Universal tricking tactics:

Author: Juji

Published: February 07

This is a rip and run article just for you (the reader) straight from my personal spell book! Ask any tricking question and you've certainly heard general advice such as Stall before you spin, or something like Wrap tighter and commit! How about POINT YOUR TOES ON THAT KICK OR I'LL KILL YOU! Maybe not in that tone. There are a lot of pointers that can be universally applied across the broad spectrum of tricks in existence. That is what I'm going to be sharing here, those pointers. Why did I call it a rip and run article? Because I expect you to print or jot the summary at the end of this article and use the reminders to troubleshoot problems that arise during your next tricking session. Instant gratification can be a good deal! HELL YEAH!

I'm dividing this write up into two sections by tactic type: Physical tactics are applicable during outward or apparent problems, and psychological tactics are used as supplementary solutions for underlying issues. NOTE: During authoring this, I realized this wasn't going to be comprehensive. I will add to it in the future if need be, but the concepts presented here can be applied immediately.

General physical tactics:

#1 Block

A block is a term utilized when one is expressing the change of horizontal momentum into vertical momentum. Block examples: The transition between a roundoff and a backflip, the pounce before you double leg or do a double footed setup kick, the dip and selective effort used to get height from your b-twist, the shoving of the heel and simultaneous swinging back of the first leg of a running aerial. You block to take everything UP! GO UP! JUMP UP! This is blocking. The actual mechanics of blocking is more dependent on the actual skill, but any effort where you are trying to make your momentum take you up is going to be beneficial. Sometimes it really is this simple.

Coaching examples:

#2 Stall

Used sometimes synonymous with blocking, stalling is waiting for maximum height to be peaked before finishing the skill. This is basically advice given mostly during twist tricks (usually not spin kicks though), when the twist happens too early before maximum height is achieved. Not waiting for the block to provide its greatest assistance will kill a stall. So stall and block are closely interelated.

Coaching examples:

#3 Wherever the head goes, the body follows.

This is a common physical law. A few examples might include looking back on your backflip, the chest opens and creates a different look if the head was kept neutral. If you try a fulltwist without looking over one of your shoulders, you're going to end up doing an awkward arabian thing or landing a simple backflip with your arms swayed on one side. If you look over too early on your aerial twist you get that ugly a-twist wannabe b-twist thing. If you stop looking over your shoulder on any spin kick termination occurs.

Try this. Want to know how to do a real aerial twist? I figured this out a couple years ago and I'll probably write a tutorial for it in the future but for now, you get the meat of what I would explain in the tutorial here! Ok, do an aerial with a run up. Do another. Do another. Now, the next one, do it again and spot where your foot is coming down. Right before you see your foot come underneath, look over your left shoulder (if aerial'ing on your left side) or over your right shoulder (if aerial'ing on your right side). Do it hard! Look quick! Look over your shoulder as if someone just slapped their hand down on your shoulder while you are walking through the darkness to the bathroom at 3 A.M. to take a leak. SURPRISE! WHO THE FUCK IS THAT?! IT'S ME, JUJIMUFU! Do this as late as possible during the trick and you'll fall out into a twist at the very end. That's it, just look over your shoulder hard at the very, very end of the trick. Amazing eh? And this is also the exact same thing you do when you are trying to get one of those b-twists that twist out of a b-kick. You just wait (see stall above) and then turn your head! Now that you understand the power of this law, remember it for all your tricks and see what turns out!

#4 Commit

This is a more difficult concept to apply. It's often expanded into an assosciation with spins as in spin commitment. Let's take a 720 twist as an example (always a good example because of its inherent difficulty) If you do not commit on this trick, you will never land it; So understanding that commitment simply means staying tight or enganged in the active process of completing your rotations or, in the case of a simple backflip, getting all the way around, is what is going to guarantee completion. But often commitment is closely tied in with a fear of failure or the unknown (oh no, it's going to hurt if I crash; oh no, I can't tell what is going on!) Commitment is one of those get the guts concepts that isn't always practicle but always essential to grasp and keep in mind. I'll give you some more insight on increasing commitment when we touch the psychological tactics.

#5 Wrap like you're mummified.

This one is closely tied in with spin commitment. Any trick that requires a wrap, should theoretically be done with a tighhhhhhht wrap. If you are doing a spin intensive trick like a 720 twist, 1080 kick, double cork, etc - you need to practice drawing your arms in and crushing your torso with a tight wrap. Allow no space between your elbows, fists, arms; You want to mummify! You should strive to wrap as tightly on possible on every trick that demands it, and on some that you wouldn't expect! Try the mummy wrap on your 540s, your single b-twists, your double legs! Try it on your 540 hooks (big difference / actually it's part of the secret to hypering it.) Try the mummy wrap in the shower, try it with your girl or boy friend. Better yet, try it with your girl or boy friend in the shower! Try it on everything and everyone!

