Author Topic: Parkour Competition  (Read 6228 times)

Offline Ryan Ford

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Parkour Competition
« on: November 01, 2010, 12:04:12 AM »
Here is the full highlight reel to the 2010 APEX Movement Invitational that we held in August.

On August 7, 23 of the best athletes in the USA, representing 8 different states, competed in the first ever national parkour competition, the 2010 APEX Movement Invitational sponsored by XingTea and Native Eyewear (and officially sanctioned by Motion Inc.). Sat Khalsa from Boulder and Erica Madrid from Denver, both representing APEX Movement, were the top male and female athletes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSGzoUzPMD4

Offline DevintheNinja

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 09:44:26 AM »
sick competition. i want to make it out there next year to rep vegas
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Offline GetzCRO

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2010, 07:02:39 AM »
@ Ryan:

This is not a haters message. I will write this in a common tone that I use to write just like any other message.

First of all, I was the one that commented on the video uploaded several days ago showing a parkour competition. You know my YT channel btw.

As I stated in the comment, the whole world that truely understands parkour is against these kind of events that are showing up lately in APK community (by that I mean the parkour scene in USA).

One of the things you need to understand, before you keep on reading is that a lot of people out there (around the globe and even in USA) think as me and my friends, my parents, my fellow traceurs...
They think that parkour is growing in USA and it is going the wrong way.
That this is the way people in USA think it is right, but its not.

I understand that you've grown in a country (one of the worlds biggest nations) where capitalism, or let me say money, made people to think it is the key to happiness, to rightness, to "real" parkour and soo on.

Now let me tell you how my country thinks of parkour (the part of people that know what parkour is as a discipline). People around me say it is brilliant, something that is so pure that people give up drugs, alchohol, cigarettes, bad habits, soo they could become a better person (traceur). They think this is something that will last as long as mankind will last on this planet, that we train parkour because there is no money involved, that it is healthy for your mind and for your body. That we train it because there are no competitons. That we train it because people from different parts of the country travel to other cities and to train one with another because it connected them with others into one big happy family.

An (proximatley) 80 year old granny walked slowly by me as I balanced a fence 2 years ago, she said; "keep up going, and never stop if you fall".

It was a moment for me that meant a lot of things that day, and one big moral boost for me as my friends and parrents still did not encourage me to train parkour. It was the day when I realized why do I train and how should I present this „thing“ I train.

Because I know that the video that shows us a time challenge with eliminations, for the last ones that finished the obstacle course, is not parkour. Every single person in that room is the winner of your competition. Because they are alive, they train, and they move - just like „your winners“ in the end of the competition. There is no difference in if one made it half the way through, one made it too slow. I will use your namesakes, Ryan Doyle, sentance and repeat him by telling you that you can't compare traceurs because you also can't compare peoples lives who lived better and who did not.

Now if I tell you that people here in my country (and in our neighbour countries) think that parkour is not presented in the right way in USA, what would you say ?

Would it mean anything to you that there are people that think money is NOT the most important thing in life? 

What would you say if I state that being alive and being able to move, and to train is one of the biggest gifts that we have. And in that reason we do not need any money to pay us for being able to move, or that we also need no competitions in which you would compare someones moves with others ?

In the past three years of my training I survived some sirious problems in my life. I passed those problems using parkour because it thought me to pass them in the right direction.
I don't know how will I pass a problem (if it shows up and it could easily show up) in which parkour would become something that you will compete in, and be able to train only (and ONLY) in certain areas (arenas, parks, or what would it be) because all others are off limits to people because of the law.

Do you see where am I getting at ? It could become something illegal because of a few competitions and in that reason people would be again traped inside some new rules and laws, that the only fault of being created was a traceur himself.

I'm sorry to say this, but I really had a great picture about you. You were also one of my idols, just as my other friends that train parkour and support one another. I thought I understood what you were doing, but looks like I was wrong.

Don't take it to the heart, but still try to think a little about my post and these thoughts. As this opinion shares about 99% traceures around the globe that train parkour. And I am only the first one that wanted to write this in public.

