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Messages - TK17

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NC Jams / Labor Day Greensboro Jam (NCPKJ3)
« on: August 09, 2007, 07:19:47 AM »
Saturday, September 1st, starting time still open for discussion.

The location is here, one block in downtown Greensboro between Eugene, Greene, Market, and Washington streets.  Best parking is along S Greene street, there are about a dozen parallel spaces that are free and usually empty on weekends.

Trust, it's got enough stuff for a group of traceurs to spend a week there, and I've NEVER been bothered on a weekend, trained there dozens of times, so we should be all right.  Fallback locations are UNCG and NCA&T.  Location's been chosen in honor of Gus, who's flying back from Arizona pretty much specifically to see the traceurs of North Carolina.

We're really hoping some of the Charlotte guys will show, I know we've asked you guys to drive a lot, but this time we've cut your travel time in half and added a drive for the Raleigh guys, and for the next jam we'd be happy to visit you on your home turf if we're all still welcome, or maybe even do this SC trip ohfomehxr's always talking about.  =)

Click here for Directions from Charlotte

Click here for Directions from Raleigh/Durham

Pics & Vids / Re: A Hand for David Belle
« on: May 17, 2007, 08:49:29 PM »
Yeah, I don't speak French.   ::)

I appreciate the fact that it might not be perfect, but hopefully he will appreciate the fact that most of the contributors don't speak his language.  To be fair, I DID ask a handful of people to help me with the translation, and ultimately I went along with the native speaker.  Apparently I was misled a little, sorry.  :(

Too late to be changed at this point, I leave in two days.  I'll just have to apologize for it (if I'm even lucky enough to meet him ... I may have to just drop it off with a friend of his or something).

Pics & Vids / A Hand for David Belle
« on: May 17, 2007, 08:12:30 PM »
Once more, if you are David Belle, do not read this.  I am bringing the final product in approximately one week.  If you are not David Belle, please don't show this to him.  Not yet.

I invite you to recopy this post anywhere you like. Also, if anyone is willing to re-host the larger versions of the image, please do so and post the links here.

This is the completed version.  There is some repetition; I apologize.  And this web version is slightly different from the one I am delivering in Lisses, because a few people sent in their pictures late and I didn't want them to be completely left out.

The final product:

Etre et durer - "To be, and to last."
Corps fort, esprit fort, homme fort - "Strong body, strong spirit/mind, strong man."
Etre fort pour etre utile - "To be strong, to be useful."
Ceux que tu as touche, continueront a toucher le monde - "Those you have touched, will continue on to touch the world."


Some alternate views:


Large-size download of the actual image (4 MB):
Full-quality download of the actual image (30 MB):

*Again, please re-host if you can.


Avatar version:
(Link: )

In the end, nearly 400 traceurs contributed images from dozens of countries ... from the US to China and everything in between.  If David Belle had any doubts as to whether or not he has had a positive impact on the lives of people around the world, this should put them to rest.  As the picture indicates, however, we can't simply take advantage of the gift we've been given.  Belle and the other men and women in the history of parkour have reached out and changed our lives.  It is now our responsibility to live up to the knowledge and the potential we have been given.

Touch the world.

M2's first response in this thread was right on.  It bears mentioning that the whole obsession with Europe ISN'T encouraged by the majority of the Europeans.  Belle, for example, is constantly trying to remind people that he's not special, that anyone can do what he's done if they put in the time and effort, that he's not as strong as his father, etc etc.  Like EZ said in Jump Britain, quoting Seb ... there's no secret, just practice practice practice.

We should all keep our eyes on the Europeans because of what they've DONE and what they're DOING, not because of where they are.  We should maintain our respect for Belle as the founder, but also recognize that no one would be more disappointed than Belle himself, if no traceur ever surpassed his level.  The point of a community, of a discipline, of having a structure for sharing and teaching, is to make each generation stronger and faster and better than the last - that's what the traceurs in Europe WANT - at least, the ones who are serious about wanting to help change the world into a better place.

Updated to FOUR miles ...  :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Anti - Competition Thread
« on: May 03, 2007, 01:57:54 PM »
No, not at all, but that's sort of my point ...

It didn't used to be.

It used to be practiced pretty much only by "serious" people, and the few people that practiced it as a sport were perhaps looked down on unfairly in their turn, but then they came into power and now they dominate the arena, and TKD as a fully-fledged and respectable art is dying.  I see the same dilemma in parkour's future.

The way I look at it, the two philosophies are mutually exclusive on a grand scale.  Let's say, it's just you and me sitting down together, and you decide to be a purist and to train hardcore and I decide to do it for fun, as a sport, skipping some of the philosophy and sticking to just the physical aspects I appreciate.  No real problem there, because two people can easily accomodate each others' differences.

