Erik, I don't mind at all when someone speaks against competition, as I said, people are all welcome to their opinions.
When Rafe made an article against competition, I posted it on the front page of American Parkour and gave it equal billing with other people's opinions. He has since made an article against his article against competition, that is also available somewhere on the site.
People not thinking parkour is competitive or not wanting competitions in parkour doesn't change my enjoyment of parkour at all.
You should also know that I host the Beast Coast jam, the largest national gathering in the US, and to date there has been no competition (except a video competition / festival). To me, adding a competitive course would increase my enjoyment, however not having one for the last 5 or 6 years has not hurt my enjoyment of the event at all.
I personally disagree that parkour being non-competitive is a fact, I won't go into my reasons again. There are many things in "history" which are considered facts from one point of view and not considered facts at all from another point of view, this won't change.
I also personally feel that an obstacle course with a timer is a good indication of a person's ability at the physical side of parkour, which is the part that CAN be tested. It would be silly for anyone to think that a competition in any artform / discipline would be a complete measure, as you pointed out with martial arts, I have never seen a "breathing and relaxation competition" however those things are undeniably part of martial arts. You said yourself, it's only part of parkour - which to me isn't completely logical to follow with "it's not parkour" - perhaps "It is part of parkour but that is not complete parkour" would be more sensible?
Again, I am not trying to change your opinion, only sharing mine.
True, history isn't always correct, but I don't think that justify the competition aspect.
I personally think a lot of people confuse their own, personal principles with the principles of parkour. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of speeches of what parkour is, what it isn't, what it should be, and what it shouldn't be, what it has to be, if its like this, if it can be like that blabla - its in articles, its on forums, its on youtube, its in IRL conversations.
The point that is missed here is the simple question: What is parkour for me
When any traceur ask this question another question pops up: What isn't parkour?
Now, here is the paradoxal part of it. Parkour is by no doubt extremely free and liberating. There are no rules or restrictions. Its not a collection of techniques, its not a mindset, its not an experience, its not a complete training method, its not copying others. Its more like selfexpression. But all in all, these are just parts of parkour, its not parkour alone.
What defines it is what the Yamakasi developed. Competition, showoff, or anything like that, doesn't define it, its not a part of it. What defines it has already been said by the founders so many times. They clearly made their point with the A.D.A.P.T - which - the Yamakasi are responsible for, not Generations as many people seems to think. Why did they do it? Because they wanted to preserve what they developed for and refined for over 15 years. We can all define things our own way but its not always realistic to do so. We can't simply question everything. You can't say that it isn't a fact that USA is called USA, you can't say that it is a fact that Jeet Kun Do is developed for tournaments.
Parkour defines a certain way of thinking. Parkour is a name with a meaning behind it. If there isn't any principles, then parkour is anything; beating people up, breaking into houses, competition, short-term training, e.i. you can throw away everything you know about it. It sounds really rediciulous but its completely justified if we ever was to think that parkour doesn't define anything more than yourself and your own definition of it. Some things are defined by what they are meant for and not by what you think they are meant for simply because the history is already there in the puddle, along with the principles of parkour, or the principles of ethics, or the principle and/or definition of anything.
I may sound like a definition nerd, but really, its simple. There are objective and subjective things in parkour. Thats the simple way I see it, and in that way I dont need to question everything.
I just had the best idea ever that should keep all the parkour purists happy!! We get a group of traceurs together to surround a random building...then we light the building on fire! The traceur who saves the most people is the winner.
I don't think there are any ''purist'' traceurs. I have never understood the whole concept of ''pure parkour'' or a ''pure'' practitioner.
Either you understand it or you don't.