WFPF is a for-profit company, which at the time of its founding in 2008 we believed was the best way to create greater growth for the sport, and more opportunities for Parkour practitioners to make a living doing Parkour. In 2013, we founded a NON-PROFIT, the International Parkour Federation, (www.InternationalParkourFederation.com), because we were warned that FIG (Federation International de Gymnastique) might try something like this, in the same way that the Skiing Federation took over Snowboarding, against the wishes of those athletes, and that we needed to establish a body run by and for the community in order to protect Parkour. We applied to Sport Accord, which is the first step towards international recognition, knowing that it would be a very long process. A short time thereafter, we were contacted by Mark Cooper (formerly named Mark Dolley until around 2011), the same individual behind the current FIG attack, who basically threatened us with legal action if we did not fold our organization and “kiss the ring” of Le Mouvement. Cooper claimed that David Belle “owned” the word and concept of “Parkour”, based on Belle’s last unfortunate partnership with Adam Dunlap of clothing company Take Flight, when Belle DID attempt to trademark “Parkour”. Does anyone “own” the words Football or Baseball? We shrugged off Cooper’s threats, and instead began a dialogue with Eugene Minogue of Parkour UK and Dan Edwards of Parkour Generations. Through many cordial and respectful meetings, we recognized our shared interest in stopping Mark Cooper, but we were unable to come to a final resolution at that time or a way to effectively move forward in unison, largely because IPF/WFPF favored including competition as a valid part of Parkour, and Parkour UK and PK Gen did not. So now, Cooper has once again turned up as the common link in the scheme to “sell” Parkour to FIG.
With that background in mind, we will now answer the question, why is it so bad for FIG to take over Parkour and create an Olympic competition for the sport, when organizations like WFPF and others worldwide are already making money from Parkour?
WFPF/IPF have by design always been joint ventures, a collaboration of ideas by the original organizers, and a core group of internationally respected athletes from across the world community, starting with founding athlete Ryan Doyle, who we met in 2007, and who continues to hold a place of honor and is an important voice in our decision-making process. As time goes on, these athletes, many of whom are now equity stakeholders in WFPF, continue to assume more and more of the leadership of both organizations, as was always our intention. Our recent Vegas Jump Off Competition was fully produced by the amazing Robbie Corbett and Sam Parham (3Run), the improvements over last year coming largely from the feedback of the community. We included three non-competitive community Jams over the course of the weekend, and Jump Off’s extraordinary Panel of Parkour Professionals was organized and moderated by Justin Sheaffer of Tranquil Movement under the auspices of JumpFest, and will soon be available free of charge on the JumpFest website.
FIG, on the other hand, is a bloated, top-down organization, that is thoroughly rules-based and is controlled BY THE JUDGES and founded on the idea of the “PERFECT 10”, which is diametrically opposed to the soul of Parkour. There is no reason to believe that they would treat Parkour any differently, but rather there is every reason to believe that they would do all that they can to bring Parkour in line with their other disciplines.
In fact, in IPF’s first letter of protest to FIG dated February 28th, 2017, we stated to the President of FIG, Morinari Watanabe, referring to their recent press release:
“We were interested in your comments about your new employee, Mr. Steve Butcher. We understand that he will be in charge of your technical committees with the goal of
guaranteeing more uniformity of rules across all your disciplines. This is a primary reason that
Parkour will and must remain independent and autonomous, as our athletes and culture will not accept any structure imposed according to other sports’ or disciplines’ rules or standards.”
Finally, if FIG appropriates Parkour and, by whatever name, successfully brings it to the Olympics, it will be FOREVER. The Parkour community will NEVER be able to regain control of Parkour if we are not happy with FIG’s creation. And rest assured, in the end, it WILL be called Parkour, or even worse, “PARKOUR GYMNASTICS” (to bring it in line with their other disciplines.) First they will steal the discipline and the formats that the worldwide Parkour community has been embracing and advancing over the last decade, and then they will steal the name. There will be no going back. Ever!
#ParkourIsParkour #ParkourIsNotGymnastics #FightFIG