Trying to find the point when Parkour was first created is possibly as hard as trying to find the point in time when man first jumped. Here, we provide a brief history of Parkour.
Parkour is rooted in three small towns surrounding Paris: Evry, Sarcelles and Lisses. These small towns were home to a group of young people drawn together through challenge. It is acknowledged that 9 young men from this group created a discipline that is still practised today, called l’art du déplacement or ‘the art of movement’.
These young men called themselves the Yamakasi, a Lingala word that means ‘Strong man, strong spirit’.
It is thought the name Parkour comes from the the French word ‘parcours’. ‘Parcours’ (translated to ‘course’ or ‘route’) came from the influence of Raymond Belle, the father of one of the Yamakasi (David). Raymond introduced David to the training methods of Georges Hébert, a pioneer in military training methods who had a large influence in the development of physical education in France. The term ‘Parkour’ was coined by David’s friend, Hubert Kounde.
The Yamakasi were regarded as wild-men, however, their training was anything but wild. With focus on precision and control, they started to push their limits and with this the media started to take notice.
In 2003, the Channel Four documentary ‘Jump London’ was broadcast. Featuring Sébastien Foucan, a member of the Yamakasi, and the Vigroux brothers, the documentary saw the men practising parkour across London. It was at this point that the term ‘freerunning’ was coined to more easily translate to the English viewer what Parkour was.
Parkour has since exploded, with it now playing centre stage in movies, video games and other media. With this explosion, a blurring of the lines has occurred, with some feeling that the core values of Parkour are being lost.
At Train Hard we believe that the core values of hard training and bettering oneself will give a person the ability to move with freedom. We honour the history of Parkour; a history that is based on human relationships and an individual’s achievement of their goals with community support. We believe that by understanding the history of Parkour a person can fulfil and surpass their goals in the same way that the Yamakasi did.