Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hip-Hop Chess Federation to post EXCLUSIVE interviews with todays top rappers !!

In 2008 the HHCF is knockin' everybody out. No mercy in '08.

In 2008 the Hip-Hop Chess Federation will begin to post exclusive interivews with todays top rappers. They will highlight the reality of the rap industry, as well as the tools these rappers use to stay motivated.

Thats right, the HHCF will give you new and never before seen vintage interivews with some of todays top rappers! We will also post original, never before seen intrerviews with rap kings from the late 80's and early 90's.

Our goal here is to showcase the wisdom and thought power of America's finest MC's, DJ's, B-boys and Graf writers. The idea here is to humanize Hip-Hop in the minds of the mainstream. Rap music is easily the biggest and most misunderstood music form in the history of the world.

Some of you know that I blog at SF Gate. Over the last few months however, I got lazy. Some of my fans were shocked and angered to see that I was stopping all Hip-Hop coverage on the SF Gate blog (I'll only cover martial arts and chess there). Recently, on my SF Gate blog I wrote the following:

I stopped blogging because I stopped caring. I'm sorry about that. But, I got so bored with talking about rap music and its political (or lack of political) fluctuations. Hip-Hop has never been more fake, less political, less effective or less helpful to the poor people of America.

I plan to write much less about Hip-Hop in the coming year. In fact, 2008 may be the last year I write about rap music and Hip-Hop culture at all. I'm currently working on Lyrical Swords Vol. 3. Once that book is complete- I will be done with Hip-Hop for the most part. It was always a part of my life and I will carry much of what it has given me.

From now on, I will write about martial arts and martial arts philosophies on this blog. I will post little by little as we approch 08, but once Jan. hits you'll get a lot more martial arts and martial arts philosophies. Have a blessed holiday season and a better 2008!!

I do not feel much different today. However, as a founder of the HHCF I cannnot abandon my rap roots. At the same time, I cannot afford to talk about Hip-Hop for the sake of itself. Everything I post here will be interviews that highlight the cultural beauty and pain of Hip-Hop.

I believe that virtually all Hip-Hop media has become a joke. It has become a traitor to its original mission. Its original mission was to be a voice for the voiceless youth of America. It was meant to entertain and inform. Today, many can argue that it hardly does either effectively.

You may see ideas by some on here that you will not agree with. Some might shock you. But chess players know denying the truth has fatal consequences. Fire hidden under the ash is still dangerous. Under the ash of mainstream rap media many hot ideas still remain. Ideas smothered out by groupies posing as journalists. The HHCF will bring it to you raw.

Be ready.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Lose them in the fog of war, until the time to strike is right....

"Chess contains the concentrated essence of life. First because to win, you have to be supremely patient and far seeing...In chess as in life, when people cannot see what you are doing- they are kept in a state of terror." - Robert Greene

Saturday, December 22, 2007

HHCF O'Connell High Champ Leo Lopez BEATS Adisa Banjoko

So today Leo Lopez and I kicked it in SF. Leo is the HHCF Scholarship champ. He goes to O'Connell High in San Francisco. After out and tearing into some burritos at San Jose Taqueria in the Mission, we locked horns on the 64. I got served yo!!!

Leo is real solid. He came right down the middle, I did not respect ownership of the center...He made me pay for it in a major way.

Adisa Banjoko is not too scared to admit defeat on the 64 squares!!Leo destroys The Bishop.

This loss hurt e bad. So, I had to get my revenge. And I got it!! Oh yeah- I got e some get back!!

Adisa Banjoko came BACK in gae two, to gain victory over Leo Lopez. Leo knows how to take a loss and still floss like a G!!

After that, we went to Haight St. looking for a dope record spot. On the way, we saw a some dope custom chess and checker sets. It was in a smoke shop.


We saw the chess sets and went in. They had all kinds of wicked sets. Off the top I remember the Simpsons, Lord of the Rings, Giants VS. Dogers, Muppet Show, Star Treck, Harley Davidson Dominoes- all kinds of stuff.

Leo Lopez coolin' on Haight St. with a sick baseball chess set!! (yes I do the bongs behind him!) THE HHCF SAYS JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS!!

Adisa Banjoko represents with the Muppet Show chessboard!!

It was sooooo dope. I just wish I had the money to buy them all. After that, we went to Amoeba Music and looked for records. He told me as we were leaving what a fan he was of super produer Traxaillion. Luckily, Trax has been a long time supporter of the HHCF and I got him on the phone to talk with Leo. Trax is a good dude when it comes to pushing positivity in the community to the youth. He gave Leo words of encouragement and I hope to get them face to face to meet soon.

