Video: #WelcometoLilou - Episode 4

Posted by on Jul. 30, 2015

Follow Red Bull BC One All Star and two-time World Champion Lilou to Taiwan with the all-new #WelcometoLilou series and learn about the man behind the B-Boy legend. Watch Episode Four of #WelcometoLilou, as he discusses his Street Off video project, which features global talent he finds during his travels, for his own TV Lilou.

Come back each week for a new #WelcometoLilou episode. Use #welcometolilou to keep up to date on everything he does as he travels around the world, dancing, judges battles and sharing cultures. Check out his Facebook page, and you can also follow Lilou on Instagram here, and his TVLilou channel here

Photo by Alfred Jürgen Westermeyer/Red Bull Content Pool

#TBT Breaking Battles: Japan & Korea vs Europe at All Battles All at The Notorious IBE 2008

Posted by on Jul. 30, 2015

Created in 2001, the concept of All Battles All has celebrated many memorable editions, but one of the most unforgettable happened when international Hip Hop Dance festival The Notorious IBE found its home in Heerlen for the first time in 2008, setting Team Japan & Korea up to battle against the best European dancers. IBE organizer since day one and host of that battle MC Mario Bee takes us back to the unforgettable moment in breaking history.

How did The Notorious IBE move from Rotterdam to Heerlen?
Peter Weinstock, the former Music School director of the City of Heerlen, got a tip from two of his students, Javan Hoen and Simon Bus, who were giving B-Boy classes that the IBE festival was looking for a new location after the venue we were located between 1998 and 2005 went bankrupt.  I remember getting a phone call from him, as he was interested in bringing the IBE festival to Heerlen. After a productive talk and some location scouting around the Netherlands, I started to get the feeling that this man was serious about bringing IBE to Heerlen. Between 2006 and 2008, there were several conversations and we were thrilled to bring to IBE back in 2008 after a pause of three years. 

What were your expectations to bring the All Battles All back after three years?
To be honest, I was a bit skeptic about it as I really didn’t know what to expect from the reaction of the crowd. We went from an underground music venue in Rotterdam, a city known for its artistic edge, to a open-entrance of a secondary school in Heerlen. But the impact we managed to achieve was big and the people loved it. If I look back at that time I think it was the right decision. It had such a big impact on the international B-Boy community and we have seen that it has opened doors for many B-Boys who are now traveling around the world.

How was the venue arranged were All Battles All took place from 2008 until 2012?
The Chairman of the IBE organisation is also the director of the school where the battle took place. We were looking for a venue where 3,000 people would fit, as there weren’t many locations in Heerlen that had the capacity. When we visited the school for the first time, we immediately got the feeling that it could work. It reminded me of Freestyle Session 8, which was on a boat but, it had the same balcony, giving it a gladiator arena atmosphere.

You hosted the epic battle between Team Korea/Japan ves Europe. What do you remember?
Haha! That is easy! Right from the start, both the B-Boys and crowd went crazy. Red Bull BC One All Star Cico started off with like 20 rounds of 1990s, and Kaku’s amazing response was a headspin-to-2000s combination. We had the best power movers of the world in that battle, and every single dancer proved his excellence.

Why are there no longer All Battles All at IBE?
We have changed the format of the IBE, turning it more into a festival, and we wanted to stay in the city for three days, instead of moving outside the center where the school is located. It was a risk, but we feel the direction that IBE is going in now shows it was a wise choice.

The Notorious IBE celebrates its 15th edition this weekend in Heerlen, the Netherlands. More than 50 different programs will welcome visitors from more than 35 different countries around the world. See all festival information here.

Malaysian B-Boying’s Secret History: Chapter 3, I Got Next

Posted by on Jul. 29, 2015

The pieces were in place.  Malaysian Hip Hop culture in Malaysia had its first recognizable voice in the form of its plucky, determined B-Boys, who overcame significant economic and logistical odds to build a community that taught itself, armed itself and nurtured itself, with the bare minimum of resources yet a surplus of passion.

