Sébastien Foucan

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Sébastien Foucan
Born (1974-05-24) 24 May 1974 (age 43)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Occupation Actor, freerunning instructor, public speaker
Website foucan.com

Sébastien Foucan (born 24 May 1974 in Paris) is a French freerunner of Guadeloupean descent.

He is the founder of freerunning and considered an early developer of parkour. Known for his views on the philosophy of Parkour and freerunning, Foucan stresses the need for training in the basics of both for individual safety and to maintain a positive public perception of the activities. As creator of freerunning, Foucan has stipulated its values:

Follow your way; Always practice; Respect others in their practice; Be an inspiration for others; Be positive and look for positive environments; Respect your environment; Feel free to try other disciplines; Don't take it too seriously; The journey is more important than the goal; There is no good or bad, right or wrong, but what is important is what you learn from experiences through practice; Freerunning is not an elite discipline, but for people who love and continue to move; Channel your energy in a good way, a way to be better[1]

He became known in the United Kingdom after Mike Christie's Channel 4 Jump London documentary in September 2003 and the subsequent documentary, Jump Britain. In addition to those programs, Foucan appeared as Mollaka in the 21st James Bond film, Casino Royale.[2] He spent three months in the Bahamas on the film.[3] Foucan appeared in the music video for Madonna's 2005 single, "Jump", accompanying the singer on her 2006 "Confessions Tour".[4] He helped K-Swiss develop the Ariake, the first in a line of five freerunning-shoe models. Foucan appeared in a trailer for the game, Mirror's Edge. His most-recent role is assassin Anton Bogart in The Tournament.

It was reported on 3 January 2012 that Foucan would be among 15 celebrities in the seventh series of Dancing on Ice.[5] On 19 February, he was eliminated in a double Ultimate Skills skate-off with Heidi Range. Foucan is working with a clothing line, Black Mamba Elite - Motivational Apparel, in releasing his own signature range through the UK company.


Man jumping off the top of a wall
A saut de bras

The word "freerunning" was coined during the filming of Jump London to present Parkour to the English-speaking world. Since then it has come to represent Foucan's methodology, which focuses on innovation and expression rather than Parkour's speed and efficiency.

Foucan explains freerunning:

Freerunning, for me, is my Parkour evolution. I can't say any more that I do Parkour, because if I want to be free to do flips, or let's say I'm learning breakdancing, and I would like to incorporate it into my Parkour expression...Not to say I am doing capoeira, breakdancing, Parkour and anything else. Freerunning is the way I choose to name my own expression. Now people recognize Parkour with flips (acrobatics) as freerunning. But only the action of doing Parkour and flips is not freerunning. It's the action of adding more stuff into your expression. That's the Freerunning attitude.[6]

Foucan has described the core value

Follow your way; Always practise; Respect others in their practise; Be an inspiration for others; Be positive and look for positive environments; Respect your environment; Feel free to try other disciplines; Don't take it too seriously; The journey is more important than the goal; There is no good or bad, right or wrong but what is important is what you learn from experiences through practise; Freerunning is not an elite discipline, but for the people who love and continue to move; Channel your energy in a good way, a way to be better.[1][7][8]

He defines Freerunning as a discipline for self-development, following one's own way.[1][7][8] Foucan's dissatisfaction with Parkour's limited creativity and self-expression motivated him to develop a similar art of movement which became known as freerunning.[9]

David Belle and other Parkour enthusiasts have criticized Foucan and freerunning:

Free Running? A kind of demonstration mixing parkour techniques, and acrobatics to be more spectacular and serve the medias and marketing, but also a sport. The term Parkour has been invented by David Belle and Hubert Koundé in 1998 and the word Free Running has been created much later by Sebastien Foucan for the purpose of spreading Parkour in a marketing fashion (they thought the word "parkour" wasn't international enough and Sebastien Foucan proposed them this word). The problem is that they fully mixed acrobatics to impress people. This is where Freerunning becomes different from Parkour. To make a comparison, Free Running is like artistic katas in martial arts, the goal is only to be spectacular. So it is related to parkour but doesn't answer to the same philosophy. I mean, when you practice to show how spectacular your jump is gonna be, people aren't focused anymore on the difficulty, on the obstacle but on you. This showing-off attitude isn't the parkour philosophy which preaches for humility. In this, Free Running and Parkour are fundamentally opposite even if the first one is related to the second one. Like the traditional way and the freestyle way.[10]

Foucan responded:

At the beginning the name free running was an idea of a person called Guillaume Pelletier who worked with us at the time of Jump London. Because some people think what I'm doing is not Parkour now I call it "freerunning." Because there is a misunderstanding and people put a definition on what I'm doing! I create freerunning and I'll put my official definition. What is Freerunning? Everything I'll say it's no more Parkour, it's freerunning! Freerunning it's a lifestyle and an attitude. Freerunning is to see your environment differently and being able to utilize it to develop yourself! My Parkour lifestyle is Freerunning. My way has no name. Freerunning is the name people have given to my way! "Freerunning is following your own way, and this is my way."[10]

He has defined freerunning as a process of movement aimed at self-development.[11] In a 2011 interview, he clarified his philosophy:

Free running's philosophy is that each person has their own instinctive approach to different challenges, and Foucan acknowledges the influence of martial arts, as well as parallels with eastern philosophy. He says: "There is a link between everything, like in [the teachings of] martial arts, it's about energy and how we are all connected. Everything we do affects other people negatively or positively. I say, 'your life is a road, your feelings a guide, your body a vehicle'." He adds: "Other people's journeys can influence my own journey – this is my teaching...Foucan believes any form of self-expression is important and key to finding balance in life. "Free running is not exclusive, everybody should have something to do that takes them out of their mind, out of the fixed path and social systems," he says. Basically, getting away from the routine of daily life. The ethos also invites play, experimentation and creativity and, in his words, "expressing yourself beautifully in your environment".[11]




  1. ^ a b c Free Running founder Sebastien Foucan to be interviewed by Worldwide JAM. Worldwide Jam.tv.
  2. ^ IMDb, Casino Royale (2006)
  3. ^ "Curtis – Sébastien's stunt double". www.theurbanheroes.com [dead link]. 29 November 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2007. Curtis was hired to be a stunt double in the recent James Bond Film 'Casino Royale'. He was on location in the Bahamas for 13 weeks working closely with Gary Powell the stunt coordinator to help plan and execute the opening chase scene. 
  4. ^ Confessions Tour details – Mad-Eyes – Madonna tour schedule, setlist, equestrian, bedouin, disco. Mad-Eyes.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 10 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ 'Ask Seb' Episode 1 – Sébastien Foucan. YouTube (2 November 2010).
  7. ^ a b Home « Sébastien Foucan: the official website | Sébastien Foucan: the official website. Foucan.com (16 August 2012).
  8. ^ a b Freerunning: Find Your Way: Amazon.co.uk: Sebastien Foucan: Books. Amazon.co.uk.
  9. ^ Foucan. Foucan (16 August 2012).
  10. ^ a b Worldwide Jam. Parkour and Free Running Resource. Worldwidejam.tv.
  11. ^ a b Sébastien Foucan: Founder of free running | Life and style. the guardian.com.

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