After the holiday Leo and I will clash again (hopefully on chesspark) to settle our third game.

The HHCF has a lot of upcoming announcements as we approach the Honor the Queens Invitational. Stay tuned for more!!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rappers tell kids to stay in school...


Hip-Hop Chess Federation Recieves 2007 Edgies Award!!

Big shout out to all the supporters of the HHCF for making us one of the fastest growing Hip-Hop non-profits in the game. I opened up the East Bay Express and was humbled to see that WE (that means EVERYBODY who has helped the HHCF grow) got the coveted EDGIE y'all!!! Check it out below!!!!!

Stereotype-Busting Award:

The Hip-Hop Chess Federation

The South Bay-based organization teamed with video game maker Ubisoft and Wu-Tang members RZA and GZA for a radical makeover of chess' stodgy image. The Federation made the 64 squares seem cool for young people of all ethnicities and economic backgrounds, instead of an old man's game, putting ignorance in check (mate).

Other Edgies winners (Public Enemy, Barack Obama and Kevin Epps and others) can be seen here:

In celebration we will get down to the video below. In 2008 the HHCF is not to be taken lightly...We ain't no joke.


Much thanks and appreciation to all our supporters. Much love goes out to all the schools that have participted at our events. Much blessings to the parents of the children who support our vision. The HHCF also wants to thank Josh Waitzkin, Phil Shpilberg, Sam Saliba, Maya Kamath, Daaim Shabazz, Popaster Fabel, Christie Z, Gumby and the OTM family, Ubisoft and, Patrick Mahoney, Jack Mofitt, Brian Zisk, Driftwood, Shamako Noble, Dlabrie, Ethyx, Nate Mezmer, Casual, Amir Sulaiman, Ralek Gracie, Sunspot Jonz, DJ Kevvy Kev, Paris, T-K.A.S.H., Rakaa Iriscience, Monk, GZA and RZA! There are tons of other MC's, DJ's, B-boy's, B-girls, Poppers, Lockers, Graff writers and chess lovers that help make everything we do happen.

A special note of appreciation is given to Dr. Alan Kirshner and the team. He has been one of the earliest and honest supporters of the HHCF.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shamako Noble & Adisa Banjoko Tangle on the 64...Its WAR!

Ya know people like to talk about competitions, trophies and all that. But what about just some cool chess playin'? What about just cooling out with some pizza, a nice cold beverage and gettin' ya game on???

Thats what Shamako Noble of Hip-Hop Congress and I got into the other day. It was fun beyond words. I think friends who play chess are closer and have a higher level of respect for one another than those that don't. I'm sure that I'm a bit biased. But no matter how close or distant you become with any friend, you remember the battle, the blunders and the laughs.

Shamako Noble is a warrior for Hip-Hop and a chess playin' MC if I ever knew one.


After a valiant fight- Shamako's king goes down.

Shamako has been one of the HHCF's first supporters. In fact, at our first event (Hip-Hop, Chess & Life Strategies) in San Jose at the MLK Library, he got us the venue after the first venue pulled out!! He saved us for real. That first event could not have happened without him. Much props to Hip-Hop Congress!!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Another cool piece on the Stonewall Legacy

Gotta love the green castle block!!


Know the true cost of combat...and you'll be more likely to seek peace.

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Woe to the statesman whose reason for entering a war do not appear so plausible at its end as at its beginning. - Otto von Bismarck

When you understand the true cost of war, you'll seek another path. Any bully can sneak up and punch someone they despise. Any self proclaimed gangster can plot a slopy ambush of an opponent. But real warriors, know the cost of combat.

Shaolin monks are some of the worlds most respected individuals on earth. They possess the intimate knowledge of what it takes to hurt man- so they seek peace in every circumstance.

There is a huge difference between someone throwing a wild punch, and another who has been trained on exactly how to break and dislocate his opponents arm. The one with exact knowledge of how to break and dislocate will be much more prone to avoiding having to take that action against anyone. This is because he is more responsible for his actions. He knows how the arm will break, how much time it will take to heal etc. Through his training he also my know what it feels like. It may have been applied to him in hsi past. This gives him a level of compassion in some of the most dangerous situations.

Violence always cost more than you think it does. Most of us know someone who died, or was permanently maimed through violence. Can you really put a price on taking a mans site? What is cost of putting a woman in a wheelchair with a bullet? How do we tally the mental scars that heal after the knife wound has healed up?

With just one more reflective act in the mind of the violent...One more breath taken to contemplate their action- it could have been avoided.

The prisons are packed with people who regret not taking that reflective breath in a moment of anger. Don't let yourself be one of them.

