A panoramic shot of the venue from the Red Bull BC One World Final in 2017 at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.
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Breaking

Discover the path to becoming Red Bull BC One World Champion

Every year since 2004, 16 breakers have battled it out in a solo head-to-head contest to find out who'll be crowned Red Bull BC One World Champion – learn about the path of champions here.
Written by Emmanuel Adelekun
4 min readPublished on
Of the 16 competing breakers, 15 are invited, which means they are chosen based on their high level of breaking ability, and the way they've represented themselves competitively on the breaking scene. The final 16th spot in the competition is open, ready and waiting for one more breaker to earn the right to take it. For a B-boy or B-girl to earn that last, prestigious spot they must first win their national Red Bull BC One Cypher and then triumph in the Last Chance Cypher.
At the opening ceremony of the Red Bull BC One World Final 2017 we see all the competitors on stage at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.

Competitors at the opening ceremony

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What is a Red Bull BC One Cypher and how do they work?

Red Bull BC One Cyphers are qualification competitions put on in multiple countries around the world in the lead up to the World Final. A B-boy or B-girl must be a resident of the country putting on the Cypher to be able to compete in it.
A Cypher can have a few invited breakers who've been selected because they're well respected and have built a competitive reputation in their home scene, but the qualifications are usually open entry competitions in which any B-boy or B-girl from that country can compete.
The crowd gathering around the dance-floor in the pre-selection at the Red Bull BC One Cypher in Austria.

The pre-selection rounds of the BC One Cypher in Austria

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Typically a BC One Cypher competition will start off with a qualification round in which all the breakers who've entered will take part in a showcase battle. No winners are chosen from these battles as they're used as a way for the judges to evaluate each breaker's skill level.
Judges then pick the best 16 breakers to go through to the main knock-out stage of the competition. From there, it's a straightforward knock-out battle format, with each battle being three rounds and the judges picking a winner at the end. The battles go from 16 breakers to eight in the quarter finals, four in the semi finals and finally two in the final battle. The final battle is usually five rounds and once it's done the judges make their final pick and the winner is crowned the Red Bull BC One Cypher winner of their country.
If a country is big enough, they may also have more than one Red Bull BC One Cypher and therefore have multiple Cypher winners, like America. In 2017 there were 33 Red Bull BC One Cypher qualifications in 30 countries. These winners don't have to always battle for the overall country Cypher victory, but can all advance to the next stage – the Last Chance Cypher.

The Last Chance Cypher

The Last Chance Cypher is the final competition to see who'll get the open 16th spot in the Red Bull BC One World Final. Taking place the day before the actual World Final, all the Cypher winners from around the world come together to battle for the last place in the next day's competition.
The battle process is the same as the Cypher qualifications; every Cypher winner takes part in a showcase battle which the judges use to pick the best 16 breakers to compete in the knock-out stage of the competition.
The top 16 breakers then battle it out until a final winner is crowned, going from 16 to eight to four to the final two breakers. The final two then go head to head to be the Last Chance Cypher winner and advance into the main Red Bull BC One World Final battle.
B-boy Leony from Brazil has won the Last Chance Cypher the past two years in a row.
Leony from Brasil won the Last Chance Cypher in 2016 and 2017.

Leony has won the Last Chance Cypher two years in a row

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The Red Bull BC One World Final

After a whole year of Cypher qualifications leading to the Last Chance Cypher, the World Final is where everything together. The 16 world finalists are matched up and go head to head in straight knock-out three-round battles, all the way up until the finals; again going from 16 to eight to four to two final breakers. The final two competitors battle five rounds against each other and the panel of judges decide for the last time that night who'll be crowned the Red Bull BC One World Champion for that year and presented with the Red Bull BC One Championship belt.
This is the journey that everyone must take to become Red Bull BC One Champion.
Menno takes the trophy of the Red Bull BC One World Final in 2017

Menno wins Red Bull BC One 2017

© Little Shao/Red Bull Content Pool