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Updated: Apr 29

We always speak on how Breaking is about style, self-expression, personality, dancing and character, but what we rarely talk about is the grit and determination you need to put your body, mind and spirit through to actually become good at Breaking.


We rarely talk about how your leg muscles will burn in the early days of learning footwork, and you'll constantly rip and tear the skin on your hands until your palms callus.


How learning freezes will test your core strength, and the integrity and stability of your joints, as you try and balance in ways it sometimes seems your body was not built for.


How you literally need to give your blood and flesh to the Gods of Breaking if you wish for them to bestows power moves onto you, because learning different types of windmills will result in you bashing your head, ankles and knees on the ground in your beginning attempts to gain momentum and control, while at the same time shredding the skin on your shoulders, making it common place for your t-shirts to be torn and blood stained. 

Halos and Head spins tear out your hair, give you burns on the side of your head, and cause your neck to stiffen, cramp and lock up.  Learning flares grinds your wrists, swipes pull your groin, and to rotate upside down on your hands in pursuit of 90s, 2000s and air flares, is to accept crashing and falling to the ground a thousand times over.


I know and have seen Breakers dance, compete, and win, with tore shoulders, broken wrists meaning they can only use one hand, doing footwork with the ability to only bend one leg, the other being injured. But if you want to truly Break you can’t be afraid of injuries, blood or scars.


Then there’s the battle, and there is a reason our competitions are called ‘battles’, because to be a Bboy or Bgirl is to constantly battle. To play off a quote from Bruce Lee, Breaking is, “the art of fighting without fighting” (Enter the Dragon- 1973)


You have to battle to get in a cypher (circle), and may be called out to battle in that cypher.

To join a crew you may have to battle all the members; maybe one round each, maybe two, or maybe until they see you dying, sweating and exhausted, on the ground.


You have to battle to build your name, and to make people remember and respect your skill and style.


You have to battle the mental warfare of verbal jabs and trash talk Breakers constantly throw at each other to gain a mental edge on our opponents, plus test their confidence and self-belief.


If you and another Breaker have the same name, and ever meet, you may have to battle for your name, with the loser having to change theirs.


To judge brings with it the possibility that you may be called out to battle if a Breaker that you voted against believes your decisions were wrong or bias.


You see, this is a battle dance, so be it outside on the concrete, in hotel lobbies or hallways, back stage at event while the competition is going on, or in many other possible way, as a Breaker, you will battle.


People see us dancing, dressed fresh, vibing, loving to party and be in the moment, but those who are in it, doing it, actually Breaking, know that it takes a unique character, and determination of will, to choose Breaking as your form of self-expression. It’s in the name, ‘Breaking’, because this dance will break you, over, and over, and over again, and only those who possess an unflinching determination of will to continuously rebuild themselves a thousand of times over, will survive to thrive in Breaking.


Don’t get me wrong, I know full well that every dynamic, competitive discipline has its own form of grit that is needed to practise and succeed in it. Skateboarders know about falling and giving up blood and flesh for your craft, combat fighters live in a world determined by kicks, punches, knees, elbows, chokes hold and limb destruction, gymnasts put their bodies on the line every time they defy gravity, climbers battle unforgiving mountains, surfers work to become one with the unpredictable ocean, plus all the others who push themselves in pursuit of excellence in their chosen discipline.  To cultivate the necessary and needed grit is the path one must travel if they wish to truly embody their discipline and art.

The gritty determination needed to call yourself a Breaker, and a B-Boy or B-Girl, is important and necessary scaffolding that allows you to stand strong in the stance of this dance. You need this so that when the DJ scratches and drops that track you can confidently step out and take your moment, knowing that in that moment nothing can Break, because Breaking is what you’ve trained to do.


-Emmanuel Adelekun

-The Vivid Scribe


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