About TT, Parkour and the history

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Team Traceur (TT) was formed over 10 years ago, consisting of a small group of likeminded, passionate individuals with one main thing in common, Parkour! When TT was first formed, the Parkour community was a tiny fraction of what it is today, with only tens of practitioners in the UK, compared to the hundreds there are today. The members of TT were renown for both their skill and their friendly personalities. Team Traceur was a respected group of individuals, with involvement in the early boom, by way of television and film, live performances and tours and always ready to lend a helping hand to a new practitioner.


As time passed, members of the team were drawn all over the world, many continued to train and spread the word of Parkour and still do today. Dane Grant lived for many years in South Africa and played a big role in building the Parkour community there. He is now a Co-Director of New Zealand Stunt School and still actively coaching and teaching Parkour. Andreas Kalteis now lives in Austria, where he is a founder of Parkour at one of the leading performance agencies in Europe for Parkour/Freerunning services, runs his own media bases company KalteisMedia and actively coaches Parkour for his functional fitness organisation LaendleFit.

tt reborn

In 2011, with the blessing and active help of the original members, Team Traceur was reborn, now with the reenergized focus of spreading the benefits and beauty of our amazing discipline. Team Traceur aims to show everyone not only what Parkour is but how it can be beneficial to anyone and everyone. This is done through a number of mediums from live performances and television work to coaching and private tuition.


All of Team Traceur’s core team have at least 5 years experience in all of the abovementioned fields and all coaches are accredited the National governing body and fully qualified in the A.D.A.P.T (L’art du Displacement and Parkour Teaching) Coaching Qualifications.


At present day we are a group of very close friends with a strong passion to promote and spread our amazing movement sport. We fundamentally aim to help grow a strong and passionate Parkour community within Essex, filled with practitioners that understand Parkour’s philosophies and principles and train to only better themselves and help others. This community is to be accessible to people of all ages and circumstances and will hopefully be something everyone is proud to be a part of.

So you want to know more about Parkour/Freerunning/ADD (L’Art du Deplacement), well, as you may already know, all of the above things are not easy to define, each means something slightly different from person to person. Despite this, they are in fact the same thing. Yes ADD came first, and then there was Parkour, and then there was Freerunning (This is explained in greater detail in “History of Parkour”, but all focus on the perfection of movement and are built from the same principles. For us at Team Traceur, we have always called this great movement phenomenon Parkour and this is how we will refer to it from here on.


When people try to describe Parkour, you tend to hear the same phrases thrown about; “Art form”, “Sport”, “Fastest route from A to B”, “Discipline”, each of which mean very different things. There have been instances where Traceurs (Parkour Practitioners) have argued for hours over what is right and what is wrong, members of Team Traceur have even had the honour of witnessing some of these arguments within the founders of Parkour/Freerunning/ADD. What we agree on in Team Traceur is that Parkour is ALL of these things, it just depends on what motivates YOU to train.


One thing all Traceurs agree on, is that the goal of a Traceur is to be the best version of himself or herself they can be, physically and mentally. Two of the most renown phrases in Parkour encapsulate this perfectly “To be and to last” and “To be strong to be useful”. Both of which, almost need no explanation and really should be two phrases a Traceur should live by.


Taking all this into account, there have been a number of “standard” definitions. With not using any of the above mentioned taboo phrases, here is our definition:

Parkour: A holistic training method of both mind and body, to become the most functional, useful and effective version of yourself you can be. One aims to move freely over, under and through any environment, regardless of the circumstance. The core movements can be split into 9 core groups, running, jumping, landing, rolling, climbing, swinging, vaulting, balance and quad movement (crawling). Performing these movements require high levels of self confidence, fortitude and determination, which are areas a Traceur searches to perfect.

As many would agree, it is all but impossible to truly know the exact moment in time that Parkour/Freerunning/ADD was born. Arguably, there has always been Parkour. Human beings have always had to move, find their way through their environments and overcome fear. It is more simple to explain the origins of the terminology. The ideology behind Parkour/Freerunning/ADD has been taken from a huge web of sources and from many other disciplines, the birthplace of what we know it as today was a collection of small towns just outside of Paris. The thing about Parkour and Freerunning is it wasn’t just as simple as someone creating the name and translating for us it has a story. So here it is…


Within the three small towns Every, Sarcelles and Lisses, a group of 9 young men spent their time challenging one another to play and move to pass the time. Sometime in the 1980’s they realised that their favourite pastime L’Art du Deplacement (ADD), had become much more than just that. 2 of the men in particular pushed the group to train and develop, they were the renown David Belle and the lesser known Yann Hnautra. The group began to go be the name “Yamakasi”, a Lingala word that loosely translates to “Strong man, strong spirit”.


One of the biggest influences on the Yamakasi to develop ADD was David Belle’s farther, Raymond Belle. It was likely due to his influence that the name Parkour ever came to be. He taught the young men the methods of training of Georges Herbert. Georges Herbert developed a training method that was adopted into the French Military, known as Parcours du Combatant; the obstacle course. From the word parcours, meaning “course”, the altered name Parkour was formed.


Although David Belle did have a large part to play in the formation of our modern movement, it is important to remember that there were many others, that trained along beside him, that also had large influences. Sebastian Foucon, Chau Belle-Dinh, Yann Hnautra, Stephane Vigroux, David Malgogne and Fredric Hnautra among many others, played key roles. Stephane Vigroux was the developer of the Saute de Chat movement, known as the Kong vault or Cat pass in English circles, for example.


So the now global phenomenon, Parkour, began as young boys games, that grew and matured along with them, the boys became young men, and the games developed into something which has now inspired millions of people to get moving.


Word really began to spread when Parkour was featured in its first movie and television advert campaign in 2001. The French made film Yamakasi: Les samouraïs des temps and the BBC advert, Rush Hour were the first experiences the greater audience had. This inspired the first generation of international practitioners, but neither really gave any true explanation as to the depth of Parkour. This was likely where the idea of “jumping off buildings” came to be.


It was in 2003 that the award-winning documentary Jump London was aired on Channel 4 in the UK. This marked the beginning of the boom in the awareness of Parkour, along with its new name Freerunning. Freerunning was coined as a way to be more recognisable to the British audience. Jump London was the first time that the public eye was able to experience some of the core ideas and philosophies, alongside the physical brilliance of Parkour. With the reinforcement of Jump London’s sequel, Jump Britain in 2005, Parkour has since exploded and is still showing no signs of slowing down.


There are now thousands of “Teams” and groups around the world practising, expressing, making videos, performing and coaching Parkour all over the world. In the last 10 years here in the UK, arguably the forefront of Parkour’s development in terms of recognition, the A.D.A.P.T (L’Art du Deplacement and Parkour Teaching) framework has been developed in collaboration with some of the original founders of the Yamakasi. We now have a sport governing body, Parkour UK and are now recognised by Sport England and by the London Olympic Inspire Mark Programme.

Even though still in its infancy, Parkour has a dedicated community driving it forward and pushing it in the right directions. Parkour is not a “Fad” it is here to stay.