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Le Parkour Brasil - Pkbrws.jpg
Country of origin France
Creator Sebastien Foucan
Famous practitioners Sebastien Foucan, Daniel Ilabaca, Ryan Doyle
Ancestor arts Parkour
Olympic sport No

Freerunning is a discipline created by Sebastien Foucan. It is defined as the art of expressing yourself in your environment without limitation, and aims to incorporate everything that is useful. It started in 2003 and was developed as a more inclusive form of the discipline of Parkour.


The word 'freerunning' was first used in the Jump London documentary. [1] The name came about because of a suggestion by Guillaumme Pelletier, who was working with Sebastien Foucan at the time. The reasoning behind the name was, to quote Sebastien, "'Free' because it's free, and just 'running'." [1]

Although in the documentary it was used as an English translation of Parkour, Sebastien has since said that the confusion came out of the fact that he was still formulating his ideas at the time. [1]


The central principle of freerunning is that you should express yourself in your environment without limitations. [2]

Sebastien lists a number of other complimentary principles in his book, including "Learn to overcome obstacles" and "Competition is a limitation and an illusion" [3]

Other practitioners have suggested other principles. For example Daniel Ilabaca encourages people to think positively, suggesting that people fall largely because they think they might.[4]


Origins in Parkour[edit]

In Western Europe the idea moving past obstacles for personal development originated with Georges Hébert. He observed untrained native tribes in Africa with fantastic athletic ability and created the 'natural method' system to train people using the same ideas. His ideas eventually led to the 'assault course' which is now a standard of military training. [5]

These ideas were picked up by a young Raymond Belle who used them to practical effect while separated from his family during the Vietnam war. When he moved to France and started a family he passed on these ideas to his son, David. Over time, other young people were attracted to these ideas and a small group formed, including Sebastien Foucan. [6] [7]

This group trained together for several years and in 1997, through David's brother Jean-Francois, they started to attract attention and be invited to perform at events. Eventually though, the group of friends that had practised together started to have different needs and split apart, with different members wanting to go in different directions. [7][8]

Recent development[edit]

Freerunning started to emerge as a separate discipline in 2003. Sebastien wanted to create a discipline that was more personal to the individual and more easily adapted to suit each person. [2]

His idea was similar to that of Bruce Lee when creating Jeet Kune Do. He wanted to take everything that was useful and everything that he liked and combine it into one discipline based on his existing Parkour practice. [1]

His early ideas were first spread through the Jump London documentary. Later he appeared in other productions like Casino Royale and Madonna's Confessions tour. With each appearance both the discipline and Sebastien himself increased in fame. [2]

Freerunning in popular culture[edit]

Freerunning has featured in two documentaries shown on Channel 4, Jump London and Jump Britain. It has also spawned a number of international events, such as Art of Motion.


  1. ^ a b c d Foucan, Sebastien (28th October 2012). "Sebastien Foucan - Find your way - London Real" (Interview). Retrieved 3 July 2013.  Unknown parameter |city= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |program= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Foucan, Sebastien (2008). Freerunning. U.K.: Michael O'Mara Books. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-56975-652-2. 
  3. ^ Foucan, Sebastien (2008). Freerunning. U.K.: Michael O'Mara Books. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-56975-652-2. 
  4. ^ Declan Saldana (27 January 2012). "Parkour Legends: Daniel Ilabaca, Tim Shieff and Oleg Vorslov". Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "George Hébert and the Natural Method of Physical Culture". Archived from the original on 23 March 2005. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Belle, David (2009). Parkour. Intervista. pp. 31–70. ISBN 978-2-35756-025-3. 
  7. ^ a b Angel, Julie (2011). Ciné Parkour. pp. 17–20. ISBN 978-0-9569717-1-5. 
  8. ^ Belle, David (2009). Parkour. Intervista. pp. 71–79. ISBN 978-2-35756-025-3. 

Controversy and misunderstandings[edit]

There is disagreement about whether freerunning and Parkour should be considered as separate disciplines, or whether it should be considered as one discipline with different individual approaches. PKGen american rdv,

However everyone agrees that names aren't as important as what you do, and that it is important follow your own path and do the things you want to do.

Some people see freerunning as a version of Parkour that includes acrobatics.

Some people think freerunning is all about style and performance.

Some people think that freerunning can be competitive. Various events have been created and labeled as freerunning competitions, such as Red Bull Art of Motion and the Barclaycard Freerunning Championships. Sebastien has always been clear that he considers competition to be a limitation.


Freerunning (book)

Cine parkour

Jump London

Jump Britain Ask Seb vol 1