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Before you apply for a quote, we require that you read through and agree to the following USA Parkour Program Guidlines and Requirements. Please read them carefully. Clicking the box below indicates that you wholeheartedly agree with and will abide by the following terms of coverage.
What is parkour?
There have been many disagreements over the years about what parkour is or isn’t, but simply put, parkour is a training method designed to expand an individual’s vocabulary of movement, allowing a skilled practitioner to “flow” efficiently and creatively through any environment, “over, under, around or through” the obstacles in his or her path (“KNOW OBSTACLES, KNOW FREEDOM!”). Derived originally from the French martial art, “parcours du combattant” or “the path of the warrior”, modern parkour has grown beyond the goal of simply finding the most efficient path and now embraces elements of more creative movement as well (freerunning). Though there are distinctive moves that still serve as the foundation of parkour—the kong and other vaults, tic-tac, lache, cat, precision and wall run to name a few—practitioners will also borrow elements from other disciplines such as capoeira, martial arts tricking and acrobatics to add flair to their “runs”, defining their unique personal ”lines” from point a to point b. For teaching purposes in a gym setting, WFPF certification and curriculum (the only Parkour certification and curriculum recognized by USAP) cover five categories of movement, floor skills, vaults, bar work, wall skills, and when available in a safe and supervised environment, trampoline to aid in the development of spatial awareness. As a student progresses, the height at which they can safely train and the combination of movements in a routine should be carefully assessed.
Is parkour dangerous?
Two of the guiding principles of parkour, “Etre et durer” (“To be and to endure”) and “Be strong to be useful” both discourage high-risk behaviour for its own sake. All physical activity involves some risk, but when taught and practiced properly, parkour poses no more risks for practioners than gymnastics, football or other traditional sports. For spectators, parkour is far LESS dangerous than a sport like skateboarding or BMX, since there is no flying apparatus to injure bystanders. While USAP respects the tradition of parkour as a self-taught discipline, we also hold that once someone decides to teach parkour, especially to young children, he or she takes on an added responsibility. Because of the rigorous and highly respected teacher certification program developed by our sister company WFPF, USAP is the only parkour organization granted the right to extend insurance coverage to our certified gyms.
What are the benefits of parkour?
From a developmental standpoint, parkour offers many of the same benefits as gymnastics, e.g. coordination, balance, discipline, focus, body awareness, overall self-confidence and self-esteem. At an early intermediate level, however, parkour adds to those benefits the very valuable practice of problem-solving, “How do I get from point A to point B safely and efficiently using my current skills and strength?” The practice of parkour is nothing less than an ongoing physics lesson with a very practical application. Observe any parkour athlete figuring out his or her “line” before a run, and you see a mind at work! And as a parkour practitioner confronts the limitations of his or her current skill set, he or she is motivated to train harder to expand that skill set. Moreover, the culture and philosophy of parkour, both of which emphasize community and service to others, adds to a student’s sense of connectedness and social well-being. Parents of parkour athletes often report of the improvements they observe in their child’s school work and overall attitude as they confront the daily challenges of life.
Can parkour be practiced as a competitive sport?
Parkour is fundamentally an inner discipline and so is not competitive in the way that football, baseball and basketball are at their very core. Parkour can be successfully practiced for a lifetime without ever participating in a single competition. However, as in martial arts, properly structured competitions can be beneficial to those students eager to compete to help measure and share their progress with friends and family. At USAP, we prefer the original Latin definition of the word compete, “To strive together”. Therefore, it is very important that parkour competitions always remain collegial, with a friendly supportive atmosphere in keeping with the culture and spirit of the sport. One of the reasons so many young people are drawn to parkour is because it has brought a sense of play back to physical exercise. A high pressure, over-competitive atmosphere runs the risk of taking the fun out of it. All USAP/WFPF sanctioned competitions have as their focus participation; it’s athlete vs. the course, rather than athlete vs. athlete. Who wins on any given day is unimportant; it’s going for your personal best with a supportive community behind you that counts. If you would like help holding a WFPF sanctioned competition at your gym, please email [email protected]
Is it possible for my gym to begin or continue to hold parkour classes and be covered by USAP member insurance if I have no WFPF Certified trainers on staff?
As long as you agree to abide by all USAP guidelines and codes of conduct, and have downloaded and read the WFPF training module, you will have a 90-day grace period to get at least two of your trainers certified, during which time you may hold classes. Following the grace period, there must be at least 1 WFPF Certified trainer on the floor at all times. A certified trainer may be assisted by other competent personnel to insure that there is never less than one trainer for every fifteen students present at any time.
Does USAP recognize other parkour teacher certfications?
Although we respect all those whose goal it is to increase awareness of the safe practice of parkour, our insurance underwriter recognizes only WFPF Teacher Training Certification as valid for coverage.
What if I fail to get two of my trainers certified by the end of the grace period?