You could say "uh what the hell is this guy rambling about, he doesn't know how things work here", but you will also be wrong because people (around the world,again repeating) train it because they love PARKOUR, and not MONEY.

Sorry for the grammar errors and a huge post. It supposed to be a PM but however I decided to post it here.
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Offline Evan Rudd

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2010, 08:46:19 AM »
@ GetzCRO

Thank you for voicing an opinion that not many of us her in the good old US of A get to see/hear/understand. I, both as a traceur and as person, prefer less of the competition, maybe because i've never really liked to pit myself against others in anything, let alone sports or physical exertion. However, saying competing in free running/ Pk is bad is like saying it's bad to submit art to a competition for prizes.

I concede that competition can lead the way for a newer generation focused on moneymaking. However, that just means that we, as those with a different mindset, need to accept these people and help them to see our pt of view, not judge them and cast them out like yester-year's trash.

Instead of using these competition for financial stability egotistical boost, lets use these as a test of our skills in a different environment.

@ Ryan

Thank you for your post. I've learned much watching these athletes perform their art. Lets hope that one day I'll be confident enough to chance an entry in you prestigious event.
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Offline Spencer Rich

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2010, 09:54:39 AM »
@ GetzCRO

at the Seattle gym we have challenges somewhat like this, but I think you're making a bigger deal out of it than it actually is.  There's no money involved or capitalistic intentions.  Nor does it have anything to do with the way in which we train.  We still train for our own intrinsic values, this is just something that's fun, brings the community together, and challenges our skills in ways they don't normally get challenged.  Please don't assume things of this nature 'I understand that you've grown in a country (one of the worlds biggest nations) where capitalism, or let me say money, made people to think it is the key to happiness, to rightness, to "real" parkour and soo on."  The way our country may be portrayed and how the people actually are, especially traceurs in my opinion, is not the same thing.  I agree plenty of people are motivated by money, but I don't see that in my parkour scene, nor do I think Ryan Ford expects to making huge bank off holding a competition like that.

The way we run our competitions in Seattle has more to do with competing against yourself and pitting your skills against the course.  It's an extremely friendly environment and there's nothing show-off about it.  I think they are highly valuable in bringing together the community, since in America we're very spread out.  We can't just hop on a short train ride, be in another country, and be jamming with x amount of traceurs.  We have to drive between separate jam locations even in the same city.  So compared to Europe I think these competitions have a higher value and hence why we feel the need to hold such events while your scenes do not.

The illegality of parkour is not going to be affected by parkour gyms holding competitions like this.  I don't really see where that's coming from.  But you put a huge emphasis on parkour not money, I don't see our parkour coaches in america living like kings, they get by and recoup enough to keep the gyms running because they love parkour.  If they loved money they'd be trying to do stunt work/commercials.  Instead they give all their time to teach new people and work to unite and build our community because that's the best path they can see to promoting parkour in our country.  We can't be expected to follow the same path as Europe in our growth of parkour simply because we are different.  My $0.02 :P just had to throw that in haha

Offline Gabe Arnold

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 10:02:51 AM »
^ Agreed Spencer.

In my mind, this is a Parkour competition in the way the Stihl Timbersports Series is real logging - one does not equate the other.

This a competition using the movements and skills learned in the practice of Parkour. It is not Parkour in and of itself, just like tree climbing and axe cutting are not the entirety of logging in and of themselves. It's a game, a fun way to challenge yourself.

I saw comradery, community, men and women pushing their abilities, and people conquering obstacles. I saw people who are now going to train harder to do better. I saw many of the ideals of Parkour in action.

It seems to me the only problem people have is with the name "Parkour Competition". Though I'd prefer that it was called something else, maybe "The Parkour Games" or something, I think it's a weak argument to dismiss all the good this event did and can do just to keep things 'pure'. Parkour is not a religion. It's a discipline to improve yourself. If someone chooses to use the abilities gained in Parkour to participate in a pass time such as this, I say more power to them. In my mind, this isn't Parkour - but it is a fantastic addition to what we do.

