Interesting Facts About Parkour & Free Running

Written by: Zoe Adams
Reading time: 2 mins
Last updated: March 17, 2021

Did you know that a person who practices parkour is called a "traceur"?

Amazing Parkour Photo

You might have seen people jumping from wall to wall, scrambling over buildings, springing off poles and throwing themselves all over the place.

Well if you read this article, you’ll know more about why they’re doing it and what it actually is!

Le parkour.

L’art du deplacement, Le parkour, Parkour, the art of displacement and Free running are some of the names they are known as, which changes at all times. It doesn’t matter what it is addressed as because they’re just labels. The content is the same.

Incredibly popular in the 1980’s in France, the Yamakasi (a group of French practitioners) brought parkour to the forefront of the public eye, though the approach goes back even further.

We head back years to meet the Western physical education expert, George Herbert (1875-1957), who could see that the body should be refined and should be able to move swiftly and fluidly. An efficient body, fueled with grace and precision is a happy body.

The goal and the method of the sport is movement. Nothing but the movement.

When the body interacts with the environment, it should be refined, and the movements should not be hampered by anything in its way.

You can see an awesome video of free runners below, which is definitely worth checking out!

Someone who practices parkour is called a traceur.

In technical terms, the person partaking in parkour (that was a few P’s, wasn’t it?) is a traceur, which in literal terms means “tracing” or “tracing a path”.

The only equipment or machinery that should be used in free running is the body. That is your tool – that and your mind.

The sport is aimed at improving the body’s strength and flexibility and coordination. Many exercises can be used to help train the traceur in such a way.

Balance exercises and spatial awareness drills are the most common. Some traceurs even take part in night training, which can result in sensory deprivation.

Parkour is trendy.

Whilst not an extreme sport, it is incredibly popular with youths (in my youth, kids were into skateboarding and roller blading – neither of which I could do).

Like any sport though it can cause accidents, the most common being broken bones.

The sport is incredibly popular with men but parkour communities are open to female traceurs.

How to become a traceur.

Nowadays, ADAPT (Art du Deplacement And Parkour Teaching) is a qualification program which means people are responsible for the health and well-being of others.

The qualification aims to assist and help others better their bodies and their minds.

To achieve the qualification, you must undertake a training course, including assessments, physical, verbal and written tests and live coaching seminars.

Being an instructor is not easy, as incorrect practice or wrong techniques can lead to injuries which can even be life threatening.

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2 Comments

  1. Jimmy Bailey May 4, 2015

    Free-running is NOT the same as parkour, in fact is a sub-category of
    parkour. Parkour is mainly in a gym or a set obstacle course, while
    free-running is more creative, allowing the traucer to create a flowing
    path through his or her environment.
    Thanks,
    Jimboe

    1. Jonah June 1, 2020

      I agree with you on the fact that parkour and freerunning are different. I disagree with the fact that freerunning is more creative. it may seem that way, because freerunning is flashier, and generally involves flips, but I think that parkour can also be creative as well. I also disagree with the fact that they are in a gym or an obstacle course. what separates parkour and freerunning from american ninja warrior is the fact that parkour is meant to be done outside, it can be done in a gym designed for it but it still was made to be done outside.
      Sorry if this was boring to read, I don’t usually write things this long, This is just something I feel very strongly about.