Parkour “LevelUp” Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)

** Disclaimer** Parkour is an art form, but also a discipline. This leveling and ranking system is designed primarily so we make sure you learn all the basics and foundations that you will need to incorporate to turn Parkour training as your new fitness lifestyle. We do not claim that our ranking system translates into mastery of Parkour, but rather to ensure we are training you safely and at your level when you are in the gym. As a truly passionate parkour practitioner (traceur) you should never feel like you have learned all there is!

What is Leveling/Ranking?
LevelUp is our system of teaching and training, and even certifying, parkour practitioners. We have four wristband “levels”: White, Green, Red, and Black. After you complete your Intro class (a one-time class), you receive a White Wristband, at which point you are eligible to take all our “White Wristband” parkour classes. There are age restrictions for some classes, but we offer classes for each category multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day (check our class schedules on the menu at the top of the page to see a detailed listing of classes).

For the vast majority of people, after several months of training (typically 6-12 months), students can test to reach the next rank, Green Wristband.
You can learn more about the actual requirements for each level by visiting our Parkour Level Up page.

Why should I bother with this?
A few reasons: First, we require it for everyone to train at Urban Evolution. But also: it helps you keep track of your own progress and understand what sorts of things are important to train. It also gives the staff and instructors a handy short-hand for summing up your experience level at a glance. And finally, if you get your Green band, you can participate in Open Gym, and you can even apply to become an Assistant Instructor!

When can I test?
White to Green – At least 1 month of training since the Intro, with 2-3 visits to the gym per week in Parkour Basics (12 visits at a minimum).
Green to Red – At least 4 months of training since the Intro, with 2-3 visits to the gym per week in that timeframe (30 visits at a minimum).
Red to Black – At least 12 months of training since the Intro, with 2-3 visits to the gym per week in that timeframe (100 visits at a minimum) When can I test?
You can take multiple classes for the evening but each evening counts as visit.

Student has at least 1 month of training since the intro class with 2-3 gym visits per week (12 visits at a minimum). Student must attend a minimum of 12 classes before attempting the Green Band test.  Please note, this does not necessarily mean you areready to test after 12 visits.  It means you are eligible.  If you rush into the test after 12 visits even though you still don’t know the material, you’re wasting our time and yours.  Remember that our tests are voluntary.  If you’re not sure if you’re ready…then you’re not.  Keep practicing!

Kids Ages 9-14: Before you can test, you must first complete an instructor petition:
Obtain the SIGNATURE CARD from the front desk. Approach two instructors for review. The instructors will ask you to demonstrate random techniques from the list below. If BOTH instructors approve your skills and believe that you listen well enough to practice open gym in a safe and responsible manner, then he or she will sign your card, and you may schedule your Green Wristband Test. If the instructor does not approve, you must then go home, review the material, and attempt to get the very same instructor’s approval at a later date.

Members & Punch Card Holders: The first test is free ($40 for non-members), and $40 per test for the second and subsequent attempts for everyone. All tests are by appointment (no walk-ins!) and only after receiving confirmation of an appointment by emailing info@urbanevo.com.

Non-Members: If you wish to only do open gym without taking classes, there is a $40 test fee which we will apply to your Open Gym membership if you pass the test. If you do not pass the test, sorry…your money is ours now. But just because you have a black belt in strip-mall taekwondo, you’re a gymnast, someone called you to try out for Ninja Warrior, or your child “is a monkey” does NOT mean you (or they) are just going to breeze through a very technical and formal exam. We love it when people sail through our tests. We hate it when we spend our free time watching someone with a too-high opinion of themselves utterly fail at a test where we publish exactly what is expected of them in order to pass right here on this website.

 

How many levels are there to this?
There are 4 levels (identified by colored bands) of Parkour skills.

White Band – You’ve finished the Intro and starting to work on individual techniques (ask for a leveling checklist if you don’t have one already) from our Parkour curriculum. This is also available online on our website at www.urbanevo.com/levelup.

Green Band – You will earn a green band when you demonstrate (request an assessment via email: info@urbanevo.com) that you’re capable of demonstrating the individual techniques on the checklist with proper form. Your new goal is to chain moves together fluidly and smoothly. When you’re ready to demonstrate chains and combinations of moves, you’ll move on to the ranks of red. You can also participate in unsupervised open gym. Don’t abuse it.

Red Band – Look at you, you ninja! You think you’ve got it all covered, do you? Red means you’re starting to work at an advanced level. Your primary goals are smoothness, power, efficiency, creativity, and…your own goals. At this level, you should start to be a voice in the Parkour community, you might be organizing jams, you should be able to demonstrate and teach moves upon demand, and you might try producing and editing videos, as well. Your training should shift towards being self-directed, with less classroom learning and more experimentation, especially outside the gym!

