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Blog posts tagged as Freestyle Session

#TBT Breaking Battles: Miniboj, Daniel Zhu and Little Shao’s favourite 2016 B-Boy Battles

Posted by on Jan. 04, 2017

TBT Breaking Battles: Miniboj, Daniel Zhu and Little Shao’s favourite 2016 B-Boy Battles.

What’s the best B-Boy Battle of 2016? That’s super hard to tell. Every B-Boy or B-Girl has his or her favorite moments. Let’s ask three guys who spent hours and hours capturing some of the greatest 2016 battle moments through the eyes of their camera lenses.

Check out the favourite 2016 B-Boy Battles from filmmakers Miniboj of the Legits Studios Slovakia, Daniel Zhu from Stance USA and French photographer Little Shao from Paris.


MINIBOJ

Red Bull BC One All Stars vs Foundnation at UK B-Boy Championships 2016
I really love this battle. I was there at the event and I had the chance to see with my own eyes that the Red Bull BC One All Stars are not a dream team.  It's a crew! I love the fact that they worked as a team and were strong as a strong team. I was really surprised.  

Lussy Sky vs Pac Pac at Battle Bad 2016
My second pick is a battle that I didn't film personally but you can feel B-Boy PacPac’s vibe even through Youtube. I love his first round. I can watch this over and over.

DANIEL ZHU

Remind at Reign Supreme 2016 x Bumbershoot
My favourite battle was the Open Styles Seven To Smoke from Reign Supreme Seattle featuring B-Boy Remind. This was his first ever Open Styles event, and wow, he took it by storm! He is 39 years old, a B-Boy, but influenced by so many other styles. Remind really displayed all of his "style elements." I remember Remind telling me, "Foundation is Freedom.  Because when you are free, you become you." That definitely was displayed in his performance.

LITTLE SHAO

If I have to choose a whole event as the best "contest" then for me it was the Red Bull BC One World Final with the Last Chance Cypher in Nagoya Japan. The Last Chance Cypher was soooo dope because all B-Boys were hungry to get that last spot in the World Final! There were so many different styles and there was so much energy plus a crazy enthusiastic vibe from the Japanese audience. And to end it the Red Bull BC One World Final was the best world final ever in my view. So much level from each participating B-Boy. It was an amazing event.

Photo by Louni

#TBT Breaking Battles: B-Boy Tawfiq at Freestyle Session 2014, 2015

Posted by on Jun. 23, 2016

Inspired by epic Freestyle Session moments in the early 2000’s B-Boy Tawfiq from the Ruggeds is working hard to leave his mark in the international battle scene. Two of his memorable battle moments took place at Freestyle Session.  In 2014 and 2015 Tawfiq traveled to the world famous Battle event in California and reached the final stages of the solo competition facing legendary B-Boy Ruen in 2014 and B-Boy Issei from Japan one year later.

Tawfiq tells the story.

Two of my best moments in breaking took place at Freestyle Session. It’s funny because in both years I came to Freestyle Session to compete in the 3 vs 3 battle with my crew - The Ruggeds,-  but on both occasions I decided last minute on the day of the event to enter the solo battle.

I like battling and I always try to enjoy myself.  I go out to have fun and just to have a good time. But you know always at a certain point in the competition when you meet a strong opponent or when you have to face somebody who you have looked up to for a long time then my mind state changes. Instantly. Then it’s on. And all I want to do is to make an impression. Leave my mark and inspire.

I think Freestyle Session is one of the best events to show the world your full potential. It’s such a legendary place where so many legendary moments in breaking have happened. My favourite Freestyle Session moment still is the little showdown between Boy and Crumbs at the end of the Havikoro vs Style Elements Battle in Freestyle Session 7. Moments like that are bigger than victory or defeat. Winning a battle is a nice thing. A good result in a battle is a reward for all the hard work you put into your practise or preparation, but personally I strife to be part of a legendary battle. An epic moment that inspires other B-Boys and B-Girls and kind of brings back the 2003, 2004 fire and battle spirit that inspired me so much around those years. When a battle is legendary or inspiring there are no losers only winners.

In 2014, I made it to top 16 at Freestyle Session and faced B-Boy Ruen. The guy is a true legend so when I found out I had to battle him I was like “today something needs to happen”. I wanted to leave my mark and gave my best. It’s not easy you know. It’s Freestyle Session. Top 16 and things are getting really serious. So you can imagine I was pretty happy when the judges decided I had defeated Ruen. But I guess I was more happy that I had the chance to share the stage with a world-renowned dancer like Ruen.

In 2015, I returned to Freestyle Session and just like the year before I made it through the pre-selection again. In the top 32 battles, I had to compete against Issei from Japan. It was perfect. This was the matchup I had been hoping for. One year before, in 2014, I battled Issei in a 5 round exhibition battle at his own Foundnation Anniversary jam in Japan but I always felt our battle was not over. 

