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The extreme art of free-running

  • Published at 06:59 pm November 22nd, 2018
Wt, Vol 6, Nov 23, Pg 9
Photo: Courtesy

Parkour is a form of sport that combines climbing, jumping and running in the most efficient way possible and over-taking obstacles along the way.

Dhaka is huge, with multiple parks and gardens amidst the busy city. Parkour in Bangladesh started from one of these parks of Dhaka city, Chandrima Uddan.

Originating from military obstacle courses, parkour turned into a widely practiced sport in the Western European region. Bangladesh has seen its face through few groups of youth that practice it as a hobby, and groups like Team Xtreme who promote it professionally.

The word parkour came from the French word ‘parcours’ which translates to ‘the path’. It came from a French special forces training program called ‘parcours du combattant’ which means ‘the path of the warrior’. David Belle, the inventor of parkour named it with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘c’.

During parkour, the obstacles in your way are meant to increase your efficiency in terms of pace. The oncoming challenges are meant to obstruct, so you can strategically and instantly design your route over it using as little effort as possible to help keep you going for the longest period of time. The challenge is not only in the moves you do, but also in the stamina you reserve and efficiency with which you use your energy to help you move in the shortest period of time. 

The segment is small, but the enthusiasm levels are high, and quite a lot has been achieved. Jumping over walls, swiftly running up a wall to the top and strategically over taking obstacles—parkour is all about running and using the momentum of running to efficiently and effortlessly climb, jump and crossover. 

Team Xtreme is a parkour/martial arts based group, teaching and practicing, as well as performing in shows and films, such as, Friends Forever, Musafir and Superhero as stunt men. Apart from martial arts, they specialize in parkour moves and have been performing since 2012.

“Six of us together formed Team Xtreme in around 2012, with aims to receiving nationwide recognition. There was Iqbal Hossain, Abdul, Al Amin, Asad Khan and Abdul Mukit with us back then. We did not have a coach with us either. We practiced parkour moves from YouTube videos and consequentially started developing moves of our own with time.”

“We had a lot of injuries back then, and parkour requires lots of high and low walls for climbing and crossing, and Dhaka does not have so many places that provide opportunities to practice a lot of moves. This is why we had to switch places for practice every now and then. Mohammadpur Bodhyo Bhumi was one of those places during the beginning,” said, Asibur Rahman, Founder and Action Director of Team Xtreme. 

“Parkour came under the limelight internationally through action films. We tried to follow the trend! This is why we wanted to use our films to introduce parkour to everyone. Our achievements are mainly along the line of the movie business of Bangladesh,” he added.

He later said that a lot of girls and guys have been practicing parkour on their own. Bangladesh does not have an academy for parkour unlike our neighbours. But we have martial arts based institutions all across the city. Parkour is becoming widespread with time. New members often join the team. And we often meet new people with enthusiasm to learn the form of art. The growth and development is immense among the few who practice. And keeping that ever growing number in mind, Team Xtreme hopes to see a dedicated parkour academy in Dhaka soon.