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A traceur performs an équilibre de chat (cat balance).

Parkour (sometimes also abbreviated to PK) or l'art du déplacement [1] (English: the art of moving) is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment.[2] It is a non-competitive, physical discipline of French origin in which participants run along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles in the most efficient way possible, as if moving in an emergency situation. Skills such as jumping and climbing, or the more specific parkour moves are employed. The object of parkour is to get from one place to another using only the human body and the objects in the environment. The obstacles can be anything in one's environment, but parkour is often seen practiced in urban areas because of the many suitable public structures available such as buildings and rails.

Parkour is about getting from one place to another in the fastest way, only using the human body by vaulting jumping climbing and running up walls,rails and other obstacles unlike freerunning which involves flips and showing off what you can do.

Parkour practitioners are often called traceur if male, or traceuse if female

Parkour - climb stairs.ogv
A basic parkour move



A traceur performing a passe muraille

Parkour can be compared to some martial arts. In September 2009, American Parkour began a community effort to define parkour. They invited the entire community to post their personal definition of parkour. It was edited into the final version by a committee of American Parkour employees and people outside of American Parkour to ensure that it was truly a community effort. Their result:

Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment.
  • Parkour requires... consistent, disciplined training with an emphasis on functional strength, physical conditioning, balance, creativity, fluidity, control, precision, spatial awareness, and looking beyond the traditional use of objects.
  • Parkour movements typically include... running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, balancing, and quadrupedal movement. Movements from other physical disciplines are often incorporated, but acrobatics or tricking alone do not constitute parkour.
  • Parkour training focuses on... safety, longevity, personal responsibility, and self-improvement. It discourages reckless behavior, showing off, and dangerous stunts.
  • Parkour practitioners value... community, humility, positive collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and the importance of play in human life, while demonstrating respect for all people, places, and spaces.
—American Parkour Community Definition [2]

Two primary characteristics of parkour are efficiency and speed. Practitioners take the most direct path around an obstacle as rapidly as that path can be traversed. Developing one's level of spatial awareness is often used to aid development in these areas. Also, efficiency involves avoiding injuries, both short and long term. This idea embodying parkour's unofficial motto is être et durer (to be and to last). Those who are skilled at this activity normally have extremely keen spatial awareness.[citation needed]

Parkour's emphasis on efficiency distinguishes it from the similar practice of free running, which places more emphasis on freedom of movement and creativity.

Traceurs say that parkour also influences one's thought processes by enhancing self-confidence and critical-thinking skills that allow one to overcome everyday physical and mental obstacles.[3][4][5] A study by Neuropsychiatrie de l'Enfance et de l'Adolescence in France reflects that traceurs seek more excitement and leadership situations than gymnastic practitioners.[6]


The first terms used to describe this form of training were l'art du déplacement and le parcours.[7]

The term parkour (French pronunciation: [paʁˈkuʁ]) was coined by Hubert Koundé. It derives from parcours du combattant, the classic obstacle course method of military training proposed by Georges Hébert.[8][9][10]

Traceur [tʁasœʁ] and traceuse [tʁasøz] are substantives derived from the French verb tracer, which normally means "to trace",[11] or "to draw", but which is also a slang for "to go fast".[12]



Hébert's legacy

Before World War I, former French naval officer Georges Hébert traveled throughout the world. During a visit to Africa, he was impressed by the physical development and skills of indigenous tribes that he met:[13]

Their bodies were splendid, flexible, nimble, skillful, enduring, and resistant but yet they had no other tutor in gymnastics but their lives in nature.
—Georges Hébert, [13]

On May 8, 1902, the town of Saint-Pierre, Martinique, where he was stationed, suffered from the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée. Hébert coordinated the escape and rescue of some 700 people. This experience had a profound effect on him, and reinforced his belief that athletic skill must be combined with courage and altruism. He eventually developed this ethos into his motto: "être fort pour être utile" (be strong to be useful).[13]

