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 Elle Draper

Parkour in Spain

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This morning, Alan shared a parkour video on Facebook, and it got me thinking: “What about parkour in Spain”? We’ve included a video at the end, but in the meantime… here’s some history about this amazing activity.

David Belle - Parkour in Spain

David Belle

Where did parkour originate?

The story began in France, where a group of youngsters called the “comakosi” wanted a new way to get themselves fit. They were driven by a chap called Raymond Belle.

At the heart of this group were David Belle (Raymond’s son), Sebastian Foucan, and Yann Hnautra. After a time, and some internal disagreements, the three lads started their own group (Yamakasi) which pushed for more recognition and turned it into the form we most commonly see today. David is the man most often credited with being the inventor. He wasn’t, but he was certainly the one that made it well known to more people. A man named Georges Hebert got involved, and introduced the “obstacle” element, and is reported to have included it in training for the French Military.

David has gone on to act, provide consultancy on stunt work in movies, and is well respected amongst parkour enthusiasts.

Of course parkour has been around for millennia in various forms, but not until the end of the last century did it start to be refined and become more recognisable.

What is parkour?

It is an almost acrobatic method of getting from A to B… but with the addition of various obstacles like buildings, railings, walls, and other immovable barriers blocking your path. This is not a skill for the fainthearted… as it requires a bravery, discipline, and of course a high level of fitness. You need to be able to think on your feet, to anticipate what is coming, and safely navigate your way around. It also includes a great deal methodology, the act of achieving a goal with the best levels of activity for the task at hand.

Parkour masters are always in control of their bodies, and know how to do it safely. They trust their bodies… they trust their judgements… and everything is carried out to a meticulous level of accuracy. Injuries usually happen when people overestimate their skills and often are just showing off to their mates. Do not underestimate the levels of fitness and skill required to parkour correctly and safely – this isn’t for the lazy amongst us.

Parkour fans would vehemently deny that it entails high risk or a “devil may care” attitude. For them it is a state of mind, a way of life, and a desire to embrace their environment. It’s certainly not a bunch of kids jumping from a shed roof. Indeed there are now a number of academies around the world, teaching Parkour formally.

Parkour goes by various names: freerunning, the art of movement, l’arte du Deplacement to mention just 3… and it is a difficult activity to classify. Is it a sport? A pastime? An exercise? A way of life?

A search on YouTube will bring up plenty of videos of people doing parkour all over the world, but because this website is about Spain… we are including parkour in Spain of course. This video is based in Madrid


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