But it's almost like, the public as a whole can't handle two completely different philosophies with the same name.  I mean, how hard is it for your average newscaster to even get the difference between TKD and Karate right?  So, I feel like parkour can go one of two ways, but not both.  We can choose to have the "TKD" version, that's popular and operationalized and pared-down and competitive, or we can choose to have the "Old man of the mountains" version, where people train slowly and privately and the bonds are built ENTIRELY of respect, as opposed to of respect AND money AND status.

This is NOT an easy moral choice.  If I were given this choice with any random activity, there would be absolutely no basis for choosing between the two ... neither one is more or less respectable.  But since parkour's original philosophy gives it a natural bent towards the latter, I will always come down on that side of the debate.

M2, we may disagree on this and MANY issues, but until you give me personal reason to dislike you or work against you, I'll never make a malicious post (and I hope you'd do the same for me) ... my "putting words in your mouth" was strictly for the sake of the argument, and not meant to imply any actual criticism of you, or to mean that I feel criticized BY you.  My respect for you as a person is neutral, 'cause I don't know you; my respect for you as a forum-maker is currently net positive, and my respect for you as a traceur will never waver, even if we disagree.

Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Anti - Competition Thread
« on: May 03, 2007, 11:45:13 AM »
First off, I fully agree, TKD is a sport, not a martial art. Any good TKD school will discuss that right up front, it's not like they lie or try to cover that up!! People who take it "for defense" are mistaken, it is their fault, not Tae Kwon Do's fault!!

Sorry to be nitpicky and slightly off-topic, but this is a VAAAAAAAAASTLY incorrect statement, and it serves as a VERY appropriate warning for what could happen to parkour in the future.

Tae Kwon Do in its true form is a FULL martial art, containing all aspects of kicks, strikes, takedowns, locks, forms, conditioning, and philosophy.  It is, I admit, relatively new ... organized in the 1950s after the Japanese occupation of Korea left Korea's culture in a shambles.  It draws from many Japanese arts, and also from a 2000-year history of martial arts in the homeland.  I know this for a fact, and it is beyond dispute - I have studied Tae Kwon Do physically and academically, for eight years, under a Korean master with FIVE brothers who are also masters, all of whom were born, raised, and trained in Korea.  To say that Tae Kwon Do is just a sport is a lie, or at best a half-truth or a misconception.

Now.  Why would you say such a thing?  Not for a moment do I believe that anyone would make a statement like that knowing it to be false, to trash-talk the art or start a fight.  Of course not.  You said it because you believed it, and your view is shared by many, perhaps millions.

But it's wrong, all the same, and it's wrong because of exactly one thing - HIGHLY PUBLICIZED, INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION.

Tae Kwon Do was rocketed into the spotlight when it joined the Olympics, and to some extent in the years preceeding that decision, as it took off around the world.  It was operationalized, pared-down, simplified, and made into an easily-understood, money-making sport.  As a result, schools began slanting their technique specifically to win, as opposed to remaining within the spirit of the art - and why not?  They can make money and get famous, and the purists can keep training, right?

Except that now most of the traditional schools in America have been driven out of business because they can't advertise their "world champion masters," and now it's almost impossible to find a "complete" TKD academy, because the art has been so perverted by competition that YOUR AVERAGE PERSON OFF THE STREET WILL MAKE AN AUTHORITATIVE STATEMENT THAT IT'S NOT A REAL MARTIAL ART, AND OTHER PEOPLE IN POSITIONS OF POWER AND AUTHORITY WILL AGREE WITH THEM.

This sort of perversion can and will happen with parkour.  I am shocked to have been provided with such a perfect example of parkour's future, I didn't even think of it in these terms until just now.  But there it is.  True Tae Kwon Do exists and has always existed, but it's being choked to death by the competitive arena, and that darn well affects me as a practitioner of TKD, because BEFORE this rant, if I'd mentioned studying it as a martial artist, M2 (just as an example, mate, nothing personal) would have looked down on me, at least as compared to what he sees as the practitioners of "real" martial arts.

Parkour, beware.  This is your future.

P.S. - at Ahk, when they say "good" videos, they aren't judging in terms of skill level or impressiveness.  I know, because my Lisses video, which isn't physically impressive at all, was chosen and included on the basis of its spirit alone.  They're judging, yes, but not in any way that makes them hypocritical - they're judging videos based on how well they represent what THEY, the owners of the site, think of as true parkour.  And as has been pointed out very recently, the owners of a site are in control, and RIGHTLY SO ... especially so given that is currently the only site with such a high proportion of French traceurs and with the blessing of the founder.

Just thought I'd make everybody aware of this.  Even if people have absolutely no interest in contributing, I find the idea very inspiring, and it might serve to spark other, similar efforts, get people thinking.  If you can spare a few bucks, though, I encourage everybody to chip in just a little.

Quote from: Jin
Please can people sponsor me!

