Adi, thank you for writing that. I just wanted to make a brief article to kind of get people interested and maybe post some stuff later. I knew though that people like Dan Edwards, Belle, and Vigroux could explain it to people much better than I so that's why I kept it kind of brief with a lot of links.
I know there are *many* views on Parkour, but this one I thought would help in the Urban Survival Section:
Parkour was "created" or refined by David Belle and his father. It was created to help people with emergency situations. Such as in the Army... or a firefighter trying to rescue someone.
There is a big article on the "creation" of parkour and the guy that started Movement Naturalle. But, like I said they can say it better than I can.
And it's definitely not all about the 'reach or escape'. That was the easiest way for me to explain it to survival people. Parkour is a physical language, and it's hard to speak it to someone that doesn't do it. It's hard for me to describe why the cat leap (or arm jump) is my favorite movement to someone that has no idea what I'm talking about.
Anyway, I do believe that these kinds of movements are created when we're kids and then somewhere we're told it's not okay to climb on things or run through town. Yes, you do need to train for many years for your body to handle the stress of some of the movements. But, that doesn't mean you can start out slow and work your way up. I've been training for... almost three years, and I still have to condition all the time and keep things low to the ground. (Where it should be anyway, being on rooftops is dangerous and stupid)
Yes, Parkour has become very mainstream... and I hate it! I wouldn't mind so much if the media would put out the right message of parkour so you wouldn't have kids trespassing and destroying property. Because one day I think it will come down to "No Parkour" signs. They already have a couple here in the states.
Annnyway.. If anyone is interested in training, great. Those are amazing sites that will give you all the information you need. They have hundreds of articles about physical and mental training, conditioning, health, safety, techniques, history, etc. It is recommended that you find an instructor to show you the ropes. This will be a littler harder in the states however.. Most of us learned from watching videos.. and that's definitely not the best way to go about it.
Good luck and be safe!