The official Governing Body for Parkour
Officially recognized by IPF (International Parkour Federation) and WFPF (World Free-running Parkour Federation)!
Parkour (French: [paʁkuʁ]) is the French martial art of running away. Practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Parkour includes running, freerunning, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, plyometrics, rolling, quadrupedal movement (crawling) and other movements as deemed most suitable for the situation. Parkour’s development from military training gives it some aspects of a non-combative martial art.
Parkour is an activity that can be practiced alone or with others and is usually carried out in urban spaces, though it can be done anywhere. Parkour involves seeing one’s environment in a new way, and imagining the potential for navigating it by movement around, across, through, over and under its features.
Parkour was developed in France, primarily by Raymond Belle, and further by his son David and the latter’s group of friends, the self-styled Yamakasi, during the late 1980s. The discipline was popularised in the late 1990s and 2000s through films, documentaries, video games and advertisements featuring the Yamakasi.
The word parkour derives from parcours du combattant (obstacle course), the classic obstacle course method of military training proposed by Georges Hébert. Raymond Belle used the term “les parcours” to encompass all of his training including climbing, jumping, running, balancing, and the other methods he undertook in his personal athletic advancement. His son, David, further developed his father’s methods and achieved success as a stuntman, and one day on a film set showed his ‘Speed Air Man’ video to Hubert Koundé. Koundé suggested he change the “c” of “parcours” to a “k” because it was stronger and more dynamic, and to remove the silent “s” for the same reason, forming “parkour”.
A practitioner of parkour is called a traceur, with the feminine form being traceuse. They are nouns derived from the French verb tracer, which normally means “to trace”, as in “tracing a path”, in reference to drawing. The verb tracer used familiarly means: “to hurry up”. The term traceur was originally the name of a parkour group headed by David Belle which included Sébastien Foucan and Stéphane Vigroux.
A jam refers to a meeting of traceurs, involving training lasting anywhere from hours to several days, often with people from different cities. The first parkour jam was organised in July 2002 by Romain Drouet, with a dozen people including Sébastien Foucan and Stéphane Vigroux.
While there is no official list of “moves” in parkour, the style in which practitioners move often sets them apart from others, and there are a number of movements considered fundamental. Some examples of common movements are:
Vaulting over obstacles.
“Precision” Jumping and landing accurately with the feet on small or narrow obstacles.
“Arm Jumps” Jumping and landing feet-first on a vertical surface, catching the horizontal top with the hands.
Using a rolling motion to help absorb impacts from larger drops.
Running towards a high wall and then jumping and pushing off the wall with a foot to reach the top of the wall.
Moving from a position hanging from a wall-top or ledge, to standing on the top or over to the other side.