WHAT IS PARKOUR?
PARKOUR or as it was originally called The Art of Movement has been practiced since the dawn of
humanity; natural proficient movement has been used in early history during the event of escaping or chasing.
Parkour, The Art of Movement, Freerunning, and L’Art du Deplacement is a few similar names people have used for it.
The French term, L’Art du Deplacement, was first named by David Belle who was introduced to the Natural Method by
his grandfather, George Hébert (1875-1957), who served in the French military, in 1902 he had saved seven hundred
local people in the town of St. Pierre in Martinique, when a disastrous volcano erupted. This experience inspired
Hebert to conclude that the combination of courage and altruism will lead to the ultimate athletic skill.
Later returning to France, Hebert became a physical education tutor,where he developed and designed the principles
of his own method called the “Natural Method.” The Natural Method consisted of important parts including
synthesized physical, energetic, and moral development. “As well as the “natural” training regimen he observed in
Africa, he was inspired by classical representations of the human body in Graeco-Roman statuary and by the ideals of
the ancient Greek gymnasia”.
George Hebert’s continued teaching throughout the two wars. The French military also adopted the “Natural
Method” as a standard system for physical education as well as many schools and gymnasiums in Europe throughout
history until present. The Natural Method consisted of different exercises including but not limited to: running,
jumping, climbing, quadrupedal movement, balancing, lifting, and defending.
David Belle modernized “freerunning” and brought it to the mainstream where it was seen in such films as, “District B-13,” “Live Free or Die Hard,” and “James Bond.”
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