#6 When in doubt, arms in guard.

This one contrasts the previous concept. Not all tricks require a wrap, so where do the arms go? When in doubt, keep your arms up in martial arts guard position. This is an especially good habit to develop for combinations. Also, if you are a martial artist who performs tricks in open weapon forms, you better damn well know where your hands are because they are holding... well... knives and stuff. So it's good form for martial arts competition and honestly, it does look pretty darned good in almost all circumstacnes. And as a little secret tip, this is a monsterously useful tool to employ in your aerial training; There will be more discussion on this in the future!

#7 Drive your foot through, not to!

This is a great concept for aerial based or gainer based tricks, even kicks and plenty more. The idea is rooted in not selling yourself short. If you need to get your foot underneath you, drive it through. Keep pulling it. You want to get the foot as far underneath you as possible to ensure a nice, clean landing. This is also absolutely ESSENTIAL for swing throughs. For example, if you are doing multiple gainer switch swing throughs you want to make sure you get each landing flash faaaaaar underneath you. The farther the foot gets underneath you, the higher your chest upon landing, the easier it is to get up into the next flip. What happens on this combo if you don't get your foot all the way underneath you, but commit to the next swing through? You fly forward and land on your neck! OUCH! I've done this more than once and made it a point to remember from then on to make sure to drive that foot underneath as far as possible; However, I found this useful for all tricks.

Quickly, how can this be applied to kicks? Let's take a look at applying this concept to the 540. If you kick and keep pulling that kick across, as if you weren't going to land it otherwise (commitment), you're going to gyro your 540. Sounds good right? You bet it does! The 540 gyro is a good example of commitment, wrapping tight, and driving your foot through, not to!

#8 Jump fast, not forced.

This is actually the most important tip in this entire write up. I actually found this one across a couple training texts; Here it is, the title restated: JUMP FAST, NOT FORCED. This simply means anytime you jump you need to focus on doing it as fast as possible instead of focusing on doing it with as much force as possible. Since most tricks involve a jump, ummm... Yes, this is an amaaaaaaazing tip for heavy footed tricksters (like myself). Stop trying to muscle your jumps or tricks, the intention of speed manifests itself as power. Just try to do your tricks as fast as fucking possible. LIGHTNING! Example applications:

#9 Point your feet! Point your toes!

Pointing your feet grants instant aesthetic improvement on almost all your moves. Point your feet. Point them on your kicks, aerials, double legs, b-twists, gainers, flash kicks, au batidos, etc. Try pointing everything, you won't be dissappointed I assure you.

#10 Make noise

Ok ok, this is kind of halfway between the physical and psychological tactics. I'd like to cite some examples. Umm... Ok karate! We'll start with martial arts because it would reach the broad audience of martial arts tricksters. In martial arts, we have ki haps and yells and stuff right? Why? Because when you yell and/or expel pressure a whole lot of good stuff happens. Technique becomes more powerful and it coaxes the body into commitment of said skill. It psyches you out and reduces inhibition. It can also scare people! That's good. I'm all for noisy martial arts practice, that shit rocks!

Weight lifting. Man, when I lift I make involuntary noise, it's a given. What happens when you stub your toe? You scream OUCH! Weight training is pain too, just different! Sometimes I just end up making low growls and grunts, other days the training is so hard I'm belching moans and screams of agony; I use aggressive grunting to psyche myself out and commit to the task. Like commiting to a trick, when you are trying to finish a lift or set you sometimes have to make noise to coax the body into commiting to the task and finishing the job.

So noise is one of the little secrets to tricking your body into commitment while reducing inhibition. Currently, I don't make much noise when I trick. However, when the idea behind this article came to me I realized that is unfortunate. It would be beneficial if I made some more noise and was as aggressive with my tricking as my strength training. So I'm actually getting something out of this article myself, from myself! Note to self: Grunt, growl, and scream to achieve greater power and commitment during tricking.

General psychological tactics:

#1 Set yourself up with the correct predetermined training intentions

This is the way I see it, and I'm sure it's open for discussion and disagreement but it makes sense to me. There are different training intentions when tricking. I feel these could be separated as: Experimentation, Achievement, and Precision. Those are the three training intentions I have considered possible. Of course we aren't always training, so the other intentions possible could fall anywhere between performing at a show, battling at a gathering, terrorizing children, or the internet is broken and there is nothing left to do but trick. These intentions are not training intentions, they are what we train for.

