Xiaolin Gruv
Photo Courtesy: Carmichael Simon

Title Image: XiaolinGruv Masters 2005 : Nigel Bolton, Carmichael Simon, Kory Watkins, Anthony Gooch, and Jeriel Bey

During the 1980s as BBoys (Breakers), Poppers, and Lockers share their creative spirits within the New York City transit line, Los Angeles nightlife, and media platforms such as Soul Train, we travel a few miles from Bruce Lee’s nostalgic school where the “Arts & Soul” of Oakland, California harmonize. Orchestrating the culture of their roots, heritage of movement, and diversity of social economics, we find the Alice Arts Center.

Twenty years later within these walls of the Alice Arts Center, a few choreographers are developing their craft to encourage the youth through TURF dancing (Taking Up Room on the Floor). Inspired by the melodies, strong percussions, and exquisite ad-libs of Bay Area Hyphy musical artists such as E-A-Ski (Shon Adams, World Champion Martial Artist), world renowned dance crew Housin’ Authority and TURF dance pioneers The Architeckz are theorizing on how to translate the isolation of EARTH through poppin, the gentle WIND of gliding, the WATER flow of waving, and the aggressive FIRE of the 6-step/UpRock though an interpretative martial arts dance style which will be known a few years later as XiaolinGruv.

With these natural elements and paying homage to the Kung Fu Hip Hop 1980s roots which inspired them, the XIAOLIN (Shaolin) inspired by the Gordon Liu’s 36 Chamber movie and the GRUV (Groove) where movements are choreographed to an 8-count. To present the movement through popular culture, The Architeckz began to design the XIAOLIN framework while the choreography of the GRUV was crafted by Housin’ Authority through the following blueprint:

1. EARTH: Traditional Hard Style

2. WIND: Traditional Soft Style

3. WATER: Creative/Musical/Extreme

4. FIRE: Acrokicking & Tricking


Photo Courtesy: Carmichael Simon

Above: XiaolinGruv Masters 2021: Jeriel Bey, Kory Watkins, Nigel Bolton, Carmichael Simon, and Anthony Gooch

With this American movement style, XiaolinGruv became a new visual instrument within the influential sphere of renowned dance choreographers and stunt coordinators which has inspired the Sport Karate industry since the early 2000s to transcend an era of competitors to establish careers in film, music, animation, professional training, and live stage shows.

Email from Jhoon Rhee himself:

Jhoon Rhee Email

Photo Courtesy: Carmichael Simon

XiaolinGruv Remix on YouTube:

A compilation of XiaolinGruv performances. Artifacts from 2005-2006.

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