I whole-heartedly endorse events like this and can't wait till next year's. I'm gonna do everything I can to make it out and try to start up events in my own region.

PS - Why put the Salmon ladder at the end? That's so cruel, especially after everything they already did haha.

Offline Jordan Strybos

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2010, 10:45:41 AM »
I agree with the two posts above me, too. While GetzCRO does bring up a good point, I feel like just from watching, that we can see that this competition was one of the friendliest ones out there, and that the only thing that came from the competition aspect of it was the traceurs challenging each other to perform at their absolute best.

Offline Ryan Ford

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 11:48:47 AM »
Getz, I am glad you posted here because I couldn't put in my full response on YouTube.

I completely agree with you on a lot of what you said. Anyone who starts doing parkour is a winner in my eyes because they are doing something useful, healthy, and challenging. I know plenty of people here as well who stopped doing drugs or turned their lives around because of parkour. I even have friends who use parkour as a way to overcome or deal with disease or other serious issues. Despite what you think about money and capitalism in the US, people who do parkour here are just like people who do parkour where you live. I have trained with people all over the world, France, UK, Slovakia, Colombia, Lebanon, etc. and its always instant friendship and understanding of each other because of parkour, even if we sometimes cant even speak the same language.

I did not make a penny off that competition and neither did my gym. I am not in this for the money. I did this so people could have fun, learn something new, and challenge them to think of parkour competition in a different way. Not a single person who was at the comp left thinking it was a negative thing. Everyone helped each other, was friendly, and enjoyed watching people push themselves and accomplish cool things. Competitors were giving each other tips on how to be faster for their turns. After his final run, the winner even gave another competitor tips on how to be faster and beat him. This was the atmosphere of the whole night. Competition is not a negative thing. It undoubtedly makes people better and progresses our skillsets and understanding of parkour.

Over the past 5 years of teaching parkour, I have discovered that most people do not really train parkour at all. Everyone thinks these moves like vault to cat or vault to precision are fast and efficient. What if you just jumped over them? Or stride across the tops? People are stuck in the way they train and see things. Without putting them up against a clock or another person's time on an obstacle course, they don't think about how they can truly overcome the obstacles in front of them in the fastest, most efficient way. This is like doing martial arts without ever sparring or grappling. How do you know what works if you don't test it? We train timed obstacle courses here all the time and we are constantly amazed at how much people improve as they try the course again and again. By doing this we can test different techniques, find faster ways, and learn about our skill sets and fitness so that we can alter our training to become faster.

Competition in parkour is not even a new thing. For years now, the competition in parkour has been who can make the coolest video and show it off to the world on YouTube. What is the better form of competition?

My challenge to you and anyone who doubts competition in parkour is to find a stopwatch, go out to your favorite training spot, make it into an obstacle course, and time each other. Take turns running through the course and most importantly, try to beat your own time, but also watch the other people and how they move and adapt to the course. Learn from what they did and use it to make yourself better. Keep running through this course over and over and you will see how much better everyone gets. The true competition in parkour will always be with yourself, but use that stop watch and use other people to help make you better as well.

Offline NMPK

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2010, 07:22:45 PM »
Over the past 5 years of teaching parkour, I have discovered that most people do not really train parkour at all. Everyone thinks these moves like vault to cat or vault to precision are fast and efficient. What if you just jumped over them? Or stride across the tops? People are stuck in the way they train and see things. Without putting them up against a clock or another person's time on an obstacle course, they don't think about how they can truly overcome the obstacles in front of them in the fastest, most efficient way. This is like doing martial arts without ever sparring or grappling. How do you know what works if you don't test it? We train timed obstacle courses here all the time and we are constantly amazed at how much people improve as they try the course again and again. By doing this we can test different techniques, find faster ways, and learn about our skill sets and fitness so that we can alter our training to become faster.

