The Hip Hop Chess Federation Presents Mind Over Matter II

By Nichole Camarillo

Saturday, February 28, 2009 - San Francisco, CA

Where hip hop meets chess meets martial arts, this years Mind Over Matter took place at John O' Connell High School in San Francisco. The Hip Hop Chess Federation presents events such as this one as an opportunity for underprivileged and, too often, overlooked youth to enjoy and learn invaluable lessons of life, as taught by successful exemplars.

"We recognize that chess, martial arts and hip-hop unify people from multiple cultural, religious and social backgrounds. These black and white squares do not care what color you are or if you are rich or poor. The only thing they ask is that you come with your strategy, your patience and your skills."
-Founder and CEO of HHCF, Adisa Banjoko

Although I didn't actually have any preconceived notions of how the day would go or what to expect, I know now that I would have been completely wrong anyway. I would still have been completely unprepared for what was to come. I've pretty much had the whole weekend now (and then some) to soak in everything that went down on Saturday. However, now (that the superficial shock value of meeting such amazing celebrity figures that I've been a long time fan of is slowly disintegrating) I realize that this wasn't any Saturday event I would get 'over' in a weeks time. This was an incredibly powerful, renewing, life changing experience that will continue to inspire and motivate me for (what I hope will be) years to come.

A few highlights of the event included gi and gi-less jiu jitsu demonstrations from Alan "Gumby" Marques of Heroes Martial Arts and Denny "300" Prokopos of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, a beautifully impressive exhibition from Rope Dart Master Don Kiolbassa, and live paintings from the artisan collective Heart of Chaos. Other celebrity guests included Casual of Hieroglyphics, Traxamillion, Def Poetry Jams Amir Sulaiman and more.

As impressive, entertaining, and exciting as many of the days events were, the ultimate highlight and (I'm sure) main focus above the rest was the awe-inspiring life strategists panel. Made up of Wu-Tang Clans RZA, Rakaa (Iriscience) of Dilated Peoples, American International Master of Chess Emory Tate, Rope Dart Master Don Kiolbassa, and HHCF CEO Adisa Banjoko, this was definitely the lecture of a lifetime. ...In a good way, of course. I could exhaust myself trying to explain the inspiration, motivation, love and self-empowerment I've walked away with from their words. Even then, there is no way my words could do their words justice.
This event was truly a memorable one.

This organization shares so many beauties and truths and values. I definitely encourage every one of you to find out more about the Hip Hop Chess Federation, their upcoming events, and how you can become involved. Please visit them online at

For our youth...for ourselves...and for our future.
Peace. <3

N. Camarillo

All photos and footage taken by Nichole Camarillo.
You can check out the rest of the photos from this event on FLICKR.
&Don't forget to check out Don Kiolbassa's MUST SEE rope dart exhibition on YouTUBE!
Enjoy. :)