PARKOUR: JOURNEY OF MY PASSION
Around nearly two years ago, I was obsessively into the art of making weapons. And at the same period, I was also addicted to indoor wall climbing. So how do these two relate to what I’m doing now? Let me start with the weapons making part. I started making weapons out of household materials since I was form 3 in 2009. I ain’t gonna go into what types of weapons I’m making. But I was making this thing, a Japanese shuriken out of chopsticks. On the 15th of June 2011, While searching for a tutorial on YouTube, I came across this video by the name of Urban Ninjas. Like all people I instinctively thought it was a video on how ninjas adapt to urban settings like in the city. And so I clicked it. It was literally love at first sight. What I saw (unfortunately with the lowest quality there is, as though the video was filmed using a potato) a bunch of guys doing flips and jumping over things. Sounds easy? Hell no. These guys are jumping off rooftops from one to another and flipping at the same time at heights up to more than 5 meters. That was what amazed me. As for the wall climbing part, that time I was so crazy about it I climbed my school’s pipe up to three stories high, high enough to climb on the school roof. Little did I know that what I just did was also called parkour.
After watching the video, I then proceed to taking out my mattress, lay it out in the middle of my room, and did my first ever backflip. What can I say? I’m a badass just by watching a video and doing exactly what they did. I didn’t get far though. The first half of the rotation went as expected, then for the other half; I have no idea what happened. Everything happened so fast and I couldn’t see my where I landed. The next thing I knew was that I landed on the concrete and my knee hurts like hell from smashing it into the corner of my table. The pain lasted for a couple of days. But that didn’t stop me. Ever since that faithful day, 15th June 2011, I googled and YouTube-ed so many things about parkour. Pictures, videos, movies, songs, books, articles, just about anything! The thirst for parkour knowledge intensified day by day.
Thankful for my previous Wushu training during my childhood, most of the movements I could achieve them with merely few tries or just the first try. But as time progresses, the basics which I trained so much was starting to take the fun out of my training. I then proceed to training flips. A new challenge, new concepts, new theories and completely new movements. A month passed and I finally managed to do a front flip properly. I had the opportunity of learning it from the 3RUN Webster tutorial and my brother’s big and soft bed. Few more months passed as I continued my beginner’s training when I met with the best parkour teacher ever. Sabree. I was asking on Facebook if anybody wanted to train with me the other day because all these while I trained alone. Sabree took the initiative to come to the playground near my house where I usually train to come and train with me. So I sat there, waiting for 20 minutes for Sabree to come. I’ve almost given up hope and convince myself he won’t come when I heard my name being called. I turned. Guess who I saw? My granddad! Nah I’m just kidding. It’s Sabree! The legendary parkour practitioner in Malaysia! After his warm up, he asked me what I can do and I showed him. He taught me the correct movements and even new movements. With his superb guidance, I successfully learnt sideflip within 15 minutes.
Even since my first encounter with Sabree the master, I had trainings with the Seremban gang (Seremban is my hometown), meeting other traceurs for the first time along with Sabree as our tutor. The Seremban Traceurs are Hafizi, Afiq Amon, Kershan, Azriel , and Iskandar. With each passing training sessions each of us grew stronger from not only our trainings, but the motivations, encouragements and challenges we gave to each other. Our group expanded as more and more people joined. But soon the time came for me to head for college, INTI International University. Which means I probably won’t be training as often as usual since I’m staying at the university hostel. But that didn’t stop me from training. Even though I live in INTI and there wasn’t anyone training parkour, I went back to training alone. On my very first day of training alone, a friendly African by the name of Gaspar Ndong passed by and asked what I was doing. I told him that it’s parkour and he asked me to wait for him. 20 minutes later he came back with sports attire and we started sharing our experiences and stories through movements. It wasn’t long when people started to gather around to see us flipping and jumping here and there.
