A Photo Story of The Urban Fitness League 2017 World Cup. / by Muhsin Shakoor

Images that set the tone for the evening at the inaugural Urban Fitness League World Cup 2017.

By M. Nuri Shakoor, UABN Photography NYC  | www.uabn-nyc.com

 

 

 Doc G delivers a moving motivational speech and drops knowledge in his classic smooth style. As always, his words come from a place of love.

Doc G delivers a moving motivational speech and drops knowledge in his classic smooth style. As always, his words come from a place of love.

 Mario Lopez interviews our brother Joseph Luis GIjoe after his impressive performance at the  #UFL  World Cup competition  out in Coney Island.

Mario Lopez interviews our brother Joseph Luis GIjoe after his impressive performance at the #UFL World Cup competition  out in Coney Island.

 Brother powerhouse on some next level of extreme with these handstands. Look closely and look at his hands. And my fellow photographers purists. AGAIN, pipe down. I do not want hear that it's "off the horizon" stuff. Again, to shoot these brothers in the RAWEST form you MUST break the rules. I shot this at this funky angle on purpose. This is what I do for Urban Art By Nuri Photography. And is an urban sport. Check the name in case you forgot. The Urban Fitness League. It's unconventionalthings this  that I do  as to why the athletes wanted me there in the first place. No other photographer is going to shoot this like this. Only someone intimate with the culture who can appreciate these movements as art. URBAN ART that is.

Brother powerhouse on some next level of extreme with these handstands. Look closely and look at his hands. And my fellow photographers purists. AGAIN, pipe down. I do not want hear that it's "off the horizon" stuff. Again, to shoot these brothers in the RAWEST form you MUST break the rules. I shot this at this funky angle on purpose. This is what I do for Urban Art By Nuri Photography. And is an urban sport. Check the name in case you forgot. The Urban Fitness League. It's unconventionalthings this  that I do  as to why the athletes wanted me there in the first place. No other photographer is going to shoot this like this. Only someone intimate with the culture who can appreciate these movements as art. URBAN ART that is.

 The anchor for Team USA,  Akeem Soul Scott , representing for the impressive heavy weight division. There is something called 'show muscle' and then there is something called 'GO MUSCLE'. This is what go muscle is about. A massive 200 plus pounds of pure muscle powering over the bar with explosiveness that damn near set the stage on fire.

The anchor for Team USA, Akeem Soul Scott, representing for the impressive heavy weight division. There is something called 'show muscle' and then there is something called 'GO MUSCLE'. This is what go muscle is about. A massive 200 plus pounds of pure muscle powering over the bar with explosiveness that damn near set the stage on fire.

  #LEVELS  THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. I caught this shot at the right moment as  Edward N Brooklyn  focuses on bending the bar to power through one of the most grueling weighted endurance circuits that would make most elite athletes faint at the mere thought of attempting.

#LEVELS
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. I caught this shot at the right moment as Edward N Brooklyn focuses on bending the bar to power through one of the most grueling weighted endurance circuits that would make most elite athletes faint at the mere thought of attempting.

 Locs are a flyin' Barz are a cryin' Wham!!! Bam!!! This is no dream This is Soul, our brother  Akeem  Supreme.

Locs are a flyin'
Barz are a cryin'
Wham!!! Bam!!! This is no dream
This is Soul, our brother Akeem Supreme.

 This is pure raw power and channeled intensity on display at the MOST elite level. Look at the faces of his teammates. ENOUGH SAID.  This photo, along with many others, tells an amazing story to the world about the Edward Brooklyn we all know in our NYC bar community as the Dark Knight. We already knew our brother was special. Now the world will know.

This is pure raw power and channeled intensity on display at the MOST elite level. Look at the faces of his teammates. ENOUGH SAID. 
This photo, along with many others, tells an amazing story to the world about the Edward Brooklyn we all know in our NYC bar community as the Dark Knight. We already knew our brother was special. Now the world will know.

