The world is our playground
There was once a time during our early childhood when we view our surroundings as a huge unexplored playground and everything that exists within it simply acts as a tool that can be played around with. That interesting perception however slowly fades away as we grow older, but not in the case of a unique 26 year old individual I found who is called by the name Amir Hamzah. Amir may appear just like an ordinary easy-going male student from the college ASWARA as he lives his daily life enjoying the company of others around him with the same interest as him in music and photography. However, deep within his visible character actually presents an exceptional talent that enables him to do amazing things others could only do in their dreams. This talent among all of his other talents lies in the respectively young field to be found in Malaysia which is called “Parkour” and “Freerunning”.
“I am a musician, photographer, free-runner, and a stuntman. I do a little bit of everything. As far as parkour and freerunning is concerned, the world is our playground. We make creative use of anything around us, be it even tables and chairs” he said.
Parkour is an art of movement with the goal to move from one point to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. This discipline which is sometimes seen as a philosophy was created in France, in Sarcelles, Lisses and Evry by David Belle, Sebastian Foucan, and the founding members of a group of parkour practitioners called Yamakasi.
The term freerunning is sometimes used interchangeably with parkour. While parkour aims to enable the practitioner to be able to move quickly and efficiently past obstacles, freerunning has a greater emphasis on self-expression within the environment which may include acrobatic movements such as aerial rotations and spins. This part of freerunning is not considered as parkour due to the fact that such movements are merely showy, not efficient, and does not help with the participant to get from place to place.
“I’ve been doing this since 2006. Along these years, I would say that it is fairly interesting how I can easily catch the attention of a crowd and amaze others by simply doing what I do best in parkour and freerunning,” he stated.
By applying parkour and freerunning, Amir can easily overcome obstacles which appear impossible in the eyes of average human beings. Such ability allows him to easily jump off and safely land from a one storey building without any scratch left on the body. Seeing how insanely dangerous the stunts he acted actually made me held my breath a few times in fear of what might actually go wrong each time he does so. In fact, Amir understood how I felt as he replied “Many others felt that way too, but that is only because they are not familiar with what they are currently seeing thus it is only natural that their first impression towards this anomaly would be from their negative judgment but that positively changes when they further know what it is actually about.”
Amir is well-respected to be one of the few pioneers of parkour in Malaysia as he also significantly plays the highest role in spreading about parkour all over Malaysia through the coverage of mass media including news papers, magazines, broadcasting news, events, as well as television shows such as The Star, Berita Harian, The 8tv Quickie, Malaysia Hari Ini, Astro, TV3, RTM, NTV7 and quite amazingly many more. The characteristic which made him a very successful pioneer in parkour lies within his sense of humor and personality that allows people to easily have a warm conversation with him. He continues to expand the coverage towards the parkour community he had personally constructed along with his parkour practitioner friends by generating a website for the community itself at “Parkour.my” which currently has around 500 members. He also has his own personal website to help others easily know more about parkour or to directly contact him at “Axidrain.com”. People could also reach him by his Facebook as he also constructed Parkour community group for people to join.
“We had gone through quite an amazing progress in spreading the words about parkour to attract many others to join us by continuously doing events and media coverage to let others know what parkour is all about and filling them with the information on how to actually approach us for training sessions or further questions ” Amir said.
Seeing how amazing the accomplishments that have been achieved by Amir and his parkour community members in doing what they do best, another interesting part to know about would certainly be how this has affected his career and what more could he possibly aim for in the future. He said “Parkour is currently one of the most wanted services to be included in action films and advertisements. Thus I had myself involved as a stuntman in quite a number of advertisements and movies to do parkour, freerunning, and also fighting stunts as well as an addition”. Amir had got himself involve in several Malaysian high budget movies such as Cicakman 2, Jinnoti, Haq, and other high budget advertisements such as for 100 Plus, Marigold, and more.
“There are many other things that can still be achieved and should be improved for the community of parkour in Malaysia such as increasing further awareness towards this art of movement, spreading the positive values of parkour as well as to erase any kind of misinterpretation and bad judgment towards it, instilling more interest in people towards parkour, and many more other goals that can improve this community in any way possible” Amir stated.
When Amir was asked about his prediction regarding to the parkour community’s future, he replied “It is fair to say that our community’s current development has made us reach the international level in terms of parkour and freerunning, however, this is simply the stepping stone of what we are trying to achieve in the near future. I think that it is safe to say that I can see the guiding light in the end of the tunnel that will make this all possible, but I do not want to get ahead of myself and make unnecessary assumptions of what may be. Thus, I guess you will simply need to stay in tune with our further development to know more about what’s next for us and where we are heading”.
Parkour Malaysia, moving ahead.