In an effort to drum up more local interest in parkour, two Doha-based teenagers recently created a video while running and performing stunts around parks and abandoned buildings in Qatar.
The video, titled “Qatari Movement,” was produced by British expats 18-year-old Jake Couper and 17-year-old Azan Ahmed.
It shows Ahmed running, jumping, climbing, rolling and vaulting over staircases, building roofs, and other architectural obstacles.
The duo tout themselves as Qatar’s first local parkour performers, and host a club at their school – Doha College, where they teach others how to navigate contemporary spaces with agility, ease, and artistry.
In an email to Doha News, the teens said that they were initially drawn to the activity because of the adrenaline rush. Couper said:
“Parkour drew me in just because the death-defying dives and jumps looked cool. However as I progressed both mentally and physically in the sport I realised it was one of the truest forms of expressions available. Every move became your own, every obstacle is yours to interpret, in many ways it is poetry in motion.”
Parkour, derived from the French term “parcours du combattant,” originated from obstacle course training in the military. Founded by French actor and stunt coordinator David Belle, parkour encourages adaptation, creativity, and freedom in urban areas.
Generally, those partaking in the sport try to get from A to B in the most efficient way possible, using the momentum generated by their bodies and surroundings.
The video was filmed in Aspire Park, Jnan Gardens and abandoned compounds around Doha.
Ahmed said preparation involved both physical and mental challenges, especially because he was fasting while doing some of the stunts. He continued:
“Physically, I always warm up with a few standing jumps and some running, followed by…stretching (for) maximum flexibility…
I also improve my core strength by engaging in pushups, pullups and ab exercises in order for me to clear greater distances faster. (As) vaults, jumps and wall climbs are the most essential parts of Parkour training, I try to increase the height of my jump or the speed of my vault each time…
The mental aspect of training is just as important. I never do any Parkour without knowing in my mind I can complete the moves 100%, without the deep breaths and mental preparation.”
The expats added that they practiced all their movements in gyms and other controlled environments, before attempting them outside, to ensure that they were safe and manageable.
Parkour appears to gaining an audience in Qatar. This year, The Urban Playground Team drew crowds at Souq Waqif when it combined parkour with dance in an act called “performance-parkour.”
Additionally, Couper and Ahmed performed parkour at the annual Run The World Festival hosted by local organization The Youth Company.
And a YouTube search has yielded other parkour enthusiasts in Doha, including 21-year-old Semo (warning: profanity is used at the end), who like Couper and Ahmed, is filmed vaulting, jumping, and climbing obstacles around Qatar.
Other who want to get involved can approach their local gymnasiums here, or check out videos online for inspiration, the teens said.