540 kick tutorial

Entry data:

Alternate names: NO! Don't call it anything else.
Class: Kick
Description: A tornado kick landing on the kicking leg. This move is launched and landed on the kicking leg.


Prerequisites: Tornado kick
Equivalent variations: Parafuso, Laydown 540
Advanced variations: Sideswipe, Jacknife, 540 gyro

Assisted learning:


This is a very important trick. It's like, the godfather of kicking moves. It single handedly built an empire, it was worshipped by ancient civilizations, there is even a popular tricking website named after it. It is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last. It is THE trademark of tricking. It is the 540 kick.

Foundation for what?

The kick in this move isn't the foundation as much as the takeoff. The step through takeoff is used in tons of tricks, and most people build up their takeoff confidence through this move. Even if you learn an unorthodox take off, the confidence boost of learning this move is enough to propel you into the tricking world. It really is a gateway move. It's usually recommended as one of the most important tricks people need to learn when beginning tricking, if not the most important.

Where to begin?

The prerequisite for this move is a tornado kick. You can view it by downloading the clip example pack presented at the top of this page. It is a 360 inside round or inside crescent kick. A 540 kick is a tornado kick landed on the kicking leg, sometimes with additional rotation. Learn the tornado first, then 540.

How good should the tornado kick be before it becomes a 540 kick?

You just answered your own question. It should become a 540 kick. Do not simply work your tornado kick on the side, turn it into a 540 kick by making cold adjustments.

Takeoffs a plenty

Before I begin teaching you the 540 kick, I would like to note several of the popular take offs. There is a quick step through, a slow step through, and a run up. If you watch me, you're probably familiar with the slow step through. The slow step pounce is my 540 takeoff of choice, although it is probably the most unpopular. Most circuit competitors, and most everybody else for that matter, use the quick step through. These two takeoffs are done without a run up. The run up is commonly utilized by wushu athletes. It involves creating a ton of momentum with a run, with a seamless step jump and spin. I doubt most novice will be able to control themselves enough to learn this technique with this much momentum, but it is an option and it's worth experimenting with at some point.

What we learn from these choices is to experiment with the pace and find what works best. Take a look at the example you are modeling and compare your takeoff. How far apart are your feet, where are they pointed, how much distance was covered with your step? Now check your model's and learn.

Pinning problems

Another good trick to pinpoint inconsistencies and to build awareness is to switch and try it on your other side. Doing so gives you a perspective on what pattern you are setting on a neurological scale with your good side.

Focus on one thing at a time:

Ahh.... The analytical model of skill acquisition - an artform that is too often underestimated or misunderstood. The analytical model is breaking the skill into pieces and paying attention to the detail of the individual parts. This aids in building the sum back into the synthetic model, which is the skill in its entirety.

Here are a few motions to analyze during the 540 kick;

Keep in mind:

Specific problem advice:

Man, I get up, turn around, throw the tornado kick and try to land on that foot. I just can't land on the kicking leg! This common complaint, can actually be a whole lot of things - some in combination. But I have a few things to try and chew on with your brain tissue. First, if you are trying to simply land on the kicking leg, you were never trying the move correctly to begin with. Trust me, I've been there - it's not what the 540 kick is about. The 540 is an aggressive, quick, ripping takeoff where the the setup actually pulls a kick out. If you set up right, if you set up hard, you could possibly do the 540 on accident. People put too much effort into trying to merely landing on that leg. Train two sides of the move:

Make your tornado kick insane, and learn to use the setup with the whole body pulling over like 4 barrels of flaming peanuts that were just shot out of a canon. Work on combining the two until you fly like these flaming nutz. Don't give up. Train that tornado kick and teach yourself to throw over.

Walk through conclusion:

This tutorial is larger than my others. Why? The 540 is an important move, as discussed earlier. Many novice will be reading this and be training the 540 as one of their first tricks. I need a conclusion. The advice given here, details a lot of micro events in a movement that takes place in about one second. Imagine this: I have written over 2000 words in this tutorial on a movement that happens in just about one second. This is how cool tricking is. I will try not to leave you thirsty, so I cover as much as I'm capable of. Just remember, when you go out today or tomorrow to try this move - take it one crash at a time. Apply different things, keep trying, keep crashing different ways. Try it over and over. Try it again the next day. Spaced practice is better than massed practice. Take it one workout at a time. Train hard and have fun!

My experiences:

The 540 was my first trick. It took me about... four or five months to land it consistently. My problem was simply a lack of understanding of the move. I had drilled the ever loving crap out of it, several days a week, in my garage; But I had gotten nowhere. When I had learned to get my hips up just right for the kick to come through - it was mine for good. My problem was I was simply trying to land on that leg, I wasn't learning how to throw everything up and open the path for the foot. Instead I was trying to force that path. *Tsk tsk* - Make the path FOR the kick, do not make the path WITH the leg. Good bye!