By Adrenaline

While it is true that many people still do not accept the fact that Parkour is a standalone extreme sport, the nature of this physical activity as well as the risks involved in practising it has helped it gain numerous adepts around the world.

To define Parkour, it suffices to say that this non-competitive discipline comprises of moving quickly through an obstacle course, often represented by normal urban settings. In other words, you have to vault, jump, run, climb or roll and basically do anything in your power to reach a pre-established destination in a fast and exciting manner.

Those who practise Parkour are often referred to as traceurs. With moves that seem to emulate the ancient martial arts of Qing Gong or Ninjutsu, the roots were established in the 20’s, by George Hebert and expanded upon by Raymon and David Belle.

A brief history of Parkour

As previously mentioned, George Hebert is regarded as the forerunner of the discipline. Hebert was a naval officer before WW I and he came up with the concept after witnessing the way the members of an African tribe were moving in their surroundings with excellent grace and flexibility, although they had no actual training in gymnastics or athletics. He started teaching this discipline at the college of Reims, utilizing a method that would combine running, climbing, swimming and numerous other forms of movement. His methodology gained so much popularity that the French military utilized it as standard form of training during both world wars.

The ideas of Hebert inspired Raymond and David Belle, better known as the founders of the Yamakasi group. Parkour lost some popularity over time, but it was once again brought to the attention of the public through movies like Taxi 2, Casino Royale, The Bourne Ultimatum, etc. In fact, Casino Royale had such an impact that the US military decided to adapt the discipline of Parkour to the standard forms of training. If you want to watch a couple of documentaries that tell the full story of this sport, then you can try Jump Britain and Jump London.

The concept of Parkour

Parkour practitioners know that Parkour represents far more than the ability to move gracefully through your surrounding environment and in fact, it is basically a state of the mind. In other words, they consider that this discipline enables you to learn how to adapt to virtually any setting and overcome mental obstacles, thus making your very one, unique way. Furthermore, Parkour acts as confidence booster and helps the mind understand that the items around you are only representations of obstacles which can be overcome in numerous ways. From this point of view, the discipline imparts many similarities with the martial arts.

Equipment needed for practising Parkour

Traceurs do not utilize protective gear, as it would hinder the whole point of the exercise. On a side note, this is why they refuse to practice Parkour in organized settings and will always pick the street or abandoned buildings. However, you will need a standard t-shirt, normal shorts or sweatpants, but most importantly the right pair of running shoes that can provide a sufficient level of traction in difficult circumstances. Running shoes should also be light enough and flexible. Whether or not you want to wear protective gloves is entirely up to you.

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