Difference Between Parkour and Freerunning

Parkour vs Freerunning

If you feel fascinated by teens performing Parkour or Freerunning stunts on streets in the city and wish to try them out yourself, you are not alone. These two are arts of movement that have been developed to be practiced in urban atmospheres where it is easy to find different sorts of obstacles to be tackled. Both sports, if they can be categorized in sports, teach methods to easily get past obstacles by performing a bunch of movements. These movements can be as simple as jumps to as difficult as climbing walls or leaping down tall buildings. People remain confused between Parkour and Freerunning because of many similarities between them though there are also many differences that will be highlighted in this article.

Parkour is an art of movement requiring an individual to move from point A to point B in fastest yet most efficient manner. It is a sport that requires both agility as well as ability. Origins of Parkour are traced to France, and the main purpose of this non combative sport is to teach students how to overcome obstacles in an urban environment and move across them in a swift and agile manner. Participants are taught to take advantage of the environment and to adapt movements to be successful in moving past these obstacles effortlessly. Rolling, running, jumping, climbing etc are some of the techniques that are frequently practiced in this sporting activity. Though, Parkour can be practiced anywhere, an urban environment full of various types of obstacles provides a wonder teaching experience to a person learning Parkour.

Freerunning is a sporting activity that resembles Parkour very much, and this is because it has been patterned along the lines of Parkour. Participants, knows as freerunners, perform acrobatics in both urban as well as rural environments moving efficiently and swiftly across structures. Many of the movements of freerunners have been adapted from Parkour, though there are additions in the form of aesthetics. It would be better to call Freerunning a cousin of Parkour as it is a fact that Freerunning was invented just to present Parkour to English speaking people. As against speed and efficiency which are the hallmarks of Parkour, Freerunning lays emphasis on art and acrobatics or Parkour are secondary in it.

The philosophy behind Parkour, which was developed by David Belle, was not to be controlled by your surroundings, which most urban people are. Parkour mainly consists of movements like vaults and jumps. Parkour teaches people to design their own paths as against pre designated paths bound by structures. Freerunning, when it was first coined by Sebastian Foucan, was meant to be more acceptable to English speaking people but with passage of time, Freerunning has become different from Parkour and the basic philosophy is to have more fun with creativity rather than choosing your own path which is the case in Parkour. There are movements like flipping, somersaulting, and flaring which are not there in Parkour. However, there are people who say that these differences that are sought to be created are flimsy and unnatural as both are same kind of sports and the separate movements that are being produced as evidence of differentiation are nothing but a byproduct of thinking and training in Parkour.


With passage of time, newer movements from other sports such as Wushu, grass gymnastics and street stunts are getting incorporated in Freerunning making it more different from Parkour. This is because of the fact that Freerunning is more open hearted and creative, ready to accept and assimilate effects from other sports. However, whether or not Freerunning separate and distinct from Parkour, the fact remains that both Parkour and Freerunning are kind of sporting activities totally different from any other sport.