For me, the battle against Issei at Freestyle Session was epic and it received great responses from the crowd as well as online. It’s a pity we only had one round each. I lost. But to be honest, I still to this day do not understand why. But I respect the decision. It’s hard you know. When it’s one round only it’s all or nothing. You succeed or you fail. Which in itself can an interesting personal challenge as well. But in this particular battle I wished we could have had a few more rounds.

Last year, my Freestyle Session solo adventure stranded in the top 32. But this year is looking good and I will be competing in some interesting battles in the coming months. Next month, I will be back in Japan for the G-Shock Crew Battle with The Ruggeds and after that I will be competing at BBIC in Korea, Outbreak Europe and The Notorious IBE.

Photos by Louni

#TBT Breaking Battle: Lilou vs Issei at Undisputed World BBoy Masters 2014

Posted by on Dec. 03, 2015

It’s the final month of 2015, and another year full of memorable B-Boy moments is almost over. Just before the start of the holidays; however, the international scene has one more major event to look out for on December 12, as the Undisputed World B-Boy Masters 2015 goes down in in Marseille, France.

The Undisputed World B-Boy Masters is a special collaboration involving not only the people behind Chelles Battle Pro, Outbreak, IBE, R16, Battle of the Year, The Pro Breaking Tour, Freestyle Session and Red Bull BC One, but also media platforms and visual artists like ProDance TV, Stance, The Legits, Little Shao and Antoine Schirer. Together they create a special setting that is best understood when watching the battle between Red B-Bull BC One All Star Lilou vs Issei at the 2014 Undisputed World B-Boy Masters.

In a sold out O2 Academy Islington, in London, the 2014 Undisputed World B-Boy Masters took place in a grimey, underground, cypher setting. There was a minimal use of lighting that pulled the entire focus on the dancers and dancefloor right in the middle of the club. Situated at touching distance, the audience was drawn into the battle from the first second Lilou and Issei burst into action. Using the round-for-round judging method, both Lilou and Issei were able to win one round after delivering some killer sets and signature moves. Issei secured the third round and eventually won the battle, but through the round robin (all-play-all tournament) system, Lilou was able to battle his way into the final after fierce battles against Gravity, Alkolil and El Niño. After defeating Menno in a very close 2-1 final, Lilou took home a 4000 Euro cash prize, but more importantly as he himself commented himself later, Lilou became the first ever B-Boy to be crowned the Undisputed Champion.

#TBT Breaking Battle: Lilou vs Issei at Undisputed World BBoy Masters 2014

This year could be described as the year that the Young Gunz lived up to their potential. A prime example is 2015 Red Bull BC One World Champion Victor, who has managed to secure three champion titles out of the five Undisputed events in which he competed. B-Boys Sunni and Issei, two other Young Gunz, also made their presence felt by competing in five championships each.   Together, with Red Bull BC One All Star and 2014 World Champion Menno, El Niño, Victor, Sunni and Issei make up the top five of most consistent B-Boys in the Undisputed ranking. 

Now that the year is coming to a close, all eyes are on the final Undisputed event featuring all championship winners and top-ranked B-Boys.

Photos by Little Shao

Victor Wins Freestyle Session 2015

Posted by on Nov. 09, 2015

This past weekend Freestyle Session returned to the city of Los Angeles for its 2015 World Final. Some of the best B-Boys and B-Girls from all over the world gathered at the LA Boom club in Huntington Park to participate in a three-on-three B-Boy competition and the Undisputed Solo B-Boy Battle.  

Once again, 2015 Red Bull BC One North America Champion Victor (Orlando, Florida) showed that on American soil he knows no equal. After winning the Silverback Open championship, the fifth competition in the Undisputed World B-Boy Series, Victor once again showed his exceptional skill and stamina by winning the Freestyle Session solo battle, which was the seventh championship in the Undisputed Series.

Since the Silverback Open Championship in early October, Victor has been battling and traveling in high profile competitions on three different continents.

Victor himself did not expect to win Freestyle Session. His intense travel schedule made it nearly impossible for properly prepare for Freestyle Session, one of the world’s most historic and toughest B-Boy competitions.  Read on, as Victor tells the story:

“I have been on the road since early October. A week after the Silverback Open in Philly, I competed at the G-Shock Battle in Japan and the week after that I competed at Battle of the Year in Germany.  I still can’t really believe I won Freestyle Session.  I was very tired throughout the whole competition. I had almost no time to practice these last few weeks so I was lucky to be placed in the Top 32 directly, because I had won the Silverback Open Championships in Philadelphia.

