RYUGI INTERVIEWS EPISODE 9
Q. Please introduce yourself
Born and raised in Melbourne Victoria - 22nd July 1987
Known as TOFU (To Out Flava U) - Tofz - Representing Kings Only - Flava Squad - Shad0wRoc
Q. How did you meet breaking? How did you get into it?
Originally my Father has always had a strong passion for traditional martial arts - Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Lion Dancing, and Wu Shu.
Always performed for Chinese New Years in the City of Melbourne and was a part of a strong team in the 90s, always taught me basics and foundations within the art form in our Cantonese/Chinese culture. He blessed me with his roots and passion to keep me mentally and physically focused and proud to express in many ways throughout my journey.
We would go to our local VHS store and rent 5-10 martial arts action films on a weekly deal and load our brain with movies by Bruce Lee, Jet Lee, Jacky Chan, Jean Claude Van Damme just to name a few, he would force me to wake and teach me kung fu & wing chun basics on a Sunday morning.
This one night I found a VHS movie called ‘Only The Strong’ (1993) in the action/martial arts section of the store that caught my attention because of the Brazilian martial arts style called ‘Capoeira.’
Captivated and inspired by the music and movement within the culture of that movie it opened my mind into breakin’. I later on was able to purchase the exact VHS from the store and still have the physical tape before the store had to close down.
Also playing the video game on PlayStation and Local Arcades - Tekken 3 - Selecting the character Eddy Gordo!
One morning my father told me to watch Rage on TV. At that moment it was RUN DMC, Jason Nevins - It's Like That.
Which led me to find Bomfunk MCs - Freestyler and all these other snippets of breakin’ on Rage and Video Hits every weekend.
I would have a blank VHS tape ready to record certain songs or just moments in songs to capture the dynamics of Breakin’ that was on the music videos and would watch them and press slow motion on the VHS player to try to study the movement.
*Who did you get inspired when you started?
Wickid Force throwing jams in the early 2000s - Throwdown II, III
My homie Lion and Dan Dan went to the jams and filmed it and made copies of the tape for me and I would just watch it, also had the Battle Massacre - Los Angeles VCD that Dan Dan lent to me which I also made a copy of onto VHS which had Ronnie Ruen and Frankie Flave.
I met a korean homie by the name of YJ that was breakin’ during highschool while I was just beginning to discover breakin’ during year 8-9 in 2001-2002 with Andrew also known as ‘Reflex’ during our highschool days using dial-up internet trying to spend all night downloading a 2min breaking video via Breakdance.org, Style2Ouf.
I was very lucky to build a friendship with YJ and asked him to show me how he gets down, busting out fresh footwork and crispy windmills in school uniform and school shoes in the locker area with the smooth lino surface.
He one day let me borrow a VHS - Battle of The Year 99’ and I dubbed a copy for myself and I would watch from start to finish over and over again...
Seeing and hearing DJ Leacy cutting up Level 42 - Starchild (Loopin The Break) and Forrest Getemgump, Tuff Tim Twist, Speedy getting down in the judges showcase to all the crews that showcased to the Crew Battles Suicidal Lifestyle, Rock Force Crew. The music really stuck with me.
* How did you create your style?
I first incorporated Ginga in Capoeira and Kung Fu Styles such as Snake, Drunken Master, Dragon, Pray Mantis in my Toprock. Understanding different movements and flows.
Progressively drilling mostly footwork foundations.
Trying different Funk Styles within Popping & Locking.
Experimented in Krump (Rize)
House & Freestyle Hip Hop Flows (Wreckin Shop - Live From Brooklyn)
Studying the roots of Traditional Breakin’ in early 70s, then throughout to the 80s, 90s & 2000s and slowly piecing the timeline together and understanding the evolution.
Studying movements in African and Latin Traditional Culture Dance Styles.
Collecting vinyl and opening my ears to a wide range of more music the world has created.
*What do you care the most when you battle?
I care about the music that is presented to me that is not in my control and within that moment I truly know I need to express.
No matter the sounds and vibrations I can capture, I will make the most and represent myself authentically.
*Please tell us about your crew
We are brothers from different mothers that came together to meet in this lifetime to share this expression of dance with music and movement.
We have a proud legacy to represent what we believe in, how we support each other in our family and in life and within our movement within this dance, past present and future.
*What does the breaking mean to you?
Channelling feelings and movement to the dynamics music can give us, expressing freely without thought and judgement.
Freedom to experiment and create, connecting to souls that have the same energy, mentality, drives, understanding to break free.
*What is the difference between Bgirl/Bboy and Break Dancer?
I believe the difference between
Bgirl/Bboy – A dancer that embodies the music through movement, studies the culture and understands the elements within HipHop.
Break Dancer – A dancer that is driven by moves rather than connection to music and movement.
*You are also known as a DJ, when did you start DJing? And why?
I purchased my 1200 Technics and Rane Mixer, Needles, Slip mats, Classic Break Records and all other essentials to begin my journey and learn the traditional essence of wanting to be a Breaks DJ in 2012, why? Progressively the music that was presented for Breakers
Before I physically got the traditional set up;
I started with an I-Touch that had individual classic break gems cued to their specific breakdown or loop connected to my Ghetto Blaster while we would be busking with the crew on Swanston Street in Melbourne, using my fingers to loop break beats then later on buying a controller which connected to the I-Touch to link the sound through the Boom-Box to cut breaks live while we would get down on the streets of Melbourne.
*What do you do for a living?
For the past 15 years I have worked as a automotive technician for a number of companies such as Mazda & Honda.
*What is your next goal?
To keep mentally, physically healthy and keep evolving my style and learning about music, dance and culture.
*Message to new gen bboys and bgirls
Enjoy the music with your movement and express freely with your feelings and share positive energy with one and another.
Maintain good habits within your health and your physical body and mind.
Believe in yourself and stay humble to keep evolving as a human with the love of music and dance.
Study and embody all the greatness that has been passed to you all with knowledge and expression.