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Who Invented Parkour and Why? The Origins and Philosophies Behind the Movement



When we see individuals effortlessly scaling walls, jumping across rooftops, or sliding under obstacles, we are witnessing the art of parkour. But, "Who invented parkour and why?" you may ask. The answer is deeply rooted in both history and philosophy.

The Genesis of Parkour:

Parkour's origins can be traced back to France in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The brainchild behind this urban movement discipline is David Belle, influenced by his father Raymond Belle's physical training and the methodologies of Georges Hébert, a pioneering physical educator, theorist, and instructor in France.

David Belle once stated on his Instagram, David Belle's official page, "For me, parkour was more than just a sport. It was a way of life, a philosophy. It was about moving through the urban jungle as naturally as one would through the trees in a forest."

Why Parkour Was Invented:

Parkour was not just about physical agility. At its core, parkour is a way of life. It's about overcoming obstacles, not just the physical ones you see in cities but the metaphorical ones present in our lives. The aim is to move as efficiently as possible from one point to another, overcoming every hurdle in the way.

The Modern Evolution and Pioneers:

As parkour gained momentum, many adopted and adapted it. One such individual is Pasha "The Boss" Petkuns, a renowned freerunner and parkour athlete. His unique style and playful approach to parkour bring a refreshing perspective to the discipline. On his Instagram, Pasha The Boss, he mentions, "Parkour is freedom. It's art. It's a dance with the environment, where you're both the choreographer and the performer."

The Philosophy of Parkour:

Parkour is not about showing off. It's not about the biggest jumps or the riskiest moves. It's about self-improvement, discipline, and respect – for oneself and one's surroundings. It's about understanding your environment, understanding your body, and merging the two into a seamless flow. Every jump, every move, every roll is a decision, an answer to a question posed by the environment.


So, who invented parkour, and why? In essence, while David Belle is credited with its inception, the philosophy of parkour has deeper roots, with influences that can be traced back to natural movement philosophies and the practicalities of navigating obstacles. Today, thanks to individuals like Belle and Pasha, parkour has not only become a global phenomenon but also a testament to human potential, creativity, and our innate desire to move freely.

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