Im doing a 2 mile cat crawl on the 10th of August in Cambridge to raise money for New Foundations:

I really appreciated everyone sponsoring me and Owen for the 10k last year, and so call on the generosity of the parkour community once again to help this cause!

I will get pictures taken on the day and post them to show the crawl itself.


Thanks everyone!

Just a couple of ways to reinterpret this.  Jin's crawling 2 miles, which is approximately 2000 body lengths or 10560 feet.  Given that the motion of a cat crawl usually requires each limb to move about two feet at a time, he will move each of his arms and legs roughly 5280 times, for a grand total of 21120 individual movements.  If he weighs approximately 150 pounds/~11 stone and he balances himself fairly evenly between his four limbs, then with each limb he will push (35lbs/2.75stone per movement*5280 movements) = ~190,000lbs/~15,000stone.  I don't know how many people here have ever done a cat crawl for even as much as half a football field, but this will be one of the most physically demanding accomplishments I can think of.

So, here are some ways I thought about donating:
1 cent/1 pence per body length = $20/£20
.5 cent/.5 pence per foot traveled = $50/£50
.4 cent/.4 pence per individual movement = $80/£80
.015 cent/.015 pence (a sixtieth of a penny!) per pound pushed = $100/£100

Again, not trying to "push" this on anybody or demand money from the community.  But I thought this was pretty cool ... worth sharing, at the very least ... good to know that traceurs are out there working for causes they believe in, OUTSIDE of the realm of parkour itself.

Parkour And Freerunning / Re: PK in Lisses/Evry
« on: April 29, 2007, 03:09:40 AM »
... if by "recently" you mean within the last year, yes.  I'm also returning in about four weeks.

The Dame du Lac is closed off by a fence, and you're not allowed on it, technically.  It's enforced very strictly insofar as if they see you, they will run you off right away.  But they are pretty good about NOT seeing you too often; if you go very early or very late in the day and you're not being too ridiculous, you can usually train for a while.  As an example, on my last trip, I went four times and got ran off once out of those four times.

I can't really imagine the kind of person who would be disappointed by the experience ... but I think that they must be the kind of people who are constantly disappointed in life.  Lisses and Evry certainly aren't THE GREATEST, MOST OBSTACULAR PLACES ON EARTH, but there IS an astounding variety of things to do, and the feeling you get while you're there is unparalleled.

I would say, if you are a noob, you should ONLY go if you're certain you will, later, go BACK.  I, for example, was "unready" when I went last year, but I had the opportunity and I knew that I would come again once I had improved.  There will still be many, many things for you to do, and you will gain an invaluable amount of inspiration just from walking around, talking to people, seeing the "original obstacles."  But if you go and never go back, then yes, it will be wasted.

New York / trip to new york not tomoro
« on: April 29, 2007, 02:49:14 AM »
Hi, guys.  I've already posted at, but I thought I'd go here as well.

Me and two buddies will be coming through Long Island (St. James/Smithtown area) on Monday, May 21st, and then through the City on Tuesday the 22nd.  It would be fantastic to meet up with some people - I know a lot of people are busy during the week and it's not easy to jam, but if someone's free to show us around we'd be forever grateful (I imagine it's really easy to wander around for a while and NOT find many good spots, if you don't know where to go).  We can come into the city at pretty much any time, but we've got to leave by 4:30 or 5:00 and head for Tuxedo.

trACEur, you guys (and everybody) are welcome to anything I ever write, anywhere.  I put up my thoughts in the hopes that they'll help people, so if you find them useful I'm honored.   :)

Jerry, your tone was obviously NOT argumentative, and I wasn't offended by any of the things you had to say.  Here are my responses ...

Just as there is a growing community of responsible, balanced instructors, so too is there a growing community of responsible, balanced traceurs.  There's no question that more traceurs recognize the words "methode naturelle" or "yamakasi" than five years ago, or that more traceurs are engaging in conditioning and slow progression.  But the people who don't care truly DON'T care, at least as far as I've seen, in my personal experience - the ones who are unbalanced DO have illusions about the differences, and they don't acknowledge where they're going "wrong" and they pass on their views to newcomers with an air of authority.  Competition would legitimize a lot of those people, especially the naturally athletic ones, which scares me.

I agree with you about almost all of the videos out there, and the lack of disclaimers and things like that, and all I can say is that I'm doing what I can, on my own, to help - I can't make other people do the same.  I've only gradually begun to recognize my responsibility, so this isn't true of my older videos, but my newer ones all contain conditioning and slow, repetitive practice; my largest article on my home site of 3Run is an Ultimate Beginner's Guide that contains cautions and tutorials and ideas on progression; and none of my videos show drops of more than six feet, period.  So I'm trying to live what I preach in that respect.