The only question was: would all the hard work pay off? It might be easy to think of where B-Boy culture could fit in with the rest of Malaysian urban society now, but in the tumultuous days of the early and mid-80s, when even global Hip Hop was still finding its bearings, the answer was never that clear. Malaysia’s B-Boys began to mobilize.

Malaysia's Secret B-Boy History: Chapter 3, I Got Next

Like-minded heads began to converge on sepak takraw and badminton courts and Rukun Tetangga community halls in the Kuala Lumpur exurbs to lay out their checkered mats and plug in their Sanyo boomboxes (or stuff them with up to 10 D batteries), and got to practicing. They huddled in front of tiny CRT televisions in the dead of night to pore over the exact minutiae of breakdancing movies and early, primitive music videos.

Malaysia's Secret B-Boy History: Chapter 3, I Got Next

Of course, once these fresh “crews” began to get a lock on their earliest moves and routines, they would invariably want to see how they stacked up against the others. In Kuala Lumpur (KL), the most prominent meeting point was Central Market, which was reopened to the public in 1985 after an extensive facelift and rebranding into a cultural and tourism center. The area, still a hotspot for urban youth, especially from other states, became a melting pot for nascent B-Boy crews out for dominance over their peers.

After a few years, the rest of Malaysian Hip Hop culture– and Malaysian pop culture– caught up. Breakdancing and breakdancers quickly became visual shorthand for buzzwords like “edgy,” “hip,” and “urban.”

The Malaysian movie Gila Gila Remaja, which burst onto silver screen in 1985, prominently featured a breakdancing sequence that even its star, a young Faizal Hussein, took part in.

B-Boys became a go-to mainstay for government-sponsored public events, like sports meet launches and Merdeka Day parades, in an era before youth-oriented urban programs, like Rakan Muda and 1M4U, were even a thing. Pop stars began to utilize B-Boys in their music videos and stage performances, even over music that had little connection with Hip Hop – it just became the thing to do.

Malaysia's Secret B-Boy History: Chapter 3, I Got Next

Malaysian B-Boy culture would have a lot more growing up from the tumultuous times of the 80s, and it would give birth to prominent names of its own: Che Bad, Bone Alfie, Boojae. Crews became mini-movements in and of themselves, and Malaysians became quite familiar with them: KL City Breakers, Shah Alam City Breakers, the Giler Battle Crew, Wakaka.

But that would all be in the distant, hazy future. In the beginning, Malaysian B-Boys were the frontline of a nebulous and uncertain young urban subculture that wasn’t just fresh on the local front, but was just finding its footing on the global stage. Before all the mainstream exposure, the club nights, the music industry credentials, the cultural cache of being tastemakers and regional ambassadors, a plucky subset of Malaysian youths took it upon themselves to adopt a faraway set of urban traditions and committed to making it fully their own.

Hip-hop culture in Malaysia began with the B-Boy.

WordsManifest is a founding member of The Rebel Scum and the Rogue Squadron Hip Hop collective. He was the co-editor of DJ Fuzz’s book The Way of the DJ. Words is also a photojournalist and the Editor of hyperlocal newsportal CoconutsKL.

Photos by Creative Commons

The Road to Rome: Shaolin Breaking

Posted by on Jul. 28, 2015

The day the Red Bull BC One All Stars met their Shaolin kung Fu Master, Shi Yan Hui, was a special one. It was also fascinating, considering that the two seemingly distant disciplines share many points in common. Martial arts has always been an inspiration in breaking, as well Hip Hop as a whole. The Shaolin discipline was a huge source of inspiration for the Wu Tang Clan, especially early in their careers when they followed its principles and wrote lyrics dedicated them. Throughout its history, B-Boying has also modeled the movements and intepretations of actor Bruce Lee, as he was Kung Fu’s primary spokesman in the West. All these factors combined made for an interesting exchange.  