For my first battle, I was up against Tricky (Israel). The battle wasn’t too hard so it helped me a lot being tired and all.  My top 16 battle was against Robin from Top Nine (Ukraine), and it was a great battle. It got serious when both of us had won one round and we had to battle on more time for a decisive third round.  The judges voted for me, and in the next round I faced El Niño for yet another three-round battle. Just like in the battle with Robin, a third round to decide the winner was necessary. 

Victor Wins FSS 2015 Solo Battle

In the semifinal, I battled Moy (Houston, Texas). This was actually a little rematch from the final battle at the Red Bull BC One North American Final, which was in my hometown Orlando. Moy is quite hard to beat, and once again three rounds were needed to decide the winner. Moy won the first round but then during the second round I saw him injure his right hand.  I won that second round, and after that also the third round, but I felt bad for Moy. He was super fit and very hard to beat all day long.

In the final, I had to battle Kleju from Polskee Flavor (Poland).  I must say I was really out of moves, and I was exhausted.  We had to battle for five rounds, but in the end the judges picked me as the winner and for this I am really happy. I now have just a week to prepare for the Red Bull BC One Italy World Final 2015, in Rome. 

Photos courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool and Freestyle Session

Breaking Oral History: Cros One on Freestyle Session and the San Diego Scene

Posted by on Aug. 14, 2015

Armed with a backpack, B-Boy VHS tapes, merch, some breaking moves and flight vouchers from his sister, the now-legendary Cros One was able to put San Diego on the global breaking map with his Freestyle Session from the humblest of beginnings. While breaking had died down in the USA in the mid-80s, a perfect storm was brewing overseas, keeping the culture alive as international jams, like B-Boy Summit, Miami Pro Am and the Rock Steady Anniversaries brought breakers from all over the world back to where the artform began. Read on as Cros tells the California story of breaking in this next installation of Breaking Oral History. From the major players, to the vital importance of VHS tape culture, to how the scene was incubated in raver culture and more, travel back to the 90s when not only Freestyle Session was born, but with it a new wave in B-Boy history.

When did your story with breaking begin?
I used to break and then there was a gap, from about 85-88.  B-Boying really died down in The States then. I got into graffiti at that time, which is where I got my name, Cros One, from. A lot of B-Boys turned writers at that time. But on New Year’s Eve of 1993 I went to a rave at (the amusement park) Knott’s Berry Farm, called K Rave. They had a techno side and a Hip Hop side.  I of course gravitated to the Hip Hop side, and then I saw people breaking! All the time it seemed kind of dead, I was still keeping up with my moves during my judo practice, so I just went out there and started busting. Beyond the raves, there were party crews at the time on the West Coast, which were a crossover of B-Boy crews, graffiti crews and some weird raver-dancing guys, not that I ever really got what they were doing.

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015
A piece Cros painted in Japan in 1995, long after he stopped writing.

One time in '94, there was a rave where the ravers even ended up battling the B-Boys. The Hip Hop side, of course, won that battle! But we battled, and as a result I met a whole new group of dancers. So from there, I began breaking with another crew. Shortly thereafter, B-Boy Summit 1 started in San Diego, started by Asia One and Easy Roc and the San Diego Zulu Nation Chapter. They did the first three in San Diego, and moved to Los Angeles by 1999. 

So rave culture was an integral part of the rebirth of breaking Stateside, or at least on the West Coast?
For us in San Diego, we had raves and the party crew scene, but there were also the booty dancer girls and the early stages of choreography. B-Boys would enter those contests too, but there weren’t really any straight-up battles. We’d go to raves, car shows, Asian parties, bass parties and whatnot and that’s where we would break. That’s where the girls were at! B-Boy Summit blew our mind when it started. We had never seen so many B-Boys in one place. People came from all over the world, and crews like Rock Steady, Air Force Crew came out, all of whom were much higher-level dancers than we were.

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015
Good times at the FSS 3 Pre-Party 

There was another smaller event called Secret Wars, which really influenced me to organize my own jam. I helped the organizer out, and I ended up winning the event, so I ended up getting paid twice- for winning and also a small cut from the event profits for having helped out. After that, I thought to myself that it could be a viable way to make a living. I started Freestyle Session in November of 1997.

What was a major event in Southern California that changed the game?
Around 1995-6 was Radiotron, in Los Angeles, and those videos went around the world. I think that in the 90s, the whole Southern California scene was vital. The stuff that was coming out there really went worldwide. Airflares got big in Southern California, and then went global. A lot of the battles did the same. What was going down in SoCal was just a culmination of the entire state’s creativity and activity though. It’s just that everyone came from all over the state and down to Los Angeles. For example, Radiotron’s biggest crews came down from Northern California, like Style Elements (Modesto), Renegades (Bay Area), they were all pretty high level.

