BEFORE Abudi Alsagoff, 22 knew what parkour was, he was a nerd who spent most of his time indoors. All his free time was spent reading manga, watching anime, playing online games and hanging out with friends.
But all that changed when his friend showed him a parkour video on YouTube and introduced him to the sport in 2007. Abudi became the champion of the Indo Freerun Championship 2011, which featured freerunners from all over Asia. He is now gearing towards representing the region at the World Freerun Championships which will be held in the United States later this year.
One of the pioneers of parkour in Malaysia, Abudi formed a parkour group called Alpha Movements in 2012.
“My friend and I started practising parkour six years ago, and I met other friends (who are now part of Alpha Movements) through parkour gatherings and training sessions,” said Abudi who is a final-year computer and electronics engineering student at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
What first started off as a hobby is now a possible career choice for Abudi as he has been getting offers to do parkour in commercials, roadshows and movies.
“We have been in demand lately, and I am earning enough to cover my college expenses,” added Abudi, who trains six to eight hours a week regardless of rain or shine.
While most of us would have the fear of jumping from a certain height or across objects, Abudi explained that fear always exists when trying something new.
“(Trying) new moves or just jumping in a new place scares me but it (the fear) is there because your body tells you to take notice of it.
“That’s why you have to pay attention to what is around you, and that’s how you learn to conquer fear,” said Abudi.
He mentioned that parkour helped improve his mental awareness and be more wary of his environment.
“The whole idea of parkour is to reach the other place in the fastest time possible and, when you are running, you have to react fast.”
Although many people may associate parkour with injury, Abudi mentioned that he has only suffered ankle sprains in the many years that he’s been pursuing this sport.
He said: “People think parkour is dangerous but it is actually not, if you are careful and train with friends.”
Abudi’s parents are supportive of his career choice, although they were initially not.
“At first, they were sceptical as there are the risks involved in parkour but as time passed and I am fine (with no major injuries), they are now supportive of it,” said Abudi.
“In fact, they are happy because they always know my whereabouts and what I’m up to.”