My Breaking journey.
Many people have contributed to where I am now, apologies if you were not mentioned on this timeline but I know who you are, and you know if you’ve been supporting my journey.
I found breaking in my final year of university through Breakin’ KCL (King’s College London’s breakdance society) because I wanted to try something different before I graduated. The annual end of year (March, school year) dance show changed my path forever because I became really tight with everyone and I finally felt a sense of belonging in London. This kept me coming back to training not only to learn but to be with the strangers I could now call my friends.
Another major turning point for my breaking journey happened December that year when I was asked by one of the best Poppers (Sim) in our society to be his partner for the annual Christmas All Style Battles. I didn’t feel worthy but put in hard work to do my best, create routines and it paid off, we won! This gave me a massive confidence boost and reassured the choices I would make from then on to pursue this dance.
The first ever Breaking battle I entered was the 2v2 B-girl battle at IBE Netherlands with my good friend Henrietta (she’s moved on to Bachata). I didn’t realise how big a deal IBE was when I competed back then because I was so new to it all! We didn’t qualify of course, but there were two things I took away from this first experience:
- I am able to hold myself in a battle and execute the round that I have created and thoroughly practice ahead of the competition. Michael helped put my first ever set together and today, it’s the most ingrained combo I would default to, and of course it’s called the IBE set.
- Always cypher before your battle, to warm up and feel the music. If it wasn’t for Jermaine pushing me to cypher before my battle round, I would have performed a lot worse and probably injured myself.
My first Breaking Battle win also happened this year – ULU 2 v 2 Internal Battles. All the competitors names were put in a hat and we were randomly paired up. I was very lucky to have been paired with the best Bboy there, Sooman from TIP Korea. It was the first time we had met yet we battled so well together and won!
I joined National Taiwan Normal University over the Summer holiday to brush up on my Mandarin and also found HRC Studios to keep up with dance. I made really good friends with the B-boys, especially HRC Sharp Ling from initially attending his Breaking class, to regular trainings and supper after sessions. I also spontaneously joined HRC Bboy camp that year where we had intensive breaking lessons all week from the HRC teachers and workshops from Bboy Flex (Korea) and Bboy Nori (Japan). Funny thing, I ended up being their translators and my Mandarin improved so much in Taiwan that year. Furthermore, I took up the courage to enter Freestyle Session Taiwan on my own for the experience.
I came back to London pumped, having learned so much out there and also figured out my fitness routine (Azones Training System) to get stronger for Breaking. I came runners up at the ULU Bonnie & Clyde battle and received so much positive feedback from everyone who noticed a huge jump in my Breaking progression.
It was time to give back to the community.
I joined Breakin’ KCL 15/16 committee as events organizer because I wanted to put my time and effort into the society that brought so much joy to my life. I helped to grow the society numbers through putting on random socials like bowling, giving people the chance to not only dance but also make life long friends, just as I did.
Of course, I also ran battles, which is an important experience to have rather than just always attending as a battler. It makes you so much more appreciative and understanding of other events and one day I’d love to be involved with a world level Breaking event.
We all have our ups and downs in life, and I’d say this year was a dry season for me in my breaking. The goal to achieve a high level in the dance was already dying down a bit when I joined the committee because I was so focused on helping other people fall in love with breaking that it distracted from my personal training. I also triggered a major injury that nearly put a complete halt to my breaking, L4/L5 spinal injury. I couldn’t walk!
Australia saved me.
I was going to quit breaking after that injury, the MRI scans, the doctors, my parents etc. But that year was when I made a spontaneous decision to leave London and explore Australia on the working holiday visa. Of course the first thing I thought of as a way to make friends was to find the breakers. So I found Cross Over dance studio and 143 Liverpool St. in the city.
I was actually still in a very bad state when I first got to Australia but kept on going to training because it was where my new friends were. That year, I re-triggered my injury 3 times! It was horrible and I went through phases of being depressed because I had nothing else and no one (didn’t want to burden any new friends). Then Bboy Lowe came along and took real good care of me. Honestly, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be breaking today and I would have cut short my Australia trip to be taken care of by my parents in Hong Kong. Also huge thanks to the two John’s for the physio sessions.
I learnt to condition, become more aware of my body and movements, and as I started to heal up, he shared his insights on breaking and battling, having done it for 20 years.
Other key learnings:
- “Do you” – just have fun, cypher and winning is the bonus – Chico
- Aussies are very open and honest. The B-boys straight up told me what moves looked whack which I’ve now removed from my combos, and told me to stop wearing my yoga pants to training. Honestly, I can’t believe no one told me sooner! lol Look fresh, feel fresh and you’ll dance better – this is a fact.
Before my working holiday visa expired, I managed to get my windmills and started working on flares. It was always a dream to do power moves, but never thought it would become a reality especially when I was so close to quitting breaking. This drove me even more! I also managed to come Runners up in the 2v2 Block Party Breaking Battles a few days before I flew off which was a great way to end my chapter there.
Hong Kong Q2
I stopped by Hong Kong over the Summer to reunite with friends and family. I was lucky to have a caught the Asia Dance Sport Games Breaking Battle where I qualified for the B-girl 7-to-smoke and nearly won a trip to Japan! #nexttime. It was my first ever 7-to-smoke experience and I learnt how tactical you have to be for it. The lactic acid build up was unreal. Coming so close to my first solo win, I told myself to aim high when I move back to London.
Q3 Moved back to London
I was at a high in my breaking this year, four key things took place:
- I made sure I trained with the scene as I previously only ever trained with Breakin’ KCL in London. I wanted to progress quicker.
- I approached Kev (Dj Renegade) to mentor/coach me. I told him my aims of wanting to represent the UK in the 2024 Olympics and that even if I don’t achieve that, the work I put in will be personal accomplishment in itself. He saw my passion and enthusiasm and took me on. I now train in his kitchen on Thursdays with a few other UK B-girls (Rox, Vanessa) if he’s not busy travelling the world for gigs.
- I actually qualified and made Top 8 at B-Supreme Street Fest 1v1 B-girl Battles. Having never competed outside of the university before in London to qualifying was huge for me.
- My dance friends at Breakin’ KCL saw a major change in me and that motivated many. This also led to Natural Selections Crew becoming more serious again as I launched their Insta page to make us more present and seen, committed to Monday crew drill sessions, battle together and come up with routines.
Currently training hard in London and working around the injuries that come and go as with all dancers. Looking forward to what I can achieve this year!
March 1 – What a dream come true. I qualified and made top 8 for Redbull BCone UK. It was so cool! When they announced I had qualified, my crew were there but I was outside eating haha Least I was surrounded by all of them when I came back in to hear the awesome news. We were taken by the events team for photos, to sign some document, provided food, had rehearsals of how to enter the main stage, I got to meet the top UK Bboys and Bgirls, got given Redbull BCone backpacks and unlimited drinks (water for me!). I couldn’t stop smiling all day 😀 I wasn’t nervous when I got on that main stage. The crowd made me so pumped and I just wanted to enjoy the moment and I really did. I had a strong first round but messed up my second, not because I was tired or anything, just because in breaking you can mess up haha Just need to drill my stuff more to make sure I’m spot on for next time and continue to always have fun.