Jackie Chan is well known for doing his own stunts, often without any wires or safety protection. He has been doing movements used in Parkour since the 1980’s, including vaults, flips between obstacles, and even descents down the faces of buildings! So is he the real founder of Parkour? We’d say No. What he was doing was parkour, but Jackie didn’t specifically set out to make a training method that others could follow. Actually, the founders didn’t either, at least not originally. The Yamakasi were featured in films and television commercials, however, they did not start any organized efforts to spread parkour until later on. The original Yamakasi members were David Belle, Sébastien Foucan, Châu Belle Dinh, Williams Belle, Yann Hnautra, Laurent Piemontesi, Guylain N’Guba Boyeke, Malik Diouf, and Charles Perriére. Their philosophy was to train to become physically, mentally, and ethically strong. They adopted one of the mottos of the Methode Naturelle, “Être fort pour être utile” – Be Strong to Be useful”.
So, while Jackie Chan was certainly doing parkour, and in every instance showing his ability to Be Strong to Be Useful, we wouldn’t call him the real founder of Parkour. The title stays with the Yamakasi in our opinion.
Check out these videos, then leave us your thoughts in the comments.
A recent compilation on Reddit “Jackie Chan doing parkour before it became mainstream”
Jimmy the Giant on youtube “Is Jackie Chan the REAL founder of Parkour?“