As the National Governing Body (NGB) for Parkour/Freerunning in the UK, Parkour UK would like to offer some insight which may provide some clarification on Parkour/Freerunning so our sport/activity is appropriately understood and recognised.
It is important that we first clarify what Parkour/Freerunning is and ensure it is separated and disassociated with any other sports/activities, as these are completely separate things.
Therefore we like to provide some some clarification on Parkour/Freerunning:
Parkour/Freerunning as a sport
While Parkour is a sport, it is not restricted to being just a sport; it is also a discipline, an art, a philosophy. The Council of Europe’s definition of sport is: “Sport” means all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.
As Parkour UK is primarily a sport’s NGB, we refer to Parkour as being a sport. Please see our description, of Parkour as a sport below:
What is Parkour/Freerunning/Art du Deplacement?
Parkour/Freerunning/Art du Deplacement is the non-competitive physical discipline of training to move freely over and through any terrain using only the abilities of the body, principally through running, jumping, climbing and quadrupedal movement. In practice it focuses on developing the fundamental attributes required for such movement, which include functional strength and fitness, balance, spatial awareness, agility, coordination, precision, control and creative vision.
It is a sport that encourages self-improvement on all levels, revealing one’s physical and mental limits while simultaneously offering ways to overcome them. It is a method of training one’s body and mind in order to be as completely functional, effective and liberated as possible in any environment.
The sport aims to build confidence, determination, self-discipline and self-reliance, and responsibility for one’s actions. It encourages humility, respect for others and for one’s environment, self-expression, community spirit, and the importance of play, discovery and safety at all times.
The description above is to describe Parkour as a sport and does not fully describe the art/discipline/philosophy of Parkour as a whole.
In one sense Parkour has existed for as long as we have walked on two legs and ever since we have moved either out of necessity, for enjoyment or for practice. It exists at the base of all human movement, and lives and breathes in part within all physical endeavours, from the play of children to the methodology of modern sports. It will continue to exist as long as we find reward and pleasure in the exploration of our own physical talents.
The sport originally termed Art du Deplacement, now also often referred to as Parkour and/or Freerunning, was founded in France in the 1980s by a group of nine young men. The founders are David Belle, Sebastain Foucan, Yann Hnautra, Chau Belle, Laurent Piemontesi, Guylain N’Guba Boyeke, Charles Perriere, Malik Diouf and Williams Belle.
The term ‘Parkour’ was first introduced by David Belle in 1998. Parkour derives from the French word Parcours meaning ‘route’ or ‘course’
The term ‘Freerunning’ was the creation of Guillaume Pelletier, a representative of a group of French practitioners involved in the production of a Channel 4 documentary, Jump London, in 2003. This term was used in order to communicate this amazing new sport to an English-speaking audience.
Parkour UK has chosen to utilise the term Parkour to represent the Sport.
Who is the strategic lead for Parkour/Freerunning in the UK?
Parkour UK is the National Governing Body for Parkour / Freerunning, providing governance and regulation of Parkour/Freerunning throughout the UK, act as custodians of the sport/art, protect freedoms and promote the interests of Traceurs/Freerunners, our member organisations & the UK community. We work closely with partners encouraging and developing the safe and appropriate practice of Parkour/Freerunning in addition to working with local groups, clubs and organisations, as well as national organisations/bodies, local authorities and constabularies.
Information, advice and guidance on introducing Parkour/Freerunning in Trampoline Parks/Facilities.
For clarification, it’s important that it is recognised and understood that Parkour/Freerunning is in no way a form/discipline of Trampolining or Gymnastics. As Parkour/Freerunning and Trampolining/Gymnastics are two completely separate sports/activities with two separate governing bodies and structures.
Trampoline Parks/Facilities can introduce Parkour/Freerunning activities and spaces/places/equipment, providing these are introduced in a safe, appropriate and managed way. Parkour UK can support Trampoline Park/Facility operators in safely and appropriately introducing Parkour/Freerunning activities and spaces/places/equipment to their facilities in a managed way, ensuring it meets Parkour UK guidelines and recommendations which will ensure that the provision is safe, appropriate and fit-for-purpose.
Spaces/Places & Equipment for Parkour/Freerunning
Where Parkour /Freerunning is offered within a Trampoline Parkour/Facility it should take place in a separate, designated and risk-benefit assessed area and not on trampolines.
Some existing equipment can be used, providing it’s suitability has been checked, including a risk-benefit assessment. Purpose built Parkour spaces/places/equipment can be purchased from a number of suppliers. Purpose built spaces/places/equipment etc, including but not limited to fixed, permanent, temporary and/or portable Parkour/Freerunning spaces/places/equipment should comply with the BSI British Standard for Parkour Equipment BS10075:2013.
Facility operators should avoid improvising with existing equipment other than those items deemed suitable for Parkour/Freerunning activities. Guidance on this can be sought through enquiring to Parkour UK or attendance at one of our courses, or from a qualified Parkour/Freerunning coach.
As Parkour/Freerunning movements are self-controlled, it is expected that injuries resulting from falls/misjudgement, may occur, just like in any sport. It should also be anticipated that spaces/places/equipment provided for Parkour/Freerunning may also be used by/for other activities and appropriate control measures should be considered by facility owners/operators.
Workforce for Parkour/Freerunning Activities
The current Parkour UK pathway for training and development, can be found on our website. The coaching strand is clearly outlined showing the different stages that a Parkour/Freerunning coach can go through.
Where Parkour/Freerunning activities are provided, facilities must ensure that all sessions are:
• Delivered by and/or under the overall supervision of a Parkour UK 1st4sport Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Parkour/Freerunning (QCF) qualified coach
• All other coaches are appropriately qualified via the Parkour UK 1st4sport Level 1 Award and/or Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Parkour/Freerunning (QCF) qualifications
• All coaches should meet the Sports Coach UK, Minimum Standards of Deployment (including but not limited to):
• Have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check or home country equivalent (such as Disclosure Scotland, AccessNI check etc)
• Have undertaken appropriate Safeguarding training (in the last 3 years)
• Have undertaken appropriate First Aid Training (in the last 3 years)
• All coaches should be appropriately (as recommended) registered with the Parkour UK, Parkour Professionals Register which provides proof of qualification and insurances of £10m. Alternatively, appropriately insured by the facility for their Parkour/Freerunning activities
• Managed in-line with Parkour UK guidelines, particularly (but not limited to):
• The relevant coaching ratio(s) is applied (1:8 outdoors and 1:15 indoors)
• Appropriate Risk-Benefit Assessments for all equipment and activities are in place
Article provided by Eugene Minogue, CEO Parkour UK