Le Parkour

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Le Parkour

Post  Varno on Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:34 pm


Parkour (or le parkour) is the physical practice of traversing elements in both urban and rural settings, although it is sometimes seen as a philosopy. The goal is to move from one point to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. This discipline became popular in France, in Sarcelles, Lisses and Evry by David Belle, Sébastien Foucan,and his brother Syazneen Belle Uzai from 3run.co.uk and the founding members of the Ninja Yamakasi

The term freerunning is sometimes used interchangeably with parkour. While parkour aims to enable the practitioner to be able to move quickly and efficiently past obstacles, freerunning has a greater emphasis on self-expression within the environment. Freerunning includes tricking moves such as aerial rotations and spins, while the purist definition of parkour founder David Belle would not consider these part of parkour because the moves are merely for show, not efficient, and do not help the participant to get from place to place. Although Sébastien Foucan co-founded parkour, his philosophy differed and so he followed his 'way' and created a different form of movement called freerunning

A practitioner of parkour is called a traceur if male, or traceuse if female. The word is most likely derived from parisian slang verb "Tracer" which means "to move fast" or "to hurry". In proper French "traceur" is an adjective qualifying something that leaves a trace or a trail behind it


Two primary characteristics of parkour are efficiency and speed. Traceurs take the most direct path through an obstacle as rapidly as that route 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).

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. 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.


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

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.

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

David Belle
David Belle (born 29 April 1973) is a French soldier largely credited as the founder of parkour. He is also a physical educator, stuntman and actor. His military training and early athletic, climbing, gymnastic, and martial arts training acted as the foundations for the discipline he has developed

David Belle was born and raised in Fécamp, France. He descends from a modest family in the suburbs of Paris. His grandfather Gilbert Kitten, father Raymond Belle, and brother Jeff Belle have been highly skilled rescuers in the French military fire service.

He spent the first 14 years of his life in Fécamp and later in Les Sables d'Olonne, a time during which he demonstrated a taste for action and fast movement. He excelled in athletics, climbing, gymnastics and martial arts. He was strongly inspired by his maternal grandfather Gilbert Kitten who evoked in him a passion for heroism and helping other people.

In 1988, at the age of 15, Belle left school and moved to Lisses, Paris to begin his national service. In this time he obtained his French national First Aid certificate and UFOLEP certificate of gymnastics leadership. He made close friends with a group of teenagers with a similar physical passion, who later became the Yamakasi (Yann Hnautra, Frédéric Hnautra, David Balgogne, Sébastien Foucan and Kazuma). After joining the fire brigade with aspirations of following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps, he was temporarily discharged due to a wrist injury and did not return for personal reasons.

He later joined the Troupes de marine in Vannes, where he received a promotion, a gymnastic agility certificate of honour, and champion records for Regimental rope-climbing (which his father had once held) and the Essonne obstacle course. He has however said that his taste and love for adventure and freedom did not go well with the regimented life of the military.

Upon completing his national service he worked in various professions including a warehouse worker, security guard and furniture salesman. He then flew to India and obtained a Black Belt in kung fu. After his return he began promoting his discipline by filming footage of his capabilities. In 1997 the Stage 2 team (Francis Marroto, Pierre Sleed and Pierre Salviac) were shown a video and decided to create a film about Belle and parkour, in a series of his collaborations with 'the speed-air man', 'catmen', 'la Relève' and 'les traceurs'. The word 'traceur' has since been used to define a practitioner of parkour.

Belle was first introduced to his acting career in a meeting with Hubert Koundé (La Haine), in order to discuss the success of parkour on the big screen. He then began developing his acting ability with the play Pygmalion, and has since been successful in obtaining a number of roles mostly in French films and promotions. Belle has been featured in promotional videos for Tina Turner, and Iam. He has starred in "Les gens du voyages" and "Un monde meilleur", followed by "L'Engrenages" and "Femme Fatale", as well as "Les rivières pourpres 2", starring Jean Reno. After filming several more advertisements and promotions for the BBC, Nissan, Coca-Cola, and Nike, Belle was contacted by Luc Besson (director of Nikita, and The Fifth Element) regarding co-starring as lead actor with Cyril Raffaelli in the action movie District 13, followed by the sequel District 13: Ultimatum.

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