I’ve been described as “up and coming” for several years. One would think that after one year of not going anywhere, people would stop saying such things. However, due to my intermittent appearances in the breaking scene, coupled with my boyish good looks, people always think that I’m some rising, young, star-in-the-making. This is, of course, about as inaccurate as it can get.
My usual response to being described as “up and coming” has always been the revoltingly corny, yet painfully true phrase that I’m “out and going.” These days, it takes me a little longer to warm up before practice. Sometimes I don’t even want to go, and I’d rather sit at home and knit while eating chocolate ice cream. My injuries are becoming more numerous, healing slower, and nagging me in an old, Korean mother-like fashion. Often as I shower after getting back from practice, I feel as if my joints will give out any day, and that I should just quit while I’m ahead. It’s all becoming a drag.
Should I quit?
Here comes the setup: I was born in the U.S. but raised in Chile, where my parents decided to enroll me in gymnastics and martial arts classes in order to burn off the seemingly endless amounts of excess energy I seemed to have as a child. I stopped learning gymnastics due to the overabundance of “icky” girls who would often tussle my Moe Howard hair and pinch my fat, baby cheeks, but I continued learning martial arts (perhaps in preparation for the army of ninjas that I was to challenge somewhere down the line, but more on that later).
I moved back to the U.S. when I was 13. In 1998, in true New York City Korean fashion, my parents enrolled me in C.C.B., which, to Chris Hanson’s dismay, stood for “Come Come Babies.” It was a prep school (“hakwon” for those in the know) for Math and English. This is where I met John Sol and Henry Siu, two rising sophomores of Stuyvesant High School, the prestigious New York City high school which I was set to attend in the coming fall. I got to know John and Henry, and they suggested that I learn how to breakdance. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I decided that I would try it out since I had “nothing better to do.”
So I joined “Bodyrock,” the Stuyvesant High School breakdancing club led by Harmonica “Saki” Kao. I learned little by little, but my world wasn’t set ablaze by witnessing the basic steps of breaking. It was still something I did because I had nothing better to do. The next year, Saki decided to take the club on a class trip to the Rocksteady Crew anniversary, where a number of bboys I didn’t even know were battling 1 on 1. And that’s where something clicked, and I thought “Holy shit, this thing can go THAT far?” I recall seeing Dyzee and Cloud, and almost wetting myself from giddy delight. It truly made me want to be good at breaking.
And so, I went through the usual progression: graduated from high school, went to college, went to another college, graduated college, graduated from law school. It’s been around 12 years since I first learned of breaking, and I’ve been influenced (both positively and negatively) by many people: John Sol, Henry Siu, Stuyvesant Gymnastics Team, Saki, Miles, Hajin, Absolute Zero, Nevo, Chris, Anoop, Honey Roast Chicken, Hidden Characters, Breaks Kru, Keith, Vince, Donny, Di, Ewok Nation, BOOTE, Diego, Rumor, Flash, Catalyst, Alien Ness, Charlie Ahearn, Dance Broomz, Lost Tribe, Skill Methodz, Abstrakt, Teknyc, Beatwhackz, Havikoro, Florox, and just so many more that I remember.
Now that I’ve graduated from law school, I expect to be working (hopefully) soon and become a contributing member of society. I almost feel like I should throw away self-indulgent activities such as breaking, especially since it all fucking hurts. But looking back, I really don’t see myself quitting. I really haven’t been able to find anything better to do than breaking.