Selling OUR Judging System to our bboys
Do you remember the days when the DJ would spin a dope record, people would get down and do a dope move, before you knew it you were in a scene reminiscent of Beat Street's Roxy battle? Someone got burnt, the crowd booed: Someone was a winner, someone was a loser.
Some, but maybe not all, will remember as the art moves forward. Back in the day a cypher was an spontaneous moment at a party: It just so happened that two breakers would be at the same spot, they'd throw down and it was up to the people at the party to judge who won by the biggest cheer.
But then as time changed b-boying took a turn: The culture rose, sponsors jumped on board, large scale events were set up, battles became epic and moved from clubs and parties to arenas and organisers would fill out stadiums with thousands of people, and so something that would happen in the street and in the intimate location of clubs became a spectator sport with appointed 'professionals' judging: Who's to say that's a fair system when your not battling on home turf and the audience is backing the home crew?
With disputes on the stage, under YouTube videos (with no shortage of e-boys to chuck in their two pennies) and of course, armchair critics calling certain events 'fixed,' how exactly are we going to get it right and eliminate bias?
Arguably it's this: After 11 years of consideration and consultation with original generational b-boys it's The OUR (Objective, Unified, Real-time) Judging System, devised and promoted by Dyzee of Supernaturalz Crew. Dyzee has both battled and judged at many a battle across the world, so here's a video of him explaining the system:
When you battle you're being watched by the judges for up to 15 minutes in some instances. Considering the stylistic changes to the dance over the years, from the introduction of new styles, moves and blow ups, how do you choose which crew won after taking it all in and applying your decision to how true to the 'original' styles they were - and keep in mind the dancers may just judge to tick the correct boxes on the judge sheet.
"There's so many different directions you can go with it (the dance), and you don't always know if the judges can relate to your style," says Lanre Pedro, also known as Hakim, who features in the OUR documentary, embedded below, which was put online earlier this week. "There's flexy-style, there's power moves, there's guys that focus more on rocking, foundation, everyone has their own opinion."
It could be a difficult system to implement. When the original generation b-boys have been around since the dawn of the b-boy era, and equally the freshest, dopest and most authentic (to the style) b-boy that can do the biggest moves and blowups has been chosen for a jury, whose word should go against who?
Hakim continues: "I think there's been a lot of beef around the world with people trying to say that their mindset is the right way, or their way is the best way."
Watch the Street Soul OUR BBoy Judging System documentary here:
Dyzee of Supernaturalz has successfully sold the OUR system to R-16, Korea's biggest b-boy event, and revolutionised how the event is judged, with results calculated live, projected openly and transparently for the audience to see.
The debate is that other sports institutions have their own unions and guilds: Why not b-boying?
Look at some judging panels for rappers: May be a successful mainstream rapper, an underground MC a producer, and a journalist. Some events have moved up from three to five judges to settle any arguments for bias. Even Jump Off has a rotation of judges from different backgrounds for its competitions.
"If you at least have at least one base for the judging system then you can have your trends on top of that, but if you have something concrete you can have something that can evolve but stay the same the whole time" says B-Boy Epic and representative of the OUR judging system. "This judging system is like a trunk of a tree. There can be tons of branches, tons of leafs […] but it needs a base."
"B-boying is like a language, it's everything. But a professional competition, once you put judges there and you put time, a cash prize, a clear winner or loser, it becomes in every definition a sport when you make it like that," says Dyzee. "Tae kwon do, it's not a sport, it's a martial art, but once they go into professional tae kwon do competition with their judges and their rules, that is a sport and it's a game."
The OUR judging system works as follows…
One judge is assigned to each category, awarding up to five points for every turn. The winner is determined by who wins the most categories, and in the event of a tie, all of the category scores are added together to determine a winner by overall score.
"When I heard they would be using a judging system at R16 I didn't get it. Why do we need a system? Because I thought b-boying isn't like olympic games that need scores," says B-Boy Born of Rivers Crew. "So, I was kind of against it at first. But then after talking a lot with Dyzee I gave it a second thought."
"If we apply the judging system to many battles b-boying battles will get to mean a lot more … battles will come across as something more serious," Born continues. "Under the judging system I believe we can protect ourselves from people and media that want to use us. So I think the judging system is a good thing."
OUR b-boying battle system is going to divide opinions of a lot of b-boys and armchair judges too: Champions will fall from grace. Maybe this system will work for R-16, but who sees it working at your local hip hop jam? Can you certify a judge/representative the same way the RAD does for classical dance?
"Trying to get people to unite - that's the hard part," says Dyzee. "No one respects breaking outside of b-boys … they look at us like little punks and youths, whatever, they don't take us seriously. And we know we're better than that. We need to find ways to unite the community and protect the culture."
See the OUR System applied to Red Bull BC One last year, an event that doesn't implement the system, below. You can leave a comment under the article.
For a full verbal explanation and breakdown of the OUR System, see http://ourbboys.com/our-system
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