Inspired by indigenous tribes, Hébert became a physical education tutor at the college of Reims in France. He began to define the principles of his own system of physical education and to create various apparati and exercises to teach his méthode naturelle,[13] which he defined as:

Methodical, progressive and continuous action, from childhood to adulthood, that has as its objective: assuring integrated physical development; increasing organic resistances; emphasizing aptitudes across all genres of natural exercise and indispensable utilities (walking, running, jumping, quadrupedal movement, climbing, equilibrium (balancing), throwing, lifting, defending and swimming); developing one's energy and all other facets of action or virility such that all assets, both physical and virile, are mastered; one dominant moral idea: altruism.
—Georges Hébert, [14]

Hébert set up a méthode naturelle session consisting of ten fundamental groups: walking, running, jumping, quadrupedal movement, climbing, balancing, throwing, lifting, self-defense, swimming, which are part of three main forces:[14]

  • Energetic or virile sense: energy, willpower, courage, coolness and firmness
  • Moral sense: benevolence, assistance, honor and honesty
  • Physical sense: muscles and breath

During World War I and World War II, Hébert's teaching continued to expand, becoming the standard system of French military education and training. Thus, Hébert was one of the proponents of parcours — an obstacle course, developed by a Swiss architect,[15] which is standard in the military training and led to the development of civilian fitness trails and confidence courses.[13] Also, French soldiers and firefighters developed their obstacle courses known as parcours du combattant and parcours SP.[16]

Belle family

David Belle, parkour founder, at The New Yorker Festival.

Raymond Belle was born in French Indochina (now Vietnam). His father died during the First Indochina War and Raymond was separated from his mother during the division of Vietnam in 1954. He was taken by the French Army in Da Lat and received a military education and training that shaped his character.[17]

After the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, Raymond was repatriated to France and completed his military education in 1958. At age 19, his dedication to fitness helped him serve in Paris's regiment of sapeurs-pompiers (the French fire service).[17]

With his athletic ability, Raymond became the regiment's champion rope-climber and joined the regiment's elite team, composed of the unit's fittest and most agile firefighters. Its members were the ones called for the most difficult and dangerous rescue missions.[17]

Lauded for his coolness, courage, and self-sacrifice, Raymond played a key role in the Parisian firefighters' first helicopter-borne operation. His many rescues, medals, and exploits gave him a reputation of being an exceptional pompier and inspired the next young generation,[17] especially his son, David Belle.[18]

Born in a firefighter's family, David was influenced by stories of heroism. Raymond introduced his son David to obstacle course training and the méthode naturelle. David participated in activities such as martial arts and gymnastics and sought to apply his athletic prowess for some practical purpose.[16] At age 17, David left school seeking freedom and action. He continued to develop his strength and dexterity in order to be useful in life, as Raymond had advised him.[16]

Development in Lisses

It was the end of the day. I was just doing stuff with a bunch of kids. I fall all the time — I fall like the monkeys — but it never shows up on film, because they just want the spectacular stuff.

After moving to Lisses commune, David Belle continued his journey with others.[16] "From then on we developed," says Sébastien Foucan in Jump London, "And really the whole town was there for us; there for parkour. You just have to look, you just have to think, like children." This, as he describes, is "the vision of parkour."

In 1997, David Belle, Jussi Joensuu, Ashkan Irani, Jordan Hess, Yann Hnautra, Charles Perrière, Malik Diouf, Guylain N'Guba-Boyeke, Châu Belle-Dinh, and Williams Belle created the group called Yamakasi,[19] whose name comes from the Lingala language of Congo, and means strong spirit, strong body, strong man, endurance. After the musical show Notre Dame de Paris, Belle and Foucan split up due to money and disagreements over the definition of l'art du déplacement,[18] The film Yamakasi, in 2001, and the French documentary Génération Yamakasi were created without Belle and Foucan.

Over the years, as dedicated practitioners improved their skills, their numbers of moves grew. Building-to-building jumps and drops of over a story became common in media portrayals, often leaving people with a slanted view of parkour. Actually, ground-based movements are more common than anything involving rooftops, because legal accessibility in urban areas is difficult. From the Parisian suburbs, parkour went on to become a widely practised activity outside of France.

