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Parkour is a popular sport, in its infancy, and growth is definitely driven by modern entertainment.  Games such as Assassins Creed or Mirror’s Edge or Minecraft have driven the awareness of a younger generation. Similarly, American Ninja Warrior,  and characters such as Jason Bourne, and Jackie Chan, have popularized the sport as well.  

This enthusiasm has definitely inspired this guide.  The demand is exciting, inspiring and this article will give you the tools to get rolling in the right direction – the pun is fully intended.  

What Is Parkour?

Parkour is simply a sport.  Do not be needlessly concerned with definitions.  Parkour is about moving through your environment and past obstacles in cool, efficient and fun ways.  There is definitely a focus on very little equipment and a big focus on movements such as running, climbing, vaulting, rolling and swinging.  

Watch a video pf the BPK performance crew in Calgary as an introduction.  

A Quick History

Surprisingly enough the sport was born from the military in the form of obstacle training.  The earliest proponent was a French officer named Georges Herbert who studied indigenous tribes in Africa.  Georges developed a training system that was incorporated in France's military obstacle training.  

Latter practitioners included the Belle family and a circle of friends who eventually sent video to local television programs in the 1990's.  The popularity of their videos spread through a series of television programs created for a number of countries across Europe.  

Some notable media coverage for the sport includes:
  • a 2001 Luc Besson film called Yamakasi.
  • a 2001 BBC commercial featuring David Belle.
  • a 2003 documentary called Jump London, about parkour on London's famous landmarks.
  • a 2004 sequel documentary to Yamakasi called Les fils du fent.  
  • a 2005 sequel documentary called Jump Britain, both broadcast by Channel 4.
  • in 2007 the Australian version of 60 minutes aired a parkour segment. 
Jump London and Jump Britain were later viewed by international audiences and were a significant launch pad for the sport.  

Basic Parkour Movements





Step Vault




Side Vault




Kong Vault


Dash Vault




Wall Run




Cat Leap



Do not be fooled into thinking that parkour comes naturally.  It is a challenging sport and you will face many fears.  Progression is key.  Take it easy, be forgiving of yourself, and work towards a move.
Watch Brian Orosco and Paul Whitecotton demonstrate how the pros progress towards goals.  

Location And Community

You can train parkour anywhere, as long as there is something to interact with or there are obstacles.  Great locations include parks with benches, hills, kids play parks and the sort.  More advanced locations can definitely be found in the downtown core of many cities.  There are also plenty of parkour gyms sprouting up all over North America.  

Yet, I can pretty much guarantee if you do parkour alone you will not keep it up.  

“Go This Alone and You Will Fail …”

So you must find community in parkour.  Find community and you will not only succeed, you will drastically improve you skills levels as well.   One of the best aspects of the sport is the comradeship and many great people.  

Without a doubt, the best place to find your closest parkour community is within a parkour gym.  Head down to your local gym, get involved, and friends will come easily.  For example, there are parkour gyms in almost every major city in the United States.  The movement is also taking off in Canada:
  • Origins Parkour in Vancouver
  • Breathe Parkour in Calgary and Lethbridge
  • Monkey Vault in Toronto
...with more gyms opening each year.  


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