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Divyata Lalit Raut
The New Paper
Monday, Jun 20, 2016
Ms Nasita Nasrul has always tried to challenge her limits, whether in life or sports.
An avid fan of action movies, the 23-year-old Singaporean mother of two watched parkour-centric crime thriller Brick Mansions last year - and it changed her life.
The drama-packed sequences made an impression on the freelance artist to the point where she asked herself: "Why have I never seen a movie with girls doing parkour?"
Ms Nasita, who has taken part in dance contests before, decided to watch parkour-related YouTube videos and trained by using existing obstacles in Singapore.
Her supportive group of friends referred her to local parkour academy Superfly Monkey Dragons, where she trained for about a year while taking on freelance jobs such as teaching children drama at various companies.
Ms Nasita, has two daughters, aged two and three, with her 25-year-old freelance artist husband, whom she met during her Info-Communications Technology studies at the Institute of Technical Education College Central.
Due to the pressure of juggling work, training and family life, she stopped training with Superfly Monkey Dragons, but she watched their practice sessions whenever she had the time.
Unable to stay away from her passion, she signed up for this year's SHINE Festival.
This is an annual National Youth Council-organised event in partnership with *SCAPE, where young people can congregate, connect and celebrate their talents and aspirations on a national platform, in conjunction with Youth month next month.
As part of the 11th edition, 96 selected youngsters will have the chance to experience a first-of-its-kind integrated SHINE x *SCAPE Talent Development Programme.
It has five pillars: Music & Dance, Pop Culture, Urban Art, Interactive Media and Urban Sports.
Participants will get to hone their skills through direct collaborations and guidance from established industry experts.
After seeing Ms Nasita's previous parkour stints, SHINE Festival's committee picked her to be a student trainee for the Urban Sports pillar alongside 10 others.
Their mentor is local professional parkour pioneer Ashton Law, founder of Ashton Movements Agency.
From July 1 to 3, those in the programme will be sharing the stage with Ashton Movement Agency and showcasing their parkour skills along Orchard Road.
Ms Nasita said she joined the SHINE Festival because she loves challenging her limits.
"Fear is just in the mind," she told The New Paper. "You have to challenge yourself... At some point in their lives, everyone has done parkour without knowing it."
She said that being a woman in the field comes with its own set of challenges as "girls only have a certain amount of endurance" and it is"hard keeping up".
This is why she physically and mentally prepares herself before executing any stunt.
"So far I have not received nasty comments (from guys) and they have been really supportive," she said with a smile.
Her life's goal is to open a parkour company to coach others.
Although Mr Law, 30, believes that both sexes "have the same strength", he admitted that "not a single girl" has enrolled in his company, which now has eight male students.
He said: "Perhaps we need a female leader to start conducting lessons. This may get more girls to join parkour. Nasita, a mother of two, still comes for training and I respect that."
One of the other female students under the Urban Sports pillar is Miss Siti Rabi'ah Yazid, a 19-year-old student.
She said: "You can't just learn (parkour) from YouTube because a connection is important. That's why it's better to learn directly from these practitioners."
Miss Nurasyikeen Nahadi, an 18-year-old student, added that SHINE Festival is providing one of the rare opportunities for girls and women to take up such a male-dominated sport.
"If they (boys) can do it, I can do it too," she said.