An interesting subject came up during Q & A on last night's Parkour Office Hours. I was asked what I thought of Parkour competitions. While I personally have no interest in Parkour competitions I'm not fundamentally opposed to them. I do worry that as these competitions grow (which they will) parkour will be cast more and more as an "extreme" sport. Extreme sports are things you watch other people do, not something you do yourself.
I call this the Circus Effect. You don't go the circus to learn how to move. You go to the circus to be entertained. Spectator sports rake in billions of dollars every year as we watch other people move around (often while sitting down stuffing ourselves with terrible food.) We've outsourced our physical culture to a select few rather than embrace it for ourselves. Parkour already struggles with an identity problem - most people who have heard of it associate it with young men doing risky things on Youtube. I worry that an increased focus on competition and showmanship will push Parkour farther down the path of being something people watch vs. something people do. My dearest wish is that everyone - EVERYONE - gets out there and tries Parkour… not worrying about what it looks like and understanding that progress/style is a personal thing. In short, I want people to DO, not watch.
This ties into another unfortunate side of the Circus Effect. In today's world it is incredibly easy to generate content and put it out for public view. That's great and all, but more and more I think we spend so much time trying to create content for a vaporous "audience" that we forget to actually go out and do all the things that lead to worthwhile content.
I should acknowledge the irony of saying this in a blog post that I hope you read, enjoy, and share. I fully realize that when I point a finger, three fingers point back at me. This has actually been a big lesson for me over the summer - I spent too much time worrying about creating enough content and not enough time doing what I love. The result? First I made myself miserable and second I didn't actually create all that much content - too much wheel spinning and second guessing. One of the best decisions I made recently was to limit myself to checking website traffic one-per-week.
With all of that out of the way, I want to level my guns at the paleo community and fire a broadside. The idea behind the paleo diet is good… and very simple. Eat real food that agrees with you. Avoid processed food and anything that you're allergic to. That's basically all of it right there. The first few blogs and websites that grew around this idea were great, but they metastasized into a clusterfuck of a blogging community where everyone is trying to put a new spin on this very simple idea in order to sell an ebook. Everyone has to be right, making everyone else wrong - and attackable. The amount of ridiculous crap that has spewed out of the paleo community in recent times makes me wince. No, I'm not providing links because I don't want to encourage these people. But make no mistake - paleo blogging has become an industry and here's the formula for success:
Step 0) (optional but recommended) Be unhealthy.
Step 1) Lose a few pounds by eating a low carb paleo diet.
Step 2) Blanket prescribe what kinda worked for you to everyone on the planet.
Step 3) Be an asshole. Especially to anyone who has the audacity to disagree with you.
Step 4) Repeat Step 3.
The whole thing has become a giant circus act. A giant horrible circus act that has nothing to do with health and everything to do with web traffic. In short, Paleo has become a community of bloggers, not doers.
Paleo folks, here's my advice, take it or leave it: Get off the blog, go out, and try new things. Expand your worldview. Try some Parkour. Seriously! There's nothing as grounding as hitting the ground.
Enough… time for me to go outside and train. I welcome your thoughts - sound off below.