 While there were many fabulous celebrities in the house and a lot of festivities going on in the Ford's Amphitheater, I have to put this out there. My brother Akeem Soul Scott  was, in my book, the most stand-up brother of the evening. Why? Well we both showed up early for the event and Akeem knowing my connection to the bar culture, Brotherhood Fitness, and the fact that he knows my work at these events is focused on capturing the athletes at their rawest and most natural essence, made sure that I was not treated like 'a number' or just another photographer slaving for the media. My goal when I cover these events is to tell the story from the bar athletes' perspective. With all due respect to the awesome and lovable folks in attendance, I was there for my bar brothers and bar sisters first and foremost. That is why Doc made sure I was on the admittance list; however, the security and staff at the venue are not aware of my connection to these brothers and sisters, and that is totally understood and expected. Akeem, the anchor man for Team USA, made sure that everyone knew I was with them because I am them. This is what a 'fit family' is all about.  Salute

While there were many fabulous celebrities in the house and a lot of festivities going on in the Ford's Amphitheater, I have to put this out there. My brotherAkeem Soul Scott was, in my book, the most stand-up brother of the evening. Why? Well we both showed up early for the event and Akeem knowing my connection to the bar culture, Brotherhood Fitness, and the fact that he knows my work at these events is focused on capturing the athletes at their rawest and most natural essence, made sure that I was not treated like 'a number' or just another photographer slaving for the media. My goal when I cover these events is to tell the story from the bar athletes' perspective. With all due respect to the awesome and lovable folks in attendance, I was there for my bar brothers and bar sisters first and foremost. That is why Doc made sure I was on the admittance list; however, the security and staff at the venue are not aware of my connection to these brothers and sisters, and that is totally understood and expected. Akeem, the anchor man for Team USA, made sure that everyone knew I was with them because I am them. This is what a 'fit family' is all about.

Salute

Officially much love for the officials. I have said it once and I will say it again, one cannot overlook the importance of the officials in these types of events at this level. Most of the officials can rep with the best themselves. Without them these competitions would be devoid of structure and reps that do not conform to the UFL or bar culture's standard. So it is essential to recognize and appreciate their roles.

 

 

 "Taking Ownership"  Look at the brother's face. Now look at his face in relation to his body language. What is going on in his head? The same thing I tell all athletes in other sports that I have trained, and that is "OWN THAT SH*T". With anything you do or want for that matter, if your mental game is not on a level to where you feel or act as if you OWN it then you need to 'LEVEL-UP', as I always preach. No matter what you do in life you have to OWN IT. Now in this level of the bar game if your mentality is not on point you will fall short.

"Taking Ownership"

Look at the brother's face. Now look at his face in relation to his body language. What is going on in his head? The same thing I tell all athletes in other sports that I have trained, and that is "OWN THAT SH*T". With anything you do or want for that matter, if your mental game is not on a level to where you feel or act as if you OWN it then you need to 'LEVEL-UP', as I always preach. No matter what you do in life you have to OWN IT. Now in this level of the bar game if your mentality is not on point you will fall short.

 The objective to shoot the bar athlete is to celebrate their skills by immortalizing them. 

The objective to shoot the bar athlete is to celebrate their skills by immortalizing them. 

 Regrouping and stepping back to that bar. Riding the wave of persistence can lead towards the path of glory.

Regrouping and stepping back to that bar. Riding the wave of persistence can lead towards the path of glory.

 Some of these shots were taken before the festivities, prior to the celebs, media, and the fans entering the venue. This is why I was there, to catch the candid moments so you can see these athletes when they are not just doing it because "I'm the media photographer" but because I am one them. I know how and when to capture them and it can be as something as simple as stepping to the bar. There was no posing in most cases I was talking to someone else, saw something I liked, and fired from way across the room. I loved the way the light was hitting this sister and then the gentle loving expression on her face. Again you simply can feel her love for what she does on this bar

Some of these shots were taken before the festivities, prior to the celebs, media, and the fans entering the venue. This is why I was there, to catch the candid moments so you can see these athletes when they are not just doing it because "I'm the media photographer" but because I am one them. I know how and when to capture them and it can be as something as simple as stepping to the bar. There was no posing in most cases I was talking to someone else, saw something I liked, and fired from way across the room. I loved the way the light was hitting this sister and then the gentle loving expression on her face. Again you simply can feel her love for what she does on this bar

 They do this sport for the LOVE IT. Enough said.