Philosophy and theories

According to Williams Belle, the philosophies and theories behind parkour are an integral aspect of the art,[citation needed] one that many non-practitioners have never been exposed to. Belle trains people because he wants "it to be alive" and for "people to use it".[5] Châu Belle Dinh explains it is a "type of freedom" or "kind of expression"; that parkour is "only a state of mind" rather than a set of actions, and that it is about overcoming and adapting to mental and emotional obstacles as well as physical barriers.[5]

A recent convention of parkour philosophy has been the idea of "human reclamation".[20] Andy (Animus of Parkour North America) clarifies it as "a means of reclaiming what it means to be a human being. It teaches us to move using the natural methods that we should have learned from infancy. It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it."[20]

"It is as much as a part of truly learning the physical art as well as being able to master the movements, it gives you the ability to overcome your fears and pains and reapply this to life as you must be able to control your mind in order to master the art of parkour."[21]


A campaign was started on May 1, 2007 by Parkour.NET portal[22] to preserve parkour's philosophy against sport competition and rivalry.[23] In the words of Erwan Hebertiste:

Competition pushes people to fight against others for the satisfaction of a crowd and/or the benefits of a few business people by changing its mindset. Parkour is unique and cannot be a competitive sport unless it ignores its altruistic core of self development. If parkour becomes a sport, it will be hard to seriously teach and spread parkour as a non-competitive activity. And a new sport will be spread that may be called parkour, but that won't hold its philosophical essence anymore.
—Erwan Hebertiste[22]


There are fewer predefined movements in parkour than in gymnastics, as there is no list of "moves". Each obstacle a traceur faces presents a unique challenge. The ability to overcome the challenge depends on multiple factors, for example, on body type, speed, angle of approach, the physical make-up of the obstacle. Parkour is about training the "bodymind" to react to those obstacles appropriately with a technique that is effective. Often that technique cannot and need not be classified and given a name. In many cases effective parkour techniques depend on fast redistribution of body weight and the use of momentum to perform seemingly difficult or impossible body maneuvers at great speed. Absorption and redistribution of energy is also an important factor, such as body rolls when landing which reduce impact forces on the legs and spine, allowing a traceur to jump from greater heights than those often considered sensible in other forms of acrobatics and gymnastics.[citation needed]

According to David Belle, you want to move in such a way that will help you gain the most ground as if escaping or chasing something. Also, wherever you go, you must be able to get back, if you go from A to B, you need to be able to get back from B to A,[24] but not necessarily with the same movements or passements.

Despite this, there are many basic versatile and effective techniques that are emphasized for beginners. Most important are good jumping and landing techniques. The roll, used to limit impact after a drop and to carry one's momentum onward, is often stressed as the most important technique to learn. Parkour has sometimes received concerns for its health issues due to large drops.[25][26][27] Communities in Great Britain have been warned by law enforcement or fire and rescue of the risk in jumping off high buildings.[28][29] Although David Belle has never been seriously injured while practicing parkour,[30] there is no careful study about the health issues of large drops and traceurs stress gradual progression to avoid any problems. Despite this, the American traceur Mark Toorock and Lanier Johnson, executive director of the American Sports Medicine Institute say that injuries are rare because parkour is based on the control of movements, not on what cannot be controlled.[31]

Basic movements

Some movements defined in parkour are:[32]