Black band – Elite. You might participate in and win American Ninja Warrior, if you have time outside your busy schedule of teaching rolls with proper form, making videos in former Soviet republics, holding one-armed-handstands atop tall buildings, and fending off Olivia Munn. Your training is largely self-directed; your YouTube channel has over 100,000 subscribers, you have several signature moves you’ve invented that contain your name and the word “bomb,” and you come to the gym to get exposure to other people, to set up and solve problems, or create new and novel techniques! Congratulations: you have reached the first level…your training is just beginning.

Does this ranking apply to kids?
Yes, it applies to kids ages 9 and up. The same wrist bands colors and skills requirements will apply to 9-11 year-olds and 12-14 year-olds. There are no rankings for kids ages 6-8  yr old (Nano-pk).. They can graduate to the regular kids’ class (9-11 and up) and enter the White Band (and higher) system then.

Kids Ages 9-14: Before you can test, you must first complete an instructor petition:
Obtain the SIGNATURE CARD from the front desk. Approach two instructors for review. The instructors will ask you to demonstrate random techniques from the list below. If BOTH instructors approve your skills and believe that you listen well enough to practice open gym in a safe and responsible manner, then he or she will sign your card, and you may schedule your Green Wristband Test. If the instructor does not approve, you must then go home, review the material, and attempt to get the very same instructor’s approval at a later date.

How do I test from one rank to the next?
 Email us to schedule an appointment to test when you’re ready. It typically takes a week to schedule your test, because we have to schedule three senior instructors for the test. So please…if you’re not ready, don’t bother us. One of our least favorite things is trying to schedule an additional three instructors to be in the gym for 1-2 hours, only to watch someone who hasn’t prepared at all go through the motions of the test (poorly).

In order to test, you must have at least 1 month of training since the intro class with 2-3 gym visits per week (12 visits at a minimum). Student must attend a minimum of 12 classes before attempting the Green Band test.  Please note, this does not necessarily mean you areready to test after 12 visits.  It means you are eligible.  If you rush into the test after 12 visits even though you still don’t know the material, you’re wasting our time and yours.  Remember that our tests are voluntary.  If you’re not sure if you’re ready…then you’re not.  Keep practicing!

Kids Ages 9-14: Before you can test, you must first complete an instructor petition:
Obtain the SIGNATURE CARD from the front desk. Approach two instructors for review. The instructors will ask you to demonstrate random techniques from the list below. If BOTH instructors approve your skills and believe that you listen well enough to practice open gym in a safe and responsible manner, then he or she will sign your card, and you may schedule your Green Wristband Test. If the instructor does not approve, you must then go home, review the material, and attempt to get the very same instructor’s approval at a later date.

Meh, failed my first testing attempt for a green band, but I'm feeling better about this next attempt. How long do I have to wait until I test again if I’ve failed once?
We understand the excitement to get to that next level in your training. If you failed the first test, you must wait a month (30 calendar days) before you can test again. Spend that time preparing, and you’ll be amply rewarded. There’s no fee to test for members. Non-members / self-trained practitioners can test for $30. If you schedule a test and then don’t show up, we charge you $30 because our instructors will be staying in late when they’d rather be home playing XBox. So if you can’t make it for a scheduled test, please give us at least 24 hours notice…or you will pay.

Wait, so like does this also apply to other movements like Breakdancing, Freerunning, UrbanFit, Aerials, etc?
Yes. Each of our program areas now also has their own LevelUp system of training.

Why did you guys do this? I thought Parkour was supposed to be about freedom and letting people do what they want whenever they want. *sob*
Having a structured program doesn’t prevent you from having freedom. We focus on teaching the basics first so that anyone who graduates into the ranks of Green Band can be trusted to do open gym and more advanced moves safely, and has a strong and broad foundation of skills, strength, agility, and BAILS to assist them in their training.

Instituting this system has cut our injury rate by over 90% and increased our retention rate as well. It’s also helped us define progressions and even institute a certification system.

If you read all this and your immediate reaction is “Pfff. This sounds lame and shouldn’t apply to me,” then guess what? You’re exactly who this program is for. You just don’t know it yet.

How will this affect my Parkour Training?
It should really only help you define it better! Instead of a vague sort of “I want to learn parkour” goal, you should now have a better idea of concrete and discrete steps for how to progress.

I am an experienced Parkour practitioner who has been training for more than a year. How will you decide what my level is?
You’ll need to test for it, just like everyone else!

