Parkour (abbreviated PK) is a physical discipline and non-competitive activity which focuses on efficient movement around obstacles. Developed in France by David Belle, the main purpose of the discipline is to teach participants how to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and leaping.
Parkour demands constant and disciplined training, and it requires more than acrobatics or tricks. Practitioners must be parts athlete, artist and philosopher. While it places emphasis on physical skills, such as strength, endurance, flexibility and balance, Parkour also requires mental skills, such as creativity, self-control and spatial awareness.
Parkour is a challenging physical discipline because there are always more difficult obstacles to face. Even when the basic moves have been mastered, their application in life might encourage even more training. Training in parkour can easily be a lifelong discipline that encourages optimal body performance and a sharp mind.
The term Parkour has been invented by David Belle and Hubert Koundé in 1998 and the word Free Running has been created much later by Sebastien Foucan for the purpose of spreading Parkour in a marketing fashion (they thought the word "parkour" wasn't international enough and Sebastien Foucan proposed them this word).
It is important to recognize that Belle, though central to its ongoing development, was only one among a larger group of individuals who nurtured the art of movement into being, including Sebastian Foucan, Stephane Vigroux, Yahn Hnautra, David Malgogne, Chau Belle-Dinh and Frederic Hnautra among others, all of whom contributed to the art in its embryonic stage.
According to the first videos of David Belle, Parkour involved a lot of flips mixed with martial arts and huge leaps. However he reiterated his definition later, after his training buddy, Sebastien Foucan started naming his art, Freerunning. David belle said that Parkour has the sole purpose to become efficient in case of emergency, while Foucan defined Freerunning as a method of urban expression.
The founder of Parkour, David Belle, does not see Parkour only as a sport, but rather as a creative art that helps the own body and environment to recognize and overcome limits - without the ulterior motive or without ambitions to impress. Reckless or dangerous situations are not in the nature of Parkour (e.g. flips or somersaults).
at the beginning of the 20th Century, developed a method of mental and physical training in accordance with nature. This also plays a role in today's world, even if today's Parkour is now be practiced more in the urban environment.
Parkour (A.K.A Free Running) is one of the newest sports to hit a world wide audience. Some say it's too dangerous to be classified as a 'real sport' and that it should be classed as a 'crime', but hundreds of thousands think differently.
The founders of parkour started out in a group named the Yamakasi, but later separated due to disagreements over what David Belle referred to as "prostitution of the art," the production of a feature film starring the Yamakasi in 2001.
Inspiration for parkour came from many sources, the foremost being the 'Natural Method of Physical Culture' developed by Georges Hébert in the early twentieth century. French soldiers in Vietnam were inspired by Hébert's work and created what is now known parcours du combattant.