The Road to Rome: Shaolin Breaking

The Master’s lectures were insightful for the B-Boys, who were curious about the knowledge that was being passed on to them. Much has been said about Oriental medicine and its methods of recovery. But the Master’s first words were devoted to the use of the mind, even during physical activities: 

"Statism and dynamism. Everything is based on the balance of these two elements. You always think about the physical, staying still, moving, dance movements. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is the mind that is both static and dynamic. When the mind rests or sleeps, it is static, otherwise during all other activities, it is dynamic. This must all be in perfect balance for the body. When you exercise, you must not have a static mind, otherwise there is no equilibrium for your body! The balance must always be there, regardless of the body’s activity," he said.

“Static and dynamic. Everything is based on the balance of these two elements.

The Road to Rome: Shaolin Breaking

A big block of time was dedicated to the explanation of the behavior of our muscles during exercise, because the approach of Chinese medicine is fundamentally different from the European. 

"From Western medicine’s point of view, the relationship between muscles and tendons is completely different from my culture’s,” said the Master. “In Western medicine, tendons are separate from the muscles, whereas in the East they are thought of as one unique mechanism. Muscles and tendons work together to create movement, so they are symbiotic. The explanation is very similar to mechanics. The bone is a trellis while the tendon is a tie. They have two different structural functions, one is for sustenance, the other strength. To have a solid construction, the lattice must be in balance with the rod, and the same holds for the body. This mechanical construction needs to be mirrored in the tendon-muscle’s function. Muscles and tendons must always work together. The tendon is very important, if there is a problem with the tendon, then it will influence the bone. For example, if the tendons are in good shape it's hard to get hurt. But we are all made ​​differently, in some individuals the tendons are too hard, in others they are too soft. But it is very difficult to change the nature of the tendon, to make a hard tendon become soft and vice versa. The same thing applies to the mind, there may be some weak points and even those will be difficult to improve. But improving our defects is one of life’s purposes. This is accomplished with very specific training."

“Improving our defects is one of life’s purposes.”

The Road to Rome: Shaolin Breaking

With the B-Boys in a circle around the Master in the center, the Shaolin consciousness flowed and intrigued everyone. Such was especially the case when the conversation turned to injury recovery. 

"After suffering an injury, you need to understand when you have fully healed. Just as it is important to know for sure when you are strong and ready to make your next move. The theory is the same for both martial arts and dance–you have to be fluid. For example, we must know not to strain ourselves. We have to warm up too. Even though the mind may be ready, that does not mean that the body is. You have to warm up the mind and the body. Both must be prepared to express strength and fluidity. The strength that comes from the mind must be able to be expressed by the body. If there is too little energy, then of course you can get hurt. The tendons need flexibility. If it’s too hard, it’s a problem. If it’s too soft it’s a problem. In martial arts, you have to move fast, and for that you need soft tendons, but to be able to absorb the blows, you need harder tendons. Everyone has to train harder in the areas where they are weaker."

“The strength that comes from the mind must be able to be expressed by the body.”

The Road to Rome: Shaolin Breaking

From theory and concept, the B-Boys’ curiosity shifted to practicality, since in the end, to make the most of this lesson they need to be able to apply it to their own bodies. The Master used practical examples to support his teachings:

"How do you train for more flexibility? You have to train the part of your body that you will need. If you want your legs to be flexible, then you train with your legs, doing a lot of splits and stretches. There are many exercises, especially in Shaolin kung fu. Playing sports is good for your health. But you have to play correctly. You have to be very flexible and loose. Traditional Chinese medicine is holistic. From this approach, the tendon is the root of health and what maintains a beautiful figure,” he said. “So, often, the success lies in the well-trained tendons. And we haven’t even talked about muscles yet. Working out with weights to improve your strength is all right, but it’s not enough. With kung fu or dance, you have to train everything together."

And so, the B-Boy students had the opportunity to meet with the Master, raising many more questions. Cico was especially keen on the knowledge, as he has always been interested in the Oriental disciplines, which teach a very high mental and physical balance and take into account many factors that are secondary in our Western culture.

Photos by Mauro Puccini/ Red Bull Content Pool

Music to Break to: Mixtape 41 (DJ Four Eyez)