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Pyramids to pavements: Egyptian parkour enthusiast conquers Cairo's terrain05:04

Pyramids to pavements: Egyptian parkour enthusiast conquers Cairo's terrain

Egypt, Greater Cairo
July 9, 2020 at 16:30 GMT -00:00 · Published

From the moment he first came across YouTube videos featuring the DIY sport of parkour, Youssef Maged was hooked. Failing to find any other resources in his native Cairo, he began training with his friends nearly 10 years ago.

Now at the age 23, the Egyptian university student fearlessly approaches Cairo's landscape to excel at the practice, backflipping off of ancient stones in Giza and scaling down bridges near the Nile.

"During the exercise, you see the pyramid next to you and know that people have built this huge thing so you feel that your problems are very small and can be overcome. There are those who were able to build a pyramid, so can we not complete an exercise?" he pondered after a sweltering training session on Wednesday.

Parkour originated from French military exercises that were later adapted by Vietnamese-born Frenchman Raymond Belle and subsequently re-discovered by Belle's son, David, who brought his enthusiasm for martial arts and kung fu action films to help craft a wholly new performance and exercise regimen.

Adherents such as Maged make use of urban environments to test their physical prowess and perform gravity-defying stunts in an improvisational style. Perhaps most important for the practitioners, however, is the underlying philosophy and mentality of its most dedicated followers.

"Every movement in this sport symbolises something - performing back-flipping, for example, its shape gives evidence of how to be free in your body and in the shape of your body and the way to implement this movement. Because you are not associated with anything until the gravity that binds all things to the earth during these seconds gives up this link," mused Maged.

Parkour has been influential among Hollywood stunt performers and now has a global reach through several international organisations that promote the sport and host community training.

Pyramids to pavements: Egyptian parkour enthusiast conquers Cairo's terrain05:04
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Description

From the moment he first came across YouTube videos featuring the DIY sport of parkour, Youssef Maged was hooked. Failing to find any other resources in his native Cairo, he began training with his friends nearly 10 years ago.

Now at the age 23, the Egyptian university student fearlessly approaches Cairo's landscape to excel at the practice, backflipping off of ancient stones in Giza and scaling down bridges near the Nile.

"During the exercise, you see the pyramid next to you and know that people have built this huge thing so you feel that your problems are very small and can be overcome. There are those who were able to build a pyramid, so can we not complete an exercise?" he pondered after a sweltering training session on Wednesday.

Parkour originated from French military exercises that were later adapted by Vietnamese-born Frenchman Raymond Belle and subsequently re-discovered by Belle's son, David, who brought his enthusiasm for martial arts and kung fu action films to help craft a wholly new performance and exercise regimen.

Adherents such as Maged make use of urban environments to test their physical prowess and perform gravity-defying stunts in an improvisational style. Perhaps most important for the practitioners, however, is the underlying philosophy and mentality of its most dedicated followers.

"Every movement in this sport symbolises something - performing back-flipping, for example, its shape gives evidence of how to be free in your body and in the shape of your body and the way to implement this movement. Because you are not associated with anything until the gravity that binds all things to the earth during these seconds gives up this link," mused Maged.

Parkour has been influential among Hollywood stunt performers and now has a global reach through several international organisations that promote the sport and host community training.

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