They do this sport for the LOVE IT. Enough said.

 Yes you must have superior strength, balance, and body awareness to pull this off on the bar. But most importantly when you are up there like this, FOCUS is the most important thing which goes back to your mental game. If your mental game is not on point you will kiss that bar in a most 'unGodly like' fashion. That is why when I see brothers do this I am most impress with the focus they have.

Yes you must have superior strength, balance, and body awareness to pull this off on the bar. But most importantly when you are up there like this, FOCUS is the most important thing which goes back to your mental game. If your mental game is not on point you will kiss that bar in a most 'unGodly like' fashion. That is why when I see brothers do this I am most impress with the focus they have.

 HUNGER. You can see the drive and passion in his face and body language.

HUNGER. You can see the drive and passion in his face and body language.

 During a defining moment such as this point in the competition, having a support foundation can help will you through an extreme calisthenics circuit like. And no better way than having a supportive teammate like brother Powerhouse of Team USA.

During a defining moment such as this point in the competition, having a support foundation can help will you through an extreme calisthenics circuit like. And no better way than having a supportive teammate like brother Powerhouse of Team USA.

 Wickedness!!!!!!!!! Let me quiet down the sports photography 'purists' now. Most of them are on Youtube talking trash anyway but I have to acknowledge them just in case they are quietly watching. We blurred her motion on purpose. See, there is ALWAYS a method to the madness. This is another reason I needed earlier access to these athletes prior to them allowing media access. I know bar athletes. I know they are going to warm-up prior to and hit them bars. I was watching them just walk move and stretch. When this sister did her first warm-up I knew I how I was going to attempt to capture this shot. In a Matrix like style. Blurring her movement versus freezing it here gives you, the viewer, an idea just how fast she is moving with those cat like reflexes some of these bar athletes have. Yes I do freeze frame them a lot. But in the right setting. And here I was again going for artistic expression. Movement is art. And this is URBAN ART folks.

Wickedness!!!!!!!!!
Let me quiet down the sports photography 'purists' now. Most of them are on Youtube talking trash anyway but I have to acknowledge them just in case they are quietly watching. We blurred her motion on purpose. See, there is ALWAYS a method to the madness. This is another reason I needed earlier access to these athletes prior to them allowing media access. I know bar athletes. I know they are going to warm-up prior to and hit them bars. I was watching them just walk move and stretch. When this sister did her first warm-up I knew I how I was going to attempt to capture this shot. In a Matrix like style. Blurring her movement versus freezing it here gives you, the viewer, an idea just how fast she is moving with those cat like reflexes some of these bar athletes have. Yes I do freeze frame them a lot. But in the right setting. And here I was again going for artistic expression. Movement is art. And this is URBAN ART folks.

 Yulanda just effortlessly pulls herself over this bar. Mastery is a word that comes to mind.

Yulanda just effortlessly pulls herself over this bar. Mastery is a word that comes to mind.

 Awesome hot of UFL athlete Isa Bell of the World Team, performing a highly difficult balancing manuever on the dip bars.

Awesome hot of UFL athlete Isa Bell of the World Team, performing a highly difficult balancing manuever on the dip bars.

 Character, energy, and respect They play an important role at this level. Aspiring bar athletes must also pay attention to the non physical aspects of this sport. Whatever energy you are putting out there, it will come back to you in some way, shape, or form.  With that in mind one be humble, be PROFESSIONAL, and most of all be respectful. Be respectful to everyone and especially to the brothers and sisters who take the time to create this avenue for you to succeed. Because we want you ALL to succeed. Nice shot here of brother Brooklyn Tank for Team USA.

Character, energy, and respect They play an important role at this level. Aspiring bar athletes must also pay attention to the non physical aspects of this sport. Whatever energy you are putting out there, it will come back to you in some way, shape, or form.  With that in mind one be humble, be PROFESSIONAL, and most of all be respectful. Be respectful to everyone and especially to the brothers and sisters who take the time to create this avenue for you to succeed. Because we want you ALL to succeed.
Nice shot here of brother Brooklyn Tank for Team USA.