I agree with most of what you said but this especially is something that I think people really need to consider, too often I think we practitioners get caught up in doing "parkour movements" and lose our focus on efficiency. The martial arts analogy is fitting, and points out exactly why I think some form of competitiveness is both an inevitable and positive evolution of the discipline. As much as I love the sentiments of self improvement and personal discipline that those against competition espouse, I see competition (if done properly) as a way to truly test your skills against reality, much like you might test a scientific theory with an experiment. You can say you flow well all you want but if the evidence isn't there than what does it matter?

That being said I'm curious as to the logistics of something like this. We've seen a few "competitions" pop up here and there but there's no definite structure for this sort of thing, and it becomes a challenge to differentiate a parkour competition from a street gymnastics routine. I particularly liked the speed rounds you showed in the video, that sort of structure serves the best basic format for a competition in my opinion.

Have you considered doing it outside of a gym environment and without a set path? In other words take the competitors to an open area, maybe a common training ground with a nice variety of obstacles, choose a start and end point a certain distance apart and simply go for the best time? I imagine the biggest problem with this idea would be choosing an environment with the right distance, variety and availability. I'm curious to hear what you think of this as someone who's actually attempted to run a competition.

Offline Jordan Strybos

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 10:07:43 PM »
Have you considered doing it outside of a gym environment and without a set path? In other words take the competitors to an open area, maybe a common training ground with a nice variety of obstacles, choose a start and end point a certain distance apart and simply go for the best time? I imagine the biggest problem with this idea would be choosing an environment with the right distance, variety and availability. I'm curious to hear what you think of this as someone who's actually attempted to run a competition.

Another problem that I see with this idea is the fact that will most paths, the easiest/fastest way would be (for the majority) simply running...perhaps if a wall-run or something like that was necessary, then it would force people to do more than just run...just an idea, but I'm sure that some sort of path could be laid out so that this idea could work, and would probably be really really fun.

Offline Graham Hughes

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2010, 11:07:16 PM »
Saw this a few days ago, very well done.  Definitely the best "competition" format I've seen so far, as it actually tests speed, strength, and endurance rather than subjectively evaluating people's tricks.  My only suggestion would be calling it something like "Parkour Challenge" next time, as it presents a less controversial image.

GetzCRO, I think others have said pretty much everything I intended to, but I just wanted to add that it would be great if in the future you could please refrain from making uneducated remarks about Americans or parkour in the US, as it's extremely rude and makes you look like a stereotypical American.

Offline GetzCRO

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2010, 11:57:19 PM »
Ok, I respect everyones opinion, but dissagree.

You all say competition is ok, to test efficiency, to test speed and endurance...
But what you are all trying to do is FORCING people to do big stuff (I think those girls can't do the same things or in the same way movement that guys did, so we all see it's too big for them).
In that case you all know that you are trying to get people to do things they are not sure they could do (pass).

And what does it all come to? To injuries. Because the girl that "won", she maybe was able to pass all the obstacles, but was she ready physicaly for it? Was her body strong enough to take the impact and all the stress that it made passing all those obstacles.

Another "great" thing that came up a year - or two ago, was the MTV's ultimate parkour challenge in which there was 90% of freerunning and 10% of parkour. There were also injuries, some really serious ones. And it showed just the worst side of what you get when you try to compete.

Ryan, maybe you did not make any money of it yet, but one day some guy will come to these competitions of yours (or someone else's), and will see a possible profit in it if he makes the stakes bigger. He would not only pay the winners, but would also make him some big money. That guy wouldn't have a slightest idea of what true parkour is. And to be honest to you, he would possibly not even care to find out.

You all could just organize big training jams, and train all together and have fun in it. There was no need for time challenges. You could all see how someone would pass the obstacles and what is their style and etc. Because what I understood from your post that you all need "a higher motive" to gather up and train together.

Try to ask yourselfes would David Belle be pleased to hear that there was an another competition. As he is the co-founder of the general idea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour#Terminology

"Non-rivalry" paragraph... please read it all...READ it carefully and try to understand meaning of the text.


In the words of Erwan LeCorre:

    Competition pushes people to fight against others for the satisfaction of a crowd and/or the benefits of a few business people by changing its mindset. Parkour is unique and cannot be a competitive sport unless it ignores its altruistic core of self development. If parkour becomes a sport, it will be hard to seriously teach and spread parkour as a non-competitive activity. And a new sport will be spread that may be called parkour, but that won't hold its philosophical essence anymore.




