mention it. :(

My only thing with the vid, if I really boil down, is that in my opinion (for what it's worth) there weren't very many parkour moves. I mean like moves that we commonly refer to and use in the community. Like the moves in the tutorial section of this site for a quick example.

I'm not really even saying that the stuff in the vid wasn't parkour. Just that it seemed more like a military obstacle course.  :-\

Is there a point where they are different??? I honestly don't know..

PS. Are you the same Rafe that I have seen on the Oregon parkour site? I'm from Portland but am on the road lately (like for 5 months and prolly 4 more). I had been slacking for awhile back in OR but the new city's' of the trip have re inspired me!! Any how I look forward to your thoughts here. 
Title: Re: If YOU were in charge of creating a Parkour Competition...
Post by: DaveS on February 01, 2010, 07:10:15 PM
Parkour exists at the times when there is an obstacle in front of you and you have to use your limbs to pass it.

There are no specific movements defined as part of parkour. Only the existence of obstacles and movement past them.