In the bar culture, the competition is not your opponent. It is just you, that bar, and whatever is  in your head. Your opponent in a battle is only there to push you and motivate you to give your best output.

 Victorious we all were on this evening. We the spectators; the athletes from both sides; the UFL; our beloved city of New York; our hearts and home boroughs Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan; and the entire bar community world-wide. This was a monumental stepping stone for our culture and for something dear to our hearts. This culture is a family. This is why we refer to each other as brothers and sisters. We are unified by the love for this lifestyle and now that we are front a center for the world to see, it is each and everyone of our duties to make sure the foundation message of love resonates throughout every endevour of this sport. But the purity of the culture must never be sacrificed.

Victorious we all were on this evening. We the spectators; the athletes from both sides; the UFL; our beloved city of New York; our hearts and home boroughs Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan; and the entire bar community world-wide. This was a monumental stepping stone for our culture and for something dear to our hearts. This culture is a family. This is why we refer to each other as brothers and sisters. We are unified by the love for this lifestyle and now that we are front a center for the world to see, it is each and everyone of our duties to make sure the foundation message of love resonates throughout every endevour of this sport. But the purity of the culture must never be sacrificed.

Tyson and Maketricks

Many celebrities and high profile fitness personalities came out to support the UFL athletes. Co-hosts, Tyson Beckford and Mario Lopez have both been avid supporters of the bar culture. And hip hop artist Jim Jones is a regular, known to rep out with the bar brothers and sisters in the parks of New York City. Tyson Beckford was one a trainer partner and still good friends with NYC bar legend Lace Maketricks. Lace also happens to be a good friend of yours truly and one of the reasons along with Edward Checo of Barstazz, I became deeply rooted into the culture several years ago. Of the celebrities in attendance we have to not that the pride and Joy of Coney Island Stephon Marbury was on hand to help get the competition started. His presence there meant a lot to us. Simply because Stephon is a New York icon in some of our eyes. Especially if one is rooted in the unique park life of New York City, which most would consider to be the true heartbeat of the city.

 Undisputed... I know you thought I was going to say champions. True, they are champions, as is everyone who steps to that bar is a champ in their own way. This photo, however, is a depiction of how the translation of UNDISPUTED LOVE can potentially break barriers. The belts that brothers Beastmode and GI Joe have adorned around their waists are simply symbolic measures of just how far that undisputed love can take you.  Live what you love.

Undisputed...
I know you thought I was going to say champions. True, they are champions, as is everyone who steps to that bar is a champ in their own way. This photo, however, is a depiction of how the translation of UNDISPUTED LOVE can potentially break barriers. The belts that brothers Beastmode and GI Joe have adorned around their waists are simply symbolic measures of just how far that undisputed love can take you.

Live what you love.

 Even an all world fitness icon like Simeon Panda, coach of the World Team, has much love and appreciate for what the Dark Knight, Edward Brooklyn, had just accomplished in the heavy weight head to head battle of the competition. This is a picture of LOVE and SUPPORT. You have to show love and support to have any type of SUSTAINABLE success when building your dreams into reality. And the glow on Simeon's face as he embraces Edward simply tells you a true story about the importance of love and support. Helping to build others is actually building YOURSELF.

Even an all world fitness icon like Simeon Panda, coach of the World Team, has much love and appreciate for what the Dark Knight, Edward Brooklyn, had just accomplished in the heavy weight head to head battle of the competition. This is a picture of LOVE and SUPPORT. You have to show love and support to have any type of SUSTAINABLE success when building your dreams into reality. And the glow on Simeon's face as he embraces Edward simply tells you a true story about the importance of love and support. Helping to build others is actually building YOURSELF.

M. Nuri Shakoor, Photographer | Photojournalist, U.S. Press Agency
Alla Bevzenko, Chief Editor, New York City Arts, Sports, & Entertainment
Christine Jadge, Legal | Business Consultant, New York City Arts, Sports & Entertainment
Ahmad Shakoor, Summer Intern Staff Photographer, UABN Photography
www.newyorkcityartsandsports.com

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