Gymnastics VS Parkour is the dumbest argument on earth and should never happen again.
And that's saying alot
There’s nothing wrong with having a spirited discussion comparing the complexity of movements in different disciplines, but anyone out here saying that one is better than the other is an entire fool- especially at this critical point in the history of both of our sports.
Stay tuned for some spilt tea, but only because I believe this is a symptom of the larger problem affecting both of our communities.
A gymnast named Dave Locke ( @dalocke ) ignited a dumpster fire on instagram recently when he uploaded a couple of posts along with these cringe-worthy captions
Yeah, I’m calling you out by name because I think this discussion with you is of benefit to everyone
These posts spurred a whirlwind of responses from both the gymnastics and parkour communities with many vehemently defending their sport while attacking the other, with a token few trying to instill some civility. If you think this article was inspired just by the captions of those posts- I encourage you to open up the comments. Actually I don't.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that parkour and gymnastics are different disciplines with different communities, cultures, purposes, and obviously, movements (even if there is a sliver of crossover in certain places). And I think that anyone with a corresponding brain cell can agree that comparing them with the intention of saying that one is superior is like comparing apples to oranges.
So why would our problematic boi Dave make such a post? Well I then came across this comment:
And my confusion then turned to pity. Dave. Bro.
This is actually quite sad- and I'm only bothering to continue writing because this issue is bigger than Problematic Boi Dave™️.
The International Gymnastics Federation and its associated bodies have developed the sport of gymnastics to a point of rigidity that no one actually enjoys anymore. Most would agree that the training tactics regarded as industry standard are miserable, and widespread corruption and scandals have infected the infrastructures leading gymnastics worldwide. If you are someone who's intention is preserving gymnastics and redeeming its value in the public eye, your action needs to be in reforming the entities that govern your sport. Not talking trash about people that have literally nothing to do with it.
I really wonder why Gymnastics is declining in popularity
However, despite the fact that our disciplines and communities are different, we share the same fight.
As you know, FIG is attempting to appropriate and profit off of parkour, claiming that Parkour is the 8th discipline of gymnastics. This comes after a previous initiative by the IOC to incorporate younger, more modern sports to broaden the appeal of the Olympics and a series of similar usurpations that consequently occurred between other action sports and federations. You also don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to link the appropriation of a rapidly growing sport to Gymnastics' drop off in popularity and participation- and that's largely because they flat out said they were doing it to attract more of the youth to gymnastics.
Despite these fiery comment threads, I honestly think I can speak for the vast majority of the community when I say that while I have no interest in doing gymnastics and prefer parkour, I have nothing but respect and admiration for the sport of gymnastics and the athletes who do it. My fight- my community's fight, is with this archaic organization trying to take control of our discipline.
If you truly are passionate about the permanence of your sport, defend it from the entities that actually harm it. Don’t go around bashing a different sport and insulting people’s abilities. Additionally, you can defend your sport without attacking or disrespecting the other. That goes for both parkour athletes and gymnasts.
Parkour is amazing, Gymnastics is amazing, Calisthenics is amazing, Tricking is amazing, et al. All are different disciplines with different purposes and we do them because we love them. We’re just trying to have a good time, who even cares how good or bad anyone is. I see one more person insult someone’s skill level as part of the argument and I’ll show up to your front door and slap you in the face.
Life is short, but not too short to be petty.
We are at a critical point in our sports’ histories. The independence of parkour and the survival of gymnastics are at stake, so don’t waste your time on these pointless arguments. Let’s get on the same page and do something about it!
US Parkour practitioners: athletes are working hard to organize, unite, and develop the services and protections the community needs- so keep your eye on USPK.org.