History Of Parkour – Interesting Things You Should Know

history of parkour

In 1902, before World War I, a shattering eruption took place on the Caribbean Island of Martinique. It destroyed the town of St. Pierre and killed 28000 persons in its flash. When the full city was fighting against the tragedy, a young French naval lieutenant George Hebert valiantly faced the case and coordinated with the people for evacuation. He supported to move out over 700 people, including both Europeans and Indigenous, out of the town.

See more: A brief history of Parkour

When the crowd was moving out of the town, George Hebert experienced something that had put a deep effect on his mind. He noticed that the indigenous population is overcoming the obstacles within the way with ease and beauty whereas the Europeans face difficulty en passant through the barriers. They were finding the familiar pathways which were vanished by the eruption. He realized that the fashionable man had lost all the efficiency and effectiveness to maneuver and face the physical challenges.

All the involvement that George had noticed reinforced his belief that physical conditioning and athletic skills must be for someone, and it should be tied with full courage and fearlessness. Here was the primary rise to the origin slogan of Parkour, “Etre fort pour et utile”- “Be strong to be useful”.

The sense of bravery and courage George noticed was ingrained in his heart, and he was continued to be inspired by the movement skills and physical development of indigenous tribes in Africa. And with time, George formulated his physical training discipline called the “Natural Method” that involves running, climbing, swimming, man-made obstacle courses to revive within the typical environments. George’s training laid the inspiration for the fashionable day parkour.

Parkour began to emerge as an extreme sport toward the tip of the 20th century in France. This emergence of the game is usually accredited to David Belle, son of Raymond Belle, a very skilled French firefighter, who had been exposed to Hebert’s philosophy during his training within the French military. Through his father, David was greatly influenced by Herbert’s training techniques and transformed the movement from grooming to a variety. To create the term more universally accepted, the “c” was changed to a “k” and therefore the silent “s” was dropped, thus transforming from “Parcours” to “parkour”. If David Belle is that the founding father of parkour–and he typically is recognized as such–then Sébastien Foucan, one in all Belle’s associates, is certainly the founding father of freerunning.

Commonly mistaken to be one and therefore the same, parkour and freerunning are distinct disciplines, though they originated from the identical movement style. Belle and Foucan failed to completely agree on the philosophy behind parkour. Belle believes it’s an efficient movement while Foucan believes it’s more about creativity and self-expression. Thus emerged the art of freerunning, which integrates more flips, spins and another flare to feature aesthetic value while they will not be the foremost efficient way of getting from A to B. Nowadays, the 2 terms are largely used interchangeably partially out of convenience but mostly out of ignorance.

Parkour made its first big appearance within the US when it had been featured during a chase scene of the 2006 character film Casino Royale (the stunts during this scene were performed by none aside from Sébastien Foucan). Since then it’s been exhibited in several popular films, TV shows, commercials, video games, and other media forms, particularly YouTube which has been arguably the foremost significant vehicle in bringing parkour along its agile journey from obscurity to mainstream. Parkour made another huge breakthrough when MTV hosted the first-ever parkour competition to be held within the US: “MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge” which aired October 22, 2009, from big apple City, within which the simplest traceurs from everywhere the planet came together to compete for the title of best traceur. Since then we’ve got seen another parkour TV series, “Jump City Seattle.” some parkour movies are released including “Run,” “Tracers,” “Freerunner,” and “Brick Mansions” which may be a remake of “District 13” starring David Belle.

As the popularity of parkour continues to grow, other values are being discovered and explored. Since its original use of fleeing from danger, it’s now used as a variety of self-expression and in step with Askmen.com is one in all the fastest-growing varieties of exercise right away. While men are typically the target marketplace for this evolving extreme sport, the health benefits also are commencing to attract plenty of ladies. An editorial was published on Health.com in October of 2009 under the category “Girls Gotta Move” gazing parkour and freerunning from a girl’s point of view, and discussing how they will be implemented into a workout.

Parkour timeline

1902 – A volcano burst on the island of Martinique. A French military officer, Lt. George Hebert, supported to rescue over 700 people from the scene. As he observed people move, well or badly, around the obstacles in their path he achieved that to save more lives, the skill must be combined with fearlessness and courage. The term “Etre fort pour être utile” – “Be strong to be useful” is employed for the primary time.


1905 – George Herbert published his book La Methode Naturelle, which started getting used by the French military.

1939 – Raymond Belle, who had father was a French doctor of the colonial army and a mother national Vietnamese was born in Indochina.

1946 – During the Indochina war, Raymond Belle was sent to a military school where he trained technique developed by Herbert named the Methode Naturelle.

1954 – Raymond Belle came back to France to continue his military education.

1958 – Raymond Belle was recruited by the Paris firefighters thanks to his impressive physical abilities.

1973 – David Belle was born. Promoted by his parental grandfather, Gilbert Kitten, David was impressed by tales of boldness and flourished from a young age a passion for any price to try and do with action.


1984 – David Belle moved to Lisses, a rural of Paris, where he got closer to his father and started learning Parcours from him. He made close friends with a few teenagers with the same physical passions who initiated training with him. They might later become referred to as the Yamakasi.

1988 – The group’s training develops into a cohesive discipline called “L’art du deplacement” for the primary time in Lisses, France.

1993 – Sebastien Foucan started naming the movements they performed, for the primary time.


1996 – The group was featured in an interview by a French television and also the Yamakasi term is employed publicly for the primary time to explain the team.

1997 – David Belle and Sebastien Foucan withdraw The Yamakasi group to pursue their own way, separately.

1998 – David Belle established the group “Tracers”, with the practitioners who were called traceurs. This was the instant the term Parkour was invented by David Belle and Hubert Koundé.

2001 – The Yamakasi movie is broadcasted coining the term L’art Du Deplacement by the agency of discipline the protagonists use.

2002 – David appeared in a very British TV commercial called “Rush Hour” after which a UK scene intuitively consisting of just some traceurs was formed.

2003 – British filmmaker Mike Christie’s JUMP LONDON is launched with the first mention of Free running which was meant to clarify Parkour to Americans, but ended up becoming Sebastien Foucan’s separate discipline.

2004 – David Belle returned in French film DISTRICT B-13, which gained breaking notice outside of France.

2005 – The follow-up documentary named JUMP BRITAIN is aired.

2005 – The sudden game-changing arrival of YouTube, allowed free runners everywhere the planet to post their videos and share their latest discoveries.

2005 – Mark Toorock founded American Parkour.

2005 – Parkour Generations America started.

2006 – Sebastian Foucan’s appearance within the opening chase scene of the James Bond film CASINO ROYALE. Audiences within the US began to realize that something new and really exciting was afoot.


2007 – October, The RED BULL ART OF MOTION was carried out Vienna was the primary major competition around Parkour and Freerunning.

2008 – September, in London, the now rebranded, Urban Freeflow team, in partnership with Barclaycard, performed the primary World Freerun Championship.

2010 – ParkourTrain.NET parkour blog is launched to fill a niche in news and content about Parkour and Freerunning.

2012 – July, Flow channel is established on Youtube, the primary Parkour and Freerunning content creator on YouTube.