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What's the Difference Between Parkour and Freerunning? An Insightful Exploration



The world of movement disciplines has seen a significant surge in popularity, with parkour and freerunning leading the charge. These art forms have taken urban landscapes by storm, transforming concrete jungles into playgrounds for athletes. But often, many are left wondering: What's the difference between parkour and freerunning?

Parkour vs. Freerunning: The Basics:

At their core, both parkour and freerunning revolve around the concept of moving through an environment seamlessly and efficiently. However, the approach, philosophy, and techniques can vary.

Parkour: Often termed as the "art of displacement," parkour's primary focus is on moving from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible, regardless of obstacles. The movements are fluid, but the emphasis remains on utility and speed.

Freerunning: While it encompasses the techniques of parkour, freerunning introduces a flair of acrobatics and personal expression. It's not just about efficiency but also about style, creativity, and individuality. Think of it as parkour with added aesthetics.

Expert Takes on the Distinction:

Jesse LaFlair, a leading figure in the parkour community, often speaks about the nuances of these disciplines. In one of his posts on Instagram, he mentions, "Freerunning is like painting a picture with your movements, while parkour is like writing a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end."

Tim Shieff, another renowned athlete, offers his perspective on Instagram: "Parkour teaches you to face obstacles head-on and find the quickest path, while freerunning allows you to dance with the obstacles, creating a rhythm unique to your style."

How Firestorm Freerunning Galaxy Tackles This Concept:

Understanding the distinction between parkour and freerunning is vital, especially for institutes that aim to train enthusiasts. Firestorm Freerunning Galaxy, a leading facility, is at the forefront of elucidating this difference.

At Firestorm, the training modules are designed with clear distinctions between parkour and freerunning. Parkour classes focus on functional movements, precision jumps, rolls, and vaults that enable the practitioner to overcome obstacles effectively. In contrast, freerunning sessions introduce elements like flips, spins, and other acrobatic maneuvers, encouraging students to infuse their personal style into their movements.

However, Firestorm also acknowledges the overlapping areas of both disciplines. The curriculum is designed in a way that provides a solid foundation in parkour before introducing the aesthetics of freerunning. This step-by-step approach ensures that students not only learn the techniques but also understand the philosophy and essence behind each movement.

Why the Distinction Matters:

While some may argue that the difference between parkour and freerunning is merely semantic, in practice, it has significant implications.

  • Training: The techniques required for parkour differ from those for freerunning. Understanding this difference ensures that enthusiasts get the right training for their desired discipline.

  • Safety: Given that freerunning incorporates more acrobatic elements, the risk factor can differ. Proper training and understanding can mitigate these risks.

  • Philosophy: Parkour and freerunning are not just physical activities; they are also philosophies. One teaches efficiency and pragmatism, while the other celebrates creativity and self-expression.


Parkour and freerunning, while intertwined, offer different experiences and teachings. Whether you're a purist focusing on efficient movement or an artist looking to dance through the urban landscape, understanding the distinction can enhance your journey.

Firestorm Freerunning Galaxy, along with leading figures like Jesse LaFlair and Tim Shieff, continue to educate, train, and inspire, ensuring that the essence of both parkour and freerunning is preserved and celebrated.

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