Parkour Philosophy — May 31, 2012 11:04 am

Parkour vs. Freerunning

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One of the most recurring question I hear about this discipline is: “Are flips Parkour?”. Many practitioners are at a dilemma when it comes to the different concepts behind Parkour and Freerunning.

But it is a legitimate question, that has started being asked a lot. Many people started answering with: “It’s all movement”. But, are they right? Is it all the same movement?

When did the Parkour vs Freerunning split occur?

According to the first videos of David Belle, Parkour involved a lot of flips mixed with martial arts and huge leaps. However he reiterated his definition later, after his training buddy, Sebastien Foucan started naming his art, Freerunning. David belle said that Parkour has the sole purpose to become efficient in case of emergency, while Foucan defined Freerunning as a method of urban expression.

The mixed messages that other practitioners send are also confusing, as some refer to flips as Parkour and others as Freerunning, while there are small groups that encompass it all as “L’art du deplacement”.

Is Parkour just efficient and Freerunning only artistic?

There is no straight answer to this question, for the moment. Parkour and Freerunning are constantly changing and evolving. Because of this, you cannot limit certain movements to a specific branch. There are examples of Freerunners using a Frontflip over a fence, coated with barbed wire, as the most efficient movement available. Performing a Kong-vault would be impossible because of the barbed wire and jumping over the fence  would probably have ripped their pants apart. So they chose to dive over the fence a bit, and flip. It also conserved more energy than trying to raise their center of gravity all the way over the fence.

Which one should you practice?

When you decide to start training in anyone of these disciplines, keep your options open. Learn how to move efficiently and consolidate your flow, but also learn a flip. There is a lot Freerunning can teach you about your sense of balance while Parkour can definetly complement through efficiency. Combining the teachings of both disciplines will help you become a better traceur as a whole. As a lot of practitioners do say, it’s all just movement… in the end. And they are right.

Train safe!

5 Comments

  • wom i never thought of it that way

  • i think that parkour is a escape way of movement or getting some place as fast as possible while freerunning is more of a way of self expression thats how i always seen it from when i first became a tracuer

  • IMHO make it easy….. like difference between martial arts and extreme martial arts (XMA).

    Free Running is a fluid “non traditional way” to quickly move thru a space.

    Parkour is a fluid non “traditional way” to quickly move thru a space WHILE also presenting exhibition/flair (flips, twist, kicks etc.)

  • bottom line is, freerunning is actually parkour, the guy who ‘created’ freerunning is actually a person who learns the parkour discipline then go protestant.
    ‘creating’ his own sport and calling it freerunning and try to add ‘elements’ in it to differentiate his sport from parkour.

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