This relates to the True Legend screening and demonstration event going on today at the Museum of the Moving Image featuring Rock Steady Crew founder Jo Jo Torres and Master Jose Figueroa, beginning at 2 PM. See this entire photo album on my photo blog at photos.byhandmedia.com.
It’s safe to say that working on Blvd. Warriors has changed my life tremendously, and that documenting this diverse lifestyle has become a part of my journey as a person and as a filmmaker. Yesterday, Sensei Anthony Colon, who I interviewed for the film, invited me to attend the 2011 Twin Towers Classic Martial Arts Championships, which were held at New York’s Pennsylvania Hotel and the Jacob K. Javits Center, in New York City. The Twin Towers Classic is one of the larger martial arts tournaments I’ve ever attended, with divisions ranging from ages 7 to 70, including Traditional Weapons, Creative Forms and Point Fighting within those divisions.
Sensei Colon, who has successfully returned to regular martial arts competition after being away from it for a few years, also took part in the tournament. I took photos and video, and even ran into Master Linda Ramzy Ranson, whose students also participated in martial arts event. However, I’m not writing this story to talk about the martial arts part of this incredible day, although it was a wonderfully powerful and spirited competition. Sensei Colon, along with his friends Break Easy and Original Skillz, organized a groundbreaking breakdancing b-boy competition during the Twin Towers Classic. The music was provided by hip hop pioneer King Uprock, who kept the tables flowing with classic head jams that resonated across the entire convention center.
I witnessed young martial arts competitors step into the center of a mat set up exclusively for the b-boys, and begin head-spinning, pop-locking and foot-working their way into history. A history that will continue to be discussed in my film and others, the origins of which go back to the very foundation of hip hop and its pioneers, who are now mothers and fathers who have passed along a cultural esthetic that has the power to tear down more barriers any fist could ever do. And the b-boys and b-girls themselves left me speechless. They included boys and girls from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Korea, Japan and Europe. These competitors had the same intensity and drive as the martial arts participants, along with the same goal – take out your opponent.
What I love about sports and music is that very power. The power have kids from all races give each other hugs and fist pounds after trying to take each other out on the mat, whether it’s martial arts or dancing.
Organizations like Sensei Anthony Colon’s and Ralph ‘King Uprock’ Casanova’s must be supported, both financially and spiritually. They organize events such as yesterday’s, with help from members of the Original Rock Steady Crew and other hip hop veterans, out of pure passion for making a difference in kids’ lives, with very little publicity or coverage.
Find out more about Sensei Colon’s Kids of New York project at kidsofny.org.
Find out more about the True Legend screening and demonstration event at the Museum of the Moving Image, featuring Rock Steady Crew founder Jo Jo Torres and Master Jose Figueroa, RIGHT HERE.
Find out more about the Twin Towers Classic Martial Arts Championships at twintowerskarate.com.
Check out samples of the photos and video I took at the event below, and see the entire photo album on my photo blog at photos.byhandmedia.com.