Le Parkour, primarily considered a philosophy, includes the physical practice of traversing elements in both urban and rural settings. The goal is to move from one point to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. This discipline was created in France, Sarcelles, in Smooth and Evry by David Belle, Sébastien Foucan, and the founding members of the Yamakasi. It is inspired by "the natural method of physical education" by Georges Hébert. It was then spread worldwide by films, television reports, and amateur videos on the Internet.
The term freerunning is sometimes used interchangeably with parkour. While parkour aims to enable the practitioner to be able to move quickly and efficiently past obstacles, freerunning has a greater emphasis on self-expression within the environment. Freerunning includes tricking moves such as aerial rotations and spins, while the purist definition of parkour founder David Belle would not consider these part of parkour because the moves are merely showy, not efficient, and do not help the participant to get from place to place. Although Sébastien Foucan co-founded parkour, his philosophy differed and so he is generally associated with freerunning (see below).
A practitioner of parkour is called a traceur if male, or traceuse if female (from the French for bullet).
Two primary characteristics of parkour are efficiency and speed. Traceurs take the most direct path through an obstacle as rapidly as that route can be traversed. Developing one's level of spatial awareness is often used to aid development in these areas. Also, efficiency involves avoiding injuries, both short and long term. This idea embodying parkour's unofficial motto is être et durer (to be and to last). Those who are skilled at this activity normally have extremely keen spatial awareness.