It's difficult to say when parkour was first contained within its definition, and thereby lay down the historical law.

As there are several valid approaches to define the discipline, a definition of parkour would be not fit for the purpose of containing anything!

The spirit of parkour is ALWAYS more important that its legal existence and any history of parkour, is a history of the spirit, mentality and love of parkour - a mission to move with pure joy from every flowing jump and the freedom to be functional that is only born of the determination never to give up.

Resilience is the secret of parkour. Built from endless hours of effort, that results in a mind prepared for any challenge and a body ready to overcome any obstacle.

So where did that start?

We are creating an in depth parkour history section, and in the meantime, we recommend Dan Edwardes article on Parkour - The (Re)Birth of a Movement. This is a well written and fluid account of the events over the last 120 years that have led to the discipline as it is today.


However, if you're in a rush, here is the short version!

While helping organise an evacuation after a catastrophic eruption on a Carribbean island, a French Naval Officer decides that people needed to be fit for a reason - strength had to be combined with helpfulness - altruism.

His ideas led to the creation of the obstacle course and a new way of complete movement fitness training in the french military, which spread out to the world. An orphan who was adopted into the French military schooling system excelled in these systems and went on to break many records and was eventually recuited by Paris's elite military firefighters. His son was brought up on tales of great rescues and escapes, with a family heavily involved in rescue.

He was training in the elite movements but the mindset always came first. To never give up, to all protect and serve others, to be able to be useful and effective in any situation.

His group of friends joined him in creating a undaunted training team and solidified these principles into the Art du Deplacement, calling themselves the Yamakasi, meaning Strong Body, Strong Mind, Strong Spirit.

The path of the Yamakasi divided into Parkour with David Belle (focusing on emergency movements), Freerunning with Sebastien Foucan (focussing on finding one's own path and play exploration) and ADD through the remaining group, some of whom created the Majestic Force team.



1902 - 1905

Methode Naturelle

Catalyst for movement altruism

1905 - 1973

Raymond Belle

Raymond Belle and the building blocks of a discipline

1984 - 1996


David Belle, Childhood games and the ADD

1984 - 1996

Three Paths Diverge

Idealism to realism, Parkour, Freerunning and ADD

2003 - 2005


The UK storms forward, immature but eager

2005 - 2007

The Age of Pioneers

The revolution of 'real' begins

2010 - 2012

The Rise of the Parkour 'Professional'

Branding, Marketing, Fashion and Careers

2012 - 2016

Integration and Expansion

Parkour, meet the World...

Scroll down to begin the story...