Parkour is a holistic training discipline using movement that developed predominantly out of military obstacle course training. Practitioners (Traceurs) aim to move quickly and efficiently through their environment using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves, negotiating obstacles in between.
They try to maintain as much momentum as possible without compromising safety. Parkour can include running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement and more, if they are the most suitable movements for the situation.
The sport originally termed Art du Deplacement, now also often referred to as Parkour or Freerunning, was founded in France in the 1980s by a group of nine young men. The founders are David Belle, Yann Hnautra, Chau Belle, Laurent Piemontesi, Sebastien Foucan, Guylain N’Guba Boyeke, Charles Perriere, Malik Diouf and Williams Belle.
The term ‘Parkour’ was first introduced by David Belle in 1998. Parkour derives from the French word Parcours meaning ‘route’ or ‘course’
The term ‘Freerunning’ was the creation of Guillaume Pelletier, a representative of a group of French practitioners involved in the production of a Channel 4 documentary, Jump London, in 2003. This term was used in order to communicate this amazing new sport to an English-speaking audience.
“Parkour / Freerunning / Art du Deplacement is the non-competitive physical discipline of training to move freely over and through any terrain using only the abilities of the body, principally through running, jumping, climbing and quadrupedal movement. In practice it focuses on developing the fundamental attributes required for such movement, which include functional strength and fitness, balance, spatial awareness, agility, coordination, precision, control and creative vision.
It is a sport that encourages self-improvement on all levels, revealing one’s physical and mental limits while simultaneously offering ways to overcome them. It is a method of training one’s body and mind in order to be as completely functional, effective and liberated as possible in any environment.
The sport aims to build confidence, determination, self-discipline and self-reliance, and responsibility for one’s actions. It encourages humility, respect for others and for one’s environment, self-expression, community spirit, and the importance of play,, discovery and safety at all times.” – Parkour UK