HHCF Congratulates Denny Prokopos for his victory at the No gi Mundials!

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HHCF wants to give a big round of applause to Denny Prokopos and the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu team. Denny won the no gi Mundials (grappling championships). Some of you may remember the interivew Adisa Banjoko did with him in Lyrical Swords Vol. 2: Westside Rebellion. Denny has been on the fastrack to martial arts greatness for a long time. Denny has been seen at every HHCF event since its inception. He is a true warrior, and the HHCF is proud to watch his ascention.

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Denny Prokopos on the right putting it down at the 1st Hip-Hop Chess & Life Strategies event in Feb 2007.

Green Castle Block returns with the Stonewall Legacy


Oprah and Denzel team up for a must see movie...

The mind is everything. What you think you become. - The Buddha

Too bad more people in Hip-Hop don't openly debate the ideas they put on wax.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Which one of you is really down for their queen?

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Cowards falter, but danger is often overcome by those who nobly dare. - Queen Elizabeth

Sponsor the Honor The Queens Invitational:



RZA & Adisa Banjoko at the Independent in SF Dec. 11th 2007

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The Abbot & The Bishop in the building. Be on your best behavior.

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DJ Kevvy Kev & Wu-Tangs Rugged Monk mano y mano.

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After playing for a sold out house, RZA destroyed any takers on the 64 squares while eating veggies and drinking tea.


Much love to DLabrie, Benflows, M 80, Gumby from OTM and Brian Zisk!!

The wisdom of Master Po...Opened the eyes of my youth...

So many things can be said of the TV series Kung Fu. I have conflict in my head and heart over much of the racial and cultural mindgames that the show played on its audience. There is the betrayal of Bruce Lee...At the same time, there were things I got from Kung Fu, that I kept with me all my life. The idea that you (as an individual) are sacred. That you should not let people abuse you and yet, you do not have to seek their destruction....So many valuable things...Sometimes hearing the voice of Master Po just really brings me peace. I know that may sound corny, and it may be to some degree- but it is true.


Monday, December 10, 2007

F.I.D.E. Master Damien Vincent to Host Simultaneous Chess Exhibition Dec. 15th!

Dec. 15th 2007 from 1-5 PM there will be a simul hosted by F.I.D.E. Master Damien Vincent. The address is: 255 "H" St. (corner of 3rd and H) in Frmeont's Niles District. There is no entry fee. Bring your boards and pieces if you have them. For more details contact New Frmeont Chess Club Dir. Ken Zowal at Or, call (510) 623-9935.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Weyland from KPFA takes a hard loss to Adisa Banjoko

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Weyland from KPFA's Hard Knock Radio had his king crushed by The Bishop

Today was a great day! I went to the KPFA Crafts and Music fair in SF. I had a beautiful time out there. I met some cool people, sold a few Lyrical Swords, chessboards and ate some fantastic vegan Thai food. I'm not a vegan (I can't get down with the lack of flavor sometimes). But this was gooooooooood!!! Mmmmm-mmm!! I might have to switch teams and go meatless.

The highlight of my day however, was my long awaited clash with Weyland from Hard Knock Radio!!! I can't lie, Weyland had a pretty good game. He said he ain't played in 10 years (which I'm not sure I'm buying right now). At one point, he seiously was an inch away from checkmate. I played Russian roulette for about 1/2 the game trying to attack him from my queenside in hopes that he would not see it. He never saw it. But he still gave me drama in the black and white jungle.

We had crowds of about 5 to 15 people throughout the match. I had a blast but now- Weyland wants revenge. I have step my game up y'all!! I keep skating by.

Much love and thanks to Weyland and all my extended family at KPFA for the food, fun and good vibes. Weyland is on the prowl for The Bishop!! I need to call Waitzkin for back up.

The REAL question is, when will Davey D come out of hiding and take his chess beating like a true G? I got love for Dave, but his day of recoking on the 64 is coming. He don't wanna feel the wrath of my chess math!! LOL...


The essence of music, chess and martial arts

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Be true to the thought of the moment and avoid distraction. Other than continuing to exert yourself, enter into nothing else, but go to the extent of living single thought by single thought. - Hagakure

You Must Master the 8 Diagrams for Victory in War!!

RZA performs on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 9 p.m. Admission is $30; call 771-1422 or visit for more info.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The HHCF Needs Your Help 2 Honor The Queens

This happy girl loves chess- and has back up (look behind the other chair!).

The Hip-Hop Chess Federation has made a great impact on how people view Hip-Hop, Chess and education. Our last event, brought out over 500 people to participate from all over the country. Our next event seeks to be bigger than that.

