The activity originally termed l'art du déplacement, now also referred to as parkour, and sometimes freerunning, was founded in France in the 1980s by a group of nine young men who called themselves The Yamakasi. The word yamakasi is taken from the Lingala language, which is spoken in the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ya makási can mean "strong body", "strong spirit", "strong person." The philosophy is that parkour builds a strong individual physically, mentally and ethically.
The Yamakasi founders were Yann Hnautra, Chau Belle, David Belle, Laurent Piemontesi, Sébastien Foucan, Guylain N'Guba Boyeke, Charles Perriere, Malik Diouf and Williams Belle.