5. Cypher/Battle






cyph⋅er [sahy-fer]

  • noun
    • A secret method of writing, as by transposition or substitution of letter, specially formed symbols, or the like. (dictionary.com)
    • Two or moreb-boys or b-girlsbreakdancing (or rappers) in a circle together in an informal freestyle manner. They could be battling or simply playing off of each other. (urbandictionary.com)


bat⋅tle [bat-l]

  • noun
    • A hostile encounter or engagement between opposing forces
  • verb
    • to engage in battle
    • to force or accomplish by fighting, struggling


(Section 1)

The Cypher Battle


Before competitions and judges, the B-Boys used to dance in cyphers and battles were a big part of the culture. Before there were judges, the B-Boys had their own way of determining who was the winner or loser and there was a way in which B-Boys danced and interacted with one another in the circle. This category is meant to preserve the true essence of a cypher battle, before there were judges and competitions.


(Section 2)

The Two Components of the Cypher Battle

  • Busting Egos
  • Playing Off Each Other


(Section 2.1)

#1 “Busting Egos”

Busting Egos has two parts to it:

  1. Being able to remove your opponents confidence
  2. Being able to retain your own self confidence

Confidence is displayed by characteristics such as:

  1. Eye contact
  2. Energy
  3. Sharp confident form and posture

Note: Must display at least 2 out of the 3.

Must be sustained throughout the entire round


(Section 2.2)

#2 “Playing Off Each Other”

This pertains to how the B-Boy responds to the throw down of the opponent.

A B-Boy can respond to the different aspects of a throw down such as:

  1. The opponents Style
  2. The opponents Moves
  3. An opponent’s Concept or Idea

(Section 2.3)

The B-Boy should pick out from the opponent’s throw down one of the following to respond to:

  1. What the opponent did best
  2. What the opponent failed or miss-executed

(Section 2.4)

There are two different ways to respond to the opponent.

  1. To “Burn” (outdo)
    To show physically “I can do that better” (faster, stronger, harder, longer, cleaner)
  2. To “Smoke” (1 up)
    To show physically “I can also do that too” (a variation) “But can you do this!” (then do more)

Note: Must execute either one


(Section 3)

The Standards of Cypher/ Battle

Perfect = (5 points)

High level of Confidence plus a “clear and specific” proper response


Good = (4 points)

No Confidence lost plus a “similar” response


Average = (3 points)

  1. A) No Confidence lost, No Response, but overall clearly stronger round
  2. B) No Confidence lost, a similar response, but clearly weaker round


Poor = (2 points)

  1. A) Lost Confidence plus Similar Response
  2. B) Lost Confidence but Clearly Stronger round (no response)
  3. C) No Confidence lost, No response


None = (1 point)

Lost Confidence and No response


(Section 3.1)

Beginning the Battle:

The first throw down is not responding to an opponent, thus they are setting the pace of the battle.

The first throw down is automatically awarded:

  • Average (3 points)
    For starting the battle. It’s neither good or bad to begin the battle

    • If the first throw down has bad execution (crash, slips, fall), then it is Poor (2 points)
    • If the first throw down has “Perfect” execution, then it is Good (4 points)
      • First round is never Perfect or None (unless it is a qualifier or pre selection battle)


(Section 4)

Credit and Research For the Cypher/Battle Standards

The standards of Cypher/Battle is the collection of the various (sometimes contradicting) values, philosophies, approaches and knowledge of the B-Boy Cypher/Battle perspective from the various cypher strategic Pioneers, Legends and OG’s such as:

Kenswift, Crazylegs, Alieness, Buckingham, Roxrite, Gizmo, Dyzee, Flo Master, Storm, K-Mel