Synonym Description
French English
Atterrissage [ateʁisaʒ] or réception [ʁesɛpsjɔ̃] Landing Bending the knees when toes make contact with ground (never land flat footed; always land on toes and ball of your foot).
Équilibre [ekilibʁ] Balance Walking along the crest of an obstacle; literally "balance."
Équilibre de chat Cat balance Quadrupedal movement along the crest of an obstacle.
Franchissement [fʁɑ̃ʃismɑ̃] Underbar Jumping or swinging through a gap between obstacles; literally "to cross" or "to break through."
Lâché [laʃe] Lache, swing Hanging drop; lâcher literally meaning "to let go." To hang or swing (on a bar, on a wall, on a branch) and let go, dropping to the ground or to hang from another object. This can refer to almost all hanging/swinging type movements.
Passe muraille [pas myʁaj] Pop vault, wall hop, Wallpass, wallrun Overcoming a tall structure, usually by use of a step off the wall to transform forward momentum into upward momentum, then using the arms to climb onto and over the object.
Dyno (shortened from "Dynamic", opposite to "Static") This movement comes from climbing terminology, and encompasses leaping from a position similar to an armjump, then grabbing an obstacle usually higher than the initial starting place, often used for an overhang. This movement is used when a simpler movement is not possible.
Passement [pasmɑ̃] Vault, Pass To move over an object with one's hand(s) on an object to ease the movement.
Demitour [dəmi tuʁ] Turn vault, Turn Down A vault or dropping movement involving a 180° turn; literally "half turn." This move is often used to place yourself hanging from an object in order to shorten a drop or prepare for a jump.
Passement Speed vault To overcome an obstacle by jumping side-ways first, then placing one hand on the obstacle to self-right your body and continue running.
Thief/Lazy vault To overcome an obstacle by using a one-handed vault, then using the other hand at the end of the vault to push oneself forwards in order to finish the move.
Saut de chat [sod ʃa] Cat pass/jump, (king) kong vault, monkey vault The saut de chat involves diving forward over an obstacle so that the body becomes horizontal, pushing off with the hands and tucking the legs, such that the body is brought back to a vertical position, ready to land.
Dash vault This vault involves using the hands to move oneself forwards at the end of the vault. One uses both hands to overcome an obstacle by jumping feet first over the obstacle and pushing off with the hands at the end. Visually, this might seem similar to the saut de chat, but reversed. Allegedly David Belle has questioned the effectiveness of this movement.
Reverse vault A vault involving a 180° rotation such that the traceur's back faces forward as they pass the obstacle. The purpose of the rotation is ease of technique in the case of otherwise awkward body position or loss of momentum prior to the vault.
Kash vault This vault is a combination of two vaults; the kong vault and the dash vault. After pushing off with the hands in a kong vault, the body continues past vertical over the object until the feet are leading the body. The kash vault is then finished by pushing off the object at the end, as in a dash vault.
Planche [plɑ̃ʃ] Muscle-up or climb-up To get from a hanging position (wall, rail, branch, arm jump, etc) into a position where your upper body is above the obstacle, supported by the arms. This then allows for you to climb up onto the obstacle and continue.
Roulade [ʁulad] Roll A forward roll where the hands, arms and diagonal of the back contact the ground, often called breakfall. Used primarily to transfer the momentum/energy from jumps and to minimize impact, preventing a painful landing. It is identical to the basic Kaiten or Ukemi and it was taken from Martial Arts such as Judo, Ninjutsu, Jujutsu, Hapkido and Aikido.
Saut de bras [sodbra] Arm jump, cat leap, cat grab To land on the side of an obstacle in a hanging/crouched position, the hands gripping the top edge, holding the body, ready to perform a muscle up.
Saut de fond [sodfɔ̃] Drop Literally 'jump to the ground' / 'jump to the floor'. To jump down, or drop down from something.
Saut de détente [sodə detɑ̃t] Gap jump, running jump To jump from one place/object to another, over a gap/distance. This technique is most often followed with a roll.
Saut de précision [so d presiziɔ̃] or précision [presiziɔ̃] Precision Static or moving jump from one object to a precise spot on another object. This term can refer to any form of jumping however.
Saut de mur Wall Jump, Tic-Tac or Tac Vault To step off a wall in order to overcome another obstacle or gain height to grab something

Training places

Unlike many other activities, parkour is not currently practiced in dedicated public facilities (e.g., skateparks), although efforts are being made to create places for it.[33] Traceurs practice parkour in urban areas like gyms, parks, playgrounds, offices, and abandoned structures. Concerns have been raised regarding trespassing, damage of property,[34] and the practice in inappropriate places.[35] However, most traceurs will take care of their training spots and will remove themselves quickly and quietly from a public place if asked.[citation needed]

