In some sense, Parkour has been around as long as man's need to hunt and avoid being hunted. Humans naturally have an astounding range of motion and range of options for how to move through a given set of obstacles. Further, children naturally move about with grace and ease, we only start to lose this later in life as we start to move with conscience. There have been several people throughout history to work on concepts of human movement and development, however, to look specifically at Parkour, we need to look at Raymond Belle, a French soldier in the Vietnam war. He and his companions worked to develop efficient methods "to reach or escape". These were then handed down to David Belle, who has spent a majority of his young (34) life working on these principles specifically as Parkour. There were some others who worked with him in the developing stages of Parkour in Lisses, Sebastien Foucan is probably the most well known.
Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment.
- Parkour requires... consistent, disciplined training with an emphasis on functional strength, physical conditioning, balance, creativity, fluidity, control, precision, spatial awareness, and looking beyond the traditional use of objects.
- Parkour movements typically include... running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, balancing, and quadrupedal movement. Movements from other physical disciplines are often incorporated, but acrobatics or tricking alone do not constitute parkour.
- Parkour training focuses on... safety, longevity, personal responsibility, and self-improvement. It discourages reckless behavior, showing off, and dangerous stunts.
- Parkour practitioners value... community, humility, positive collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and the importance of play in human life, while demonstrating respect for all people, places, and spaces.
What is Free Running?Free running was meant to start out an anglicized term for Parkour. It was first suggested to Sebastien Foucan during the filming of Jump London. Free Running has grown to be descriptive of a sort of "cousin" activity to Parkour - Free Running is more expressive and creative in nature, with moves such as acrobatics, flips, and spins added for flair, creativity, or just because someone wants to. The main difference then between Parkour and Free Running is that Parkour is defined by purpose "get somewhere quickly and efficiently using the human body", and Free Running is defined by the activity or art of moving through your environment however you want, moving your way, following your own path.
What isn't Parkour?Parkour is not acrobatics, tricking, stunts, recklessness, or jumping off high objects for no reason. It is not any movement or activity that doesn't fit in the above description "What Parkour Is". It is also not "What you make of it" ... it is predefined and has a purpose, if something doesn't suit that purpose, it is not Parkour.
Basic Parkour MovementsWhile the concept of Parkour cannot be grasped by looking at the physical movements alone, it is necessary to "drill" some basic movements to attain a level of proficiency in Parkour. The movements can be thought of as tools in a toolbox, or paints on an artist's palette. At first one must learn the basic usage of the tool, or the usage of the primary colors, this is an elementary level. After that, someone can become masterful at the basics and start to experiment with other colors and blends. Finally, when one can think of only the end goal or destination and be unhindered by their choice of tool, color, or movement, this is when it becomes Parkour, for the individual movement is not important, only the intention of reaching a certain chosen point.
|What's most important is your patience, and willingness to train correctly and safely. There is NO need to ever go on a roof, and nothing about being on a roof that makes you any better at Parkour or Freerunning. What makes people good is practice, consistent, safe practice. It’s about honing your abilities so that more things are within your realm of safe possibilities. Even then there is a risk of danger, "even monkeys fall from trees".|
Don't go out training alone, and if you're less than 18 don't go meet "people from the internet" without at least a few friends or even a parent. There are a lot of other pieces of advice about starting to train that aren't included in this article but exist in others, like whether to start in a gymnastics gym with padding, training alone or with friends, etc.