Parkour is a non-competitive sport that involves efficientmovement around obstacles. Participants — called traceurs (males) and traceuses (females) — move through an environment, such as city streets, by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and jumping on, over or around obstacles.
The basic moves of parkour got their start long ago in the Eastern martial arts, like ninjutsu. In the 1920s, Georges Hébert began to teach these moves as part of French military training. Frenchman David Belle expanded on this work in the late 1980s when he founded the Yamakasi group, which was the first group dedicated to parkour.
The name “parkour" came from “le parcours," which was the term David Belle's father, Raymond Belle, used to describe his French military training. The classic obstacle course training method used by the French was known as “parcours du combattant."
Parkour developed from a training method into a sport focused on gracefully overcoming obstacles within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment. Parkour is as much art as it is sport, as creativity and vision are as important as physical conditioning and strength.
Although parkour moves may look like dangerous tricks, the discipline actually discourages reckless behavior and dangerous stunts. Instead, it focuses on safety and personal responsibility. The parkour moves that look so easy when performed by professionals are actually difficult moves that only come about successfully after lengthy training and practice.