Apparently, the situation in Southern California is VASTLY different from the situation here in North Carolina ... I've tried training in seven different cities here, and I've always run into the police problems I mentioned, eventually (where eventually is measured in hours, not days).  And I wasn't joking about the weapons thing, I've tried that too.  Maybe BECAUSE skating is such a presence where you live, it's carved its own legitimacy ... around here, the options are severely limited.

"if you happen upon traceurs who are acting secretive and unwelcoming, chances are they probably were like that without competition." - true, but now these people are exactly the ones who will hoard knowledge, and at least a few of them will become "famous" and this behavior philosophy will start being passed on to others.  This is perhaps a farfetched fear, and may be my weakest point, but I still want to make it.  Everyone talks about how amazingly kind and open the best freerunners and traceurs are, how friendly and encouraging and willing to help out - I'd like it to stay that way 100%.

And as for the last bit of your reply, the contradiction ... it's not really a contradiction ... I didn't say I DON'T or WOULDN'T approach people, I didn't say I NEVER train with or reason with these other people ... it's just uncomfortable, it's just difficult, it's just awkward.  I still do my best to share whatever insight I have, but it's hard and socially draining, and in the end I feel competition would make it even worse.

Hope that clears up some of the holes in my statement ...

Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Anti - Competition Thread
« on: April 26, 2007, 09:12:26 AM »
1.  When seeing a competition that has a person running and vaulting and jumping, basically parkour like movements, I don't think of it as either a parkour event OR as an event using parkour like movements.  I see it as something related to parkour, which I love, but it's like watching someone perform a martial arts technique - I'm curious, I'm interested, but I don't automatically label it Tae Kwon Do just because that's what I do myself.  There are a few techniques I think of as "Purely Parkour," motions that would REALLY make me suspect that it's parkour and not some other kind of motion, but they're few and far between.  I guess they would be things like turn vault and kongs and catleaps executed with true "parkour style" ... like in the new Bond film, where even friends of mine who KNOW about parkour, but DIDN'T recognize Foucan, didn't think it was PK until they saw the kong, and then they came to talk to me about it.

2. When I see someone out training and doing vaults, etc, I usually DO think that they're training parkour, just because there aren't any circuses nearby, gymnasts practice indoors, etc. etc.  It's an assumption based on circumstantial evidence, but if I were to approach them and they were to say it wasn't parkour or they'd never heard of parkour, I wouldn't argue with them - I would believe them.  We don't OWN movement, and although some techniques are unique to us like I said above, the majority of our skills have been around forever.

On an interesting side note, if I see someone hanging off a wall by their fingertips, or doing one-legged squats on a rail, or things of that nature, I'm even more likely to believe they're practicing parkour, because that sort of philosophy, that such things should be done outdoors without weights and whatnot, truly IS unique to parkour and, I think, rock climbing.

3. If a person enters a competition and uses parkour-like movements, I do not automatically think of that person as a traceur.  If they describe themselves as traceurs, I will believe them (even though an actual discussion with them might make me think they don't know what they're talking about), and if they don't use the word but talk about the same kinds of ideas and philosophies I associate with parkour, I would think of them as a traceur-at-heart, who hasn't discovered parkour yet - like so many people who say they'd done it forever without giving it a name.

Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Anti - Competition Thread
« on: April 26, 2007, 08:38:36 AM »
Ahhh, but those people, I don't count as "whores."  ;)

I have no problem with people making some money, I don't think money's a bad thing and I appreciate the fact that we live in a world where you can support yourself doing what you love.

The people building the courses, the people paying for transportation, the television sponsors ... these people deserve some recognition for what they're doing, and they deserve monetary compensation for the funds they dish out.  Absolutely.

And just because I won't buy the products doesn't mean others won't want them - no harm in making them and trying to sell.

All these people, that can still make money within your idea - they aren't whores.  The whores are the ones CUT OUT by your idea - the people that will try to own parkour, to redefine it for their own purposes, to twist it around ... they're the ones who won't have any influence.

The line between what's appropriate and what's not is fuzzy, and once again I'm not the best person to judge.  But we can ALL recognize the extremes, and I think the direction you just took this discussion in definitely helps to cut out the bad half of the spectrum.

Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Anti - Competition Thread
« on: April 26, 2007, 06:05:16 AM »
M2, that last point, I FULLY agree with.

Take things like UFC, for instance ... anyone can compete, and a fighter's background is mentioned for interest, as part of his or her personal story.

Why don't we hold OBSTACLE COURSE competitions - or join the ones that already exist - and just introduce ourselves as traceurs?  That, I feel, would be totally in the spirit of things, a perfect solution.  It cuts out the corporate whores looking to make a buck off our new name ("parkour"), and at the same time brings all the benefits of increasing our training, getting us out to meet new people, and testing our real skills.

There are three broad realms in which competition would affect my training - it would affect the structure, discipline, and public conception of parkour, it would change the quality of the communities around me, and it would interfere with my own motivations.

