This is an older, but nevertheless superb compilation of great Parkour action. The video features many prominent Tracers including David Belle, Sébastien Foucan, Stephane Vigroux, and members of the Yamakasi to name a few, and contains footage from Le Tuyau, Un Lundi Cool, the Bont Commercial and BBC Commercial both featuring David, Accroches Toi, Speed Air Man, and other prominent videos.
Most things in life evolve and change over time. But has Parkour? David credits the creation of Parkour to his father and “a few Vietnamese soldiers.” And even though particular techniques, and of course the abilities of athletes, have obviously progressed over the years, surly the meaning, sentiments, and intentions of Parkour has not. Or one would think.
Here is an article written more than 6 years ago just after the creation of the famous David Belle BBC commercial. This piece gives a very rare look into the past, at Hugh Scholfield’s perception of Parkour so many years ago. Reading it now this article provides us the opportunity to glimpse an older perspective of the discipline, compare it to the present day sentiment and ask, ‘Has Parkour changed and progress, or is it the same as it has always been?’ Of course this article was written from the perspective of a writer and is therefore not necessarily an accurate or definitive perspective of Parkour in any way, shape or form. However it was based on conversations with David and it certainly raises questions about whether or not Parkour has changed or evolved. You can read and judge for yourself.
The art of Le Parkour
David Belle is credited with having invented Le Parkour
By Hugh Schofield
David Belle, acrobatic star of the BBC’s new advertising campaign, is the acknowledged guru of a new urban sport in
Described by adepts as an art-form or even a philosophy, Le Parkour consists of finding new and often dangerous ways through the city landscape – scaling walls, roof-running and leaping from building to building.
“Le Parkour – or the Art of Movement – is a way of using the obstacles found in one’s path to perform jumps and acrobatics.
“Everything must combine speed, fluidity, aesthetics and originality,” reads one of several websites dedicated to the sport.
Belle, 28, is credited with having invented Le Parkour as a teenager in the
The two boys led a gang known as the Yamakasi, who became famous last year when they starred in a film of the same name by director Luc Besson, of Fifth Element fame.
The film is about a group of “Parkouristes” who feel responsible when an inexperienced fan is injured in a fall and set about a spectacular series of robberies to raise money for his operation.
‘Need to exist’
The blurb described the Yamakasi as “modern-day Samurai,” but by this point Belle had left the group, fearing that the commercialisation was threatening the inner spirit of the sport.
He is now the leader of a new group – Les Traceurs – based in the
“We do it because we feel a need to move, we feel a need to exist – to show that we are there,” he said in a television interview last year.
“Our aim is to take our art to the world and make people understand what it is to move.”
Beginners are advised to practise daily, not to start with high walls, to work in groups and above all not to be dared to go too far.
“Teasing doesn’t kill – a bad jump can,” warns Ombre (Shadow), a 17-year-old Parkouriste from
There are a series of basic moves, from the cat-jump – in which the exponent places two hands on an obstacle and then leaps between them – to the tic-tac, which is a kind-off push-off taken in mid-movement from a wall or other surface.
Apart from Belle’s Traceurs and the Yamakasi, there are several other gangs in
Fans say Le Parkour has many of the qualities of an eastern philosophy, encouraging discipline, self-improvement and interdependence.
For sociologists, Belle and his followers demonstrate the classic human urge for freedom within the clogging world of modern suburbia.
As Belle himself puts it: “We want to go where no human has ever been before.”
The number #8 commercial in our Top 10 Parkour Commercial Countdown was the Coca-Cola ad featuring Kazuma, Romain Moutault, and Dominique Lexilus. The #2 commercial in the countdown was the 2001 BBC ad featuring David Belle. In spite of the singular brilliance of these commercials as individual productions, an even more stunning (and just so happens more famous) video was created when footage from these two productions were combined. A hybrid edit of the footage from the BBC ad and the Coca-Cola commercial generated this action packed and influential edit that we have deemed as an honorable mention in our Parkour commercial countdown.
To this day we have not been able to corroborate the claim that this video was ever used as an official commercial or commercial production. This confusion is widespread and some claim this was a music video while others claim it was the BBC commercial edit for the
As one of the first Parkour videos ever posted on YouTube, this video is also responsible for being a prevalent influence that shaped much of the Parkour culture that exists today. For nothing more than being one of the first Parkour videos on the internet, this edit has prodded countless Tracers’ into the discipline. The influence of this video also extends to the music and clothing world of Parkour. With its inclusion of the musical composition 1980 from the French artist Diam’s’ 2003 album Brut de Femme, this Parkour video was one of the first of its kind to feature rap music. With no effort at all anyone can now view the overwhelmingly dominant use of the rap music genre in personal and professional Parkour edits and demo across the internet. Also, the clothing worn in this video, most notably the pants worn by all four participatory Tracers, and the shirtless style sported by David, has also greatly contributed to the clothing styles that we see today in Parkour training around the world.
Whether or not this video was ever a true commercial production, its cannot be understated. Including footage from the 2001 BBC commercial and extended footage from the Parkour-featuring Coca-Cola ad we have designated this video as an honorable mention in the top Parkour commercials of all time. With the athletic talents of David Belle, Kazuma, Romain Moutault, and Dominique Lexilus the richness of the Parkour exhibited speaks for itself. And just as noteworthy is the nearly unrivaled genuine and pure Parkour that is displayed for the audience. With the rap musical precedent provided by Diam’s, and the influence this video had on Parkour clothing style, this video is more than deserving of not only a mention in our commercial countdown but also a prominent place in Parkour history.
The best two Parkour-featuring commercials of all time are left in our Top 10 Parkour Commercial Countdown. Both of the final two ads are so good that it was almost painful to have to decide between them. Fortunately for us our criteria did the tough job or rating them, and we now have the pleasure of revealing the seconds greatest Parkour commercial ever made.
We can not say enough about the #2 commercial so we are going to keep it simple. As one of the first Parkour-featuring commercials ever produced this ad was also one of the most culturally influential. Filmed in
The magnitude of this commercial in influence and sheer athletic performance may never be matched again, and that is why it is so highly ranked in our countdown. Enjoy the close runner up to the greatest Parkour-featuring commercial of all time, this 2001 BBC ad featuring David Belle comes in at #2.
Here is David Belle’s famous Speed Air Man video. This was one of David’s first videos and arguably influenced the spread of Parkour worldwide more than any other single production. It was also the video that compelled Stephan Vigroux to meet David for the first time and begin training with him. Stephane explains this incidence in Urban Freeflow Vol. 3.
Here is another famous video of David Belle commonly titled Et vous? It is so similar to his Speed Air Man video that we decided to put in the same post. It has different music and some updated moves so it is definitely worth watching.