Pakistan native Asim Khan is more than a freerunner: he is a teacher, a fighter, and above all, a survivor. As a child, he lived through the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, a catastrophic event that killed over 80,000 people and left over 4 million homeless.
His brush with death inspired him to live life to the fullest, to accomplish all that he can with the little time he’s given. Over the course of his career in sports, he has won medals in national taekwondo competitions, trained hundreds of future fighters, and acted as a stuntman in numerous Pakistani commercials.
But his true passion is parkour, a sport that is neither safe nor profitable, yet he does it out of sheer love for the art form.
2005: Asim Khan Survives the Kashmir Earthquake
Asim Khan lost several family members to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, including one brother and two sisters. “I was under a shelter, surrounded by dead bodies. Three of my siblings were lying dead in front of me,” he said. “I have seen death very closely, but luckily, I am one of the survivors.”
Having endured such a traumatic incident, Asim could have easily adopted a pessimistic perspective on life. However, he used his precocious knowledge of death to his advantage: he realized that life is fleeting, and he therefore has a duty to make the most of it. Using this philosophy as a guiding light, he has followed his passions in spite of discouragement from those around him.
What Makes Asim Khan an Everyday Hero?
Many would not call the performance of life-threatening stunts heroic in and of itself, but Asim’s heroism runs deeper than his hobby. He is a hero because of his unwavering passion in the face of criticism, as well as his rare ability to turn negative circumstances into positives. As a fitness instructor at a local school, he is able to impart his wisdom upon a future generation of heroes.
“This is the lesson I have learned,” Asim noted. “No matter what, never stop running. The faster you go, the more that will go against you… But one day, you’ll achieve what you want. Just remember one thing: never stop chasing your dreams.”
Asim’s dedication to parkour has inspired others to take up freerunning. While the sport is still far from being mainstream in Pakistan, Asim has managed to assemble a crew of like-minded freerunners who teach and learn from each other.
His local crew currently contains about 20 members, though they have established connections with other parkour crews all over Pakistan. “If there’s a gig that requires 80 people, we can get 80 people,” Asim said.
Asim Khan on Heroism
Having lived through so much in such a short time on Earth, Asim has garnered plenty of wisdom, particularly with regards to heroism.
When asked to define the word hero, he said, “A hero is someone who works not only for himself, but for the betterment of society, someone who cares about others more than himself… that is a hero.”
As for whether or not he believes himself to be a hero, he confidently stated, “Yes, I am a hero because without any training, I taught myself; without any resources, I pursued my passion; and without any support, I overcame every obstacle.”
Asim can be an inspiration not only to the parkour community, but to anyone looking to pursue their dreams in the face of adversity. To his audience, he has one simple, yet powerful message, “Stay strong, be positive. Do what you want before it’s too late.”
Asim Khan Is A Hero
Asim Kahn could have lost his life in 2005. Thankfully, he was lucky enough to survive. For that, he is grateful, and he showcases his gratitude for life by living it to the fullest, never giving up on his dreams, even when others advise him to take a different path.
He knows that the world moves quickly. But if he were to die today, he would take satisfaction in knowing he has accomplished all that he could. And at only 23 years old, he has far more to look forward to. “Never stop running,” he remarked.