What is Parkour?

USPK Definition of Parkour

USPK defines parkour as ‘a physical movement discipline in which practitioners train their bodies to overcome both physical and mental obstacles in a variety of environments either in general for recreation or in competitive sport parkour.  Practitioners train to develop adaptability, creativity, and grit while responsibly assessing risks and striving to complete challenges.’

About Parkour: Spirit of Practice

Your World, Your Playground (No Rules)

Challenge Driven


Personal Responsibility

Civic Participation

Community Collaboration

Environmental Stewardship

Parkour is also often identified as a philosophy. Despite being known for its physical feats, in parkour, the mental aspect is just as important as the physical side, and its applications to other “real life” problem sets are endless. Fear is a normal part of parkour; beginners and professionals alike experience it daily when training. But fear’s paralyzing effects can be deadly when not committing fully to a jump or a movement when environmental risk is involved. Learning to conquer that fear is where parkour’s philosophy can help people overcome not just physical obstacles, but mental ones as well. Just as practitioners break down larger, complex movements into smaller pieces when practicing parkour, it is important to break mental challenges down into smaller, manageable pieces that enable one to overcome fear and quiet one’s mind. Tackling smaller problems initially enables the practitioner to build confidence to take on larger challenges, and repetition of this process builds a stronger mind and body over time.  

Parkour at its root is traditionally practiced outdoors in a variety of environments. In the U.S. this has led to unique challenges because of a relatively litigious society and U.S. laws around trespassing and health care. This means insurance plays an outsized role in the parkour community in the US compared to our international counterparts. In response, the US parkour community has more gyms than any other nation to avoid suit over injury, trespassing, etc. This has also had a unique impact on how parkour athletes train in the US, allowing for modular possibilities and shaping the competition space, which has mostly been conducted in indoor gyms to date. Parkour, like surfing, skateboarding, and many other action sports is primarily recreational, but has and is developing avenues for competition. However, in its original philosophy parkour is a competition with one’s self, aiming to expand personal limitations.