Parkour was given its name by a group of French friends in the boroughs of Lisses in France. This group would later give themselves the name “Yamakasi” or “strong man, strong spirit.” One of the main founders, David Belle learned aspects of Georges Hebert’s The Natural Method from his father, Raymond Belle who was a French firefighter in the Vietnam war.
Hebert first chronicled his findings during his expeditions through Africa in the early 20th century. He was enthralled by the athleticism found in the native tribal people and began devoting his life to studying the movement capabilities of all humans. He reasoned that humans need to train all 10 aspects of movement in order to become capable and contributing members of society.
These influences began to drive the Yamakasi to instill the main philosophies of Parkour as: “Etre et Durer” and “Etre fort por etre utile” which means “To be and to last” and “Be strong to be useful” respectively.
As they grew and their abilities grew, and especially as technology began to develop, early aspects of the Yamakasi’s movement started to become filmed and knowledge of the movements began to spread rapidly. A documentary film Yamakasi was published in 2001 as well as David Belle’s appearance in a BBC advert called Rush Hour. Soon after, more documentary films were produced such as Jump: London in 2003.
The true catalyst was YouTube, however. The social and widespread platform fired Parkour into the eyes of viewers worldwide. With no real organization to define the rules of what Parkour was, training of the discipline began as an open sourced project and online videos became the medium at which all Parkour practitioners would learn and share their findings.
Our story started in 2007, when RocPK Founder Charles Moreland began his training. Since then, Rochester Parkour has evolved and grown into a community organization unlike any other. We believe in fostering and developing safe forms of movement education, with a mission to enrich the lives of our members with the power of playful movement.