Experimentation (getting a plan or idea): When you are just trying things out. Bailing and crashing are possibilities and most likely expected. This is basically working with unfamiliar moves without full commitment or full throttle effort with the intention of piecing the skill together before fully committing. Testing the waters. Stimulating new neural pathways. Etc. This can save yourself from creating bad habits in the synthetic model of the trick (the full skill you are working toward) or a debilitating injury . However, it can still result in injury itself. Experimentation can also be working with familiar moves with slight variations in execution.

Achievement (making a gain): This is when you are trying to break a plateau by nailing a new or rare trick. You have a set idea of what you need to do, but it presents difficulty to you. When your intention is achievement, you must commit - that's the difference between achievement and experimentation. During experimentation you are developing your plan without full commitment, and during achievement you are committing to said plan.

SO: Imagine someone tweaking their moonkicks and testing the run up. Imagine that person visualizing turning this into a gainer full. That's experimentation. When they actually go for the gainer full, a crash or land situation, they are trying to achieve it.

Precision (duplicating a mastered skill perfectly): This is when you are striving to duplicate something already trained. A forms competitor must be very precise with the skills he needs to reproduce during his/her routine. Precision is not like experimentation or achievement at all! You are trying to reproduce something trained during difficult circumstances. Precision could also be called perfection. This can also be when you are training up to a trick by repping a lesser variation. For example: Repping your handstands to improve your tumbling. It's not experimentation because you are not deviating. It's more like perfection. Perfect practice makes perfect. Heard that one right?

Now, after briefing each determined intention, I need to introduce you to the reason I shared these: DO NOT MIX INTENTIONS! You need to be aware of your intentions and stick to them 100%. Do not be half experimenting / half committing / half precising / half any of these! Bad results will occur! If you are half experimenting and half trying to commit (achieve new grounds), you are really just half assing. You are just going to reinforce your fears and teach your body to bail or crash. Either experiment by pussy footing the whole skill by working lesser variations, breaking it into pieces or working small movements to facilitate new and correct neural patterns, or grab your balls (or breasts [hopefully or and not and]) and land the fucker! When you intend to achieve something you MUST expect to nail it. That's the difference. If you are trying to be precise, you need to be precise and not deviate. If you are deviating from a precise skill or combination with the intention of one-upping the combination or trying it a different way / you aren't striving for precision at all anyway: You are either experimenting or trying to achieve new grounds.

Recognize your intentions, do not mix your intentions, and apply the appropriate mind set for each intention. Different mind sets? Ok, here are some ideas. What if you are being a sloppy baby when drilling or practicing your martial arts form or a mastered skill? You'll start learning to make mistakes, increasing your room for error and screwing things up by developing bad habits. So when you are trying to perfect something, or drill it, have an iron mind. Make sure you do it exact every time, don't fuck it up. Get it right and be tough with it. Do it well. If you are trying to make a gain, you need to recognize whether it would be a better idea to relax or psyche yourself out. It depends on the person and on the trick. Some tricksters genuinely chill or stay cool and collected when they trick. Others like to get all psyched and beastly. Decide whether calming your nerves or getting pumped would result in full commitment and success. If you are experimenting with something exhaust your possibilities and try to break the code of the technique.

So again, recognize whether your intention is to experiment, nail a new or rare trick, or attain precision. Do not mix your intentions and apply an appropriate mind set for each intention.

This one was a doozie, the rest of our universal psychological advice concepts are little extras:

#2 Simplify

Beyond breaking a skill down, working its parts, and trying to figure it out - sometimes what is really needed is simplification. Sometimes you can benefit from abandoning the complications and simply say to yourself Ok, enough. Let's just do it. Besides, possibly some of the complications and details you've been pouring yourself over have become subconscious and will automatically happen. Anytime something can happen automatically, it leaves room for the conscious mind to focus on what's most pressing. So if you've been diligent in breaking that trick down and figuring it out, maybe all that's left is to rep it until it smooths itself out or just finally chuck it.

#3 Use voodoo magic

Haime and I discussed this during the Toronto gathering 2005. At the time we had come to the conclusion that all that nervous mumbo-jumbo that happens before you actually throw a trick is a major waste. You know what I'm talking about: The pacing back and forth, the constant cracking of the knuckles or shaking of the limbs. The extra two minutes that pass as you stand there with cold feet and cloudy expectations. In a way, I felt we were correct in assuming this was a waste, but something unconscious in me dispelled that assumption. Somehow, I felt that all that nervous energy was beneficial somehow. I didn't figure it out then, but I think I have now. The nervous voodoo pacing and twitching is just what happens when you are trying to prepare, duh; But its application goes back into intentions, if your intention would better be served by relaxing, you should silence this nervous movement as much as possible. If your intention would be better served by getting psyched out, you should consciously try to make it more pronounced! So I believe we were partially right a couple years ago. My corollary to our original hypothesis is that the nervous mumbo-jumbo is a waste, but only if it is not recognized and brought to the conscious forefront. Examples:

If the intention requires relaxation: Stop pacing or twitching. Breathe. Either begin pacing at a slower, controlled pace with smooth expectations or enter your execution without worry.

