Pioneered by French naval officer Georges Herbert after having been inspired by the skill and agility of indigenous African tribes, and later applying it to French military fitness regimens, parkour was born. Modernized and refined by former Parisian fire fighter Raymond Belle, his son David Belle, and Sebastien Foucan during the late ‘90s, parkour—and its freestyle variant free running—became a worldwide sensation thanks to numerous media outlets. Today, you can find a plethora of amazing parkour and free running videos all over the web—and we at The MindHut have picked five of our favorites!
1)"Tempest Freerunning Academy—Gym Video"
Opening their doors for the first time on April 2, 2011, the Tempest Freerunning Academy is California’s first and foremost training facility for those wishing to sharpen their parkour or free running skills, or simply learn the ropes about this incredibly engaging activity. Not convinced to swing by? Maybe after you see their Super Mario Bros.-inspired training course, you might just want to show up wearing overalls and a red hat! Going by this, if Mario and Luigi are the godfathers of video game parkour, why don't they just call themselves the “Parkour Brothers?" Oh, wait... never mind. Those are the guys who make the board games.
2) "UK's Best Free Runners"
With its unique style of architecture and propensity for brick walls and such, it’s almost as though the United Kingdom was made for parkour and free running enthusiasts. From jumping off England’s iconic red telephone booths to leaping across rooftop to rooftop, this video would kind of have it all if it featured Queen Elizabeth II running off the balcony of Buckingham Palace followed by a sick midair backflip. Absolutely smashing!
3) "Santa Parkour"
For an immortal fat man that gluts on innumerable cookies and glasses of milk, he’s surprisingly limber and athletic. And after watching this video, the question of how Santa manages to climb in and out of our chimney—a conundrum that has baffled some of history’s greatest thinkers—at last has a concrete answer. Hopefully this vid of St. Nick in action made those on the naughty list nervous, ‘cause this year he’s gonna get you suckas!
4) "Wall Run"
Word of warning before you attempt to recreate this wall run: in spite of how exceptional your parkour and/or freerunning skills may be, the people of the Czech Republic—and Jackie Chan—are the only people in the world with the ability of localized gravity manipulation to accomplish such feats. To replicate this maneuver would certainly mean personal injury and you inadvertently knocking your friend’s head clean off of his or her shoulders.
5) "The Best of David Belle's Videos"
It would only be appropriate to round out this list with a montage video featuring parkour pioneer David Belle’s greatest maneuvers and overall mastery of the activity. Even though this video would suggest otherwise, Belle, in his youth, was not physically gifted and tended to stay away from sports clubs and other related activities. But it wasn’t until he read about his father’s use of parkour during his firefighter days that he was inspired to undergo the same training regimen and use it for more practical applications. Today, Belle is a parkour and free running celebrity and an inspiration to those that aspire to reach the same level of prowess. And here's a David Belle fun fact: whenever he goes free running, Audioslave's "Show Me How To Live" plays seemingly out of nowhere and follows him wherever he goes!
Would you ever try Parkour?