The first broad realm: parkour itself.
Your example of a martial arts academy is far from being standard.  You seem to have an exceptional degree of integrity, and a desire to be true to your art while at the same time catering as best you can to others.  I am a martial arts instructor myself, though I don't own a school, and I have visited and trained at a dozen other academies in my lifetime.  Money and demand change everything for most people, and if competition became available and feasible for the average would-be traceur the way it is for the average would-be martial artist, the vast majority of newcomers would begin to learn an unbalanced and incomplete form of parkour for the sake of winning and fun-above-all-else.  Now, you can argue that it's not my responsibility to worry about other people, but as far as I understand things, that's completely contrary to the spirit of parkour to begin with.  I cannot in good faith call myself a traceur and allow inexperienced people to go down the road of chronic injury, if there's anything I can do to stop it.  Doesn't matter if I know who they are, doesn't matter if they live across the world - if I KNOW they're about to do something that will hurt them in the long run, I have to do my best to persuade them to change.  Now, I know that opens up a whole new question of how do I know what I know, and how far can I justify pushing others, but we can deal with that question somewhere else.  Parkour is misunderstood by beginners plenty as is - do we think competition will produce FEWER idiotic videos on youtube? 

Furthermore, in the eyes of the public ... parkour is already difficult enough to practice as it is.  I don't appreciate the fact that every time I see a cop car while training, I have to feel nervous or stop what I'm doing - I'm a law-abiding citizen and somewhat proud of it.  With the public attention of major competitions, likely televized, parkour will move from being an unknown and unquantifiable activity that someone may see and not like - BUT IGNORE JUST THIS ONCE - to a recognizable and stereotypable thing - NO RUNNING, NO BIKING, NO SKATING, NO PARKOUR.  I quite frankly don't want to be lumped in with a lot of the people who do parkour, I don't want to be blamed for others' irresponsibilities.  And while competition may legitimize the art to some extent, because people will understand that I'm not just messing around, it will also limit it.  If there's no skate park in the city, then even people who don't like skating will tolerate it to some extent.  But the second you have parks or academies or courses designed for parkour - the second you have "proper places to practice," and "officials who are in charge" of it, then the world shuts down.  I already get crap for doing parkour on the streets "when there's a park just down the road for you to go run around in, son."  Imagine how much worse it'll be once there are designated areas - step outside them, and you're immediately being disrespectful and not knowing your place and violating other people's "rights" ... even if you're on public property.  After all, how often do you take your swords and nunchakus outside to practice, even if it's legal in your area?  It's completely legal in my area, I've checked ... but even if I'm out in the middle of a field, not bothering or threatening anybody, I get yelled at for not practicing in "an appropriate place" - i.e. my school.  Same situation with parkour.

And lastly, competition means attention, and attention means advertising, and advertising means products.  What products do we need?  ABSOLUTELY NONE.  I wear a certain kind of shoe that I like very much, I think it improves my performance a bit and I big it up to other people.  But it doesn't REALLY matter - you can do parkour in any kind of shoe if you're smart about it.  Shirts, hats, logos?  Give me a break, parkour doesn't belong to the corporations.  Water bottles?  Crackproof phones?  Sweatbands?  In my personal opinion, these things are completely fine in general, but I don't want to see parkour whored out to sell them - PLENTY OF THEM GET SOLD AS IT IS.  I don't need a sponsorship to give me free t-shirts; I buy $5 black t-shirts and that's all I ever wear.  I don't need to tie myself to some organization - which may later turn on me, or drop me when someone better comes along - to get money for travel, I can just get a job.

Second major area - the communities
There's plenty of tension in the world of parkour as is.  Freerunners hating on "purists," traceurs pointing fingers at people "bastardizing the art," UK arguing with US arguing with France, huge debates over flips and spins ... it goes on and on.  But you know what?  There's still more community in parkour than just about anywhere else.  When people actually get together in person, all the tension seems to disappear.

With competition, though, people won't be getting together - except to fight one another.  Now, you can draw the parallel to the martial arts world again, where the majority of competitors love seeing their "favorite opponents" and competition builds bonds between schools.  But you also have to admit that rivalries and vendettas emerge, that people scream foul and fall out and never speak to each other again, that there's elitism and trash talking and all manner of politics.