The HHCF is essentially a 4 people team. But, we don't do these things alone. We can only do them with your help.

Recently we met a girl (we'll call her Kayla) who came to our last event. She participated at the HHCF Chess Kings Invitational and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, some of the people who care for her were not as excited about her passion for chess. They threw away her chessboard. We gave her another and promised to continue giving her boards until we run out.

Its one thing to say that "The schools are not working" or "We need to be taking care of the children better". It is another thing, to look into the eyes of a child that the system is failing. To see the heartache of a girl who knows she is not being loved and nurtured at the level she deserves.

Its not just that girls like Kayla are not given as many options to showcase their skills on platforms of deep logic. Many girls who show passion for things like chess, math and science are attacked. Why? Because they have the audacity to love something so powerful. They are ridiculed and chastised for embracing the highest paths of wisdom.

The Hip-Hop Chess Federation hopes to help young girls like Kayla see the infinite choices she has before her in life. We hope to help her manifest her potential. But we can't do it alone. We need you help.

The HHCF cannot Honor the Queens on Feb. 16th 2008 without you. Please sponsor the HHCF today:

RZA Performing Dec. 12th in SF!!

RZA & DJ Kevvy Kev cooling out with HHCF

RZA performs on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 9 p.m. Admission is $30; call 771-1422 or visit for more info.

Eric K. Arnold wrote a fantastic piece on RZA in the new edition of SF Weekly.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Spark light from the shadows of doubt...

"In your daily activites, vigorously carry out whatever is right and put a firm stop to whatever is wrong. You should not change your will on account of difficulty or ease. If because of today's difficulty you shake your head and pay no heed, how can you know that another day will not be as hard as today?" - Diary of Ling Shanglao

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Honor The Queens Invitational 2008 in San Francisco!

You know you wanna be there! Sponsors come get down with the hottest ticket in town!

Download the sponsorship package today!

Monday, November 19, 2007 Foundation Makes Moves to Help Youth Around the World!!

WEST PALM BEACH, FL, Nov. 19 -- is excited to announce that a private donor has paid for one thousand "Education Accounts" to be given to children who would otherwise be unable to access the site. is reaching out to juvenile detention centers, schools and clubs in financially distressed areas to ensure their kids access to the game as well as the greater community of players and teachers. This donation has also funded the creation of Foundation, a non-profit that will pursue additional donations to fund extra-curricular chess activities and scholarships for students that play (or want to learn to play) chess.

" provides an online platform where people of all ages and skill levels can have fun with chess in a positive and safe environment. Chess teaches us all the power of patience and the awesome responsibility of owning the results of your actions," says Adisa Banjoko, co-founder of Hip-Hop Chess Federation and now Evangelist at "People from all walks of life are now using the latest technology to play one of the world's oldest games."

The goal of is to provide the best chess playing experience on the web: a flexible and fun gaming environment for chess players worldwide, a social network for players, tournaments, lessons and team play. was created by Open Source software veterans using the Jabber Instant Messaging platform as a framework. Users can log in to the innovative, Web 2.0 style website to begin playing or download and run a specialized Windows client. Over 250k people have joined -- get a free two-week trial membership today:

Contact: Patrick F. Mahoney,, (561) 459-5498.

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information, visit http://www.erelease/.

Source: has another great edition for you to see!!


Friday, November 16, 2007

HHCF & UFC Fighter Ken Shamrock in Online eBay Series!!!

The good people at eBay just began a funny series of ads about shopping victoriously.

You may have seen some of them already. Like this one:

There is a whole series of ads like these running on TV and the net. To see an eBay clip featuring the HHCF visit right now!!! Look in the Positivity section and you can see a clip of DJ Disk and Adisa Banjoko chopping it it up with Andy Richter and Paul Tompkins on Hip-Hop and chess!! UFC fighter Ken Shamrock is in the segment before ours showing people how to keep a winners mind.

We were honored to be a part of the series. Stay positive and remember y'all- SHOP VICTORIOUSLY!!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chess Giants Unite to Build Hospitals in Congo

Ruslan Ponomariov, Vesselin Topalov, Judit Polgar and Rustam Kasimdzhanov, players in the Chess Champions League, have informed the organization that, regardless of their position they end the tournament, they will donate their prize money entirely to the project of building a hospital in Congo. The prize for the winner is of 18,000 Euros, and that of the second is 9,000 Euros. The players showed that they genuinely support the motto of the tournament: “We play for a better world.”

Full story, click here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 Debuts HHCF Video in Sweden!!!

World Chess News has been a consistent supporter of our organization and our events. They showcase such fantastic information, its always an honor to be mentioned on the show. Check it out!! But be sure to watch the entire show...There has never been a better visually, or historically accurate TV show on chess...I've never seen anything like it.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Impact of Kung-Fu Movies on Breakdancing.

Back in the mid to late 1970s, the earliest power moves of “breaking” were created by b-boy masters living in New York City. One of the biggest influences on the creation of moves like the “headspin” and the “windmill” was the Hong Kong kung-fu movie. B-boys watched the amazing physical abilities of their favorite kung-fu actors in films by Shaw Brothers, Seasonal Films and Golden Harvest studios. They imitated and expanded upon the ritualized combat they saw in these films, adding new moves to their dance. These films were seen in the U.S., but only in a limited number of theaters in major cities.

In the book “Kung-Fu: Cinema of Vengeance,” Verina Glaser said, “The basis for the success of the kung-fu films in the States was the same ghetto audience that carried the wave of ‘black’ Hollywood action films a year or so previously.” In New York City, the two places to see kung-fu movies were 42nd Street and Chinatown.

Kung-fu movies placed the majority of importance on the action, and less time on character development and production values seen in Hollywood films. There was a big parallel between Hong Kong and NYC. Hong Kong and New York were both densely populated with a large divide between the rich and the poor. Both cities had high crime rates and tough ghettos. These films were made as escapist fantasies for the people of Hong Kong and they ended up serving the same purpose for the inner city youth in the United States.

Ken Swift said, “Every kung-fu movie was like styles, people got they @$$ whipped and they went back and got revenge, and it was cool and that was like something maybe we saw this as kids in the hood, as something we dealt with every day in our lives. You know what I’m saying, dealing with the way we had to live, in school and at home.”

The year was 1973 and America got its first taste of the exciting and dance-like choreography of Hong Kong martial arts films with the Shaw Brothers production KING BOXER (aka FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH starring Lo Lieh. At this time, Hip-Hop as we know it did not exist. Street gangs like the Black Spades and the Savage Skulls fought each other in the streets of the Bronx for control of turf. Eventually, the pre-rumble dance of these gangs would be incorporated into the hip-hop dance known as “uprocking.”

Trac 2 of Starchild La Rock, a legendary b-boy crew from the ‘70s, related a story about the gang origins of uprocking. He said that the night before a rumble, the gang leaders had a dance off with each other, one-on-one. This let everyone in the area know who was going to be involved in the real deal the next day and anyone else should stay out of the way.

During the time that street gangs in the Bronx were at their peak, kung-fu movies became enormously popular in America. After KING BOXER, the films of Bruce Lee were released to great success. The popularity of Lee and his films created a demand for kung-fu movies in the United States. Bruce Lee was the most popular kung-fu star in the world and Golden Harvest became the second major studio in Hong Kong. Along with Shaw Brothers, they produced the vast majority of martial arts films made in the British colony. After the death of Bruce Lee in 1973, Hong Kong produced kung-fu films that tended to be formulaic until Lau Kar-leung began directing in 1975. He showcased authentic kung-fu techniques with films like CHALLENGE OF THE MASTERS, EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN and THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN (aka MASTER KILLER). While Lau Kar-leung was directing his debut film SPIRITUAL BOXER, Hong Kong street gangs in New York City were giving way to a more positive counterpart known as crews. Many of the gangs’ former members turned to dancing and block parties as an outlet for their energy. The most instrumental person in this change was former gang member turned DJ, Afrika Bambatta.

Instead of fighting each other in the street, the b-boy crews like Starchild La Rock and Rock Steady Crew battled each other with their dancing, known as b-boying, breaking or rocking. Like rival Clans seen in kung-fu movies, b-boys would test each other to see whose style was the best. On the jade screen it was “Snake Fist vs. Eagle Claw” or “Shaolin vs. Wu Tang.” On the streets it was the Disco kids vs. Starchild La Rock or Rock Steady Crew vs. the Floormasters. With competition heating up, the next generation of b-boys took inspiration from different sources to up the ante. According to Trac 2, Latinos added their own flavor to top-rocking and footwork. He said in 1978 the foundation for modern b-boy power moves were laid down.

Around the same time in 1978, filmmakers in Hong Kong were revitalizing the kung-fu film with sub-genres like kung-fu comedy. These movies accentuated more acrobatic movement in their choreography, influenced by the actors and directors training in Peking Opera. Yuen Wo-ping, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung all graduated from sifu Yu Jim-yuen’s Peking Opera school and went on to make some of the most dynamic films in the late ‘70s like SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW and KNOCKABOUT. Going to see kung fu movies on 42nd St. became a ritual for the youth of New York City. B-boys especially took to the films, with their physically dynamic choreography, which was closer to dance than actual combat.

Bruce Lee in real life was a Latin dancer. He was the Hong Kong Crown Colony Cha-Cha champion in 1958. In his movies, he does a form of footwork that is very similar to top rocking. While “serious” film goers denounced kung-fu films, the b-boys took to the films as their own.

Ken Swift explains, “42nd St. was like ‘wow,’ these are subtitled, they’re putting these English voices over, these movies aren’t even made in the States, that’s even more like ’wow,’ you feel like you’re really a part of something.”

The DJs, MCs, b-boy’s, and graffiti artists would go to see these films together and it was a participatory experience. They would get so hyped up during the film that they would argue and fight with each other during the film. After watching the movie, the b-boys would leave the theater hyped off the energy they saw on the screen from movies like MAD MONKEY KUNG-FU, MYSTERY OF CHESS BOXING, CRIPPLED MASTERS, and many more.

Trac 2 and his brother Danny said that kung-fu movies are a fever you catch. After seeing martial arts on the screen, they wanted to try it themselves. Some early b-boys studied martial arts. Trac 2 took Shotokan Karate for two years. He said that a lot of the early b-boys studied karate. Bust most of them just imitated the movements they saw without any formal training.

As Ken Swift states, “Realistically, [we] leave the theater and just want to kick the sh*t out of people. I mean we would walk uptown and sometimes just kick somebody…You know, we would do a demo on somebody and start doing exactly what we saw in the movie, not knowing what we were doing, but just imitating it to the max.”

Besides just imitating the kung-fu by fighting each other with a Mantis Fist, Monkey style, or Crane style, the kung-fu started to find its way into the dance. B-boy KWON of Swift Kids said, “As far as the martial arts goes, that gave a lot of b-boys ideas as far as doing things on the floor and expanding their ideas for movement and bringing out their character.”

B-boys appropriated visually dynamic movements they saw on the screen, and made them their own. The fight scenes in kung-fu films were choreographed following a specific rhythm between the performers. The kung-fu actors had to follow each other’s movements like dancers. You can see fight scenes being choreographed like this in JACKIE CHAN: MY STUNTS.

It was only natural that b-boys would be attracted to these movements that were close to what they were doing already. Lil’ Lep explained how the kung-fu movies directly affected the dance and his crew, the New York City Breakers. “Kung-fu movies were important, because we learned from them. You know Flip (Flip Rock aka Bobby Potts), he does a lot of flips and they do a lot of flips in kung-fu movies. You know my man Chino (aka Action), he does a lot of flips too. My thing is my swipes, headspins.”

B-boys would take certain movements they saw in the kung-fu films and work them into the dance. Lep brought his own innovation to the headspin. Instead of doing it from a standstill position, he went into the headspin from footwork. He calls this the “pencil headspin.” In the movies DRUNKEN MASTER, KILLER ARMY and SHAOLIN TEMPLE there are moves when an actor will spin on his head 180 degrees or a whole rotation.

Ras, aka Ray from Floormaster Dancers (Brooklyn) said, “Kung-fu played a part in my life. You see the styles they had, they spin on their heads like b-boying, they had windmills, they were doing the helicopter, which is the swipe. We looked at these things, we used it as dance.”

Ray learned Aikido in the marines, and loved the way he could manipulate an opponent’s body weight with the Japanese art. It is hard to say if the influence was always direct or if it happened because of repeated viewing of similar movements and was appropriated subconsciously. One thing that Ken, Trac and Lep all brought up when asked how the films influenced them was routines. The elaborate choreography of Hong Kong martial arts movies inspired the b-boys to choreograph their own routines with two or more dancers.

In kung-fu movies and b-boy routines, creativity and constant practice is what makes the choreography. I asked Lep about the choreography he was involved with in the New York City Breakers. “If we didn’t do it right, we would have to do it over and over until we got it right, you know, that’s part of being a professional dancer.”

The b-boys that started out imitating their heroes on the big screen eventually got to be in movies themselves, performing their own footwork, kicks and flips in films like FLASHDANCE, WILDSTYLE and BEATSTREET. BEATSTREET features the rivalry between RSC and NYCB prominently in the story line.

Kuriaki is doing footwork and Powerful Pexter says, “You’re biters, all your homeboys are biters.”

Kuriaki responds, “I ain’t never stole no moves from you, your moves ain’t worth to be bit, so what’s up with that, punk?”

After this exchange of verbal confrontation, the two crews agree to battle each other at the Roxy.

Ken Swift talked about going to Japan to promote WILDSTYLE on the film’s tour in 1982. ”We took Japan by storm. I think they were shook. That movie WILDSTYLE was like hard, rugged, rough Bronx. They show burnt buildings, the whole shit and I think these people were just blown away by this shit that came from those conditions.”

Ken was amazed that in Japan, American culture had already impressed the Japanese in a big way. He saw 20 Japanese Elvis impersonators where they were previewing the movie. He saw Japanese rock groups including a band of Kiss imitators. While the Japanese were emulating American culture, American youth was appropriating from Asian culture and showing the result to an Asian audience for the first time.

Ken Swift said, “We had to really show the influence of kung-fu, martial arts, of kung-fu movies in a dance piece when we went to the Akasaka blitz in Tokyo and be in front of Asians. That was strange. We were like, ‘Yo, we’re inspired by these people.’ It was strange. We were concerned, we’re like, ‘how are they going to react to this.’ I don’t know. The audiences are funny. They can be quiet as hell through the whole show and then at the end just (claps), and you’re like ‘okay, okay.’ You thought they hated it. Some of the audiences are very reserved, everybody really enjoyed it.”

After BEATSTREET, b-boying or breakdancing as it was known to the general public, became a nationwide phenomenon. Two West Coast movies were released, BREAKIN’ and BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO that featured pop and locking and some b-boying. These movies were produced by Golan Globus who made movies like NINJA 3: THE DOMINATION and later BLOODSPORT with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Van Damme has a cameo in BREAKIN’ as a crowd member on the outside of the circle.

The popularity of b-boying soared and “how to” books and records were released. The dance was exploited and mass marketed for two years and became the “in” thing. Then in 1985, almost everyone stopped dancing. B-boying was burnt out from overexposure. Diehard b-boys kept dancing, but to the rest of the country it was considered over.

Coincidentally, around the same time production on traditional kung-fu movies ceased in Hong Kong in favor of modern thrillers and comedies. One of the new films was MISMATCHED COUPLES, a breakdance comedy directed by Yuen Wo-ping and starring Donnie Yen. You can see the influence American culture had on H.K. at the time. The moves that were inspired by H.K. cinema made their way back into the genre they came from in their American b-boy form. B-boying also shows up in DRUNKEN TAI CHI and I WILL FINALLY KNOCK YOU DOWN DAD, two of the last traditional kung-fu films produced in the ‘80s.

In the early ‘90s, b-boying and the traditional kung-fu film both made a comeback. The movie that brought the kung-fu film back was Tsui Hark’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA starring Jet Li. The new wave of kung fu movies following the success of this film featured different styles of camera angles and editing. The choreography was enhanced with wirework, which allowed characters to fly. This style was previously seen mostly in swordplay films.

While directors in H.K. were bringing the kung-fu film back, RSC came together with the Rhythm Technicians and Magnificent Force to form Ghettoriginal. This unit produced and performed dance theater about their experiences in b-boying. One production they performed was “Shaolin Temple Hip-Hop” that was part of the play “Jam on the Groove” in 1996.

“Shaolin Temple Hip-Hop” was a piece that Ghettoriginal put together not to educate people, but as Ken Swift said, “It was a bug out skit. Let’s have fun with our inspiration, one of our favorite inspirations as b-boys, that meant so much to us coming up.”

They played with the themes in kung fu movies and recreated on stage what might happen in a kung-fu film. The main character, Flo-Master (who is a Tae Kwon Do stylist and has studied Jujitsu and kickboxing) wants to be like Jackie Chan. He falls asleep while watching a kung-fu movie in a theater and wakes up in his dream. In the dream he is a wanderer.

Kung-fu movies continued to directly inspire b-boys in the ‘90s. Ken Swift formed his own chapter of Rock Steady in 1996. The name RSC Seven Grandmasters was based on the Joseph Kuo movie SEVEN GRANDMASTERS. RSC Seven Grandmasters was a battle clique.

Ken Swift, “And that was the elite unit of Rock Steady that was all about win, lose or draw, battling anybody, going out there to war and it had the same concept as SEVEN GRANDMASTERS, going all over the country doing different styles, fighting and challenging. That’s a little [of] what the movie was about.”

RSC Seven Grandmasters were Ken Swift, Honey Rockwell, Mr. Wiggles, Flo-Master, Gizmo, Orko, and Katsu. Representing in Europe were Bruce Wayne and Tony Zoom. Pending to get in at the time are Remind and Crumbs (SEC) and Wicket (REN).