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015
Cros One, Gerald (Rock Force Crew, RIP), Storm and Paulskee during FSS 3 

What was the music scene like at that time, in relation to breaking?
The music was different, much different, than it is now. We owe some of the change to the European scene for that too. The thing that was crazy about FSS too, up until then the B-Boy events were electrofunk, and Planet Rock-type stuff. But we took the music back to being only golden-era Hip Hop, which you just didn’t see before at big events. As the years went on, we would watch Battle of the Year videos and we’d see everyone getting down to break beats. And then we kind of transitioned in that direction too. What really put FSS on the map was that we were playing hardcore Hip Hop. We went back to funk and soul.

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015

What was the driving force behind the success of FSS at its start?
I remember bringing the concept up to Asia One once. The place where we practiced was pretty tiny, but there was a basketball court next to it in a much bigger space. I wanted to throw it in the big room, and she told me that I should probably keep my event in our tiny practice space since it would look more full. It gave me the fire in my belly to prove her wrong. I was like, “screw that! I’m gonna fill the big room.” We ended up having a MC event in the smaller practice space and the jam in the gym. We had a few hundred people come out, and we were able to make a small video from that. My sister also worked for United Airlines at the time and gave me packs of stand-by tickets, so I could fly for free. In a way, she really helped shape Hip Hop in that capacity. So I checked out every jam I ever wanted to—from Pro Am, in Miami, to Rock Steady. I went to BOTY in 1999 with Rock Force.

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015
Cros One with his door staff– his mother, father, sister and brother-in-law.

So your sister is a secret cornerstone of breaking in the USA! What did you learn through your travel experience at the time?
The first time I went to Europe was the first time I really understood how global Hip Hop had grown. I had thrown a few of my own events by that time, in 1999. Everywhere I went, I would sell things out of my backpack—posters, videos, etc. I would also talk to distributors on my travels, and in turn I would end up selling more. I hadn’t spoken to a distributor in Europe yet though. And the first time I went, people were asking me for my picture. It was insane. I had used my own money, no my sister’s travel vouchers, to get there and people wanted my autograph? I was so confused and had to ask them why. They would be like, “oh you’re the guy who throws Freestyle Session!” And it was crazy, because it was all word of mouth and between friends. I had no distribution deal there. 


“Haters be damned. I wanted everyone to make money by winning too.”
 

We were doing a little mailorder stuff online, but you would have to mail a check or money order COD (Cash on Delivery). It really made me realize how big it all had gotten. It of course, also landed me a distribution deal abroad! The numbers went up to 5,000 sold. It’s crazy to have had commerce like that, and the profits I made from the merch and videos, I could use for my event. I was able to up the ante of the event that way too, haters be damned. I wanted everyone to make money by winning too.

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015

What was one of your best travel stories?
We went on a little European Tour- we went to The Notorious IBE, which was then held in Rotterdam. The other crew that was there with us was from Hungary, and they ended up eating all our bread! While we were there we saw that we were billed for a surprise rematch against The Family, but nobody had actually told us that was going to happen. We decided to forget that, and just surprise battle them on the spot. It ended up being pretty cool and I had my camera with me, so I was able to make a video. By today’s standards, that [VHS] video went viral, but back then that meant that it sold hundreds of copies, all of which were sent around the world. 

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015

What, in your mind, has kept Freestyle Session a top-tier international competition for all these years?
FSS had the good music and the good prize money, so we did what we could to make everything more. We were constantly testing our boundaries. By 2004 or so, it was the end. There was a whole underground video scene of entire tapes being uploaded online, and traded. So the Internet edged out the videos and DVDs, and then YouTube eventually took over.  I mean the reality of events back in the day was we’d even have info lines that explained how to get to the events, and all other important information- an actual phone number that you’d have to call. It’s just not like that anymore.

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015

We had to take the event up to LA in 1999, and the crowd sized doubled. It ended up staying there forever, but then in 2013 I did the first World Finals in Japan, and then this year I started a non-profit called UDEF (Silverback x FSS) with Steve Graham, and we did a $250K tour this year. For FSS in the USA we did a $50K battle.

Cros One Oral Breaking History Aug 14, 2015
Cros One and Steve Graham 

Where do you see the future of breaking going?
With breaking today, it’s at a crossroads. It’s a tipping point, where it could get super big or just stay the same. To be honest, staying the same may not be bad. B-Boys and Girls don’t have the chance to make millions. But I mean, take Lil Zoo as an example, he comes from an underprivileged background and now he’s with Flying Steps. It’s a dream come true. But for people in Morocco, that’s a big deal. It’s something that money can’t buy sometimes, the wealth comes from your worldly travels as a B-Boy. I never thought this would be a viable living. I just figured it would be cool to make something to make some extra cash and do something cool for folks. It never occured to me that a living could be made from it til a few years later, in 1999, when I quit my job and started my own distribution company. Look at where we all are today.

Photos courtesy of Cros One