Originally posted in our News section, 19 June, 2017
A REAFFIRMATION OF OUR COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY
We are the pre-eminent national parkour organisation in Australia. Since 2006, we have mobilised volunteers across Australia and internationally to grow Parkour productively, and to empower communities to teach and develop parkour practitioners. We have taught Parkour in hundreds of schools and organisations and to thousands of people around the country. We have played an active role in the development of Parkour internationally, and our members have been a part of its many successes and many challenges.
As a young discipline, Parkour is finding its place and becoming known in the world. As with all young disciplines, there are those who wish to influence and shape parkour into something that strips it of its unique value – and instead transform it into something that only offers commercial value without regard for the community.
Today we face the encroachment and misappropriation of Parkour from many fronts – including the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique, corporate interests, and organisations operating within the parkour community but contrary to local interests. We stand firmly against those actors and resist their influence.
We believe in a future for parkour that:
Puts the community before profits
Celebrates and promotes what is the unique about parkour, rather than search for ways to make it conform
Promotes non-competitive practice
Is consistent with the underpinning philosophy of parkour – altruism, useful strength, longevity, self-improvement and self-understanding
Respects the geographic and cultural sovereignty of other national communities
The Australian Parkour Association does, and always will, act with the community as its primary interest. We reaffirm our commitment to our goals and statement of purpose.
We invite and encourage all other like-minded parkour organisations to get in touch, collaborate, and share with us and our members.
Our fight against the FIG
In May this year, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) announced that they had given its approval in principle to begin the development of ‘an obstacle course sprint’ event, which was later revealed to be parkour, as a discipline of the FIG. The implications of this are far reaching and threaten to take parkour out of the hands of practitioners and into the hands of gymnastics instructors who are unqualified and unfamiliar with parkour and its rich philosophy. If FIG is successful in gaining recognition as the international governing body of parkour it would provide its national members, such as Gymnastics Australia, a range of mechanisms of control over parkour. This could include: what is and is not recognised as a parkour teaching qualification, who gets funding and for what, and the public image of parkour.
It is not just the Parkour community that is outraged at this, many from within the gymnastics community are standing up against the FIG for ignoring the development of disciplines they already govern such as acrobatics. We are also not the only new discipline or sport to be threatened in this way – emerging adventure sports have a long history of being appropriated by unrelated international bodies, leading to significant issues for their members and practitioners – as New Zealand Parkour Association CEO, Damien Puddles, has written about in depth here.
Gymnastics and Parkour may use similar movements, but they are distinctly unique in their practice and the value they provide. The FIG do not represent parkour communities internationally, just as Gymnastics Australia do not represent parkour communities here.
We have joined forces with communities around the world who are standing against the encroachment and misappropriation of Parkour.
If you want to help in the fight to keep parkour in the hands of the community, you can do so by signing the petition and calling your local FIG representative (for us in Australia, you can call on 03 8698 9700).