This morning I awoke to a post by Scott Jackson, Director of Train Hard Parkour and Freerunning and Owner of the Parkour Project, posting the cover image on Facebook. As usual with such worrisome news it spread like wildfire like all FIGophobic material does online these days. I myself posted the same image citing another case of appropriation in the sport.
But that’s just not good journalism. And though I don’t consider myself a journalist, when I am able to I want to provide unbiased source of information for the community because this is too sensitive a matter to just resort to witch hunt mentality.
So I texted Victor Bevine this morning and alerted him to the image and asked if he’d like to prepare a statement responding on the matter. The following is what he sent back.”
Thanks for bringing this post to our attention. We appreciate that it might be somewhat misleading.
To clarify, WFPF has done many “open” certifications in Canada (and will continue to do so) in addition to the dozens and dozens we have done around the world over the past 7+ years.
Certs are typically limited to 20 people or less. On occasion, someone (usually an individual parkour program director or gym) will want to buy out all 20 spots and keep it limited to just their members.
For example, last month WFPF conducted a Cert for the Portuguese Parkour Federation (SWA) in Porto, Portugal which they bought out for their members exclusively.
The Manitoba Cert is another such example, except that the entity buying out this Cert is British Columbia Gymnastics (BCG).
The reason we still choose to post these “closed” Certs is to keep folks aware of the workshops we’re doing. If there is strong interest from local athletes to attend (such as Thomas Selby in this case) we will do our best to facilitate access on an individual basis or to setup an additional Cert in the area to accommodate the demand.
WFPF’s mission is to encourage safe access to Parkour for everyone, and to reduce the barriers to entry without discrimination. This has nothing to do with FIG, with Parkour vs Gymnastics or Parkour vs any entity or sport.
Gyms and sports centers of all kinds reach out to us requesting information on how they can provide safe, progressive Parkour classes to their local communities. This includes but is not limited to Parkour Gyms, Gymnastic Centers, CrossFit Gyms, Fitness Centers, Martial Arts Academies, Universities, Charitable Organizations, and Community Rec Centers, often with their own unique membership regulations with which WFPF has no involvement.
The important thing for WFPF is to ensure that there is a strong foundation that all potential coaches have in place before these classes come to fruition.
If there are Parkour practitioners/coaches in the Manitoba area, or any other area for that matter, who would like access to Certifications or curriculum, as well as potential organizations with Parkour classes seeking qualified coaches, please let WFPF know and we will do everything we can to aid and assist you.”
– Victor Bevine and David Thompson, Co-Founders of WFPF and IPF
*Disclaimer – Parkour Entrepreneur is neither pro FIG nor Anti-WFPF, I don’t believe my opinion is the important part here – just the unbiased facts.
So what do you think? It makes sense to us here that there would be closed certifications if requested specifically for the staff of a facility or organization. Though it can be argued (albeit xenophobically) that this exclusion is a threat to the Parkour community’s involvement in the future of their own sport. You don’t have to support WFPF or their mission but we appreciate you taking the time to read their statement here on Parkour Entrepreneur. Let us know what else we can cover and we’ll get it done as soon as possible.