To realize your own abilities, master your inner spirit, train the body and the mind- these are some of the benefits of the sport of Parkour. According to experts, Parkour is more than a sport – it’s a lifestyle. And it’s bringing peace and strength to both Afghan civilians and the ANDSF.
Ismail Azimi, the founder and President of the Parkour Federation in Afghanistan, explained that Parkour is a new way to interact with the environment using only our physical capabilities. Quoting Parkour’s founding figure, David Balle, Mr. Azimi shared: “Parkour is about overcoming all obstacles ahead; just like you need to when you are stuck in emergency situations.”
“The aim of parkour is to reach destinations using the most efficient, fluid, and most appropriate movements.” According to him, parkour includes running, jumping, climbing, and crawling. “Efficiency is one of the most important characteristics of parkour. It is not necessary to have the fastest movements; it requires the most direct movements done using less energy to prevent injury,” he shared.
He explained that the point of the sport was to help people learn to rely on their mental and physical abilities in various circumstances. That’s why there aren’t any tournaments and rankings of athletes in this sport; they practice for themselves, not to prove their superiority.
Even the ANDSF is finding benefits from Parkour. Mr. Azimi shared that the National Federation of Parkour is helping ANDSF soldiers and officers to creatively prepare for their duties. He stated:
“One of the objectives of creating Parkour military exercises in Afghanistan is to serve the country's security forces and help them in their fight against terrorism.”
According to him, the Federation has started Parkour military exercises in Balkh province and is in contact with other Corps officials as well. The idea is to share the principals of Parkour to help ANDSF soldiers and officers learn efficient, flowing athletic movements that may help them in combat. “We have planned to send Parkour trainers in coordination with Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior to deferent military organizations to prepare them in combat against terror,” Azimi explained.
He elaborated on the greater life lessons that can be learned by anyone through Parkour. He explained that the art of leaving behind obstacles by challenging yourself helps “traceurs” (those who practice Parkour) cope better with daily challenges. Azimi explained that when an obstacle or a difficult situation occurs in our lives, we can use the principals of Parkour to quickly, and efficiently, overcome without changing direction, or deviated from our intended path.
Azimi also sees Parkour as a way for Afghan youth to show the world a positive movement in the country.
The president of the Parkour Federation shared another benefit of the sport – simplicity. “Parkour doesn’t require stadiums, or any special equipment. Traceurs usually wear comfortable sportswear or ordinary lightweight clothing, and the only thing that is recommended is an athletic shoe with good traction.”
Halaha Amiri, a female trainer of Parkour, added that males and females are equal in sports. “Women can take part in national pride alongside her brothers, and Parkour is a suitable option for this. With Parkour, women will be able to be aware of their abilities and enjoy their life.”
Azimi encouraged the readers of Sada-e-Azidi to try Parkour:
“Since 2010, when we registered Parkour as federation, we’ve registered 6,000 Parkour practitioners. I encourage all young people - especially ANDSF soldiers - to learn and practice Parkour. Even if you don’t want to perform the acrobatic moves, it does not matter. What is more important is to enjoy the learning process, and evolve. To not suffer, but to survive and thrive.”