Local Going Global
In October of last year, Hawaii's hometown hero brought back the championship prize from one of the most prestigious breaking events of this era - Groove Session.
We spent a few moments with Hijack in the months following his meteoric success to catch up on the eventful journey to Switzerland. Groove Session was an event, in more ways than one, that culminated a year of being sponsored by Red Bull for Hijack.
"...I just fell in love with the idea of going out and representing [Hawaii] and being in a new country."
Earlier in 2022, Hijack was approached by Artur (DeepTrip Crew, Switzerland) with the unique opportunity to attend one of the world's premier breaking competitions as both a judge and a competitor. Excited by the opportunity to represent Hawaii on a global platform and battle with some of the leading youth breakers in the community, he happily agreed.
It would only seem fitting that the rise of Groove Session, sponsored by DaKine, would be attended by a rising star from the center of the Pacific.
Groove Session takes place yearly in Neuchâtel, Switzerland in the month of October. With every passing year the event sees progressively higher level talent and larger crowds supported by both local and international communities of dancers.
The event's 2022 iteration featured an invitational Crew Battle that saw eight groups of dance crews facing off with representatives from countries such as South Korea, France, and more.
The headlining event of Groove Session occurs on the second day of festivities where an international panel of eight adult dancers are randomly paired with a selection of eight prodigious youth dancers (under 17). The tournament bracket proceeds with the 2v2 "Lottery" competitors going head to head in matches that can only be described as world-class.
"Just to be on that panel alongside amazing dancers and to see crews that I looked up to...it was an amazing experience and really humbling to be in that position"
Serving as a judge for the former and a competitor for the latter, Hijack had a lot on his mixed-plate going into this experience.
The Obstacle Opportunity Mindset
For breakers in particular, there is great romanticization around travelling and being a modern-age "nomad" of sorts. While the glory and glamor of finding praise for passion while visiting distant lands exists, and likely supports the multi-colored development of this artform within each respective practitioner, globe-trotting also comes with its own set of realities that pose tremendous implications on performance in this spontaneity-fueled dance.
The true challenge started with losing his possessions on the plane and his sole bag being lost in transit. Hijack found himself in for a trip of a lifetime in Switzerland armed with nothing but the clothes on his back, his passport (thankfully), and his phone. He had two options in front of him: let his circumstance lead the outlook of his time or surrender to the experience of the weekend totally.
"With any obstacle in my mind that feels like resistance - instead of stopping and yielding to it, how can I maneuver it, or use this as an opportunity for myself to feel uncomfortable and grow."
As an avid reader, Hijack was blessed with the most hammah book recommendations. Perhaps in a turn of serendipity, he had been in the middle of "The Obstacle is the Way" (Ryan Holiday) and turned to the wisdom of the stoics to guide his mindset for the competition and judging experience ahead. The promoters of Groove Session were outstandingly hospitable and went out of their way to ensure that Hijack could get his essentials for the weekend - food and bebadeez.
Focusing on gratitude proved to not only be a healthy strategy, but a winning one.
The Turn Out
With minutes left to the start of the final mainstage event, Hijack phone rang. It was the airlines - they had found his bag and driven nearly 3 hours from the airport to deliver his gear.
Is this a big deal? Ask any BBOY or BGIRL, the FIT of a dancer is just as critical to delivering the performance as the actual skills performed. We've known dancers who have spent painstaking hours arranging the "perfect" fit for a competition, often resulting in an entire crew showing up late to an event.
As the dices of fate slowly revealed their numbers and the pairings of competitors were revealed, Hijack's name was called together with one of the most favored youth competitors of the weekend, Maloy.
Hailing from Siberia, this prodigy had a journey of his own just to make it to the event. According to others at the event, Maloy and his coaches traveled for over 20 hours to make it to Switzerland just for the weekend.
It has been said that dance is a universal language - breaking is no different in this aspect. Despite having homes from perhaps the two most different places on the planet, the duo proved themselves as champions from battle to battle and took home the grand prize in the finals against Kae (From Downtown, Paris) and Petaira (Siberia).
"We couldn't speak the same language... through movement we were really able to connect and build with each other."
On his way home, Hawaii celebrated the success and journey that Hijack had in 2022 with the local news circuit, Hawaii News Now, even airing a shout out during a public cast.
Check out our full-length video interview with Hijack to hear (and see) about the full spectrum of happenings during this week in October on the other side of the planet, as well as the humble take-aways that he had from the experience over all.
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