The sport originally termed Art du Deplacement, now also often referred to as Parkour or Freerunning, was founded in France in the 1980s by a group of nine young men. The founders are David 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.
What is Parkour / Freerunning / Art du Deplacement?
Parkour / Freerunning / Art du Deplacement is the primarily 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.
Council of Europe definition of sport: “Sport” means all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.
Parkour UK recognises that there are sporting risks of injury to participants in Parkour/Freerunning as with many sports/physical activities. These exist regardless of Parkour UK intervention/engagement. Participants in Parkour/Freerunning should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions. Further information is available in the Information, Advice & Guidance (IAG) section of our website on Risk & Benefit.