David does not like the limelight. He is a very private person and mostly keeps to himself except for spending time with close family and friends. That’s who he is and it won’t change, but it doesn’t make his influence or history in respect to Parkour any less powerful. You can’t separate the man from the discipline. To want to change David is to want to change Parkour, which is why we are having this discussion at all: people keep trying to change both.
Now as fate would have it we have been coaxing David out of his shell for some time, and now he is giving more! His Facebook and Twitter are two places where he does this, his brand is another which donates towards to underprivileged kids in Senegal and gives money towards the construction of Parkour City (another project in the works), and he has some new film projects and other Parkour specific projects we are working are that we are really excited about. In all, David is now more open and public than he has ever been! But it’s worth noting that he isn’t doing any of this for those who feel entitled, or for those who feel they deserve it, or because some people feel that he should be doing it or that he owes it to the Parkour community. He is doing these things because he loves it, and he is doing it for those that love Parkour, and for those that love and respect him for who he is.
If you’re not satisfied with Parkour for what it is, or if you’re not satisfied with David’s public persona (past or present) then the answer is simple: stop doing Parkour or stop using the word “Parkour” to define what you do. Because that’s what this all boils down to: people want to take the word Parkour and make it something it’s not, and many think they are entitled to this because David hasn’t been extremely vocal in the past. But this stance is not the right stance, and it’s not even in the spirit of Parkour! David responded to this very clearly in a Facebook post a few months ago:
“Parkour does not have to be liked or disliked! Parkour is here and it will stay here forever! Because it was born from a pure heart and nourished from all the love that a son can give to his father! End of story.”
David’s word is gospel when it comes to defining what Parkour is. And if he wants to disappear for 20 years and go mediate on a mountain top only to come back in 2032 and reveal more truths about Parkour, then his word will still be gospel when he does. You have the right to take Parkour and make it what you want for yourself, but that does not change what “Parkour” is or the fact that David is the founder and is the sole person with the right to dictate Parkour’s ultimate essence, meaning, and method.
With that my message comes back full circle: stay humble, go train, and find your path which is half the journey of Parkour in the first place. When you do that then you’ll understand that resentment and disrespect towards David, and trying to undermine his view on Parkour, have no place in the Parkour world except for those who want to try to destroy what all of us in the Parkour community love. And that is something I believe should concern all of us. Which is why I took the time to write this.
Adam Dunlap is the founder of Take Flight. In addition to his ongoing role at the company, Dunlap is currently working as David Belle‘s brand manager. Dunlap is also working with Belle in films and on other projects in order to advance Parkour in the US and around the globe. Previous projects of Adam’s include starting the Revolution Parkour gym in Portland, Oregon, and running various Parkour blogs. Dunlap is an avid Traceur and can often be found training both outside and at Parkour classes in whatever city he finds himself. Dunlap currently takes no salary from his work with Take Flight.