Is Parkour a Sport?

Ask most people what is parkour and most would immediately spit out an image of some hardcore street Luger. Parkour is in essence a sport that involves going about in an agile, almost balletic way over a series of sometimes long-distance, uneven ground-and-wooded path, to reach an objective point. Parkour first originated in France in the mid-1990s, on the outskirts of Paris, in Lisses and Evry. The sport has taken on many guises and names throughout the years. Some call it free running, others call it urban gardening, yet some still call it parkour.

In recent years the term parkour has taken on a much more common meaning, as a competitive athletic activity for those looking to participate in Olympics. The origin of the discipline is uncertain; however it can be loosely traced back to the ancient games of the Romans, which involved climbing, pivoting, and jumping. These games were often used as a means of recreation for aristocratic families, though the idea of climbing and pivoting around obstacles came later. It was these games of climbing and pivoting that led to the modern form of parkour today.

Parkour is executed by two types of athletes. There are those that perform purely as athletes, using the techniques and skills of parkour to train for specific sports. Other players take a more traditional route and train on skis and/or bicycles. The sport can trace its roots back to fencing, with tracers (a French word for trappers) using ladders and boards to scale cliffs and fences. These early tracers became the first parkour athletes and over time the sport took its first steps into being recognized as a competitive field event.

Is Parkour a Sport

Some would argue that the roots of parkour can be traced back to combat sports, particularly fencing. Fencing was an early focus on improving manoeuvrability by creating walls which could be climbed and jumped over. This led to the formation of parkour and the discipline grew out of this need to improve performance by using the skills of parkour. While there is no denying that parkour has many similarities to fencing, the fact that it can be utilised in so many different ways is what makes it so unique. While some fencing is created by adding height to the posts and barriers, parkour is often formed by building support structures which provide safety as well as enabling the user to jump or move about the course.

As parkour moved into the twentieth century, it began to be recognized as a sport. International parkour events were held in France, India, Israel, and Italy. The design of these competitions, however, was not much different from the obstacles parkour was becoming accustomed to. They were still constructed of a frame with a series of springs, and a platform or roof for the runner to leap from. The real innovation came in how the platform was constructed. Instead of a series of supports and jumps into the race would have several large platforms situated in a circle, or an ‘axle’.

The axle was built by placing large rock pieces along the course. This allowed the runner to climb to the top of the circle, or the ‘top of the hill’, and then run away across the obstacles in place of traditional free-running. The concept was that you had a series of hills to run away from, but rather than have a straight line of sight to the finish line, there were no straight lines at all, and the runner had to take uneven paths through the course to reach the finish line. Because of this feature, parkour had the potential to become very difficult, especially for those who had not been trained for free running. It also meant that the competition would often be much more grudge-worthy than it would otherwise have been.

Though the beginning of parkour’s proliferation into sports events was chiefly as a means of race action, the sport has since become popular amongst many people who like to challenge themselves. Parkour also allows people to exercise a wide range of muscles at the same time, making it great for anyone looking to improve their fitness. There are many people who perform parkour moves at competitions who can demonstrate impressive strength and agility. Not only are parkour an extremely fun way of exercising, but it is also good for your health. Free running and climbing are great ways to keep fit, but many people find that parkour is even better for building muscle strength, balance, agility and stamina.

Is Parkour a Sport Summary

Parkour is now one of the most popular sports in the world, and there is a huge amount of interest in learning how to parkour. Many schools offer parkour training to beginners and there are many videos and resources available online to help people learn the basic techniques. Some people feel that parkour is a difficult discipline to master, but with a little bit of practice, you will soon be able to overcome any challenge that you face. If you want to get in shape, improve your fitness or learn more about discipline, then parkour could be a great choice for you.