David Pagnon

Manifesto for an independent parkour [FIG petition archive]

Manifesto for an independent parkour [FIG petition archive]

Manifesto for an independent parkour [FIG petition archive]

Manifesto for an independent parkour [FIG petition archive]

See the petition on change.org here.
Voir la version en français ici.

I wrote this text a bit less than a year ago, when the news was dropped. I didn’t publish this petition by myslef: as the secretary of my federation, it was best to keep a neutral image at first. The situation being not much brighter now, I confirm my viewpoint by publishing it in a personnal capacity. I will soon publish a letter addressed to the parkour athletes concerned by the FIG offers.
You can find an exhaustive history on the website of the fédération de parkour.


A lot is going on these days in the Parkour sphere. In a few days, the International Gymnastic Federation (FIG) has been able to:

  1. Publicly assess that they want to encroach Parkour and develop it, regardless of the work of all the preexisting institutions such as Parkour UK (Great Britain Parkour agency), FPK (French Parkour federation), the local associations and even less the numerous traceurs that form our community. [1], [2]
  2. Get together with Apex (American Parkour experience) and organize a competition on the native soil of parkour, while the large majority of the international community is still against competition. [3]. That, again without warning neither the community, nor the association in charge of the city where the competition takes place, nor the French Parkour federation[2], nor any other national instance, nor even the founders of the discipline. Nota: Since then, Apex backed off with huge thanks from the community. The FIG found a new partner in the name of IPF (international parkour federation), that former for-profit organization that became non-profit for convenience, guilty of countless little faults against several athletes, that used to boast about being the solution against the FIG, and now casually works for them.
  3. Submit the application of Parkour to the 2020 Olympic Games. [5] Faced to the general outcry, the process didn’t succeed. It’s only a matter of time for the FIG, that thinks of Paris 2024.


To the community, it feels like being stabbed in our backs, not being even acknowledged in our very existence with an aftertaste of colonization. That’s a tentative of a blatant theft, played along a very fine strategy just unveiled now.

  • We want to keep Parkour independent, to carry on growing up quietly but surely along with the wishes and needs of the community, rather than working where we see business potentials.
  • We want to trust the community rather than a very old and respectable but unconcerned institution which would discredit us toward the newer generations and their parents, putting mats everywhere instead of teaching traceurs to get to know their limits to better push them further.
  • We want to hand over our values, which are that Parkour is not only a sport, but mainly the idea of overcoming everyday obstacles in a much wider sense. Getting better does not necessarily have to be a matter of beating anyone.
  • We acknowledge that we all have the heavy responsibility of shaping the future of a still fragile but nonetheless valuable discipline, and want to stand up for it.


We are parkour We are not gymnastics. Against fig enroachment

We are parkour. We are not gymnastics

It is also noticeable that even gymnasts are looking toward this with quite a reluctant reaction, since it sounds to them as a purely commercial and populist move. They’d rather have their federation not withdraw from sports that have been part of it for decades like tumbling or acrobatic gymnastics [6].

The Obstacle Course community, as well, wants to be recognized as a sovereign sport rather then being seized upon by surprise, even if it means slowing the process down [7]. Nota: The french obstacle course federation was finally not encroached by the FIG. It partnered with the track and field federation, but that’s another story…

The IGF is much older, much more experienced, much wealthier, and in a general way much more powerful than any Parkour instance. This fight is already lost. It is lost…

  • Unless the Parkour community manages to show the world that it stands together on this issue.
  • Unless the gymnastics community shows that they are not on their federation’s side there, and that Parkour does not represent the gymnastic culture, unlike tumbling or acrobatic gymnastics.
  • Unless the Obstacle Course Racing community shows that they want to keep sovereign.

If you don’t want the IGF to seize upon Parkour, or if you want it to focus on what’s been part of its own history for decades, please consider adding your voice to this petition.

See the petition on change.org here.
Voir la version en français ici.



[1] Position of the French Parkour Federation (FPK) toward its encroachment by the International Gymnastic Federation (IGF): http://www.fedeparkour.fr/news/la-fpk-et-parkour-uk-face-a-la-federation-internationale-de-gymnastique-les-traceurs-ne-sont-pas-des-gymnastes

[2] Open letter of Parkour UK to the International Gymnastic Federation (FIG): http://parkour.uk/parkour-uk-issues-open-letter-to-federation-internationale-de-gymnastique-fig-re-the-encroachment-and-misappropriation-of-parkourfreerunning/

[3] The Apex/IGF/Fise competition taking place in Montpellier, France: http://apexmovement.com/intl/
In fact, even Apex say they are against competition [4] and name their event “Obstacle Course Sprint” to state the difference – while it’s staring parkour athletes, involves parkour moves on parkour structures, and it’s itself a parkour agency. We believe that naming it in a different way doesn’t make it different, especially now that we’re trying to unify our forces as Parkour/free-running/art of movement.
It also obviously doesn’t prevent any confusion for non specialists, as several articles already proved it: “Parkour, or Obstacle Course Racing is presented to the 2020 Olympic Games” on the official magazine on the Olympics. [5]

[4] Apex eloquently but very paradoxically states that despite their guise they are still against Parkour competitions: http://apexmovement.com/blog/on-competition-collaboration/

[5] FIG submits the application of Parkour to the 2020 Olympic games. http://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1050020/exclusive-international-gymnastics-federation-present-parkour-for-olympic-inclusion-at-tokyo-2020

[6] Gymnasts disapproving the choice of the IGF to withdraw from the tumbling or acrobatic gymnastics and choose Parkour, which has never been part of their culture.

[7] The obstacle course community feeling seized upon by surprise too, while they want to become a sovereign sport.

Pour en savoir plus. Les débats s’enflammant :
– On the French Parkour Federation page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1399278140286004
– On the Apex page : https://www.facebook.com/ApexMovement/
– On the Gym magazine page : https://www.facebook.com/InternationalGymnast/posts/10154800057678138
– On the Obstacle Run Course website : http://www.mudrunguide.com/2017/05/opinion-ocr-bidding-war/
– On the Parkour research group : https://www.facebook.com/groups/471861436159159

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