Parkour's ALREADY GOT all the goodness of community that comes out of competition, we don't need competition to foster our bonds of friendship.  And parkour's political problems AREN'T NEARLY AS BAD as the ones that come out of competition.  So we stand to improve very little, and while we MIGHT not make anything worse, there's a good chance that we will.  Not to mention that little detail that anyone who makes a breakthrough or a new discovery is unlikely to share that with everyone if it means weakening their shot at a $10,000 sponsorship

Furthermore, I DO have difficulty training with certain people, just because of my own predilections and beliefs.  I stay on friendly terms with everybody, but some people just aren't dedicated enough for me, and I get bothered when I try to drill something and they're itching to move on.  Similarly, I'm too uptight for them, and they don't want to be held back.  These kinds of differences will increase tenfold when competition becomes commonplace, when half the world thinks the way the other half trains is stupid and reckless, and the other half thinks the first half is boring and repetetive.  There's no way I'd feel as comfortable walking right up to someone I'd never seen before training if I knew there was a 50-50 chance that they were going to think that training fingertip endurance is unneccessary and that you don't need to condition to do a 6-foot drop.  The world of parkour would just fragment one more time, with most of the people who've trained up until now going one way, and just a few - along with the majority of the next generation - going the other.  That would be a tragedy.

Third hemisphere - myself
I touched on this in the other thread, I don't know if you've read it.  I agree that most of the people who argue against competition focus too much on the other and never talk about themselves - although I repeat my earlier conviction, that a focus on the well-being of others is CRUCIAL to calling oneself a traceur.

I am not a perfectly responsible individual.  I WAS one of those idiots who got started copying moves straight off of videos.  I DID get myself hurt, I AM focused on building a trick list of cool techniques.  I've gotten over some of these predilections thanks to the support of the communities - people who've reassured me that I'm cool enough even if I can't do Move X, people who've guided me through injuries and opened my eyes to philosophy, people who've met me to show me their knowledge.

But if I'm honest with myself, I still like a little attention.  I still like to feel cool.  I still like flashy moves.  It's hard work to limit those tendencies, to balance myself.  In a competitive world, it would become even harder.  Even though I wouldn't compete myself, others would, and I would be hard-pressed not to step up if I saw a crowd of people surrounding my town's "regional champion."  I would be hard-pressed not to show off on the street to people who saw me training and asked if I was doing parkour.  Ultimately, competition would leave me with only two choices - succumb, unbalance my own training, and give in to the urge to show off and look cool (which is a genuine possibility), or isolate myself even more, separate myself and avoid people involved with competition who are receiving "expert" (impossible) advice and engaging in "innovative" training and doing things I'm really, really envious of.  Not a good choice, to me.

I hope you've read the other thread, because while I've repeated myself, there are some other details in that conversation that are applicable and I haven't mentioned here.


Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Anti - Competition Thread
« on: April 25, 2007, 07:19:28 AM »
I don't know if I'm qualified to say what the proper balance is, given that I've only been training three years and my understanding is constantly evolving.  But I think you're playing devil's advocate, here, because it's right there in your own signature ... "be useful."  The balance is somewhere between a) techniques that work on your body, improving your speed, strength, reflexes, and balance b) techniques that work on your utility, allowing you to ACTUALLY MOVE across COMMON PATHS, and c) techniques that are interesting and fun, because no one will continue to do parkour if they don't enjoy it.

I think competition would shift the balance overwhelmingly towards (c), and the first two parts, which to me are more important, would become a chore to do as quickly as possible in order to get to (c), so you can win and impress sponsors.

I almost always train with realistic objects, myself.  I go to hotspots on jams when I'm having fun with loads of people (which happens about three times a year, no exaggeration), and for the rest of my time, I use standard objects like curbs and cracks to strengthen my body, and I move in a "goal oriented" fashion when I take a run, using whatever's most sensible to follow a path - not whatever looks the best.

I come from a freerunning forum and a freerunning background, so I fully appreciate your point about "who cares" and "let live."  I'm not at all interested in telling people what they should/shouldn't/can/can't do, in a GENERAL sense.  I have no objection to other people's methods and philosophies, even if they directly contradict my own.  But I feel like I understand parkour very thoroughly and with a very mainstream, traditional outlook - especially since each of my "revelations" in the last year have been nothing but confirmations and clarifications of things I'd already begun to suspect - and I believe that whatever the proper balance is, whatever the proper realism is, it's not compatible with competition's philosophy.  I can't put my finger on it, but I have a general sense of it, and competition's in a whole different area of thought.

It's compatible with movement.  It's compatible with strength.  It's compatible with some kinds of utility, with the spirit of freedom, and with many of the interests of traceurs today and in the future.

But it's not compatible with parkour.  Call it something else.

Has it occurred to anyone that what most of us are discussing is, in fact, "le parcourse," the original French obstacle course discipline, which has always had organized competition?  Why don't we just have competitions in THAT, and leave the traceurs alone?   ::)

The key thing to note with le parcourse, though, is that it always occurred within a military context, among highly trained athletes taught by highly knowledgeable instructors in a rigidly controlled environment.  All the concerns about injury and degradation were missing, because everyone had the conditioning thrust upon them, and all the issues about utility were neutralized because that was the whole freakin' point - generals don't care how flashy their soldiers look, they care about them getting from A to B in good time and good health.  Because parkour is free, because it's a street sport and it's spread by word of mouth, the average traceur doesn't have these built-in protective conventions to keep things from spiraling in a negative way - and THAT'S why people are concerned.