If the intention requires psyche (this is the fun one): Stop pacing and twitching. That's not enough. Instead start hoofing the ground with your feet like a mad bull, snort, growl and snarl. Slap yourself in the face, stomp your feet, get low like you're ready to pounce, hyperventilate and open your eyes wide like you just saw a ghost. Grit, and go in for the kill with that crazed look still in your eye!

So that nervous voodoo magic either needs to be silenced or accentuated, but never ignored!

#4 Can't fight your desire!

Queue Helloween chorus! Haha. I had tricking zen gold back in my injury article from early 2004.

Don't try a new trick because you want it.
Try a new trick because you want to try it.

Do I really need to explain this one again? It speaks for itself.

#5 Rhythm, every move is music. You've got to learn the song!

Okay, turn off your mp3 player and uhh... Mute your playlist. Obviously you are most likely at a computer, so go find a tricking clip on plyometric floor. I have several as clip examples in all my tutorials. Find one where you can hear the feet making thumps during ground contact. A hyperswipe is a perfect example, here is the hyperswipe example clip from the tutorial. This is a BIG rhythm move. One of the most conducive actions you can take to help with any move is to hear the rhythm and hear it well, a hyperswipe is a great example. So play either clip and turn up the sound and listen to foot-ground contact on the floor, the feedback it gives is essential. If it sounds wrong it usually is wrong. It goes something like duh - duh - duh.... DUHDUH-------DUH! or for those who don't understand the language step - step - step.... ONEFOOTTWOFOOT---swiping---LAND! How about my double leg and 360 exampler videos? I was vocalizing my takeoff rhythm to some degree. Right before I doubleleg I say Duh naaaa..., then BAM! So there is rhythm in the setup which is audible, and during the move there is an internal rhythm only you can hear in your head. All moves are rhythm moves, just some people hear certain rhythms better than others. For example, I feel my 540 hook is one of my stronger tricks. It's also one of the moves I hear a very loud, pronounced internal rhythm in. Everyone likes and hears music differently, thus everyone is uniquely suited for certain tricks better than others. Regardless, if you are having trouble with something you might be able to find a solution in trying to understand the rhythm. RHYTHM IS TIMING, AND GOOD TIMING IS MUSIC. Good music is all about good timing, and good timing creates a rhythm. Tricking is music! Hear it, learn it, love it.

#6 Use personal imagery and queues

This is the last one I'm presenting in this write up. You ever see a Homunculus? It's a damn cool word, but a very disturbing image. A homunculus in medical contexts, is the representation of how strong our sense of feeling is across our body mapped onto the brain's surface. So he has humongous hands and lips, that means we have a very strong sensitivity to touch and feeling in our hands and lips. The legs are much smaller, thus our sensitivity to touch and feel is not as great in our legs and feet as in our hands and lips. Basically, if an ant crawls across the top of your hand, you're going to recognize it immediately and either set it elsewhere or crush it; But we wouldn't react as instantaneously if that same ant was crawling down the thigh. What am I getting at here anyway? One form of imagery you can use when tricking is accentuating the action of a specific body part by homunculizing (yes I made that word) the execution. So you can imagine your arms are huge and need to swing them with great force to ensure success. Or you can homunculize your upper thigh if you are trying to pump in a trick like a 720 double. Besides focusing on huge efforts in specific limbs by imagining they just exploded in size, you can use queue words to trick or coax your mind into committing to a trick, altering it a certain way, nailing it etc. For example, if the sound/word POINK helps release anxiety at takeoff during a gainer fulltwist because it makes you laugh or feel good, use it! If clapping gets you pepped, do it. This is a lot like the voodoo magic concept I previously explained, except the queues are more specific and the imagery is a supplement to it. So you could effectively use imagery while you are consciously accentuating or minimizing your nervous voodoo. If you need to relax maybe imagining you are in the clouds on a spring day would help. If you need to get psyched maybe imagining your chest is on fire would help (if you use ECA liberally like me it probably is, and no, that's not a good thing.) So much like the previous tip, use imagery to aid in experimentation (homunculus imagery helps here), use it to get psyched or relax. Just use it!

And what about enhancing physical tips with imagery? For example, imagining you are being sucked through a straw to wrap tighter. Imagining your foot is a knife to create a sharp point on the kick. Imagining Jujimufu is tapping you on one shoulder while you are pleasuring yourself to help you look hard in the correct direction.

So wow, this isn't really a rip and run article like I said it was going to be is it? Don't fret, I've come through. Now that you understand the concepts, jot them down. Here they are:


Physical tactics:

Psychological tactics:

Picture of this article from my spellbook.