Parkour is officially a recognised sport in the UK
January 10th 2017 marked a historical day for Parkour as it was officially recognised by the UK Government as a sport:
The way of moving has come a long way from it’s humble beginnings in a sleepy town on the outskirts of Paris 30 years ago…
The movement was founded by a group of nine men in Lisses during 1980’s. The men, David Belle, Yann Hnautra, Sebastian Foucan, Stephane Vigroux, Yahn Hnautra, David Malgogne, Chau Belle-Dinh and Frederic Hnautra. They named their group ‘Yamakasi’ which means ‘strong man, strong spirit’ and continued to develop the way of motion for over ten years. The group were influenced by David’s father Raymond Belle and his study of the Georges Hébert’s methode naturelle.
The group nurtured the way of moving into a way of life through various training exercises such as training without food. Not only were the men pushing their bodies to the limit they were implementing philosophical ways of thinking to the motion. To find out more about this watch here.
Soon the public began to catch wind of the men and their fascinating art of motion. With that came the interest of the media and the first feature film was made titled Yamakasi which was based on and starred some of the original group. However, the group split at this point with David Belle, Stephane Vigroux, Kazuma and Johann Vigroux not
featuring in the film.
After this Parkour continued to spread across the Western media, the BBC featured the sport in an advert titled Rush Hour starring David Belle. He then continued to do commercial work jumping Parkour into the international spotlight.
As the sport entered the public consciousness it was still widely misunderstood and mistaken for jumping off buildings. After the release of this film two deaths were attributed to copycat behaviour.
This misconception changed in 2003 after Channel 4 aired a documentary, Jump London. It featured two of the original practitioners and showcased them ‘jumping’ across various landmarks in London. It was after the airing of this and it’s sequel Jump Britain that members of the public began understanding the sport and the mentally the practitioners learn whilst training. ‘Clans’ of people began popping up (predominantly men) who would practice the sport and add their own twists to the movements.
Since then, Parkour has been nurtured through the hard work and dedication of various athletes.
It is no wonder the breathtaking sport occasionally attracts reckless mimicking behaviour. However, the Traceurs and Traceuses who are understand and dedicate themselves to the art of motion, mind and body are leading the way for this officially classified sport. Parkour team Motus recently released a video in which four young athletes went back to Lisses to recreate sequences with their own modern twists:
More from this project: