Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The 2015 R16 World BBoy Championships @ Seoul's Jangchung Gymnasium

Over the years, the R16 World Bboy Championships were held at the Olympic Park in Seoul, which was a bit far for me to travel. I would need about an hour to take the bus and subway to get there.

But luckily for me, this year, they brought it closer - to Jangchung Gymnasium in the Junggu District, which is about ten minutes by bus from where I live! That close!

           (Crowds lining up to enter the 
               Jangchung Gymnasium)

                  (Joonho at the R16 marker)

             (A bboy crew posing inside 
                    the Gymnasium)

In the previous years, these annual bboy championships were always in the calendar of both local and international bboy fanatics in Korea.

The Championships are held over two days. On the first day are the finals for solo competitions for bboy, locking, and popping. And on the second day, it's all about the crews: the best performance and the best in battle.

  (The judges of the crew performance and battles)

                    (Team Korean turned the                                           house...upside down)

In the past championships at the Olympic Park, the organizers included a graffiti alley where famous graffiti artists impressed everyone with their creativity and works of art. I actually looked forward to it, but the R16 organizers told me that, since the Jangchung Gymnasium grounds didn't have enough space, the graffiti attraction was dropped this year.

I watched the crew competitions on the second day, and I was able to bring along two friends with me: Joonho, who wanted to become a bboy, and Eugene, who is a real bboy! If you've heard of Bboy Dynamo from Philadelphia, that's Eugene. 

                  (Lock N' Crew's showcase                                                   performance)

Before battling each other, the eight teams from Korea, USA, Russia, Taiwan, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, China, and Australia impressed the crowds with their showcase performance, which were judged. 

As always, the competition electrified the Jangchung Gymnasium with those incredible moves, dislocating stunts and flips that temporarily defied gravity. But in the end, there could only be one champion crew. 

                  (And the winner is....)
                   (...Team Russia!)

Team Russia won the final battle against Team USA, while Team Korea won the best performance. I think Team Russia's victory over the closest rival team would have made Vladimir proud. :-)

Although only Team Russia and Team Korea brought home the winners' checks that night, the bboy culture in Korea in particular, and the bboy generation all over the world in general were also the winners that night.

So, thanks again to R16 and to the Korea Tourism Organization for another round of crazy, electrifying and memorable bboy performances and battles! Joonho and Eugene had a fun time watching the championships here in Seoul. Eugene even had a chance to say 'hi' to DJ Skeme Richards, one of the guest DJs, who's also from Philly.

Next year, I hope you hold the Championships again here in my neighborhood because this year was, to use ghetto-speak, dope

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