Isn’t it a common sight for Bollywood fans, to see our favorite heroes flying from a terrace to another while chasing or dodging that annoying villain we all just hate? To illustrate, Salman Khan a.k.a. Bhai racing against a patang (Kite) in Bajrangi Bhaijaan; or Shah Rukh Khan chasing Shah Rukh Khan in FAN, or vice versa. Do I even need to mention Rajnikanth here?
Well, what if I say in reality, there actually are heroes who pull off such superhero tricks? And this heroism is called Parkour.
Mujahid Habib, India’s first ever Parkour National Champion is one well-known name in Parkour circuit. To promote Parkour in India, Mujahid formed a group in Rampur called Team Leonine. The group consists of 15 tracuers and have been training Parkour enthusiasts in three cities – Rampur, Delhi, and Dehradun.
Talking about his journey in Parkour, “When I was 8 years old, I used to go with my elder brother to learn Martial Arts. I was also interested in Gymnastics and I always loved the movements involved in both these sport,” he said. “I wanted to grow, and then one fine day while practicing with my group, a friend of mine showed us a video of Parkour and we realized that yes, this is what we want to do. And so, the rest is history.”
Where there is Parkour, there has to be a ‘Faktory’ full of ‘Chaos’. And there literally is a ‘Chaos Faktory’. Bangalore-based Parkour group named ‘Chaos Faktory’ is the first Parkour team from India to get affiliated to World Freerunning and Parkour Federation, USA.
Delson Joy D’Souza, co-founder of Chaos Faktory, just like Rampur’s Mujahid Habib, is also a fan of Jackie Chan. In order to promote Parkour in India, Chaos Faktory hold multiple indoor/outdoor jams and workshops in Karnataka. Other than this, they make Parkour videos and post them on their social media handles.
Delson shares an incident wherein Parkour saved his life, “Around 4 years ago, one night I left late from office, close to midnight. I was at a slight turn and couldn’t really spot the car on the opposite direction that was about to take the turn on my way to get inside a gate,”
“When I got too closer, I held the disk break out of sudden reflex and I flew off, hit the floor and rolled thrice. I had no idea that I had met with an accident until I stopped rolling on the floor. Luckily I had my helmet on and got only a few bruises and minor cuts. I give full credit to my Parkour training for that close shave,” he said
“In Parkour training, we practice the ‘Parkour roll’ which is the safest way to roll as it distributes the momentum and prevents one from injuries. I had practiced it numerous times. Though I did not literally end up doing a Parkour roll, but muscle memory helped me avoid a face plant and happened to do a straight body roll.” he added.
Moving on to the top edge of India’s map, Parkour is a well-known art form in Kashmir, thanks to Zahid Shah, his group Kashmir Freerunning and Parkour family. Zahid Shah, the founder, has been practicing Parkour for 5 years now.
When asked about one best thing he absolutely loves about Parkour, “We don’t compete against other people or individuals we simply compete against ourselves, and this philosophy of Parkour makes me not just a better athlete but also a better human being,” he said. “The person standing in the mirror is my only enemy, I have to be better than I was yesterday.”
Parkour has its influence in the Southern part of the country as well. Vishwa, one of the founding members of Chennai Parkour has been practicing Parkour for 11 years now. Vishwa believes the future of Parkour in India is bright and people have started recognizing the art, unlike 11 years ago when he started training.
Vishwa was fat as a kid and found himself getting rejected for all the sports. He was fat but definitely not lazy. He got to know about Parkour and since Day 1 he is in love with the art form. And now, it’s a never ending love story.
So is the case with Mozammel Haque Ahmed. According to him, Parkour has given him the purpose of life. Mozammel in 2012, founded the Assam Parkour community. Parkour in Northeast of India is rapidly growing, and hence the community has spread all across Assam to teach the Parkour enthusiasts.
Talking about what role Parkour played in his life, “Parkour has taught me to remain humble and calm. It has taught me to solve life problems just like we do in Parkour. It has improved my reflex to a whole new level. It has provided me an opportunity to meet and make friends with a lot of new people. It has given me the opportunity to choreograph and guide talented athletes. It has given me the opportunity to travel new places. Basically, it has given me the purpose of life,” says the smiling Mozammel Ahmed.
Parkour is not a greatly recognized art form among the Cricket fanatics in India but Parkour’s rapid progression across the subcontinent definitely talks about it’s bright future.
Author: Zishan Amiri
His peculiar love for words and Sachin Tendulkar got him into sports journalism. A vintage bike lover, whose introvert personality often takes him to long solo rides on his restored RX 100.