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This article is about the French practitioners of parkour. For other use, see Yamakasi (film).

Yamakasi are the French original group of practitioners of parkour.[1]


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."[2] 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.

References in popular culture[edit]

  • The characters in the 2001 French film Yamakasi became cat burglars to retrieve the money for a child's heart transplantation. In a 2004 semi-sequel, Les fils du vent,[3] the group moves to Bangkok and gets entangled in a battle between the Yakuza and the triads.
  • ESPN did a parkour report in 2007 with Laurent Piemontesi and Châu Belle Dinh members of Yamakasi.[4]


  1. ^ *Daniels, Mark. "Generation Yamakasi", French Documentary with English subtitles, Accessed April 18, 2007
  2. ^ *Wilkinson, Alec (16 April 2007). "The Sporting Scene: No Obstacles". The New Yorker. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Great Challenge (2004)". IMDB. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  4. ^ ESPN (November 11, 2007). "ESPN:60 Parkour". Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2007-11-29. 

External links[edit]