Contributed by Saya Ameli
Anyone may see an ordinary swing set and have one action that comes to mind, but for senior Saya Ameli Hajebi, it’s a brainstorm of thoughts as to how she can dive through the chains.
Parkour is a movement discipline focused on learning how to use your environment creatively and overcome mental and physical obstacles. Common movements include jumping, climbing, running and flipping, often in an ordinary environment. Hajebi benefits in many ways from her passionate involvement in parkour.
Hajebi has been training in parkour for over five years. She practices up to six times per week and has recently been certified as a parkour instructor. On top of knowing front and side flips as part of her training, Hajebi is currently learning a Kong Front, a move that involves vaulting over a box and using your momentum to flip over it immediately.
Hajebi has found the unique physical benefits of parkour extremely rewarding.
“We have lost functionality in many of our muscles due to daily activities like sitting for hours on end. Parkour activates every part of our consciousness along with our muscles and strengthens joints,” Hajebi said. “While most sports lead to injury, parkour, if practiced correctly, can lead your body down a long lasting functional path.”
Parkour has not only developed her body strength, but boosted her self confidence as well.
“I’ve become much more confident. When I started I was the only girl showing up and training with a bunch of guys who weren’t always cognizant of the gender gap in the sport, but I stuck with it, doing what I loved and eventually got certified as a parkour instructor,” Hajebi said.
Senior Soeren Euvrard, a friend of Hajebi, says parkour has made a visible impact in her life.
“Ever since she started jumping over stuff she’s been into making a difference,” Euvrard said. “She can out-bench me. And she has good stamina too.”
Something special about parkour is that you can do it in many different locations. Hajebi uses this aspect to expand her creativity and skills within the sport.
“We don’t really get attached to gyms. The world is our playground,” Hajebi said. “I show up to a new spot, look around and find how I can jump or flip over things in a new way most people wouldn’t think of.”
Senior Teo Ruffini, another friend of Hajebi, said the sport is very accessible as you can do it anywhere.
“Parkour normally helps her achieve physical health, but it also allows her to find a place to do a sport which she can access everywhere,” Ruffini said.
For Hajebi, one of the most important factors in driving her motivation is the group of people who she trains with.
“I love training with the Boston community,” Hajebi said. “Everyone is kind and thoughtful, always encouraging me to push my limits and keep going even when it’s 10 degrees Fahrenheit and warm-up is two hours long.”