Why has the sport of parkour gained so much popularity?

Because it’s AWESOME /thread

Okay, okay, there’s more to it than that. Really there’s many reason’s for parkour’s rise in popularity. Let’s make a list to see if we can’t identify a few of them. Keep in mind that I’m a traceur/freerunner of over 6 years, so make of this what you will.

  • It’s a fully functioning extreme sport. Look at any other extreme sports that can feasibly be considered a sport; i.e. NOT elevator surfing, running from lions, etc. You have skateboarding, surfing, urban skiing/snowboarding, and so on. All of these sports are popular because they’re flashy and carry a more obvious form of risk(though not necessarily greater) than traditional sports. It was only a matter of time with parkour.
  • It’s simple. You need a pair of shoes and you’re good to go. You can practice it on the playground, bizarre architecture, gymnastics gyms… heck, I train on industrial storage bins in the winter. There’s more parkour gyms popping up for anyone needing more guidance than YouTube tutorials, but there isn’t a need to join a formal team just to do it.
  • Speaking of which… While parkour can be done alone, it’s best with friends. How cool is it to go around the city, spot to spot, hitting up jumps with your pals? Apparently pretty cool since it’s common for strangers to join in, and sometimes become regulars with our group. This casual social aspect makes parkour a great way to meet new people; sort of like Pokemon Go, but more exciting.
  • It brings playground antics to new heights. Kids love to climb and jump off of things. It’s exciting, and makes you feel like an action hero. Parkour is basically a refined version of that, distilled through discipline and consistent, careful practice. People love it because it’s just an extension of what came so naturally to us in our youth.
  • Finally, media. Over the years, parkour has been gradually spliced into action scenes and parodies. It’s been featured in several highly televised events as well, courtesy of RedBull, Ninja Warrior, and others. When I started, almost nobody knew parkour. Weeks later, the Office Parkour spoof came out, and suddenly everyone knew about it. This effect has only amplified in recent years as it gains more mainstream exposure.

Are you sure it has?

It looks like the trend line is fairly steady. When there are peaks in parkour, it corresponds to when American Ninja Warrior is broadcast in the US.

David Belle, the pioneer of parcour in France made a great contribution into the sport. Also, the world famous movies such as Distrct 13, Yamakasi helped general public discover parcour.