What is the difference between parkour and freerunning?

Are parkour and freerunning the same thing? It depends who you ask...

In a nutshell, parkour/freerunning is a ‘dangerous sport’ when the aim is to get from A to B solely through the human body: whether through jumping, crawling, climbing and running.

But is there a difference between parkour and freerunning?

Well, Parkour UK says they’re the same thing:

“The term ‘Parkour’ was first introduced by David Belle in 1998. Parkour derives from the French word Parcours meaning ‘route’ or ‘course.’

The term ‘Freerunning’ was the creation of Guillaume Pelletier, a representative of a group of French practitioners involved in the production of a Channel 4 documentary, Jump London, in 2003. This term was used in order to communicate this amazing new sport to an English-speaking audience.”

However, sports-related channel Lifehacker – Vitals claims otherwise:

“Developed from military obstacle course training, parkour is running, swinging, jumping, and climbing from point A to point B in the quickest way possible. Freerunning is similar, but it emphasizes the flashy side of parkour, with fancy flips and stylistic acrobatics. It’s more like an art of movement to express your creativity with your environment.”

Understand so far?

Parkour Generations has more to say on the matter:

“Freerunning and Parkour have become the most widely used terms to refer to this one discipline, and this has created various misinterpretations attempting to define them as separate practices.

In fact they are all different names for one art: the Art of Displacement… With this in mind, we tend to utilise all three names interchangeably to refer to the practice. It is our hope in doing so that people will be encouraged not to attach any great significance to these simple labels and may instead come to focus on what actually matters: the practice.”

So… are parkour and freerunning the same thing? It just depends on who you ask. It’s the ‘pineapple on pizza’ debate in the world of Art of Displacement. You may have different reasons for doing it: just remember to be aware of your surroundings and what you're capable of. 

Equipment needed for parkour:

There are parkour parks all over the world, with obstacles to practise on and learn from. Clothing, footwear and accessories will vary depending on the terrain.


Tags: FreerunningParkour