Parkour as defined by dictionary.com is:
[Pahr-Koo r, -Kawr, -Kohr]
- The sport of moving along a route, typically in a city, trying to get around or through various obstacles in the quickest and most efficient manner possible, as by jumping, climbing, or running.
In a basic sense this is true, but we would like to expand on this as Parkour has developed a rich history and philosophy over the past 30 years and is important to understand the foundations of this physical activity.
History of Parkour
Although it could be claimed that Parkour has been done through the ages. Yamakasi, a group of French Treaceurs who developed the practice in Lisse, France, are credited as the first group to develop a method of training and popularize the sport through local and international media outlets. At this time the group reffered to the sport as l’art du déplacement. There practice was based on David Belle’s (a founder of the Yamakasi) Father, Raymond Belle, who had been trained through French military courses. The French military training was heavily based on Georges Héberte method naturelle.
David Belle and Sébastien Foucan would eventually leave the group to pursue their own development of the practice. David would become known as the founder of Parkour and continue to popularize the name globally, while Sébastien would become known as the founder of Freerunning when he and others were featured performing Parkour in a British documentary known as “Jump London.” This confused many in the international community of movement, as the documentary had used the term “Freerunning” as and English translation of the word Parkour. It was eventually concluded that Parkour was the aspect of movement that focused more on speed and efficiency through any space while Freerunning focused more on aesthetic movements in any space. Most Practitioners now and days Find a healthy balance between both, as both practice tend to have many benefits to the other.
We at Red Path Movement respect the difference of both but we often clump Freerunning under Parkour, as Parkour is the most consistently used term for the two activities.
Philosophy of Parkour
The Yamakasi emphasized principles to their members, these included honesty, respect, humility, sacrifice, and hard work.
- Honesty: Always being truthful with yourself, your fellow practitioners, and honest with others.
- Respect: Honoring your space, the other member and yourself. Honoring the value of each of these things.
- Humility: Leaving your ego out of training, you don’t practice to show off, you practice to get stronger and to help others get stronger.
- Sacrifice: Giving your time and energy to the practice, and your fellow members.
- Hard work: Giving all you can to become more then what you were when you started.
These core fundamentals are consistent to many forms and practices of Parkour use and expand upon these Key Principles. These values are a core reason why practitioners perform the heroic feats you’ll often see on many forms of social media.