Tricking (Martial Arts Tricking) is the informal name of a relatively new underground alternative sport movement, combining martial arts, gymnastics, breakdancing and other activities to create an "aesthetic blend of flips, kicks, and twists. Tricking incorporates a variety of moves from different arts such as the backflip from gymnastics, 540 kick from Taekwondo, butterfly twist from Wushu and double leg from Capoeira. Tricking is recognizable by its flashy kicks, complex flips and twists, and its highly stylized movements which separate it from other arts. An individual who practices tricking is typically referred to as a "trickster" or "tricker".
NASKA (North American Sport Karate Association), witnessing the surge of non-martial arts related moves, and hearing the cries of traditional martial artists, was forced to rearrange and reassign divisions multiple times. This meant including or excluding certain movements or tricks in each division. NASKA now holds Creative Open divisions and Xtreme Open. Creative Open is where a competitor throws no inverted techniques and no spinning kicks with a rotation higher than 360 degrees, while the Xtreme division is open to almost any technique a competitor wants to do.
With the internet revolution at the beginning of the 21st century, Tricking began reaching a wider audience. Tricking blogs and websites like Jubei's MA Zone, the Yellwboy website (which are no longer online) as well as Bilang.com allowed this new trend of martial arts competitors and trickers to come together for a free exchange of ideas. Towards the end of 2003, the online tricking community was well-developed, bringing trickers from across the globe together. With the rise of YouTube, trickers were able to share their videos with others and the world of tricking experienced a massive rise in popularity and interest. Since the beginning of 2008, tricking has been receiving much wider publicity and popularity among non-tricking circles due to efforts of popular tricking teams like Loopkicks.
Tricking has been referred to as extreme martial arts (XMA), however they are two different things. Tricksters typically shy away from this due to negative connotations associated with the term in martial arts circles.
The actual terminology used in tricking is a somewhat complex array of prefixes and suffixes denoting rotational degrees, stylistic flairs, setups, and technical arrangements. Words like swipe, gyro, cheat, pop, missleg, switch, swing and hyper are all common and denote variations to basic moves.
Unlike many established sports, tricking has no formal rules or regulations, and there are no governing bodies that regulate the sport. Strictly speaking, participants are free to perform any kind of dramatic maneuver and call it a 'trick' - though there are certain moves which are generally accepted as tricking moves. Some tricksters (especially those who discover tricking through the Internet) tend to learn the easier moves first (such as the 540 Kick, Aerial, Kip-Up, and Backflip) and try to progress through a list of recognized tricks in the perceived order of difficulty. However, how difficult a trick is will vary from person to person; certain tricks may be inexplicably easier or harder than normal for a particular trickster to learn.
Tricksters can be divided into different categories of style: some prefer performing mainly martial arts tricks (which almost always incorporate kicks into a trick), others mostly freestyle gymnastics and flips (mainly focus on doing multiple rotations and combining different types of rotations), but most tricksters mix a combination of all the disciplines. Tricksters must train their bodies hard to be able to consistently perform their tricks at any time.
Since tricking is still a new activity, specialized coached training is practically non-existent. Tricksters pursue the ability to perform the majority of their tricks on grass, regular flooring or even concrete. Mats, plyometric flooring, trampoline or jumping jamporees can be used at first to become familiar with the movements in a safer environment, with less impact strain. Practitioners usually come from various martial arts and gymnastics backgrounds or are self-taught. In addition to this, they will usually learn from friends who have more experience and have been training longer. Particularly in later years, it has been popular to form "Teams" among friends, groups of "Tricksters" with a group name, as a form of self-encouragement and to build self-identity as a "Trickster". It is also done so as to practice in a set group which people are comfortable with. For those that don't have a Tricking environment in which to learn, many train by aiming to reproduce moves in videos submitted to websites such as Club540, and Aeriformmat.com Similarly, trainees may seek aid from tricking camps, such as those held by Loopkicks of San Jose. A newly published book, Fundamentals of High Performance Wushu: Taolu Jumps and Spins while targeted to the wushu martial arts community, covers in detail step-by-step how to train for many of the most popular moves. People that trick often do a lot of body conditioning as strength is a necessity. Flexibility training is often a good idea for tricksters as many tricks and stunts become a lot easier and safer the more flexible you are. Another important point is landing lightly, the opposite of which results in numerous leg and ankle injuries during practice.
A meeting of Tricksters is called a Tricking Gathering. These are usually organized by an individual or a team of Tricksters, who feel they have the time and the resources to host a gathering. These hosts are responsible for all the organization of the gathering, from advertising the gathering (usually using online forums Club 540.com has a active "Gathering, Camps and Meets" Section) to organizing an itinerary. Gatherings usually have one or more Gym Sessions, where a gymnastics center is rented out especially for the gathering.
Gatherings can be invite only where the organizers of the gathering select individuals to attended, or they can be Open Gatherings where anyone is welcome to attend of all skills.
Tricking Gatherings are very important in the life of a trickster, they are times where you meet up with other people who are enthusiastic about the same things as you, you might also meet some one you have communicated online with but never met or you might even get to meet one of your tricking idols!
|Name||Location||Hosted years||Planned years||Host|
|The Bergen Gathering||Bergen, Norway||2006||NAN|
|Loopkicks Camp||San Jose, California||2005||LoopKicks|
|UK Devon||Devon, UK||2007||2009|
Martial arts tricksters have numerous gatherings before and after tournaments for the various leagues. They normally consist of competitors finding some free space at the tournament location, forming a circle around the performing area, and taking turns performing tricks. The Charlie Lee Nationals in Reston, Virginia is a notable competition-based gathering that drew formally trained martial artists as well as enthusiasts.