How parkour stopped being crazy people jumping on rooftops to become an official sport

Despite bringing in UK no more than one decade, parkour has found a place in English society: not in vain, the English have been the first to give this “art of movement” the sport category.

But where has left the parkour? What has been its history and how has its evolution been transformed from being a form of minority displacement to an official sport? This is the incredible story of parkour.

How parkour stopped being crazy people jumping on rooftops to become an official sportThe beginnings of the “art of displacement”

For the beginnings of what we now know as parkour we must go back to the Paris of the ‘ 80s . There, Raymond Belle, a fireman and ex-military French, inspired with his movement based training his young son David, creator of the current parkour and its bases.

David, who came from the world of gymnastics and martial arts , began to lay the groundwork for what he called “art of movement” : a way of life rather than a sport, which was to move from point A To a point B without stopping, overcoming the obstacles that were found along the way solely using his body, with a fluid and effective route.

Belle did not think of this “art of movement” as a sport, since from the beginning made it clear its principle of non – competition . It was based on the natural method of Georges Hébert to develop human qualities through displacement and using the environment.

The parkour boom

During the 90s, Belle along with other friends and practitioners of this “art of displacement” founded the first “official” group dedicated to this activity, known as the Yamakasi . This name comes from Lingala, a Bantu language spoken in the north-west of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and means “strong body, strong spirit, strong person” in a clear allusion to the philosophy behind parkour. be useful).

The group Yamakasi was commissioned to make this discipline worldwide movement , exhibitions and tours both as films and documentaries.

They then coined the term parkour, from the French parcour which literally means “path”. Those who practice it are known as traceurs or “tracers” (travel).

Arrival in England and today

Sébastien Foucan , one of the members of the original group of Yamakasi, made the leap (pun intended) to England to record the documentary Jump London and Jump Britain , the group being torn by differences of thought Belle.

Already in Iglaterra, Foucan gave new life to parkour, which came to be called FreeRun or Freerunning : the name change simply responded to a commercial strategy to make it more attractive for English and American public.

Parkour and Freerunning share the same base: the movement using natural and urban spaces, but can be differentiated (there are different opinions within practitioners) that parkour is based solely on the usefulness of the movement , while the freerunning looking for something more aesthetic , Using more acrobatics.

Now England has just recognized parkour or freerunning (do not distinguish between them) as an official sport : this is good news for clubs and for those who practice it as from now be eligible to get public funding, Just as other sports associations do.

Parkour or freerunning in Iglaterra has achieved tremendous progress in a very short period of time (just seven years since he came to the island): more than 50 parks across the country and thousands of practitioners of this discipline, many of them in Schools and universities. In Foucan’s own words, “it’s a great moment for a discipline that started as a children’s game and now it’s still a child’s play, but for all ages.”

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