More Than A Sport: Discovering Parkour

1540 words - 7 pages

Most people have never heard of Parkour until they watched an episode of “The Office” where all the employees decide to reenact a YouTube sensation and do some “hardcore Parkour”. This sparked a phenomenon that had everyone wondering, “What is Parkour?” Walking around campus, I have seen more Parkour now more than ever because of this recent interest. What appeals to the public about Parkour is that it is non competitive. Beginners do not feel the need to be the best right away, considering how dangerous it is. The adrenaline rush of Parkour is like nothing out there. Parkour can literally be done anywhere at anytime because it uses the space that is already provided, whether it be makeshift obstacles or the use of buildings and the structures around it. Parkour can be for anyone and can be achieved at any level. I have been known to be a person of fear. Watching a traceur, a person who does parkour, is enticing to me. They are able to overcome their biggest fears without breaking a sweat. I have never been one to watch scary movies by myself, and traceurs will jump three stories without hesitation. My interest rooted from simply watching this YouTube sensation. I wanted to explore this community of strong willed people who seem to have no fear instilled in them. I wanted to become courageous.
Parkour originated in France between the World Wars because obstacle training was necessary. It was adapted after observing certain indigenous tribes by Georges Hébert, a French naval officer, in Africa, who appeared to be so agile and nimble that it was seen as something essential for the military during the war. The tribes’ use of their surroundings and how swiftly they moved through the space without any effort appealed to Hébert and the French military, but most of all their pure athletic ability and courage were what caught Hébert’s eye and encouraged him to use this tribe as inspiration in the development of the beginning of Parkour. Although Parkour does include gymnastics, these tribes had no professional training in gymnastics; their exercises were based off of running, climbing, jumping, lifting, and balancing. (Tipper 25)
Hébert developed education and training for the French military with a main proponent, parcours (obstacle course) that is now an essential element in military training through fitness trails and obstacle course training. This was not only included in military training, but also firefighters, and other physical demanding occupations. Although Parkour is not the same as it was compared to its military training background, it has recently branched off into its own discipline. In the early 2000’s has once resurfaced again into the public eye. David Belle is considered the found of Parkour after his father Raymond Belle learned le parcours in his brief military service. David Belle began to develop le parcours in the urban environment due to his lack of a facility to practice in. Belle formed a group who sent videos and pictures...

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