There is also the concern that practitioners are needlessly risking damage to both themselves and rooftops by practicing at height, with police forces calling for practitioners to stay off the rooftops.[36][37] Some figures within the parkour community agree that this sort of behaviour is not to be encouraged.[36][38][39][40] These issues, however, do not appear to apply to the majority of practitioners whose relationship with authorities is generally a positive one.[41]


There is no equipment required, although practitioners normally train wearing light casual clothing:[42][43]

Comfortable athletic shoes, that are generally light, with good grip, are encouraged. Various sport shoes manufacturers around the world started offering parkour specific lines. Some traceurs use sweat-bands for forearm protection, or even thin athletic gloves to protect the hands, but most traceurs advise against this, as it reduces grip and feel.

Since parkour is closely related to méthode naturelle, sometimes practitioners train barefooted to be able to move efficiently without depending on their gear. David Belle has said: "bare feet are the best shoes!"[44]


Free running

Another saut de bras

The term freerunning was coined during the filming of Jump London, as a way to present parkour to the English-speaking world. Although, as noted above, parkour and freerunning are considered to be slightly different by some people, the founders and principal practitioners in Europe do not recognize any distinction, and use all names interchangeably for the discipline.

Understand that this art has been created by few soldiers in Vietnam to escape or reach: and this is the spirit we'd like parkour to keep. You have to make the difference between what is useful and what is not in emergency situations. Then you'll know what is parkour and what is not. So if you do acrobatics things on the street with no other goal than showing off, please don't say it's parkour. Acrobatics existed long time ago before parkour.
—David Belle or PAWA team, or both, [8]

When questions are raised between the differences of parkour and freerunning, the Yamakasi group deny the differences and say: "parkour, l'art du deplacement, freerunning, the art of movement... they are all the same thing. They are all movement and they all came from the same place, the same nine guys originally. The only thing that differs is each individual's way of moving". Thus leading to what they view as separation of parkour community or wasting energy debating the differences when one should follow his/her own way and find why practice.[45]

Military training

After the attention that parkour received following the film Casino Royale, militaries from different countries began looking for ways to incorporate parkour into training. The British Royal Marines hired parkour athletes to train their members.[46] Colorado Parkour began a project to introduce parkour into the U.S. military[47] and parkour is slowly being introduced into the USMC.[48]

Popular culture

A traceuse vaults an obstacle.

Parkour has appeared in various television advertisements, news reports and entertainment pieces, often combined with other forms of acrobatics, such as free running, street stunts and tricking.

Film and television

Computer games

  • Assassin's Creed 's protagonist Altaïr and Assassin's Creed II 's protagonist Ezio use parkour.[54][55][56]
  • Grand Theft Auto IV's main character, Niko Belic, performs some parkour movements, like running vault to jump over a fence or the parkour roll while jumping over great hights.
  • Left 4 Dead has a character, known as a "Hunter", whose design and abilities are based on parkour. This character also returns in the sequel Left 4 Dead 2 (with a slightly modified appearance).
  • Mirror's Edge is about a gang of outlaws called "runners," who excel and specialize in parkour.
  • Prince of Persia and its sequels use parkour consistently throughout the game by the main character, the prince (although the portrayal is taken to superhuman levels).
  • Prototype mentions parkour by name and plays a vital role in the game.
  • The Saboteur's (2009) Sean Devlin must use parkour to scale buildings to fight off the Nazi forces in Paris.
  • Tony Hawk's American Wasteland has several techniques the player can do while not on the skateboard: free-running (although it is called parkour in the game), wall-run, wire-grab, and other parkour movements.
  • Free Running A full Parkour game for PSP.
See Parkour at Giant Bomb for more games.

