The Short Answer To The Question, “Where Did Parkour Come From?”
Many people ask me where did parkour come from and I try to tell them that it is just an interchangeable word for Martial Arts. That is of course correct but when you stop and think a bit more it does look like it might have come from France. The earliest references I can find are from the eighteenth century when the French Revolution happened and there was an uprising against the old government. This was against the former French king, who had been crowned by the English.
The unrest was in fact sparked by the taking of more land by the French and so the revolutionists came up with Parkour as a way of defending themselves. You see, the only thing that they had available to them was a tape and they used it to create tracks on the ground so that the people stuck on them could not be harmed by the advancing crowds. This they did, using their martial arts skills. It is my belief that what we see today is what the Parisians would have practiced if they had the resources to do so.
So where did parkour come from then? I think that it must have been introduced by the military although I cannot say for sure. There are numerous stories about it being used by the armed services. One such story is where soldiers trained with boxing tapes and then used them to beat each other during battle. They would run through the streets, beat up anyone that they could find and tape their faces so that if they fell they could still continue their pursuit.
I think this was the first time that tape was used in Martial Arts. In fact some sources state that it was the German soldiers that brought this new form of movement training to the attention of the world. No matter what was the cause for the tapes there were many martial arts schools that taught them. It was only a matter of time until the method spread all over the globe and into every home.
One of the biggest myths about where doing parkour come from is that it was invented by the people of La France. They supposedly taught it to the French military and got famous doing it. Well the truth is that this method has been around for as long as fighting has existed. It is just that people have not yet been able to use it as an official sport.
There are many videos on the market that show people doing parkour moves. Many of these will show you doing it against some very poor quality Martial Arts training, such as karate or kung fu. You can also watch some high quality videos on the internet and learn how to do parkour properly. If you do some serious research on parkour then you will find out that it actually comes from many different countries, including France and America. The moves that are shown on TV do not compare to the skills that are learned in real life.
The moves seen on TV are mostly the basic moves that most people already know. They do not go beyond the ground and have little if any grappling ability. This is not the stuff that you see in the UFC or in other Martial Arts competition. Where did parkour come from then? Well, it actually developed out of competitions that the military had held for a long time.
The military would hold competitions to see who could best run, wrestle or shoot with the gun. People who could best do all three would be given a medal and the title ‘Master of War’. Some of these moves are on the short list of moves seen on the short list of what Parkour can be used for.