A MESSAGE FROM WFPF & IPF re: the attempt by FIG (Federation International de Gymnastique) to take over “Competitive” Parkour, as well as the collusion of certain Parkour groups willing to sell out to FIG for their own personal gain.
Following this message (at the bottom), please find our 3 PAGE OPEN LETTER TO FIG in response to their May 14th, 2017 email invitation to a meeting in Lausanne on May 31, 2017.
For almost ten years the WFPF and its sister organizations USAParkour.org and its global non-profit InternationalParkourFederation.com have worked hard to grow, protect, and defend the integrity of the practice of Parkour, be it as a training method or a competitive sport. WFPF was launched when it produced the television series MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge with some of the world’s top Parkour athletes who wanted to spread their message and unify the sport of Parkour. They were feeling worn down by the strife and disunity and wanted there to be more cohesion among Parkour practitioners holding different points of view, so they became the Founding Athletes of WFPF with that mission in mind. WFPF/USA Parkour has certified over 800 instructors internationally, has helped start Parkour programs and insure more than 70 gyms making Parkour instruction available to over 10,000 students (and counting), has mentored and supported athletes internationally and instilled in them the methods and tools to start their own Parkour careers from Bagdad to Brazil, China to Colorado, and Morocco to Madagascar. WFPF recognized from the beginning that there are many points of view regarding Parkour and all should be considered and included. The one thing we all agree on is that Parkour is UNIQUE and therefore must maintain its autonomy and independence; it is a thing unto itself, and should not be controlled by any other discipline or organization. The current attempt by FIG (Federation International de Gymnastique) in partnership with several Parkour organizations to try to hijack “Competitive” Parkour and change its name, using the exact same principles and well-known competition formats is a disgrace. The Parkour organizations who secretly partnered with them, then pulled out when the going got rough, should be ashamed of themselves. They made the wrong decision to get involved with FIG in the first place and to plead innocence now is deplorable. After throwing their Parkour colleagues under the bus, they are now asking for forgiveness! The strong arm of FIG is exactly the reason why WFPF has from the first opposed FIG’s intentions. In fact, upon publication of the first press release at the end of February 2017, indicating FIG’s goal, WFPF sent an unsolicited letter insisting that FIG had no right to take over Parkour. We must together control our own discipline, competitive and non-competitive, and not give it up to the archaic methods of a struggling, top-down bureaucratic institution such as FIG, who’s goal is to breath new life into their organization by absorbing and controlling a new and dynamic discipline. This would be disastrous for Parkour, as they inevitably bring their rules-based culture to bear.
If you look at the FIG website you can see how they label their sports:
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics
And of course what will come next is…
Here are the websites and social media pages for FIG. We urge you to go to them and post, “YOU DO NOT OWN PARKOUR!” and “WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU”. You should also reach out to the Parkour groups that were quietly involved in this scheme and bailed at the last minute, ask them tough questions and get their word that this will not happen again.
People often talk about the “Parkour Community” as if it is some elite club that only they can belong to. They try to set the rules and the agenda. The Parkour community is not just those people with loud voices. It also is the 5 year old girl who trains at a local Parkour gym, it is a 17 year old boy from Tanzania who watches Parkour videos on youtube and goes out and trains alone dreaming that one day he can go to an international competition and meet his heroes, it is the 70 year old who goes to a senior Parkour class at a local park and learns the joy of movement again. Parkour is NOT gymnastics, it is Parkour!
THE WFPF/IPF MISSION IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE: “The World Freerunning Parkour Federation is dedicated to the safe and respectful advancement of the Parkour Movement throughout the world. Inspired by the creativity and mental discipline embodied by Parkour, the athlete/founders of the WFPF and their partners will faithfully bring this philosophy of movement to the growing numbers of optimistic young people around the globe who believe that through camaraderie, self-expression, and service to others, there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome.”
To read about WFPF history and our faithful commitment to the growth of Parkour go to: https://www.wfpf.com/history-wfpf/
Also, please visit our non-profit established in 2013, www.internationalparkourfederation.com to stay up to date on our upcoming initiatives.