See also

  • Buildering - the act of climbing the outside of buildings and other urban structures. The word is a portmanteau combining the word "building" with the climbing term "bouldering".
  • Dérive - a French situationist philosophy of re-envisioning one's relation to urban spaces (psychogeography) and acting accordingly.
  • Free Running - a form of urban acrobatics in which participants, known as free runners, use the city and rural landscape to perform movements through its structures.
  • Tricking - an art with roots in different forms of martial arts and gymnastics, often mistaken for parkour by the media and public.
  • Qing Gong - a traditional Chinese martial arts that translate into "light body skill" where the martial artist would perform feats of great agility and jump to great heights. Certain Wudang martial artists are seen using this skill to scale vertical heights in a way similar to parkour movements.
  • Yamakasi - a group founded by Yann Hnautra, David Belle, Laurent Piemontesi and Chau Belle Dinh 3 years before parkour with emphasis on style, fluidity and freedom. It is also a 2001 movie.


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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

(Le) Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or l'art du déplacement (English: the art of movement) is a physical art of French origin, founded by David Belle, the aim of which is to move from point A to point B as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment — from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls — so parkour can be practiced in both rural and urban areas. Male parkour practitioners are recognized as traceurs and female as traceuses.


David Belle

Main article: David Belle

On the philosophy of Le Parkour

  • "At the physical end, Parkour is getting over all the obstacles in your path as you would in an emergency situation. You want to move in such a way, with any movement, that will help you gain the most ground on someone/something as if escaping from someone/something or chasing toward someone/something. Also, wherever you go, you must be able to get back. If you go from A to B, you need to be able to get back from B to A. You don't need to do the same "move," but just get back."
  • "It's about what you can do at that particular moment. If someone is stuck in a fire and you say, "Well, two years ago I could have done something that would have saved you" then you are useless. Parkour is not what you could have done for whatever excuse. If you aren't able to help someone, what use are you?"
  • "My thing from the beginning is to have it be useful, and be able to help others. It's about being efficient and getting there as fast as you can. If people want to do it more artistically or in a freestyle way, I have absolutely no problem with it — that's the way it's going to evolve. It's not my style, but if it's other people's [style], that's perfect."
  • The link below leads to a video of David Belle falling on a saut-de-chat. His arm misses or slips off of the wall. It it important piece to view for all traceurs, his attitude and the way he views this accident should be noted.
  • "All these people here, they come and they want me to do big things, expect me to do big drops so they can sell pictures, put it on their websites, whatever. But what is my motivation then? I could do this jump once and maybe get hurt, but even if I don't get hurt what is the point right here, right now? To make these people happy? If my family was over there and needed me, I wouldn't even hesitate. I would do it for them and that's who I train and do these things for. I'm not a monkey, I can't be treated like one. I don't understand how people want to put themselves into great risk for money. I've trained so long and hard for myself, to save people, to protect my family... People get into Parkour now just train in order to do risks for media, I just can't understand why they would do so. That was never the goal of Parkour. Money changes people, but that money cannot change my goal, my motivation or why I do this. I'm on tour now for you, I'm here talking to you so you can help others and that's how things work, never think its the other way around. Im doing this for you guys, to inspire you, that's it."
  • "Parkour belongs to the ones who live it, not the ones who want to live thanks to it"
    • David Belle Communique, Paris July 25th 2006

Other David Belle quotations

  • "A little backflip (backflips), but it's not part of Parkour, but i like doing this since i did gym."
    • TFI - French TV
  • "Obstacles are found everywhere, and in overcoming them we nourish ourselves."
    • TFI - French TV
  • "Down there we know, the streets we know, but up here? Nobody's been here."
    • TFI - French TV
  • "Stop talking and Move"
    • Unsourced

Sebastien Foucan

  • "You can find the way by yourself naturally, you just need a guide to tell you to be careful, to not do this to impress people, just follow your instincts."
    • Jump Britain

Cyril Raffaeli

  • "I check my site sometimes. I look at the first couple things and try to respond but that's all I have the time for. People don't understand that we just don't have the time! We could come online and talk to each person and make sure they know flips aren't Parkour (he laughed) but then we would not be in the place we are now. I had two choices, I could sit at home and eat pizza and pepsi infront of the computer all day, or I could train, I chose to train."

