Surinamese-Dutch Brandon, a 13-year-old street urchin, and his best friend Stefano, are in danger of falling prey to the youth gang that calls the shots in his neighbourhood. Brandon struggles with his troubled home life. His parents fight a lot and he often has to take care of his little sister. He finds comfort and camaraderie with Billy, the charismatic leader of the gang. Billy gives him dangerous jobs that quickly make Brandon rise in the streets’ hierarchy.
When Brandon and Stefano break into a local judo school one night, Brandon is caught by Kai, a former judo champion and owner of the dojo. Kai, who also has a traumatic past and is familiar with the tough street life, recognises something of himself in the troubled Brandon and decides not to report him to the police. But in return, Kai demands that Brandon joins his judo school, in an attempt to keep him off the streets.
Brandon embarks on this new adventure reluctantly, but he turns out to be a natural. He gradually discovers that the peaceful philosophy behind judo teaches him the quiet and discipline he so sorely lacks in his chaotic life. To top it all off, Brandon also falls in love with Cinta, a rock-solid judoka with whom Brandon grows close despite their completely different backgrounds.
Brandon spends more and more time in the dojo, straining his friendship with Stefano. Brandon misses hanging out with his best friend, but at the same time realises that Stefano has nothing but the streets and may never be able to outgrow them. Backed by Kai and Cinta, Brandon tries to distance himself from the gang, but this puts him at odds with Billy, who demands complete loyalty and gives Brandon increasingly dangerous jobs. When Brandon and Stefano are tasked with robbing the car dealership of Cinta’s wealthy parents, Brandon must choose which side he is on once and for all and will have to fight to break free from the brutal street life.