Published: Early 2009
Start the way myself and thousands of others have done it. Fire up a tricking video. Get pumped up. Run outside and start trying to mimic what you just watched.
Since tricking is both relatively new and underground bad ass, you should teach yourself; this is what most tricksters do. You're likely not going to find anyone next door who tricks. Your best bet is getting a friend involved, seeing if anyone is tricking at your local gymnastic facility, or checking online for others in your region. Check the trickster database at Club540. Also register on the tricksession message forums, make a new thread in the Events and Gatherings sub forum to check if there is anybody in your area.
Start out with hand stands, cart wheels, spin kicks, kip ups, and simple jump spins. Then move onto actual tricks like the 360 kick, 540 kick, back flip, aerial, butterfly twist, and doubleleg. These six basic tricks are not easy and will frustrate you. Don't despair, it took me over a year of tricking before I could do all six of these moves. I've written tutorials for each of them.
Later, the more difficult tricks are fun and not nearly as challenging as learning these basics. Also, the advanced tricks are usually just minor modifications of these basic skills. For example, a hypertwist is only a butterfly twist landed on the opposite leg. All you have to do is hold the spin longer and kick out the other leg. Voila. You just turned your butterfly twist into a hypertwist.
You could spend the next three years playing video games. But you know, after about three years nobody will care what games you played or mastered. Nobody will care about your level 80 paladin. Not even you. I suspect you'll just end up bored. Did you know bored people are boring?
You could spend the next three years tricking. After about three years of consistent practice you'll probably be better than 90% of the people who also trick. I'm not even joking. It becomes more fun the longer you do it. The best I've ever felt in my life was while tricking. The only way I could possibly describe the insane feelings I've felt during my best tricking sessions would be the feeling of being one with the universe, infinitely thankful, and hyper capable. You'll have to experience the first two yourself to understand them, but hyper capability is the feeling you get when you do something extremely difficult as easily as you can think of it. You almost don't feel your body anymore. Nothing compares to this combination of feelings I've experienced only through tricking.
It's okay, I also feel this way sometimes. It's a normal emotion that can be dealt with, try the following:
Warm up. Typically you'll only feel embarrassed while struggling or failing with a trick. You are doing neither while warming up. You might be worried that other people are watching and laughing at you. However, while you warm up people will look at you and think "Oh, he's getting ready to exercise." Once you have warmed up, that feeling of self-consciousness will magically be reduced.
Find an empty park or field. These are my favorite places to train. You won't feel self-conscious at all and you can focus on the task at hand. If you have a big backyard, that's perfect!
Pick a favorite place. The more regularly you train at a certain place or set of places, the more at home you will feel. I've visited some fields so regularly during my summers that I began to feel as comfortable as I do in my own bedroom.
Make yourself look cool. If you think you look awesome, then no matter how shitty your tricking is you won't feel as self conscious.
Set up camp. You can create comfort by surrounding yourself with useful things. Like a portable stereo, a tripod with camera, a cooler, a picnic blanket, a car, etc. It's like psychologically marking your territory.
Adopt confident body language. You can create confidence simply by using confident body language. Keep your chin up, stand tall, look people in the eyes, don't be afraid to flash strangers a warm smile, wave to people, slow down your movements ever so slightly, etc.
Stick with it. The better you are, the more you'll want to show off instead of waiting for people to pass.
If you actually do them, these three things will be all you need:
Stop obsessing over scary moves. This is the single best thing you can do for handling fear. Just stop obsessing over whatever move is freaking you out and focus on other tricks, like kicks for example. Eventually you will actually want to try the scarier moves because while working the other tricks, your body awareness will have increased. You'll know when you have a good chance of nailing a scary trick when you feel a hint of excitement along with fear.
Reduce the risk. This means getting a spotter, which is someone who will make sure you don't land on your head. This also means finding a gym and training on soft flooring or using mats.
Become ridiculously familiar with the technique. Study videos of the technique and use visualizations. See yourself doing the move. The more familiar you are with a trick in your mind, the less you will fear it. Please, I beg of you, do not underestimate the value of this suggestion. Please...
You should also read my top ten tricking tips article. I bet after reading this page and those ten tips, you'll feel really good about starting a journey into tricking. If not, consider the next three years of your life. If you don't trick, at least try doing something challenging and rewarding with your time. Maybe philosophy, snow boarding, playing music, painting, or the culinary arts. Or you could become a pick up artist! NOW GO! DO SOMETHING COOL!