Parkour is a discipline of movement that uses the abilities of the human body to maneuver and overcome obstacles in any given environment. The goal of parkour is to move from one point to another in the most efficient and quickest way possible. Movements in parkour include climbing, vaults, jumps, and many others.
Parkour is a very positive activity, as it teaches many skills and characteristics beyond the physical movements. From parkour one gains the ability to overcome obstacles in life, and encourages self-confidence, coordination, physical strength, and conquering fears. The parkour community is, and always has been, very positive, welcoming, friendly, and helpful.
The history of parkour started during the Vietnam war, when Georges Herbert created the Natural Method. A form of training that used natural movements such as climbing, jumping, swimming, lifting, throwing, and self-defense. Herbert created military obstacle courses that focused around the Natural Method called parcours du combatant, which is where the word Parkour derived from. Raymond Belle, a soldier that trained on the parcours du combatant, took the training home with him and became a revered, elite firefighter. Raymond passed down his philosophies and experiences to his son, David Belle. L’art du Deplacement and Parkour were developed from those teachings.
The Yamakazi was a group of young teens who started to train Parkour type movements and called it L’art du Deplacement (the art of movement). David Belle was one apart of the Yamakazi and helped shape Parkour by bringing discipline and structure to their training. Many people helped pave the way for Parkour including Chau Belle-Dinh, Sebastien Foucan, and Stephane Vigroux.
Throughout the years, parkour began to heavily spread throughout Europe with films such as Jump Britain and Jump London to help spread the movement. Eventually parkour found it’s way to the United States.
The growth of parkour in the US started with a few traceurs around the country. The first real parkour organization in the US was started in 2004 called American Parkour. Through the media, word of mouth, and the internet, parkour has rapidly spread through the US so much now that communities and gyms are sprouting up all over the country. There are many influential gyms creating a new direction for Parkour including Apex Movement, and Parkour Visions, Tempest Freerunning Academy. Parkour continues to grow and become a more popular and organized discipline worldwide.
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