Few training sessions went by and one by one, few by few, some people started to join parkour, joining the movement and joining the passion. I had the idea of creating a group for us but I thought again, instead of creating a new group which competes with other existing group, why not create a branch of a successful existing group? That way we can expand the circle of traceurs under one group right? So I approached Marcus Lim, the previous head for Parkour4Life in HELP University for his permission. After several discussions, the plan was confirmed. Parkour4Life INTI will be under Adventure Club in INTI International University in Nilai. With that done, people starting to recognize us as a group and as a team. We even had several invitations to perform for several events. All went well and our trainings went better and better. Soon the time came for Marcus and his team to come to INTI to try out INTI’s environment. Unfortunately I was having a fever at that time; hence I was unable to fully train. Marcus, Afiq and Yuva were the ones who came. So we trained and we trained at different spots. There was a scary moment when Marcus was scaling up a wall and then he dropped down, holding his right shoulder and then lying on the ground. I remember he had Yuva to twist his shoulder back which he then explained that he dislocated it before. The scary moment passed and we even head to the roof which the access to it was miraculously open! Gaspar also joined in much later but only stayed for about half an hour before moving on. Later on it was to Owen and Friends where we had our dinner and exchanging our ideas and opinions over dinner. Marcus gave me the Parkour4Life shirt before dinner and honestly, I was speechless because it was my first ever parkour shirt. It was my favorite shirt. I thanked him and Afiq and Yuva before heading back to the campus after waving them goodbye. I was lost in my own thoughts while heading back to my room. They were the real parkour practitioners who practiced the real deal. I must be like them. From that faithful day onwards, I vowed to train harder to be as good as they are.
Months went by without any more unusual occasions besides having to find new spots around the campus to train. There was a time when I went to the Hari Belie with Kershan to go for the small parkour jam. But we were late and we missed the jam and so we went to join the Sasuke Malaysia obstacle course. I had the greatest opportunity to meet Farid ‘Cat’ Isham whom from his videos and his admirers, the strongest Traceur in Malaysia and also apparently the oldest. We also met Sabree again along the way. I finish about three quarters of the course before failing at my second try. Still, I’m gonna train harder for the next Sasuke Malaysia! Later on I have few friends who joined parkour. Sam, Wong, Asher, Aidan, Johnson and not to mention Nik. Why Nik? Cuz he was the guy who has the fastest progression among all of us. Asher soon graduated from college as his course ended while Aidan went more focused on his studies. So it was only the few of us who continued parkour. We trained harder and harder every session. Falling down after failures and getting back up after encouragements from others and self determinations. We were like a family, constantly helping out each other and having fun at the same time. When the year end approaches, the time for parkour jam has come. Only me, Gaspar, Wong and Nik managed to go to the jam. Me and Gaspar carpooled with my master, Sabree and the Seremban gang, Hafizi and Kershan and few more guys whom I have not met before. The jam was sick as there were so many different people with different skills there. We learnt so much there, made so many new friends and had so much awesome memories there. It was really an honor to meet people like Edward from Penang and Carmen from KL after meeting only on Facebook. Singaporeans were basically Asian Russians. I also had the opportunity to meet Farid ‘Cat’ Isham again which I met him before at the Sasuke Malaysia obstacle course and also Abudi, known as the best free runner in Malaysia.
We basically obtained so many skills, or as Qayyim called it, ‘cheat codes’ after the jam by learning them from other movement athletes. We all learn so many moves after the jam. What’s more, Parkour4Life INTI has grown to such a big group now. From the group of 2 to the group of nearing 20! There was also a time when the hostel management was trying to change old mattresses to new ones. So we made use of the old mattresses as a make shift mini gym for us to practice flips on. But alas, the mattresses were taken away and now we have to train back the old way. Well, since parkour is a dangerous art, no doubt there are injuries right? In Parkour4Life INTI we rate our injuries with the level of education such as we call it a UPSR (Primary school major exam) certificate for scratches and bruises while sprains we call it PMR (High school major exam) certificates. One of us got a university PHD level. Who is he? Nik. How did he get it? He got his elbow dislocated and was unable to attend training for few weeks. But the weeks have passed, Nik has attended physiotherapy sessions and is now back in training.
So now you, reader, has caught up to my present time of the parkour journey in my life. To summarize what I have learnt throughout this journey, parkour has helped me express my creativity and freedom through movement. Parkour has taught me to be cautious, think before we act as well as gaining confidence in overcoming obstacles and enjoying the victorious moments to achieving something. I just love parkour. Why? Because it has become my way of life, the journey of my passion. Parkour for life!
Cheers! God Speed! Train hard, train safe and train smart!