Skills Talk - Freestyle
, , | April 18, 2018

Skills Talk

Judge and Red Bull BC One Champion Roxrite from the USA performs at Red Bull BC One Cypher Azerbaijan in the former Face Club in Baku, April 15, 2012. (photo credit: Nika Kramer)

When It comes to movement, breakdancing is a big influence, inspiration, and foundation to our work in physical education with Freestyle. I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview world renowned b-boy legend, RoxRite, when I was writing Freestyle. Here is what I learned…

RoxRite was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and grew up in very humble surroundings. Both his parents had limited education and worked on a farm to provide the basic necessities for RoxRite and his older brother. The economic decline in Mexico in the late 1980s caused a rise in unemployment, forcing RoxRite and his family to emigrate to Los Angeles. After two years in Southern California, work opportunities landed RoxRite and his family up in the Bay Area where his father and brother worked in the vineyards picking grapes.

The family’s new financial stability in the Bay Area allowed RoxRite to attend public school and get an education. It was at school that RoxRite first discovered what would one day become his lifelong profession: breakdancing. A group of high school students had come to his school to perform a dance show with breaking and RoxRite was hooked. He started trying and practicing the moves at home and when he could he would practice together with his friends. Eventually he attended local breaking contests, which quickly earned him a spot in a well-established crew in San Francisco called the Renegade Rockers.

“This moment in his career marks his transition from being an artist who danced to being an artist who trains to express himself in an athletic fashion.”- Carl Paoli, Free+Style the book

It was RoxRite’s older brother who inspired him the most. During his school years his brother ran cross country and track, held all the school records in high school, and went on to run as a sponsored athlete for Adidas. This success fueled RoxRite to believe that it was possible to become a professional doing what you love. RoxRite competed in breakdancing for several years, but it wasn’t until he was 25 that he was at a contest and went to perform one of his signature moves and physically could not. It was from that experience that he realized his body was his tool and he needed to take care of it if he wanted to continue doing what he loved. This moment in his career marked his transition from being an artist who danced, to being an artist who trains to express himself in an athletic fashion.

“Skills talk, no hype needed.”-RoxRite

To elevate his game RoxRite started training like an athlete and made sure that he always had the mobility, endurance, and power to perform his moves at any moment. He explains that in breaking, when your body doesn’t feel right, your mind feels off and your creativity dries up. RoxRite now holds over one hundred international titles and was the first b-boy in history to have achieved this. He still travels around the world competing, judging contests, and teaching workshops to all levels of b-boys/b-girls. Inspired by athletes like Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and Muhammad Ali, RoxRite continues to approach his craft as an athlete mixed with an artistry that makes him a living legend and a driving force in the future of breakdancing and hip-hop.

Photo Credit: Redbull

Why b-boying?
I can’t say exactly why, but I can just feel it. Growing up you go through the process of exploring the world and yourself. I found b-boying which allowed me to do exactly that through dance. In high school you were either into sports or not, and for me breaking fell right in the middle of being athletic and being a regular dude. B-boying allowed me to become an artist, but with an athletic expression.

Does b-boying define you, or do you define b-boying?
You can say it defines me, but it comes down to how you represent and approach the dance. I feel like if it truly defined me, it would define everyone else the same way, but it doesn’t. Every b-boy is different, and that is what helps define the craft itself. You become what you make of it.

What are 3 benefits of b-boying?

  1. You learn to appreciate music through movement, use your body as a tool to express it, and make the music your own.
  2. It builds a great foundation for fitness and health.
  3. You learn and appreciate the history and art of hip-hop.

What are your 3 focuses of your training and practice?

  1. Music is number one. Through music I get in the mood and allow it to push me.
  2. I train the way I compete, in intervals as seen in b-boy battles, making sure to constantly vary my movements. Even though it is physical, it is a more of a mental challenge, where you must focus on thinking fast and strategically on the fly. You can’t draw a blank. When you draw a blank you lose.
  3. I focus on execution, control, and speed of my movement.

Contributor: Carl Paoli

You can read more about RoxRite’s historic journey to 100 wins here.

Make sure to follow Roxrite on Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

Note: This interview is an updated excerpt From Free+Style, authored by Carl Paoli & Anthony Sherbondy
This material is protected by copyright.

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