It's also only fair to point out that most of the people who argue against competition use a rhetoric that is wholly focused on the "other" - on newbies, on irresponsible traceurs, etc. etc. - never on THEMSELVES.  So I'll just come out and say what people don't want to say - parkour being competetive would have a negative effect on ME, because I am not a completely responsible individual.  I tend to want recognition, I tend to want to learn new moves that look cool or fun, I tend to find conditioning boring and difficult.  I've made progress with these bad tendencies because the community has supported me - people encourage me to be content with my current image, to take things slowly and sensibly, to put in the right effort.  With a competitive framework already in place, I wouldn't have lasted as long as I have or learned as much as I did, and even if it began now, it would cause me difficulties.  I would have to choose between either giving up some of my sensible habits for the sake of "keeping up," or isolating myself from all the traceurs participating so I wouldn't feel so pathetic about my own skill level.

Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Anti - Competition Thread
« on: April 25, 2007, 03:25:07 AM »
Haven't had a chance to read through the whole thread here yet, I will today.  But here's my response to Faelcind's "article," which he shared with us on 3Run ...

I agree with virtually everything Faelcind wrote, but I want to add a few points that he glossed over or didn't cover fully.

Firstly, in terms of the specialization of a parkour competition's route itself, beyond the idea of a standard length and standard obstacles, there would almost definitely be an unrealistic variety of obstacles.  Most of the obstacles in the real world can be overcome with a some combination of just three techniques: passe muraille (wall climb), passement rapide (speed vault), and the parkour roll.  If I had to add a fourth technique, it would either be a saut de chat (kong) or saut de bras (catleap).  With the first three techniques, you can tackle probably 80% of the obstacles in any given path ... add in a fourth, and that jumps to about 95%.  But there's no way that professional, advertised competitions would limit themselves to those techniques ... things need to be interesting to make money, right?  So a typical course would almost definitely contain spots for: multiple tic-tacs, large gaps, tiny precision landings, laches/brachiation/bar swinging, underbars, cat-to-cat, diving rolls, vaults of all kinds, and places for vault to _______, where the blank is another vault, a precision, or a catleap.

Sounds GREAT, doesn't it?  Isn't variety a good thing?  Well, yes, it is, but only in moderation.  The techniques I just listed are useful, but they're less useful than the initial four or five, and thus should be trained proportionally less often.  Competition would unbalance a traceur's skill level, would gear him towards flashy and unneccessary moves.  Extra kinds of movements that exist "behind the scenes" and are important to practice, like climbing ropes, running on all fours, and static balance, are already practiced too little by the average traceur, and would fade even further into the background because they're not fast enough to be used in a televised parkour run.  The "trick list" mentality is already rampant enough, especially among the Youtube generation of newcomers ... but this kind of competition will legitimize it, making it that much worse.

Secondly, addressing the issue of martial arts schools becoming overspecialized and too focused on competition, I believe there would be a distinct "echo" effect within the parkour and freerunning communities that would destroy a lot of lives.  Just look at how many videos use music from Evolution or Dvinsk Clan or TCT ... look at how new techniques "spread" throughout the community like wildfire, once someone with a little recognition puts one in a video somewhere.  I'll bet in the next month we'll see people who aren't ready trying a monkey gainer, now that Ilabaca has carved the path.

That problem already exists ... the problem that DOESN'T exist yet is one of legitimacy and authority.  See, at the moment, if someone has a question, they can ask it on multiple forums, receive advice from all quarters, and balance the responses alongside their common sense and existing knowledge to get an idea of how they should proceed.  We listen to some people more carefully, because they have the respect of the community, but in every case they earned that respect after years of training and sharing, and even then we often discard their advice if someone else is making more sense.

But the second you have WORLD CHAMPION SPONSORED ATHLETES giving advice, all the attention will go to them.  And here's the thing:  THEY WON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT.  Nobody fully understands the long-term effects of rapid parkour progression on the body - nobody.  Not even the traceurs in Lisses.  Because they took it slowly - all they can tell you about is what happens if you strengthen yourself over a period of decades.  As soon as competition kicks off, though, and you have people like Dvinsk Clan with loads of guts and terrible form explaining their "winning" training regime to newcomers, we'll have hundreds of beginners following the blind into a world of chronic injury, because they won't realize that their heroes lack wisdom until it's too late.  This problem will correct itself after a few decades, when the 50-year-olds who took it slow and were quietly training the whole time are the only ones left standing, but how many people will suffer (along with the reputation of the discipline as a whole) in the interim?

