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About Locking ?

Locking is an ambiguous subject for some, and a dance considered incredibly difficult to achieve for others. If you have been studying it long enough “Locking” is a dance that sent you on the quest of a lifetime. It made you dabble in your parent’s old record collection, made you shop in thrift shops, records shops, hat shops, costume shops and more. For most of us, it created an incredible amount of financial pressure because of the accumulated debts from traveling abroad to meet the pioneers, participate in events, take workshops, and invest in private classes. If you went the extra mile, you would have invested the bulk of your money organizing jams and renting studio space to build a community to pump new life into the art.

It isn’t easy to get newly involved people to stick with it long enough for it to have a more significant impact on the scene at large. I have noticed that what often drives the new generation to tempt their faith at trying to Lock is purely individual. Some accidentally fall into it, others love its soulful expression, many connect with the power of its execution, and whatever they identify with is always very personal at first.

To achieve a higher level of understanding of the art form, we need considerable investment in learning its fundamentals and foundations. Devoting mind and body to perfecting the skills needed to achieve necessary satisfaction takes dedication, yet somewhere along the road, to find a way to balance all these contradicting energies can create frustration, and make it difficult to keep the love going.

Therefore, I pondered; what drives a dancer to start Locking? That was the easy part, I think for most is, falling in love with the dance. Now for the hard question; what makes a dancer stick with Locking? I realized that falling in love with it wasn’t enough, and standing in love was more important. It’s easy to lose the “love” when the grass looks greener on the other side (meaning the new style everyone wants to learn), but to stand in love, for the long haul, for better or for worse is really hard to do. I know, it sounds cliché, but Locking for some of us is a tumultuous relationship filled with ups and downs and believe it or not some of us are taking these vows very seriously. Oh, that fine line between passion and insanity!

There is also the Laboratory part; I call it the Lab, the scientific approach to Locking. In lab work, you need to partner up with other aficionados of the form to decipher and solve all of the elusive questions faced. “Lab” is work, it’s sharing, and it knows how to produce energy by using the right particles. Lab is the result of the careful collection and analysis of laboratory evidence. It is fed by research – asking questions, performing procedures, collecting data, analyzing data, answering questions, and thinking of new questions to explore. You can’t “lab” with people who don’t share the same passion for the chosen experiment. If you do, you might end up doing all the work. Scientists are insanely passionate people They ARE artists.

After reflecting on the subject, there was only one answer that had the potential to bridge the gap formed by all these different approaches to Locking. The most obvious solution was to build strong communities, find and connect with people who love it as much as you do, which can help create the necessary energy to propel the Art into the future. It had to transcend the individual into a shift that is more collective. To be able to survive, it needs a lot of elements; it needs leaders who can lead by inspiring, great thinkers, risk takers, nurturers, supporters, and gatherers of the Art. Together they cultivate the passion through perseverance, dedication, but they know that without LOVE nothing can last. Love is (for me) the path to Locking, looking at the scientific path, I teach the genetic imperative of Locking: 1+1=3, because two identical partners will not mutate the form. A woman + a man = a child that equals three. Therefore, survival rests upon diversity. I use these analogies at the Locking Camp and share them with the students because Locking to me is all of the above. It can be explained by art, biology, science, philosophy, and even yes, sometimes spirituality. As crazy as it may sound, it breeds LIFE back into the dance, because sometimes you need to look at it from the outside in!

To build a community is a feat in itself. It takes a village to raise a child. It needs transparent leaders. If a leader has a personal agenda, people will be weary of following. These leaders also often carry a heavy burden because they are the active ones, the ones in the public eye; they are the ones who go through scrutiny as all eyes fall on them, all the time. If you don’t understand Locking and why some of us are so insanely passionate about it, this may help you, as Bruce Lee once said, and I quote;

“Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick…”

As the insanely passionate begin to devote their lives to Locking, when the joy, the newness, and the love drive your motivation, this inevitably happens;


“After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick…”

It is also the part where you “think” you learned all that you had to learn and where some of us get stuck and plateau. Then, in a moment of pure revelation most of us come upon this epiphany, and come full circle; this part now may apply;

“Now that I’ve understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. The height of cultivation is really nothing special. It is merely simplicity; the ability to express the utmost with the minimum…”

Sorry, I have to keep quoting, Bruce Lee was simply genius!

“Art is the expression of the self. The more complicated and restricted the method, the less the opportunity for expression of one’s original sense of freedom. Though they play an important role in the early stage, the techniques should not be too mechanical, complex or restrictive. If we cling blindly to them, we shall eventually become bound by their limitations.
Remember, you are expressing the techniques and not doing the techniques. If somebody attacks you, your response is not Technique No.1, Stance No. 2, Section 4, Paragraph 5. Instead, you simply move in like sound and echo, without any deliberation. It is as though when I call you, you answer me, or when I throw you something, you catch it. It’s as simple as that – no fuss, no mess. In other words, when someone grabs you, punch him. To me a lot of this fancy stuff is not functional.”

Bruce Lee

Of course, this to me applies to Locking. But may not resonate with all of you if you are not the philosopher type the way Bruce Lee was, and that’s okay too!

For my next project, I wanted to find the people and communities that help spark life back into Locking. My first feature will start with my hometown in Montreal, Canada, where LockUnity is the driving force, and thoroughly invested in growing the Locking Art form. They also are a great example of how a Locking community can develop and stand the test of time.

Look out for my upcoming article called “In the Lab With LockUnity”.


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