Parkour is a method of physical training that develops one’s ability to overcome obstacles (both physical and mental). It involves movement that will help if one is in a reach or escape emergency situation. Underpinning this is a philosophy of altruism and useful strength, longevity, self-improvement and self-understanding.
David Belle credits the primary development of Parkour from time spent with his father, Raymond Belle. David’s father was a child soldier in Vietnam. As part of his training he had to complete obstacle courses called ‘Parcours’. David’s father was determined to excel, to protect himself from abuse and to survive. Later on Raymond was removed from this training and found himself in France. He fathered David and two other sons. But due to his traumatic childhood struggled to maintain his marriage and take on responsibilities as a father. David ended up being raised by his grandfather. But as David grew older he wanted to know, and to understand, his father. So he would seek him out and ask him about his experiences, and his father would spend time with him, training David and talking to him about life and about what David was doing and why he did things. It was through this relationship that Parkour was, over time, developed.
David Belles grandfather taught him about the principles of Hebertism, as David was learning from his father about what his father did in Vietnam he found many parallels with Hebertism . As David grew and learnt he adapted what he needed from what his grandfather and his father taught him to create something unique to him, something that allowed him to pursue his own needs and goals.
MISCONCEPTIONS AND MISINFORMATION
Due to the way that Parkour arrived on the international scene there are quite a few misconceptions and erroneous information that has spread.
Parkour and Freerunning – These are not the same thing. They are not interchangeable terms. They are quite different from each other in their purpose and goals. Practitioners of Parkour are called Traceurs, Freerunning practitioners are called Freerunners, the terms Freerunner and Traceur are not interchangeable.
Parkour shows – There is no such thing as performing a Parkour show. If you see any presentations of Parkour purely for the sake of entertainment it cannot be defined as Parkour, simply because you are not following the principles of what Parkour is. You can take the movement from Parkour and use it to entertain, but the end result cannot ethically be called Parkour as it doesn’t follow the principles of the discipline.
Flips – Many people get confused when they see someone who calls themselves a Traceur doing flips and spins. Just because someone does these things does not mean the actions constitute Parkour, it just means that the traceur trains in other aspects of movement as well as Parkour. If you are unsure simply ask yourself, if you were running for your life what would you do?
Parkour is an Urban sport – Parkour was developed and practiced in the trees and forests of France just as much as in the cities. It is practised to great effect in the natural environments that have been shaped by time and the elements, and can be rough and jagged as opposed to the smoothed and usually symmetrical man made urban environment.
Article by: Parkourpedia