Usual Mantis Disclaimer: Don't bother replying if you don't read the entire thing. We all know the kids on here could use some well thought out information so please avoid skimming the post and making silly replies. (This applies to the smartass' too)
Topic of the day: Biting.
Ok... well biting and lots of tangents.
In general there is a large problem within the breaking community right now, at least in the USA especially, but worldwide i'm sure as well. This problem is the blind leading the blind, especially when it comes to intricate teachings like biting...
A lot of kids are teaching themselves in groups (HS, college) and not getting taught by anyone with experience and knowledge. This dynamic also leads to internal problems within 1st generation crews because nobody has a voice of "authority" when trying to guide others or settle arguements. Also on places like the bboyworld forums, you have kids breaking for less than a year blurting out their distorted personal views on breaking concepts and philosophies, filling other kids heads with loads of bullshit, when posts by people who are respected in the bboy community are falling on deaf ears. There is a "me too" complex that kids are falling into. They go looking for information and end up agreeing with whatever ideas the most kids agree with on a thread. Monkey see, monkey do.
Like was mentioned at the BBoy Summit panel, nobody is being soned anymore, which is to say taken under someone's wing and taught the ropes of hiphop and breaking. The most important part of a bboy's development is the beginning. Just like a newborn baby, they have to be nurtured with the correct teachings that will create their bboy morality. The "rules" that a bboy is given or creates for himself in order to understand breaking will stick with them for a long time and create their bias for years to come. If you teach a bboy not to bite from day 1, they will take it as a "rule" of the "game". This happened with me so I know it works. My friend Gino only knew a little bit about breaking when he got me into it but one important thing he said when I watched my first video was that biting was not supposed to be done; more specifically: Do not take moves from anyone.
See to a beginning bboy back in the 99-2001 range, there were MANY bboys out there that had their own styles. They were like superheros or video game characters. Each had a name and their own arsenal of moves. The seperation of styles back then was very apparent. Nowadays every city has a bboy of every "type", but years ago styles were carried by crews or cities.
If you saw a bboy from Miami, you would know where he was from because of the combination of power with footwork and a bit of abstracton in his style away from being strictly oldschool.
If you saw a bboy from cali, you would see the emphasis on the blowup rather than things like footwork. There was also a phase of "silly" moves that went on in Cali from what I understand.
A bboy from New york, well; generally they would maintain the no BS agressive, quick style which was usually many footwork techs, burns, and flavor in their go downs and how they get up from the floor. Airflares weren't yet the hot move so people were mainly doing groundpower.
BBoys from Sourpatch and others were just starting to bring out the whole different "look" and attitude that a lot of people try to pull off now.
The uber-flexible breaking style was only done by a handful of people. You could count the names of those flexible bboys on the east coast on one hand.
A bboy from Toronto back in 99-2001 I must say was impressive to me, only because it was a huge preface to what you see today in regards to "abstract" footwork styles. There weren't a whole lot of American bboys going to Toronto back then, and when my friends and I started visiting from college there was a HUGE difference between what you would see there and what was in the states. (Note: Megus' big shine came at Pro-am 99, when people were amazed by his footwork.) (Also note that I am aware of single bboys carrying complex footwork styles long before 2000, I am merely speaking on the concentration of these types of people at this time in TO) I remember when I first told people in Philadelphia about Dyzee, nobody would believe me that there was this guy with crazy footwork that I hadn't seen anywhere else. Crackerzacks thought I was talking about Dizzy from Motion Disorders, and blew it off. It was't until Rocksteady anniv. and 1st degree burn that people really saw Dyzee down here. The fact is: Going to Toronto back in those days you could find a lot of dope different footwork styles that were fully explored. People were not just doing normal footwork and then doing a lego leg which is when you sweep one leg around the other very quickly (seen everywhere now, but no where then), bboys had complete footwork styles to make up for their lack of powermoves. (Toronto had VERY little power back then). Threading, illusions, flow, a lot of these things were foreign to the USA back then. Hell I even coined the term "American Threading" as a joke back then because how basic most americans version of threads was "Thread one leg - roll over still holding your foot - thread the leg again in reverse". Cats STILL do this lol.
But I digress. The point is that each city back then or crew within a city had their own style, and you could tell when someone bit the style. Since there was no bboyworld.com back then, and I hadn't created ewoknation.com yet, there was a serious lack of footage on the net. You only had 3 options:
1. Buy a VHS of a jam.
2. Get underground footage by trading.
3. Actually go somewhere and see bboys.
And since there was a lot less traveling then, you would know when you would see bboys from outside the city, and if they started doing your city's style somewhere else it would show right away because they would standout in their own city.
Currently, it is the complete opposite of this. The flood of video into the internet combined with the lack of teachings and guidance accompanying them has created micropockets of different styles all over the world. You have people doing 20 different styles that began in 20 different places, all in the same city. So naturally crew battles have become more boring to watch because you will basically see clones of eachother battling, when it used to be different style versus different style, but in the same category (power, footwork, blowups).
Nobody understands the difference between "influenced by" and "bitten from" anymore. Mad kids say they influenced by people and they just chomping moves or the style. Influenced means you take a general concept and do something totally different and new with it. If you straight up look at someone and take something of theirs, and add it to your own arsenal, thats biting. Also its bullshit to steal someone's transitions or threads and then end it differently. Who's to say they don't do that too? The small piece of a throwdown that you pick out as something you want to take might be the only part of that throwdown that is completely original by that bboy. So the arguement that it isn't biting because it isn't the entire set, move for move is flawed.
Heres a personal example:
I started breaking with friends who had no idea how to break, just like myself. For a year and a half, I was not that amazing. I had dope airfreezes after a while, but my footwork was still not that dynamic. We didn't bite from videos so our progress was limited; however each of of looked very different and pretty original already. And we were having FUN. We had a blast! I had been exposed to Toronto footwork, but was not attempting to imitate it. It wasn't until I asked Puzzles (Then a solo bboy, now in Supernaturalz crew) to help me with footwork that I began to get better in that area. In one 30 minute session, he taught me a few things I could do to improve my footwork. It was maybe 3 "moves" or steps, and a couple concepts. Puzzles was taught by Megus and also influenced by people like Dyzee who were his friends. (Also note that Megus was once a part of Supernaturalz and carried that style). Dyzee also told me a lot of philosophies about footwork in general later on.
My influences I would say are Vee(PK) and maybe a little Jester(SNC) later on.
Now the only thing I got from Vee and Jester was the idea to "move outside the box" which was the typical sixstep/footwork circle which is mostly "legwork" which is throwin your legs around in your footwork (non-steps) (and i consider Vee and Jester to be the Northeast Pioneers of this style) and also using your hands for more intricate things. I didnt take any "moves" from either of them.
And look at me now. I have a mad original style with tons of threads and steps nobody does in the bboy scene except me, and not only that but I share almost no moves with Puzzles, Dyzee, Vee or Jester which were my influences and mentors.
So people who complain about it not being possible to "not bite" thats a steaming pile of bullshit.