I've loved creative movement for as long as I can remember and when Parkour & Freerunning became more public it seemed to be perfect for me. However, as time's gone on and the more practitioners I meet from different Counties, Countries and cultures, the more frustrated I became attempting to pinpoint the exact description of what Parkour and Freerunning is. I gave up trying to figure the answer out because no one appears to agree which inevitably ends in long pointless debate, sometimes ending with arguments....
"THEY'RE BOTH DIFFERENT - FREERUNNING USES FLIPS AND PARKOUR USES JUMPS"
"I'M BETTER THAN YOU, YOU CAN'T EVEN BACK FLIP"
But today I read a statement from William Belle that offers the best description for our beautiful discipline, one which I have now adopted to reflect my own.
"The story of a group of friends who met, sharing a quest and research of freedom, challenging themselves in the form of physical games, transcendence of self, exchange of ideas, thoughts and reflections about life, sharing precious and intense moments; and with the input of everyone’s different life and experience"
When we look at the literal translation of Parkour ('Par – kour') it is derived from the French word parcour, meaning journey, route or course.
I used to take the above as meaning - traveling a route or course as fluidly and efficiently as possible, and training my body to become strong, flexible and agile enough to be able to do it whilst simultaneously using my movements to express my creativity.
Now however, I can see I did not pay enough attention to the 'journey' part of that translation... My journey of learning, of growing, of meeting new people and of making new friends and sharing experiences.... I can see how many other (particularly younger) practitioners have missed that also, with so many of us arguing over and promoting who is the best at the movements, who has the most recognition in this new 'industry' and who has the correct definition of what Parkour / Freerunning is....
You can read the full article of William Belle here. I highly recommend you take the opportunity to read it. I promise it will make you reflect on what your interpretation of what Parkour is and why you train it, whether it has a positive and holistically healing impact on your life and (if you are an instructor) of that of your students.
I cherish my relationship with my students and consider them lifelong friends. I am thankful they are joining me on my journey and allowing me to join in on theirs.
Parkour - "The story of a group of friends who met, sharing a quest and research of freedom, challenging themselves in the form of physical games, transcendence of self, exchange of ideas, thoughts and reflections about life, sharing precious and intense moments; and with the input of everyone’s different life and experience"