By Duncan Mackay

A new international organisation to help promote parkour has been set-up ©The Mouvement Parkour has taken a significant step on the journey to one day joining the Olympic programme by creating a new international organisation to help promote the sport, which is also known as freerunning or l'art du déplacement.

The Mouvement International du Parkour, Freerunning et l'Art Du Déplacement, which will be known as The Mouvement, has been set-up by David Belle, the man widely credited with having popularised the sport which involves getting from one place to another in the quickest and most efficient way possible, overcoming any obstacle you encounter through the use of your own body.

It is hoped the new organisation will act as a focal point to raise awareness of it, perhaps even one day seeing it become included on the Olympic programme. 

It is claimed that national groups for parkour have already been recognised by 12 national Governments and exists in a further 71 countries.

With the International Olympic Committee currently reviewing the future of the sports programme at the Games, there is a belief in some quarters that a discipline like parkour, which has the potential to tap into the youth market, may never have a better opportunity to make its mark. 

"When my friends, my family and I started parkour 25 years ago, we had no idea that it would come to be practiced in every country of the world," said Belle.  

"What we have created means so much to so many people that it is now logical for us to continue to promote the practices of parkour, freerunning and l'art du déplacement while also working to protecting our community.

"That is why we have created this new Mouvement.

"From Afghanistan to the USA, we have seen that a sport must usually be recognised by international authorities before it can be properly promoted by the authorities, respected by municipalities taught in schools and so on.  

"So our first priority is universal recognition.

"This is what will most help our community in many places around the world."

Mouvement International du Parkour, Freerunning et l’Art Du Déplacement will be based in France and the Presidency will rotate among its six founder members for the first four years ©The MouvementMouvement International du Parkour, Freerunning et l’Art Du Déplacement will be based in France and the Presidency will rotate among its six founder members for the first four years ©The Mouvement

The organisation has been established as an association under the French law of 1901, with an administrative address in Lisses, France.

"To create a new representative international organisation for a new sport is a rare privilege," said Jean-François Vilotte of De Gaulle at Fleurance et Associés, the law firm which advised on the drafting of the statutes.

"I am completely confident that the statutes lay a solid foundation for The Mouvement to benefit from exemplary governance in the future.

"There are democratic and consultative structures in place to ensure a voice for all, while also allowing for the decisive management that will be required to overcome the obstacles ahead."

The six founding members have agreed to rotate the Presidency of the organisation for the first four-year term, with Belle serving the first eight months.

At the end of this provisional arrangement, elections will take place, it is promised.

Early plans are set to include applying to become a member of SportAccord, the umbrella organisation for all International Federations.

Parkour is already being lined up for inclusion in the inaugural SportAccord Urban Games, which is currently under discussion.

But, like skateboarding, another sport increasingly seen as having the potential to join the Olympic programme, there may be splits within parkour if it targets mainstream recognition.  

"We will also make sure parkour, freerunning and l'art du déplacement are not seen by the authorities as just a sport," said Belle. 

"Some people in our community are interested in competition are we will support them.

"But competition is not what drives us.

"We will continue to promote and protect all the things that make our practice so special."

Parkour's roots come from a discipline called Le Methode Naturelle, based on what, it is claimed, are the ten essential human movements to walk, run, climb, quadrapedal movement (move on all fours), swim, balance, lift, throw, and practice self-defencee. 

A former French soldier and elite French military firefighter, Raymond Belle, was a follower of Methode Naturelle, passing it on to his son David. 

David Belle and his friends as teenagers then took this method, and other inspirations in their environment, and created a discipline to develop and grow themselves mentally and physically, which they called L'Art Du Deplacement before the the term parcours was altered into "parkour".

Parkour is practicised in 71 countries around the world, it is claimed ©Getty ImagesParkour is practicised in 71 countries around the world, it is claimed ©Getty Images

"It is only 17 years we first brought parkour, freerunning and l'art du déplacement to the world through the medium of television," said Chau Belle, one of the founders of l"Art du Déplacement.

"To already have more searches and more views on YouTube than any lifestyle sport is fantastic.

"But this success must be accompanied by a proper understanding of how to train properly.

"In developing parkour, freerunning and l'art déplacement since the beginning, we know that proper training is vital to safety, to avoiding injury to unlocking the personal growth that comes from overcoming physical obstacles.  

"Creating The Mouvement will enable us to defend our practice while also promoting it."

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