Tawfiq Amrani on online battles: “This is the worst, but you have to create your own atmosphere”
Last week, Tawfiq Amrani (The Ruggeds) made it to the Top 4 of the Red Bull BC One E-Battle. Before Corona he traveled the world to do battles, he is now forced to do so via a livestream. Although organizations such as World Bboy Classic and Planet Pop’N find innovative solutions to keep their competitions going, an e-battle is not close to the real thing. Tawfiq explains why he likes to compete with his colleagues anyway.
“It takes some getting used to doing it this way”, says Tawfiq. The BC One is the third online battle in which he participates: “The first time was very special. You dance in front of a screen, you don’t have a crowd, you have to switch. I found out that it was super boring. This is the worst. But you have to create your own atmosphere. It is really just a training session and you do your thing. I just make it a fun day with my crew. Just laugh, train, and when you have to battle, the energy is there too.”
“If I were to do it on my own, it is very difficult to gauge whether it is impressive,” he explains. “The reactions you get from the people around you are factors that you take with you in a battle. For me it works like this. I need some energy, which also makes me want to dance again. It is more difficult on my own to find that motivation. It doesn’t feel like I’m in a competition. I react very much to people’s reaction. I know what is good and what is not good in my break, but I also have to be able to execute it, to show it throughout my performance. You notice it very well in someone’s attitude when he is alone and makes no sense.”
Now that everything is down due to Corona, Tawfiq does a lot less battles than before. That benefits his level, he explains: “Compared to last year, I have had so much time. Your work stops, all travels stop. I can get used to it, train every day and do nothing else. I don’t have a month for years. All to myself. When this came, I took full advantage of it. It made me even sharper, so I don’t see it as a bad thing.”
He sees the same with some of his opponents: “Everyone’s level goes up, but some take a different approach by preparing more for rounds throughout the year. To improve, I have to renounce competitions and working on myself. A boxer also only does three matches a year, he trains the rest of the time. When he starts doing that competition, he will work intensively on his fitness for six weeks and he will be ready to box twelve rounds. That for me too, if something comes up I make sure I’m fit to do all my rounds without any problems. It’s not in my head that I have to win that competition, it’s in my head that I have to improve myself. During this period there will be no live competitions, so you have to use your time wisely. Otherwise you will improve slowly. Among the people who do take the time, there are many world champions. Everyone trains, but it is also about how you train.”
So Tawfiq now organizes his training days differently: “Last year I was very focused on competitions. I trained intensively and every day. That didn’t work well for me, you have to be smart with your body. If you have injuries, you can. disrupt training. My moves have a lot of impact. Now I train more on feeling. I always try to keep pushing my technical stuff, I don’t want to sit still. I try to freestyle, mix, see what new things I can do. You have to train with sense and focus. It’s an artistic thing, not a sporty thing. You have to have inspiration and sense. Music is a part of it. All those things make a session nice. When I’m broken, I don’t push myself. I don’t get too stressed. If I need three days of rest, I take it. Then I can give 100% again when I have recovered. If I am just a little too tired and can give less, that doesn’t help me enough. Then I will improve very quickly.”
The BC One uses Tawfiq to assess his improvements: “The level of the BC One E battle is high, which is a good time for me to test myself again.” After that it was nice: “This is my last online battle of 2020, the BC One is the only goal I have now. I am asked for more battles but I don’t have the urge to do much. At the BC One you are among the best and it is a prestigious battle. If you dance there, it will only bring you good.” Also for the live battles that there are, he thanks: “I’d rather choose a battle that really interests me than stand in front of half a crowd. With all those rules it is difficult. I’d rather wait until everything is 100% full again.”