It is ok that you all gave yourselfs one bigger motive to get more efficient, but there was no need in comparing it with others. I see your point when you try to tell that people only try to learn seperate moves, when they should try to move more freely and efficiently. But its the TIME that we all have, time that comes when a traceur realises for himself when he is ready to start to train in that way. And it is his freely decision when or how will he start to move like that. There are no rules except that if one moves efficienly, fast, simple, and safe. Soo when, how, fast or slow, it is all movement and you can not compare that with another traceur.

Why would you try to force someone that is not ready to move like this and make him get himself/herself forcing and rushing into injuries? Would you take the responsibility if somone gets hurt seriously? Or would it be his all fault for getting hurt and trying to move by your rules ?

Try to think about my posts once more, and try to figure it out if its ok to make people go faster when they are still not prepared for it.

And please don't think I was trying to be rude when I mentioned capitalism, or any other statement about USA, when I would post everything the same for any other country. I didn't wanted to make it sound rude.
Like you all I also have a right for an opinion, soo why wouldn't you like to listen/read it, and try to think about it.

This was also my last post here, as I am leaving this forum and will not return. It's just the way I will try to get you understand how serious I am about it. Nothing personal, but just don't want to see any more competitions. That's all.

Stay good, train hard and safe.

Cheers to all ;)
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Offline MThomasfreerun

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2010, 03:44:59 AM »

This was also my last post here, as I am leaving this forum and will not return. It's just the way I will try to get you understand how serious I am about it. Nothing personal, but just don't want to see any more competitions. That's all.

Competition is hard-wired into our nature as animals. Sure we've evolved to the point we can chose to suppress some of our base instincts, but in a discipline that strives to bring is back to a state of fitness mentally and physically to survive in any situation, it is not only understandable but probable that competition will crop up.

The "non-competition" movement has been around since before I started doing parkour; I didn't agree with it then and I don't now. If you don't want to compete then don't - but others do and there's nothing inherently wrong with it. There are an infinite number of reasons why people choose to do parkour, and the only time it's a problem is when someone gets self-righteous and claims that someone's motivation is "wrong."  I have friends who started doing parkour to lose weight; others used it to overcome drug addictions and some just like to expand their physical and mental abilities. I don't give anyone crap for these motivations, or any other motivation I've heard frankly, and I don't think anyone else is so great they should either.  I can only imagine what would have happened to some of my pk friends if they had been told they shouldn't be doing parkour because of their reason for doing so.

If someone's motivation is money, well, that is there prerogative, but they will likely find this is a very long way to an uncertain financial stability.  In the meantime, I would guess their training will suffer because they have to spend time trying to make ends meet. But is it wrong? Is it somehow less noble to want to make a living doing what you love?  Very few people in the USA actually sustain themselves financially through parkour-related endeavors. I believe Ryan Ford is one of them, although I do not know him well enough to say for sure. In any event, he didn't make any money on this competition, and frankly had to spend money to organize and provide the facility for the competition.

It is a sign of true mental strength and maturity is to be able to compete with others while still realizing that your personal goals and worth are not measured by how you stack up to someone else. Even at "non-competitive" jams, there are always people who are trying to jump higher, farther, twist more, climb farther, etc. As I said before, it is in our nature to compete; putting a label on it doesn't turn it immediately foul.

Also, I don't like nor agree with the somewhat sexist tone of the comments regarding the women who were competing.  Parkour is an inclusive discipline is it not? No one twisted their arm to be there, and they could see ahead of time the requirements. They chose to try anyway, which I respect and you shouldn't talk less of them for it, even in a "don't want them to get injured" slant.

