Without the need to get my beret and baguette out, I can’t help but say Parkour in a really bad pseudo French accent. My problems aside, it’s the sport that keeps on giving and keeps on growing. In various issues we’ll feature different spots for the Parkour People of us out there.
First up, if you thought Parkour was a green army style jacket then this is the history and the sport in a nut shell…
It was in 1980s France that the sport was born. It bgan it’s conception as Art du Deplacement until it became known as Parkour or freerunning. Nine young men were the bright sparks behind it. Namely D avid 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.
The definition according to the UK National Parkour Body…
What is Parkour / Freerunning / Art du Deplacement?
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.
The description above is to describe Parkour as a sport and does not fully describe the art / discipline / philosophy of Parkour as a whole.
Who does it and who can do it?
This isn’t for everyone. If anything it’s the complete opposite. You’ll need good fitness, good agilility and good discipline to master the art.
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’s best to get involved with an official body. Safety is key in a sport that will probably take you down on many occasions.
It’s also a sport that prides itself in respect. Respect for each other, respect for the environment and respect for the community. Don’t be dissing the principles of a sport that relies on using communal ground.
Now for the doers.
The Parkour UK body has this to say about training areas and respect…
When selecting a training location there are a variety of factors that will not only enhance your experience and keep you safe, but will also help grow Parkour/Freerunning as a community, sport and activity that can be enjoyed and understood by everyone.
Always check the surfaces you are moving on, to ensure they are stable and appropriate for your movements and your level of experience. Check that the structures you are using are weight-bearing and can withstand the impacts you may expose them to.
It is beneficial for everyone if you train in spaces that are welcoming and open to Parkour/Freerunning and only where it is permitted.
Consider the members of the public who may be affected in some way by your training and abide by one of our key principles, Respect. Treat others as you expect to be treated; encourage and support others to create a positive training environment for all.
Want to give it a go? Well here is a summary…
It is recommended that practitioners:
Select an appropriate training area
Be respectful of your surroundings
Check your surfaces and structures
Leave the area you’re training in as you found it (or tidier than it was!)
Be courteous to members of the public, other practitioners and those around you
Think of the health of your body, both in the short and long-term
Appropriately assess the level of the movements being performed against your own skill level
Train in an overall safe and healthful manner: remember the central motto of Parkour/Freerunning is ‘To Be and To Last’
Through your actions and conduct always be a good ambassador for Parkour/Freerunning.
One new branch off Parkour is Tricking…
Tricking is one of the most exciting sports around today! A stunning blend of martial arts movements, acrobatics and gymnastics movements!
Video thanks to https://www.golevelup.co.uk
Tricking was born in the 90s and early 2000s when martial arts competitors at various martial arts forms tournaments began using more and more flashy and acrobatic movements in their routines. Performers began drawing on techniques from Gymnastics, Taekwondo, Wushu and Capoeira to dazzle the judges. Helped by the internet and early websites such as Bilang.com and Trickstutorials.com the online tricking community began to flourish, with highly skilled trickers posting samplers and also tutorial videos on how to perform the movements.
If you would like any further information, advice and/or guidance then please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 3544 5834. #GiveParkourAGo