Kurume, JP – On December 3, the best B-Boys in the world descended on the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya, Japan for the Red Bull BC One World Finals to battle it out for the championship title. Defending champion Victor Montalvo was an easy favorite, but there were 16 other dedicated athletes ready to take him down, which is exactly what happened. Japanese B-Boy Issei Hori came through and won the title on his home turf, marking only the second time that’s happened in the event’s history. With help of a translator, Issei, who fell in love with B-Boying at 8 years old and came in second place at the 2015 BC One Asia Pacific Finals, was able to talk about what it felt like the moment his name was announced as the winner.
“I felt a huge relief,” Issei tells DX. “I was like, ‘It’s done!’ All this time I was like, ‘I want to go home now’ while waiting for the judges to reveal the result. I met [Montalvo] a couple of times at the battle venue and he didn’t look great. He didn’t have his momentum.”
Confidence is a huge factor in the art of B-Boying. The judges look for not only originality in the routine, but also personality and swagger. As a kid, Issei loved spinning on the floor and practicing and quickly realized it was what he wanted to do.
“I was just a one-lesson student,” he says. “But I remember looking at senior teachers’ showcases when I was younger and I thought it was cool, although I didn’t think I could be the one back then. I remember [my first battle] so clearly. I was 8 years old and I participated in a 1-on-1 battle in Kurume [Japan]. B-Boy Taisuke san and B-Boy Toshiki san were the judges.”
The battle was a defining moment for his career.
“It was so much fun and I got second place. Maybe my ‘always-finishing-second-place jinx’ started from there,” he laughs.
In addition to his love of B-Boying, Issei is attracted to other elements of Hip Hop. Turntablism, graffiti and rhyming have always been intriguing to Issei throughout his life.
“I like going to see rap battles from time to time,” he says. “I like to go and stand next to DJ, watching their skills and techniques. I enjoyed the environment of graffiti walls when I visited the United States. I feel ‘art’ every time I meet a person with a good sense in general.”
When it came time to start training for the 2016 Red Bull event, surprisingly Issei didn’t spend endless hours in the studio practicing. He simply did what he normally does.
“I went to the studio twice a week—that’s all,” he admits. “But I was participating in so many battles before Red Bull BC One World Finals, so it may have helped gearing myself up. Maybe.”
Issei is focused on training for the 2017 Red Bull BC One World Championship and has clearly outlined his goal. “I want to win next year’s Red Bull BC One World Championship and get the first back-to-back world title,” he says.
Check out the championship-winning battle above.