George Hébert

  • "Their bodies were splendid, flexible, nimble, skilful, enduring, resistant and yet they had no other tutor in Gymnastics but their lives in Nature" (In reference to the physical movement skills developed naturally by indigenous Africans)
  • "The final goal of physical education is to make strong beings. In the purely physical sense, the Natural Method promotes the qualities of organic resistance, muscularity and speed, towards being able to walk, run, jump, move quadrupedally, to climb, to walk in balance, to throw, lift, defend yourself and to swim."


  • "I saw an exhibition of Miro once. Miro the painter. His very last painting was a dot. I was wondering why everyone says hes a great painter. I can make dots. Yet he is a great painter. I looked at his evolution. First I thought he couldn't draw. Then I saw his early drawings, and they're works of art. His figures are full of detail, his landscapes. Its like looking at a photograph. So I looked at his evolution, and saw that gradually there were fewer details. He was paying less attention to the external, and more to the internal. I thought about it, that little dot, and I understood. Everything else was false, he had just retained the truth."
  • "Instinctively, we tend to prefer simplicity and containment. But with time we tend to think that real happiness is outside. That it is external... in money, success, in popularity. But that's not true. Its right here, so close we can't see it. When you move, an important thing to remember is to be serene, simple. Whether you jump or not, you have to feel good."


  • "Imagine someone who wakes up in a cosy home, who eats a good and healthy meal, who goes out to do some jumping around until supper time and then watches tv in his couch for the rest of the evening, eating candy. This could describe most of us, even me, but this is not doing Parkour, this is not being strong. Being strong would be waking up after a short, cold night's sleep, with nothing to eat, in a remote area, with bruises all over your body, and having to do the biggest saut de bras in your life if you want to survive." - Thomas-des-bois
  • "One of the main points of the philosophy behind parkour is being able to help people... To teach them they way themselves, to gain confidence in themselves, building up from simple moves to more complex things, to teach them that they are worthwhile people." - Chris Hayes-Kossmann
  • "Many ways exist for one direction" - James Patrick Mcardle
  • "Fear is your greatest enemy, but yet it's your best friend." Shaun Andrews
  • "...The best part of falling is getting back up again. If that phrase doesn't examplify what David showed us all there that day, I don't know what would ever!" -Pk Danno


  • "In life there is from 'A' to 'B' to 'C'. In parkour there is no 'B'"
  • "While you rest, others are out training."
  • "You see a car, I see Parkour, you see a bench, some stairs, I see Parkour”
  • "Everything you do affects you physically and mentally, and everything you think affects you mentally and physically."
  • "We are Traceurs, and we will prevail. Parkour is not just a way of life. Parkour is life."
  • "You cannot win against other traceurs in parkour, but you can win over yourself and help others to do the same."
  • "Parkour laughs right in the face of discrimination and violence."
  • "To succeed the first time is good. To succeed the second time is better."

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to parkour article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

WOTD - 3 December 2008    



Wikipedia has an article on:


Animation of a kong vault, a basic parkour technique.


From French parkour, altered spelling of parcours.





parkour (uncountable)

  1. An athletic discipline, in which practitioners traverse any environment in the most efficient way possible using their physical abilities, and which commonly involves running, jumping, vaulting, rolling and other similar physical movements.


See also


French Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fr


Respelling of parcours (route, course), ultimately from Latin.


parkour m. (plural parkour)

  1. (uncountable) Free running, parkour.



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Le Parkour (also called Parkour, and abbreviated PK) is a physical discipline of French origin in which participants attempt to pass obstacles in the most efficient way possible as if moving in an emergency situation, using skills such as jumping and climbing, or the more specific parkour moves. The obstacles can be anything in one's environment, but parkour is often seen practiced in urban areas because of many suitable public structures that are accessible to most people, such as buildings and rails. Parkour also has a deep mental and spiritual side; based around the overcoming of fears and mental obstacles in an altruistic way which may one day prove beneficial to the community.