USAP makes a commitment to all member gyms to insure that a WFPF Certification is held somewhere convenient to every gym at least once before their grace period is up. In return, we expect the same level of commitment from our member gyms to make all reasonable efforts to take advantage of these opportunities.
What do I need to start my program? Do I have to buy a lot of parkour-specific equipment?
Not at all, you can start with a trapezoid and some well-placed mats, although as your program grows, you will likely want to add additional training options. Please refer to our resource page to see the basics you will need and some ideas and suppliers to explore as time goes on. In addition, USAP staff stands ready to assist you with virtual or in-person help sessions specific to your space and budget.
What is the definition of a Parkour-Only gym as opposed to a Multi-Use facility:
For the purposes of USAP member insurance, a parkour-only gym is defined as one that DOES NOT offer traditional gymnastics or cheer. Insurance underwriters industry-wide have determined that the risk of liability is greater when the disciplines of parkour and traditional gymnastics or cheer are taught side by side. Parkour-only gyms may still hold classes in other disciplines, such as yoga, capoeira or other forms of martial arts or dance, though those activities will not be covered by USAP member insurance. So called "Ninja" or "Obstacle Course" training, if conducted according to USAP guidelines, would be considered a practical application of Parkour training, and therefore would be covered. Under no circumstances does USAP member insurance cover "Cross Fit" training.
Does USAP member insurance cover “open gym”?
Yes, provided that it is a structured and well-supervised parkour-specific open skills session with competent trainers, rather than a free-for-all. It is essential that any and all drop-in students not formally enrolled in your regular classes be required to attend at least one basic safety class prior to their first open gym with serious consequences for those who do not observe safe practices, including permanent expulsion from your facility. These people are not only endangering themselves, but also their fellow students AND YOUR BUSINESS. Another serious potential liability arises in a multi-use (gymnastics) facility where multiple disciplines are being practiced in the space at the same time with participants going back and forth between them at will as this could result in multiple claims in case of an accident.
Does USAP insurance cover outdoor training?
USAP member insurance does cover outdoor training under certain circumstances, approved on a case-by-case basis. Outdoor training must be consistent with our indoor guidelines concerning safety, progression and supervision by WFPF certified instructors, and on every occasion outdoor classes must be conducted on a closed, controlled, and clearly marked course with access strictly limited to instructors and registered students with a liability waiver on file. Please contact a member of our USAP staff to ask about outdoor training approval for your club.
Does USAP member insurance cover parkour competitions?
This is decided on a case-by-case basis, but if the majority of participants are enrolled in your programs or in those of another USAP member gym, the answer would likely be yes. If large numbers of the competitors are not from a USAP member gym, the sponsoring gym would have the option of having the drop-in participants buy one-day coverage through the USAP member program ($10 for 19 years or younger, $23 for 20 years or older). Alternately, the sponsoring gym may elect to purchase additional one-time event insurance which would generally run in the $300-$500 range depending on the number of participants.
Why does my USAP member insurance always expire on August 31st, no matter when I initiate coverage?
USA Parkour is NOT an insurance underwriter or licensed insurance broker and is NOT permitted to sell individual insurance policies. What we are is a member organization recognized by a top-rated underwriter as an authority in the safe teaching of parkour and granted the right to extend coverage UNDER OUR OWN INSURANCE POLICY to other gyms and participants that share our vision, values and philosophy of parkour. It is for that reason that your coverage runs concurrently with our own, from September 1st to August 31st of the following year, no matter when you initiate coverage, with per student fees pro-rated depending on when in the year you were first admitted as a member. Simply put, you share in our coverage and we share in your risk; that’s why we charge a yearly per-student administrative fee, and that’s why USAP reserves the right to drop from coverage any club that violates the USAP Code of Conduct/Registration Agreement. Coverage does not begin until we receive an e-signed copy of the member agreement.
What is the definition of “peak enrollment”?
Peak enrollment is defined as follows:
“Premium is determined by applying the appropriate rate for your club/program to the greatest number of registered members that your club/program COULD have ANNUALLY.”
USAP expects all member gyms to use best good faith efforts to correctly estimate what their enrollment COULD be during the coming policy term. Once you have come up with that number, we suggest you add another 10% to allow for unforeseen growth. Should your numbers spike beyond your expectations, we expect our member gyms to report those new numbers promptly so that we can adjust their coverage accordingly.
Is there an age limit for participant coverage?
There is no age limit for participant coverage under the USAP policy, however we do require that you estimate what percentage of your students will be over 19. The reason for this is that our underwriter charges USAP a higher rate for those 20 and over. USAP adds a small additional fee of $5.00 for each student over 19 to partially cover the additional charge by the underwriter .
Can I reach out to USAP for advice or questions as my program grows and develops?
Absolutely! We are a member organization and we are committed to your growth and success, so please come to us with any questions you may have on all things parkour-related and someone on our extremely knowledgeable team of advisors and athletes will be happy to help.