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Put as concisely as possible, parkour is the refinement of body movement through the interaction with the physical environment as one progresses though it. It is a training discipline for both body and mind, and encourages practitioners to approach their own practise as holistically as possible.

Parkour is focussed on integrating the natural and largely untapped physical and mental potential of every person into their modern life in a holistic and functional way: to make movement and the use of the body a central part of our daily life, and to help us reconnect with our surroundings. Challenge and discovery are central principles of parkour training.


In practise, parkour focuses on developing the fundamental attributes required for movement, which include balance, strength, dynamism, endurance, precision, spatial awareness and creative vision. It is a way of training one’s body and mind in order to be as completely functional, effective and liberated as possible in the physical realm, and a way of thinking based on rigorous self-discipline, autonomous action and self-will.

Beyond this simple explanation, however, parkour is a discipline of self-improvement on all levels, an art that reveals to the practitioner his or her own physical and mental limits and simultaneously offers a method to surpass them.

One ostensible ‘training goal’ of the discipline is to be able to traverse any terrain as swiftly and fluidly as possible with efficiency, grace and precision. However, for many practitioners, the aim of the art is simply to master their own physical vessel, to sophisticate their mobility and improve their overall agility. Some practise solely for reasons of health and fitness, while others do it for the fun of recapturing a childlike view of their surroundings. Yet more walk the path for more esoteric reasons, finding philosophy and contemplating an inner ‘Way’ as they go.

In truth, most would admit to pursuing a combination of all these goals while perhaps emphasising one aspect above the rest.


Le Parkour, though acknowledges as being invented by a handful of French founders in the 1980s, is actually a practice that precedes records. It has drawn on a myriad of sources, been inspired by a number of notable individuals and evolved through several traditions to arrive at the modern discipline now referred to as parkour or ‘l’art du deplacement’, also known as ‘free-running’ in English.

Names and labels come and go, of course, and the image of the discipline has changed countless times. However, behind whatever appearance has been fashionable at the time, at its core there has always existed an eternal constant – the means, the end, the method and the goal of parkour: Movement.

Its appeal as an art-form, a training method, and a visual spectacle reaches across all strata of society, from extreme sports lovers to fitness enthusiasts, from artists to architects, and to young, old, male and female alike. All of us have a natural sense of parkour when young, moving as we please, with no boundaries and beyond convention. To discover parkour as an adult is to rekindle the eternally youthful spirit within us. For more information on the history of parkour, read here.