How does the test itself work?
A committee of three instructors will review your progress at a scheduled test session. Green band tests take roughly 45 minutes per person; if there are two people scheduled to test together, you may be looking at a test that runs over an hour. Red band tests take about an hour; we do not schedule more than one person for red band at a time. Schedule a test by emailing info@urbanevo.com.

I don’t know about this ranking system. I’m just here to try out Parkour for fun. Can I opt out?
Sorry, but no. A wrist band on your wrist really shouldn’t impact how much fun you have. On the other hand, keeping our students safe and training properly is something we’re very concerned about and take very seriously.

There are definitely people who oppose any sort of system of structure or progression. To those people, we’d like to point out that this is not a hierarchy, and the people who have advanced further in their training are not better human beings than anyone else. They just have more practice with Parkour; that’s all. It’s a system of structuring knowledge and progress, and a (very successful!) way of making sure we turn out very well-rounded athletes who are strong, far less susceptible to injury, and able to take control of their own training very quickly.

Can I test directly into red (or black) because I’m so awesome?
No. You must test and pass each of the precursor levels before you can go right into the red test or black test.

Is there a checklist for the ranking?
How do you decide I am ready for the next level?
We don’t. You will. If we do, it’s because you’ve been sitting around too long without testing, and the instructors will be asking things like, “Why are you still a white band?” Consider this our not-so-subtle hint to get off your butt and get moving.

But Parkour is all about individual freedom? Why this color ranking? Can’t life be simple?
Life isn’t simple, and neither is Parkour. Just ask David Belle and Sebastian Foucan how long it took for them to agree that flips were fun. And they weren’t trying to teach in any sort of organized way, or trying to run the best place to learn Parkour on the planet.

What if I’m still a white wristband after training for 6 months, and I still feel like I am not ready?
You probably are. It certainly never hurts to test and see! Don’t worry so much; we’re rooting for you, too 🙂

What if I lose my wristband?
The first wristband is free. Replacement wristbands are $5 each. Don’t throw them away. Take care of your wrist band, and it will take care of you.

Is the sky the limit? My goal is to be the ultimate traceur there is.
There is no end to your training. Attaining your black band is no mean feat, but it also is not the end of the road. It’s the beginning of another road entirely. You may take your training above and beyond what we offer at any time you choose. If you learn to levitate, please teach us as well.

How often can I test out for the next level?
You can test once every 30 calendar days. No more frequently than that; you don’t want to be a pain in our butts, do you?
There’s no fee to test for members. Non-members / self-trained practitioners can test for $30. If you schedule a test and then don’t show up, we charge you $30 because our instructors will be staying in late when they’d rather be home playing XBox. So if you can’t make it for a scheduled test, please give us at least 24 hours notice…or you will pay.
Schedule your test by sending an email to info@urbanevo.com!

How much will testing cost?
There’s no fee to test for members. Non-members / self-trained practitioners can test for $30. If you schedule a test and then don’t show up, we charge you $30 because our instructors will be staying in late when they’d rather be home playing XBox. So if you can’t make it for a scheduled test, please give us at least 24 hours notice…or you will pay.

How will you schedule my assessment for the next level?
We’re not scheduling anything for you. You need to schedule your own testing. You’re a big boy or girl now. Your mom will be proud if you show up on time. E-mail info@urbanevo.com to schedule your test!

Is there such a thing as a downgrade or demotion?
Yes. We’ve had to demote people from time to time. If you’re away from the gym for an extended period of time, and your Parkour skills suffer the ravages of disuse, then you might wind up training at a lower level from when you left. But skills and techniques tend to come back quickly when you train, so don’t get disillusioned! You’ll be back where you were before you left in no time.

I’m as good as it gets and I have all the wristband colors you had to offer. What now?
Really? At this point, if you’re still lost, then there’s no helping you. You don’t go to a martial arts studio just to earn a black belt; you shouldn’t be only trying to earn ranks when you go to a Parkour studio, either. Also, you might want to stop playing video games so much. Not entirely; just cut back a little, that’s all.

Dude, I had like the red wristband and then I started traveling (or got hurt, lost interest, took time off), and after a year of irregular parkour I am ready to come back. Do I get to keep my wrist band?
You can keep the wrist band, but if an instructor says you need to brush up, then you might find yourself with a different color band until you test again.

Will I be able to use the wristband at other gyms?
Yes, the same ranking system is consistent across any and all Urban Evolutions, but it possibly won’t be recognized at some other (lesser) Parkour gyms that are not part of the Urban Evolution system. Just so you know.

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