Pakour vs. Gymnastics

By Samuel S. –

Most of those reading will most likely not know fully about parkour. Maybe it’s been heard of a few times around, but it’s hard to define it. That’s mainly because it doesn’t have to have a hard definition, and that’s the beauty of it too. Parkour, down to its roots, is a form of tactile movement to get from point A to point B as efficiently and quickly as possible in an urban environment. The personal definition comes in how you look at it. For many it’s a philosophy about overcoming obstacles. For others it’s a means of dedicating themselves to something. What makes parkour unique to me, it’s very personal, which is something you don’t see in many other sports.

However, some corporations don’t see the same value in it as the majority of the community does. The International Gymnastics Federation (IGF) plans on appropriating parkour and declaring it as a subset of gymnastics and place under its jurisdiction. Despite efforts made by the United States Parkour Association, who sent an open letter to IGF expressing their strong opposition agreed upon by most of the general Parkour community, it failed. On December 2nd, the USPK confirmed the vote in favor of IGF had been passed.

What does this mean for parkour? To put it simply, it is not gymnastics. Parkour’s free and personal adaptation falls far away from gymnastics’ nature, whereas points are scored by how closely athletes can replicate the ideal move. While there are many examples of competitive parkour, by no means is it required, or the “right” way to do it. Parkour is very much about breaking boundaries and feeling free of restriction. To set fixed regulations and rules by an unrelated third party completely diminishes the creative spirit. Since parkour is a new sport, and is just recently gaining traction, governing bodies have been developing, but as of now those organizations are in danger of becoming utterly powerless.

It’s a real possibility that only those who decide to go down the regulated and competitive path will be allowed to consider themselves traceurs, while the rest will simply be disregarded as ‘hobbyists’, regardless of achievements or dedication.

When you’re in the gym, you’re not actually doing parkour either, you’re training. You’re practicing for the moment you’ll be able to put your skills to use. Just as in martial arts, when you’re sparring with a coach or a peer, you’re not actually fighting, but preparing for the chance you do need to defend yourself, you’ll be ready. The same can’t be said about gymnastics, there’s not anything they’re setting themselves up for other than the next competition.

“Sport” is a very loose way to describe parkour, it doesn’t encapsulate all aspects of it. It really is more of an art form in motion, a way of self-expression. It was never designed to be ham-fisted into a completely irrelevant category. Parkour belongs to the community, not a standardized corporation stealing it and molding it into their own view. #WeAreNotGymnastics #WeAreParkour

Work Cited

 Anonymous, January 31, 2019, We Are Not Gymnastics, http://americanparkour.com/news/we-are-not-gymnastics/, Retrieved 10/6/19

Author- Samuel S

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