Parkour is a discipline of functional movement involving a Traceur (Parkour Athlete) getting from one point to another in the safest, and most efficient manner no matter what environment they are placed in, or what the obstacles in front of them may be.
Parkour brings together various physical training disciplines, along with philosophical reasoning about why one should want to be able to achieve these movements.
Parkour often involves running, jumping, climbing, vaulting, crawling, sliding and more. Some moves are created just to tackle the situation at hand, while others are well established movements that are trained to get over standard obstacles that practitioners may face in daily life.
Ultimately, Parkour breaks down into a set of goals for life, and practices (physical and mental) that help practitioners overcome obstacles that they may face. These obstacles may be physical or figurative.
Parkour was developed by a group of 9 French boys in the 1980s. This group included David Belle (also known as the founder of Parkour), and Sebastien Foucan (known as the founder of Freerunning). The other 7 didn't see the spotlight as individuals as much, but their group, known as the Yamakasi, is well known and respected by all Parkour practitioners.
Each person approaches Parkour with a slightly different objective. For some, it is to learn new ways of moving themselves, for others it is the fascination of being able to surpass seemingly insurmountable objects. For others, it is relief from boredom and for yet others is a way to stay active, mobile and fit. No matter the personal objective, there are a few common necessities when training in Parkour.
Today, Parkour is a worldwide phenomenon, thanks to the internet, YouTube and other video streaming and sharing websites.
Parkour is all of this. Each practitioner understands and practices it as he alone interprets it. As such, Parkour is open to influences from other movement arts - Dance, Gymnastics, Martial Arts and much more. It is a continuous evolution that will hopefully never stop as long as humans continue to move.
As we like to say... Parkour for life.