Jackie Chan Parkour
The influence of David’s father was more than just an introduction to Hebertism however; he also instilled in his son the roots of what would go on to become the philosophy of Parkour. Sebastien Foucan – who trained with David Belle during the critical birthing period of Parkour – speaks of how Raymond Belle encouraged them both to better themselves, stating that with dedication they could reach their dreams.
It is important to recognize that Belle, though central to its ongoing development, was only one among a larger group of individuals who nurtured the art of movement into being, including Sebastian Foucan, Stephane Vigroux, Yahn Hnautra, David Malgogne, Chau Belle-Dinh and Frederic Hnautra among others, all of whom contributed to the art in its embryonic stage. Stephane Vigroux, for example, was instrumental in the creation and development of the Saut de Chat movement (now known in English as the King Kong Vault). And Yann Hnautra was very much responsible for bringing the rigorous discipline and training methodology to the group.
It was when they learnt to take their childhood games seriously and develop their skills that the Yamakasi began to outline what would become, within two decades, a global movement. From children playing in order to alleviate their boredom they developed into teenagers with a goal in mind, a sense of purpose and inspiration taken from many sources, including the philosophy of Taoism via the works of Bruce Lee, the acrobatic antics found in Jackie Chan movies, and perhaps even the urban shamanism of the wild man of Paris, Don Jean Haberey. But at its core, Parkour was already far more than just a childhood game that simply grew to maturity alongside its creators. It drew on the spirit of physicality and functionality prevalent in many ancient cultures and older disciplines.
According to one of the group, the start of the ‘big jumps’ came at around age fifteen. They began to develop and refine a fundamental set of movements: vaults, jumps, climbs, rolls. They taught themselves to be athletes, moving through their environment in a way never before seen in an urban setting. Obviously it is these ‘big jumps’ that have grabbed the attention of the world’s media and mainstream consciousness, though all experienced practitioners are quick to play down the significance of the more spectacular aspects of Parkour.
Parkour is by nature, however, a visually stunning activity, especially when displayed by those of the skill and power of Belle, Vigroux and Hnautra. Outside interest was inevitable. As the reputation of the original practitioners spread, more came to join them and to learn, and beyond these – also predictably – came those who saw the potential Parkour possessed as a money-making machine.