Parkour has since become a big part of current French subculture and personal art scenes; just in the last few years we are beginning to see Parkour practised in countries both nearby to France and across the Atlantic Ocean in North America. The idea behind this sport (also thought of as an art form, particularly by Belle himself) is to continue on in one direction, using smooth motions and not letting any physical objects get in the way.
The practise can be confusing to someone who has never witnessed the fluid motions of a practitioner like Belle, as it does tend to draw similarities with other straight forward sports like hurdle jumping and steeplechasing. The fact is that Belle took these principles to quite another level when he developed his sport, and being the Parisian that he is ensured that there was always a clear undertone of the art world running along with him. Enthusiasts often make the connection from Parkour to post modern art, and however controversial and misunderstood this relationship might be Belle himself does insist that his practise is an art form. With the smooth motion of the body and the sense of camaraderie between the practitioner and his surroundings, it is easy to get a feeling that yes, in fact Parkour is a participant form of post-modern art.
Belle began PaBelle began Parkour when he was fifteen, and claims it was inspired by the ideas of the French physician George Hebert, who promoted the 'methode naturelle' (Method-Naturelle retrieved January 2006 pp.1-9) of medical treatment. The methode focused on the pure benefits of exercise over other methods like drug treatment for simple illnesses and injuries. Hebert took pride in the fact that he understood how the body worked and above all how it needed to be treated in order to stay healthy and in top working order. With simple exercises, the physician realised that the formula to good health was generally very simple: aerobic movements provided oxygen and blood to the extremities as well as the inner organs of the body and these two substances are what is most required by any one person to remain in a healthy state. This dedication to movement and physical tuning was what David Belle latched onto when he studied the methode, and these principles are clearly seen to be the foundations of the Parkour practise. To be strong in body was to be strong in mind and to have control over yourself and your life.
Belle took these principles and used them in his own fitness regime, which did quickly turn into something of a post-modern art form in itself (Gire 2006 p.1, pp.12). His Parkour took the physicality and mental stimulation of the methode naturelle and tuned the resources of the individual to conquer not only themselves but in turn the physical surroundings of the city.
David Smythe describes Parkour as "a new urban craze that involves jumping off things and landing on other things" (2005 p.1, pp.3). The term is often used simultaneously for 'freerunning', and although at the first this was acceptable use of the word now both practises have become different in themselves. Parkour is the practise for which David Belle found himself featured in the 2004 film Banlieue 13; a movie that included several chase