Another discipline which is related on the surface is Freerunning, which is a break-away discipline formed by Sebastien Foucan, where the freerunner moves through their environment in anyway they wish, which often includes acrobatic manouveres such as flips and kicks. These movements are generally accepted as not parkour because they are not the most efficient way of moving through an environment.

Table of Contents



For more exercise descriptions along with a workout of the day, go to

Basic movements

It should be noted that although these movements are named, due to the infinite possibilities of an environment, there is an infinite variation in the number of movements which can be applied as different situations will require adaption. Another important factor is that because parkour emphasizes efficiency, although several movements may be used to cross an obstacle, the fastest is considered to be the "best" parkour. Just as a martial artist may not pick the most suited movement in the heat of the moment, a practitioner of parkour may use a less efficient movement while missing a potentially more efficient option, be it because of lack of experience or a misjudgment of the obstacle to be overcome. Nonetheless, the ultimate goal of parkour is to minimize these misjudgements and be as efficient as possible as often as possible. On-the-spot judgment thus becomes an important part of the practice.

Advanced Moves

Aesthetic Moves (Not Parkour)

These are considered to be Freerunning or Tricking.

Movement-Related Differences

Many traceurs, including a large majority of veterans and those who learn from them, have foregone certain movements in training. Specifically, most traceurs do not practice drops higher than 6 feet or any rooftop jumping. This is to better preserve the body and the image of Parkour, so that spreading the art becomes easier to do. It has also become somewhat of a debate as to whether or not drops should be considered a "move" at all. It should be noted that some traceurs still practice drops and rooftops.

Simple English

Traceur using his parkour.

Parkour is an activity in which the goal is to move from one place to another as quickly and efficiently as possible, using the abilities of the human body.[1][2] Parkour helps to overcome barriers, and is practiced in rural and urban areas. Parkour practitioners are called to as traceurs, or traceuses for females.[3]

Founded by David Belle in France, practitioners only use efficient movements to develop their bodies and minds, and to be able to overcome barriers in an emergency. It may also be a form of entertainment or a hobby.

Acrobatics (such as flips and wall flips) are not part of parkour,[1] because of inefficiency in a difficult situation (emergency).


File:Parkour - Passe muraille
Traceur climbs a wall.

Parkour is a physical activity which is difficult to categorize. It is not an extreme sport,[4] but an art or discipline that resembles self-defense in the martial arts.[5] David Belle explain that the spirit of parkour is guided in part by the notions of "escape" and "reach", using quick thinking with dexterity to get out of difficult situations. So, when faced with a hostile conflict with a person, someone will speak, fight, or flee. As martial arts are a form of training for the fight, parkour is a form of training to escape from damage. Because of its unique nature, it is often said that parkour is in its own category: "parkour is parkour."

An important characteristic of parkour is efficiency. Traceurs move not only as fast as they can, but also in the least energy-consuming and most direct way possible. This characteristic distinguishes it from the similar practice of free running, which places more emphasis on freedom of movements, such as acrobatics. Efficiency also involves avoiding injuries, short and long-term..

Parkour is also known to have an influence on traceur's thought process. Traceurs and traceuses experience a change in their critical thinking skills which helps them overcome physical and mental obstacles in everyday life.


Wikibooks has more about this subject:
  1. 1.0 1.1 David Belle or PAWA Team, or both. "English welcome - Parkour Worldwide Association". Archived from the original on 2005-05-08. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  2. Severine Souard. "Press - "The Tree" - L'Art en mouvement" (in French) (JPG). Retrieved 2007-07-02. "Tracez sur un plan de votre ville une ligne droite, partez du point A et rendez-vous au point B." 
  3. Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English. "parkour". Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  4. "Dealing with the Media". 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2007-04-19. "Parkour is not nearly as dangerous as most other sports. Scrapes and bruises are common but major injuries are very rare. However, just like any high impact activity such as basketball or soccer, the occasionally sprained ankle or pulled muscle is inevitable." 
  5. "What is Parkour?". 2004-05-12. Retrieved 2007-04-19. "It is considered by many practitioners (known as "traceurs") as more of an art and discipline." 

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