Okay, so first of all, what IS Parkour? According to parkourpedia.com, “Parkour is a spirit/philosophy that incorporates a method of moving within your environment and approaching obstacles of any kind, be they physical or mental”. It involves running, jumping, climbing, scaling, grabbing, swinging, leaping and roll landings. From my brief survey of this discipline, one first needs to shift his/her mental perception of the physical environment from a lateral one to a multidimensional one. Instead of thinking North, South, East and West, think up, down, over, below and around as well. Roads, sidewalks, stairs, railings, fences, posts, cement blocks and any other types of infrastructure that intend to frame landscape may now be fingered and trampled. Indeed, no stone would be left unturned by a traceur or traceuse (Parkour participant)… unless to unsteady to step on.
As mentioned above, Parkour is not just an activity but a philosophy as well, in terms of embracing freedom of movement and expression. It requires speed, agility, strength and balance, and is also recognised for demanding creativity.
It was first developed by David Belle and his friends in France, however, many of the founding fathers, including Belle have gone on to invent free running, a more extreme, acrobatic and stunt-like version of Parkour. Today, many mistaken Free Running for Parkour, but just keep in mind that if a group is doing flips and generally dangerous moves, it’s likely to be Free Running. If you’ve seen Banlieue 13 or Babylon AD, these movies are a perfect and showy portrayal of Free Running – seriously impressive stuff!