Third, competition will break the bonds of community that currently exist across the world.  I'm not saying a multinational forum like ours or would die as a result of competition, but I AM saying that a new one wouldn't get started.  Competition breeds rivalry and ill will - traceurs (and their "coaches" :roll:) who are relying on success for their money and their fame, will not want to share training methods, new techniques, or cautionary experiences with other people who might use that knowledge to defeat them publicly.  Recently, I developed a mild case of Jumper's Knee, patellar tendonitis.  My very first move was to contact Jin of Cambridge, who offered me superb advice and also referred me to a blog written by Sam Parham, who suffered the same problem.  Now, a condition like Jumper's Knee is well understood, and I could've gotten information without their help.  But imagine if Jin and Sam and I were rivals competing for a 10,000-pound prize.  Would I have even dared to ask them for tips, in case they gave me bad information?  Would they have even bothered to respond?  What would happen to the beginner's guides, the tutorials, the tips and advice?  These things would never die completely, but they would dry up.  The only way I'd be invited 'round to Chase's and Danny's houses on my next trip to England would be if I was on their team.  (Not really, because guys like that would never be a part of such a rivalry - which should tell you something right there)

Lastly, competition is an insular force - it separates people out, divides them from the rest of society.  Say what you will about professional athletes and the neighborhood sports league; the fact is that most professional athletes aren't out in the neighborhood playing with their kids' friends.  If football's your job, you're not going to want any part of it when you come home tired after a long day.  If it's the source of your income, you're not going to risk twisting an ankle in the backyard when the big game's coming up in a week.  Traceurs in an elite, competitive setting won't have time to connect with the younger generation, won't have time to pass on their knowledge, won't have time to relax and just enjoy what they do, unless they're remarkably strong-willed and level-headed (which, again, the currently-famous ones are ... but the attention-seeking jocks that would come crawling out of the woodworks aren't).  Most importantly of all, though, they wouldn't have time to be a part of their community, to look around for the people who need their help, who need their guidance.  And on the fateful day when a local office building catches fire, they won't be there to help - they'll be in a completely different city working with a famous trainer, or they'll be off promoting some new shoe or kneepad, or they'll be there at home, but too injured or too tired to lift a hand to save a life.  And that, dear friends, makes them not traceurs at all, but something I don't want any part of.

***Edit - just a quick point.  I don't consider Sebastien Foucan the father of freerunning.  He's taken on a very public role and done a lot of good things for the art, but he was by no means the founder of anything.  Belle started all of the Lissian disciplines, insofar as he's the one who got everyone thinking and moving, thanks to his father.  After that initial push, though, many traceurs in Lisses (not just Sebastien) worked together to form the cousin discipline of "l'art du deplacement," or freerunning.  It's just that the vast majority of them don't want any fame or recognition - they're too busy training.  Sebastien stole the show.

NC Jams / UNC Jam Saturday 28th 11AM
« on: April 22, 2007, 01:04:54 PM »
I couldn't find it posted here, thought it was ... somewhere ...

Anyway, here are the directions to where we'll be meeting.

Coming in from 40, take 15/501 West towards the university.  Go about three miles, and there's an exit for Highway 54, Raleigh Road.  Can't remember if it's WEST or NORTH or what, just go right, towards UNC.  Go a little less than a mile, up a biiiig hill, and turn right onto Country Club Road, into the university.  Forest Theater's around the curve a bit, on your right, stone walls, can't miss it.

You can either park in the lot on the map, or if it's closed there's metered parking along Country Club that should be free and open on a Saturday.  If neither of those work, go back to the intersection of Country Club and 54, and go further into campus as if you hadn't turned, and there are more spaces.

Pics & Vids / Lisses Panorama (part of a video project I'm working on)
« on: April 18, 2007, 05:36:58 PM »
Just a little something I threw together in my spare time *coughhaven'tsleptforthreedayswhileworkingonitcough*  This was drawn "freehand" in Seashore, it's basically Microsoft Paint only for Mac, so it really sucks and it took me forever.  I drew all of the obstacles from memory, with no photos to assist me, so I apologize if there are some inaccuracies.

Click for full-size image, about 5000 pixels.

Please don't steal this image.  Consider it copyright ... use it all you want, Lisses doesn't belong to me ;) ... but let people know that I'm the one who created it.


For those of you who haven't heard of the Pilgrimage project, by the way, it's a documentary-style video I'm making about all the traceurs around the world who make their way to Lisses to train on the original obstacles and connect with the roots of parkour.  I haven't posted much about it on the American boards ... the gist of it is, if you've been to Lisses and you've got a video already cut, I'd love to take footage from it and use it in the video.  Nearly all of the action will be collaborative ... I'm going to do most of the talking in the vid because I'll film it while I'm there, but I'm collecting footage from traceurs everywhere (I've got about 25 vids and counting).  Details here if you want to participate ... e-mail me at PKPilgrimage(at) ...

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