Response to Response

In response to my post "A Very Important Discussion" and Stephane's blog "The SPLIT", Chad Zwadlo of Fight or Flight Academy in Minnesota had this to say:

First Chad, let me say that my article was in no way directed at you, your community, or your operations. If you took it that way, then maybe you aren't confident in the way you are doing things yourself. I know that your movements are great, and that you can teach movements. And don't get me wrong, you're absolutely right that I have not been to your gym or any of your classes, so I'm not pointing a finger. I just don't understand how you took it as a finger pointed at you, when it was not.

For you to tell me that I am "not teaching them to understand" is offensive to me. I make my best efforts to get these kids to understand what it's really about. Hence my avoiding teaching them flips all together. Neglecting them? I am not neglecting them in any way, shape, or form. The problem is the media and the "practitioners" who allow them and things like Red Bull to come into the picture and completely misconstrue what we do. The problem is the people who just throw trick after trick and post it on YouTube to get views, and then call it parkour or freerunning. No matter how long someone has been training or how many years they've spent off-camera, it doesn't negate their effects on the public's views of the discipline when they do this sort of thing NOW. It's just as much one's responsibility to stay on track and properly represent the discipline as it is everyone else's. If you can't do that, then don't call it parkour or freerunning, because it wouldn't be those things.

I don't hate indoor training. I have no problem with gyms. As I said to you in my comment on Facebook about this, indoor gyms are an unfortunate necessity in our country that is so concerned about liability and lawsuits. What I DON'T like is the fancy gyms that are set up in order to make money, to satisfy investors, to sell products and use the money to make bigger videos filled with even more tricks and to sell more products. This is not parkour or freerunning; there is no spirit in doing these things.

I teach in gyms, too. I don't own a gym, let alone a parkour-specific gym, but I have my equipment and it's used indoors just like yours (except where it can be used outdoors at one of the gyms). "Don't judge based on what you think you've seen on YouTube" - if that's the only thing you've given us to go by, then that is your fault, not ours. I have spent the past 12 years in poverty and I can't always afford to go places. If you don't want us to judge you based on what you put out there, then don't put it out there...

I don't want there to be bad blood between us. I really liked the time we got to spend together at the Ninja Warrior event. But I don't appreciate the way you turned this around and pointed the blame at me/us. I noticed that when you posted this on Facebook you said you tend to write without thinking first, so I'm hoping some of it was just that! Or maybe my writing was not well-enough written to avoid this misunderstanding, too.

To finish this off, I don't have a problem with what you do or how you do it. It's your life, after all. But for people to take something that is defined as a discipline and make it something entirely different (or even with completely opposite goal) and to taint it to the point that the original values are almost unknown or non-existent, is not right. Call it something else if you want to do it differently (that is not directed specifically at you, but to everyone who has that opposite goal).

Thank you for responding!