We caught up with EgyFlow, one of Egypt's first underground Parkour crews, as they pulled their kinetic magic on Gravity Code's trampolines. We ended up on a trek inside the crew's Parkour across Egypt's streets, alleys, structures, and straight into their love of the gravity-defying sport.
We decided to pay Cairo's ninja underworld a visit, so we sat down with a group of traceurs from one of Egypt's oldest Parkour teams; the street-sweeping EgyFlow. In case you haven't heard of them, this group is one of the earliest underground movements still up and running, doing what it does best; L’art Du Deplacement, or the art of movement.
In 2009, EgyFlow was formed by a group of traceurs who were self-taught in the arts of Parkour and Freerunning. The crew, along with a few others, at the time, started striking chords, and in no time, young Egyptians started getting familiar with Parkour. The brownie points here go to the earliest teams, most notably EgyFlow. If you ever stumbled upon one of their street practice sessions in Sheraton or El Rehab, you probably still remember how staggering it was knowing that such stunts were being done and taught here.
The best part about it all, especially when we first started being aware of Parkour's existence in Egypt, was knowing that normal folks like us can become street ninjas or traceurs. It was dazzling to see the number of women participating in the Parkour movement, considering all the social limitations a girl would have to break just to walk such a grinding course.
We caught up with the crew at one of their prance sessions at Cairo’s favourite trampoline park, Gravity Code. After talking to them, we weren't able to resist kicking off with a few hops with the crew. Actually, part of our talk took part on the trampolines, but in our defence, it helped plug the team into Parkour mode.
So, without further ado, we give you the inspiringly-devoted crew behind EgyFlow: Mohab Mokhtar, Sayed Khaled (a.k.a. Sika), Shorouk Magdy, Basil Helal, Ahmed Kazem, Rim Al-Taweel, Hagar Azouz, Mohamed El Barbary and Amr Sobhy.
Your crew has been around for a long time now. In the past seven years, since you started, you've developed a lot. What do you guys think are the prospects of EgyFlow as a movement?
Hagar Azouz: We all really believe there's unbounded potential for EgyFlow. After years of practicing Parkour, you stop dreading obstacles. After all, this game particularly revolves around manoeuvring your way through physical obstacles. After some time, it starts sinking into your mentality in dealing with other aspects of your life. What we want is for EgyFlow to be a global phenomenon, we want this brand to be internationally recognized.
Where do you usually hold your practice sessions?
Rim El-Taweel: Well, there are indoor sessions, which we hold at the gym. There are also outdoor sessions, which are usually either in Sheraton or El Rehab, where we get to perform our stunts in an actual street setting. Then, we added to those our sessions here at Gravity Code.
How did the training sessions at Gravity Code come to happen?
At first, Gravity Code wanted athletes to train people, so a group of us started here as trainers. Then, they were looking for underground movements to sponsor by providing the training space and facilities, so they chose EgyFlow. We've been having regular practice sessions here ever since.
What do you find particularly different about your practice sessions here at Gravity Code?
Basil Helal: It's always a big help to get to try the moves out a few times before you start performing them on the street. Frankly, you don't want your first back-flip fail to put you to the concrete. The good thing about the material from which Gravity Code's trampolines are made, is that it substantially frees your movement, so it helps your body to get familiar with the dynamic of each move before you start carrying it out on the ground. We're talking about trampolines that are commensurate with Olympic specifications, so to be provided with such a training environment has definitely triggered an upswing in our performance and overall training experience.
Some of you play other sports besides Parkour. Do you find that it hikes up your performances in other games?
Sika: Massively! For example, when I started playing American football, I had an obvious advantage over my teammates, particularly with regards to fitness. Parkour, basically, gets you geared up for whatever sport you put your mind to.
Do you feel like Parkour benefits you in other areas of your lives?
Basil Helal: For most of us, Parkour was merely a sport in the beginning, but, as you plug into it further and get involved with the crew, it unfurls into every aspect of your life. I personally look at Parkour now as more of a comprehensive philosophy.