Parkour – A Simple Definition

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, a superhero? Wait…it’s a Freerunner!

Until recently, my only reference for ‘hardcore, parkour’ was from a hysterically funny scene of The Office where the characters run, jump and climb throughout their office space yelling, “Parkour, Parkour!”

The Office - Parkour Episode

Whilst wildly entertaining, this snapshot of the sport doesn’t do it justice.

The terms ‘Parkour’ and ‘Freerunning’ are often used interchangeably, however, historically there are technical differences.

Let’s start with parkour and freerunning definitions:

What are they?

Parkour is the quickest and most efficient way of getting from point A to point B – running, jumping, climbing and vaulting. 
Whereas Freerunning, allows for more artistic liberty in the craft, like tricking and acrobatics. You could think of it as ‘urban gymnastics.’

Ryan Doyle - Red Bull Parkour

Ryan Doyle from the United Kingdom performs during Red Bull Parkour in Baku city, Azerbaijan on April 7th, 2013 // Samo Vidic/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20130422-00352 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //

As above, where the art forms have evolved, the terms of Parkour / FreeRunning have become more closely linked and Parkour is fast becoming the term most commonly used.

Where are they done?

Literally anywhere. Both sports involve utilizing your environment (indoor and outdoor) to creatively traverse obstacles.

Who does it?

Literally anyone – regardless of age, gender or fitness background, you can become a real-life superhero. Despite the common misconception, free running is safe for both kids and adults. You may have seen incredulous flips and maneuvers while perusing the web, or action packed chase scenes in your favorite movies, but parkour and freerunning are not reserved only for elite athletes and Hollywood stars. Even if you’re a parkour beginner, you can learn, too! Anytime, anyplace. Check out gyms near you that offer the tools to get started.

Sebastien Foucan Parkour

Why do it?

We were born to overcome challenges in order to survive. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not worried about foraging and hunting for food or having to evade predators, but you’re still wired with these same innate instincts. We will always encounter obstacles – whether it’s at school, work or in relationships – that’s life!

We are always faced with problems and thus must find a solution.

Whatever the situation, we need to be able to improvise, adapt and overcome. These same principles are the cornerstones of parkour and freerunning.

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