As a final note, leaving this forum or any other is not really a good way to support your view and cause.  If you are really serious about your stance, you should be willing to stick around for it. As much as I get tired reading the same old posts about parkour vs. freerunning (the penultimate argument on APK it seems) I at least respect those who continue to argue in support of their opinion. Starting shit and then running away seems a serious lack of confidence.
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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2010, 05:22:49 AM »
lol

Offline Jordan Strybos

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2010, 05:40:34 AM »
lol

Nice post! Seriously, if you don't have something to add to the discussion, don't just randomly post 'lol'.

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Offline David Jones

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2010, 06:59:13 AM »
lol

Pretty much sums it up. Out of anyone, I trust Ryan to put together a great event, and that's what he did :)
No reason for people to get so upset about a little, friendly competition.

... All in all, my opinion is in line with Gabe's opinion. lol.


Offline Graham Hughes

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2010, 09:39:15 AM »
Ugh, that was a thoroughly frustrating read.  I hate "holier than thou" attitudes, especially in regard to something that's meant to be a fun and enriching experience. 

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2010, 03:09:27 PM »
Nice post! Seriously, if you don't have something to add to the discussion, don't just randomly post 'lol'.

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That was my way of reminding people not to take themselves too seriously...everyone has a different view of movement...there's no need to get worked up over a bunch of guys in Colorado having fun... ;)

Offline max eisenberg

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2010, 03:22:04 PM »
that was good stuff, covered a lot of the parts of my training.


my mind is constantly moving, one day my body will be strong enough to keep up.

Offline Ryan Ford

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Re: Parkour Competition
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2010, 04:38:55 PM »
Primarily @Getz

We didn't force anyone to do anything. There were faster ways, slower ways, riskier ways, and safer ways to do all the courses. People made their own choices on how to move and nobody got hurt. The safety of this comp stood heads and shoulders over the other freerunning comps where many people have gotten seriously injured.

The girl who won was an elite gymnast for 12+ years and is more physically capable than a huge percentage of the men in parkour. She has only been doing parkour for about 6 months so some of her technique is rough around the edges (like using her knee on climb ups) but her physical condition, athletic background, and mindset made her the winner. So while you question whether or not she was physically ready to do those courses, your answer is exactly that, she won largely in part to her good physical condition.

The men's winner, Sat Khalsa, has a degenerative back injury that has prevented him from doing parkour for several years now. He trains parkour seriously maybe 2 or 3 times a year. He also stays in really great shape through other methods and is naturally talented. Isn't it weird how someone can be really good at parkour without even doing it? The same goes for a lot of the guys in the top 10. They weren't necessarily the most skilled or technically sound athletes, but they were better athletes, period. It makes a lot of the parkour training people do look like a total waste of time. People would be way faster and able to complete a task or escape or reach in an emergency situation if they were simply better athletes. Instead of being really good at kong vaults, underbars, and cat leaps, people should worry more about running faster, jumping farther, and being stronger. Completing obstacle courses or emergency situations, in other words and by definition, being good at parkour, is more about being a good athlete and less about perfect technique. This is just another example of interesting insight I gained from doing this competition. These are insights that can make the entire parkour community better and further the training methods we all use.

About David Belle. He has been so far removed from the progress of Parkour over the past 10 years that it is difficult to respect what he says. His actions (or lack thereof) have given the impression that he would rather it be really small. Naturally, when you remove yourself from something, other people step up and everything constantly grows and evolves from there. I want to see it grow. I want to share the great things it has given me with other people. That's why I teach. That's why I started a gym. That's why I do DemonDrills.

About Erwan. Last year, he moved from France to Colorado, my home state, and when I reached out to him, he chose not to be a part of the parkour community whatsoever. I've even heard stories of him badmouthing parkour from other people who personally know him. I won't even go into the rest of what I know/hear about him. So that being said, it's also hard to respect his views on parkour.

The people in parkour who matter are people like you and me, the Yamakasi, PKG, UFF, WFPF, etc. The ones who actually do parkour and help other people do parkour. I understand that some of these people are also anti-competition but when it comes to certain topics, we can respectfully agree to disagree and still continue to be friends and help each other. Same goes for you, I don't agree with a lot of the things you said, but I don't disrespect you for them. In fact, I would still love to meet and train with you some day!