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Meet Sonam Norbu, Bhutanโ€™s first ever Parkour

By Tenzin Lhaden

Parkour is the activity or sports of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, moving, jumping, and climbing.
He learned parkour without any guidance from anyone but through YouTube. Sonam Norbu shares his journey of Parkour with Bhutan Today and his aspiration ahead.

  1. What did you do before Parkour?
    Sonam Norbu: Before I started parkour, I have been into many physical sports. During young age, I used to play football and I was also in the school team. I always use to get the best player award. And then I shifted my hobby to taekwondo. I was overwhelmed to see that the people flying over and its different techniques. So I thought I should try that as well and it used to excite me every time I practice. After that, I even started to dance. We formed a dance group named โ€œHi Druk Boysโ€. There were another dance group name Thai boys and we often use to see them as our rival and that was actually so childish. However, later we combined these two-dance groups and named One Dream Team. Most of the time when we perform, I also used to do front and back flips. Later only I realized, that I was doing the parkour my whole life and then started parkour with earnestness.
  2. Who has been your biggest supporter?
    Sonam Norbu: My biggest supporter is my sister. She still support me. I even consider her as my own mother since my parents are in village and donโ€™t know anything about parkour but they have been supporting me too, emotionally. There was no career as parkour and if you want to pursue the engineering and all, there will be many people to support you. If you are good at academic, many people tend to support you. If I said, I want to pursue parkour as my career, no one will support me instead they might think I have become mad. But my sister was always there and supported me all the time.
    Secondly Iโ€™m grateful to my circle of friends. They always believed in me and have been my big supporters and they would encourage me as well.
    Another supporter could be the audience who had been watching me do parkour from day one. Whenever they recognize me as a parkour, I get inspired and motivated to do more. These three are the main key of my support and motivation to take my passion to that level.
  3. What skill do you need to be the parkour?
    Sonam Norbu: A little bit of an acrobatic skill and agilityโ€ฆ.you need to be safe in the first place then anyone can do. Especially in my case there wasnโ€™t any professional to train me. Everything, I figured-out by myself and some through my experience. Most of the time I used to learn through Youtube and that often led to injuries. My whole body had been injured and often, my friends would tease me that my whole body is defected. Now the time is changing, we can get so many videos in YouTube and other social media sites. Now I feel like I have finished figuring out and confident enough to teach those who are interested in parkour.
    If there is someone to guide, I think we Bhutanese have lots of potential.
  4. What do you think is the hardest parkour moves?
    Sonam Norbu: Trust is really important. Once you trust yourself you can overcome any obstacles. Everything is danger in parkour but you have to trust yourself. After you trust yourself, you just need to figure out how to jump and everything comes naturally. Thus, you need to practice time and again.
  5. Which part of your body fall victim to your practice?
    Sonam Norbu: My common injury is my lower back, my knee and my ankle. One time, we planned to make one proper parkour video with the help of friends. At that time I was over confident and jump from a height without proper experience or technique and, that was when my whole body was injured. It took me two years to recover from it. I totally stopped to do parkour from that incident and I suppose, until my full recovery. Now I have healed much better.
  6. What are you planning to do now?
    Sonam Norbu: So many exciting things are coming out for me. I am getting so many offers. I have even opened the gym for parkour called self-parkour gym. Soon I will be going for the World Parkour Championship, which is happening for the first time in the world. I feel so blessed that finally my hardwork is paying off.
    Moreover, I feel that after coming back from competition, I would be more confident to teach those youths who are aspiring to be the one-PARKOUR.

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