All the members had to train in the other members’ styles and strong points. Kung-fu and b-boying have many different styles. Each member of the Seven Grandmasters was an expert in their particular style of b-boying. Trac 2 told me that b-boying has never been about an individual, but partners and crews. B-boys need others to inspire them to advance their skill level and creativity.

The movie SEVEN GRANDMASTERS also inspired Ken Swift to create a new move. “In the movie the brother was on the floor,” says Ken. “And he grabbed his hands and he pulled and he slid on his butt and he kicked this dude. I have a forearm glide that I do, called ‘flowing downstream’ that was inspired by the film.”

On March 24, 2001 Koncrete Jungle’s 1st Wu-Shu and B.Boy/B.Girl Dance Challenge was held. The event was presented by the American Wu Shu Society and Ken Swift Productions. Wushu is the style of martial art practiced by Jet Li. One of Li’s contemporaries from the Zhejiang Wu Shu professional team is Hu Jianqiang who performed at the event. Master Hu was in SHAOLIN TEMPLE and KIDS FROM SHOALIN.

There was an informal battle between some of the b-boys and wushu athletes on the carpet. They were showing each other their skill in acrobatics and trying to outdo each other. Also, some of the wushu athletes jumped into the circle to dance. One of the wushu athletes, Tsuyoshi Kaseda, entered the b-boy competition and showed everyone his distinctive style. With events like this one, b-boys and martial artists can exchange ideas and inspire each other in person.

Kung-fu films are enjoying a renaissance on the big screen in America. The Chinese-language film CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, directed by Ang Lee, won four Oscars at the Academy Awards and was awarded praise by both critics and fans. B-boying has also made a comeback by appearing in numerous videos. Huge martial arts productions are coming to American movie theaters. Lau Kar-leung’s DRUNKEN MONKEY is a throwback to the kung fu films of the ‘70s. Jet Li and Jackie Chan both have careers in Hollywood. Li’s CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE co-stars DMX. Hip-Hop now directly influences an art form it was inspired by. Kung-fu films have been with b-boying from the very beginning, since the street gangs watched the films on 42nd street. Kung-fu movies will always be a part of hip hop culture.

Article by Eric Pellerin

HHCF on Rolling Stone Magazine 40th Anniversary Issue!

Enter The Checkmate! A photo of RZA and GZA at the Chess Kings Invitational appears on Rolling Stone's 40th Anniversary Issue's Random Notes section.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Human Writes: A City Gets a Paint Job.

Over the past few months, a group of local graffiti artists in Brighton (U.K.) have been working with the council to try and uplift the image of their work in the public eye. The results? Read more here.

Photo by Ian Ozsvald.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dilated Peoples in San Francisco! 11/2/07

Dilated Peoples LIVE!
628 Divisadero St
San Francisco
Door opens at 9pm


Rakaa Iriscience

DJ Babuuuuuuuuuu

This is Hip-Hop...I don't care what anybody says...

We're waiting with you John...


Bay Area G's Get Wild on the Rank and File! Balance and Big Rich Talk to The Bishop of Hip-Hop.

Today I had the distinct pleasure to interview two of the Bay's finest MCs. Balance and Big Rich met with me to talk about their new LP, Unda Dogg Kingz. For those that don't know, Big Rich is from the Fillmore section of San Francisco and Balance represents Oakland. Five or ten years ago, there was so much war in the streets that an album like this was virtually unthinkable. Their album is a testament to rappers seeing the power of unity. It is a huge step toward dope beats, bomb rhymes and brotherhood in Hip-Hop. All the so-called Hip-Hop intellectuals in the world will never have the effect on the streets that these two do. The endless hours of coffee house banter from Hip-Hop activists has nothing on three minutes from one track of Balance and Big Rich.

One of Rich's entourage saw the boards I had brought to give Balance and Big Rich and wanted to get down on the 64. Our minds locked horns on the board while I interviewed the two Unda Dogg Kingz of Hip-Hop. The full interview drops soon. The photos from the game are below.

Balance and Big Rich build on Hip-Hop unity and raw rhymes.

Igor (playing black) and The Bishop (playing white) clash on the 64 squares of eternal combat.

The Bishop tightens the tactical chokehold forcing Igor to resign. This match was very even. It was anybodys game until the very end.

Igor and The Bishop break bread on the boards. Real G's set it off on the 64.
Balance myspace:
Big Rich myspace:

Uproxx Covers HHCF Founder plus, FREE PDF download of Bobby Bruce and the Bronx Available

The book Bobby Bruce & the Bronx by Adisa the Bishop is now available from this day forward FREE in PDF form. Please enjoy it and share ...