By Yuri Levin & Mark Rusmantijo | January 2019 | Team Loopkicks
Photo from Loopkicks Tricking Workshop. Photo by Brandon Daugherty.
Learning how to trick can be overwhelming – At first glance, the array of flips, twists and kicks seem to blend together in a beautiful chaos. Building a strong foundation is the key to long lasting success in any sport. This list of fundamental tricks is designed to give beginners that foundation and provides a natural progression into tricking.
The moves on this list are ranked based on how difficult each one is to learn and how important it is in the “grand scheme” of tricking. This list is not necessarily the order you should learn these moves – tricking has and always will be a very subjective artform, and trickers will naturally gravitate to certain moves. However, learning all of these is strongly recommended before progressing to more advanced skills. Once you can do all ten with confidence then you are on your way to becoming a well-rounded tricker.
If you are new to movement, learning how to cartwheel is a good place to start building self-confidence and coordination. Do not underestimate the importance of the cartwheel, it is a foundational skill in combinations, for learning other tricks, and can be used to setup the most advanced skills in the sport.
Cartwheel is a prerequisite for moves such as gainer, aerial, & butterfly kick, which we will get to later on in this list.
The Tornado is a jump-spin kick that originates from many different martial arts, mainly Taekwondo. This is usually the first kick that a new tricker will try due to its simplicity; it is so easy even your mom could do it.
Tornados are a good place to start for a couple reasons. The takeoff for a tornado will be used for more difficult tricks. This takeoff (better known as “cheat”) is essentially spinning 180° then jumping off one foot as seen above and is one of the most used takeoffs in kicking. Learning and perfecting your tornado will dramatically help you in becoming a well rounded tricker. The proper execution of a tornado kick requires the coordinated use of all your limbs while mid-air – a concept that that is easiest to learn through the tornado and applies to all other skills in tricking.
The scoot is a great transitionary move to use because it can be utilized in both beginner and advanced combos. The movement is simple enough to learn and grasp on day one, but powerful enough that pro trickers are still able to get tremendous power from it.
Because the scoot starts in a kneeling position, it can be used to recover a combo without breaking flow or looking clunky.
As trickers progress in their personal skill tree, they’ll find that scoots can be utilized to set up almost any trick. Being able to do cheat kicks, twisting moves and even other setups out of the scoot are what make it a valuable tool for all trickers.
Skip hook is our number seven because it is easy to learn and vital to future kicking techniques. A tip to the newer trickers: the better your skip hook is, the better any sort of hyper-hook movement will be. That means full hyperhook, cheat 10, and all the way up to Sheep Shearer (double cork hyper-hook). Learning the skip hook requires proper hip position which is to essential to kick extension. Newer trickers tend to not turn over their hips enough which leads to underrotating and kicking off-target.
While it still is one of the easier moves on the list, the sip hook requires a lot more attention to detail than scoot or tornado for first time learners. One of Its older brothers, the boxcutter, is arguably one of the most tricker-esque movements because it incorporates all aspects of tricking.
The butterfly kick (b-kick for short), originates from the Chinese martial art of Wushu and has a unique takeoff and axis that differentiates it from most other skills. When done well, butterfly kicks exceed the expectation that an aesthetic looking trick has to be complicated.
Learning how to get a floaty b-kick is a great way to get better at tricking in general. Correctly timing your explosive movement is a key concept and the butterfly kick is a safe way to develop those fundamentals.
The Aerial (no handed cartwheel) is the often one of the first flips new trickers learn when getting into the sport. Out of all of the tricks so far on this list, this is perhaps one of the first that a beginner might not get in one day.
This trick was put into the middle of this list because it is arguably the hardest trick to land so far and yet it still have many uses outside of simply looking good. A strong aerial is an amazing prerequisite for getting the feeling the gainer, flashkick, gms, and aerial twist. Aerials can be one of the least scary flips to throw because you can spot the ground the entire time that you are in the air.
Front flips are an exciting trick to work on because you are flipping all the way over your head for the first time. Attempting your first front flip is easy because you are able to spot the ground all the way until you flip over your head. With some practice, landing back onto your feet is as simple as jumping higher and committing to the flip. Out of all the skills on the list so far, this one feels like the first real flip.
Learning how to trust your feet for the landing of a front flip can be a little scary the first time you try it. Just like attempting any new skill for the first time, front flips may sound intimidating to new learners but with a little courage, this trick will help build confidence and a level of air-awareness you didn’t know you had. Mastering the fear of a front flip’s blind landing is a vital skill that applies for all of tricking.
The term “gainer” has many different definitions and meanings across various movement arts. In parkour, a gainer refers to a backflip that travels forwards and “gains” ground. In tricking, the gainer, “gainer flash”, “slant gainer”, “cheat gainer”, and “kick the moon” all refer to the same thing – a backflip of varying flipping axis’ off one foot and landing on the swinging/kicking leg.
Gainers can be “cheated” while in the learning process by flipping over your shoulder instead of directly over your head. This is known as flipping off-axis. The gainer is a prerequisite for gainer switches and corkscrew swings, arguable THE most iconic tricking movements. Mastering the gainer is key to unlocking these future, tougher skills.
Originating from the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, the raiz (pronounced “rays”, “rise” or “hi-ease”) is iconic to the sport of tricking. Raizes are a valuable trick to have on lock because of how many other tricks stem from this basic movement. Touchdown raiz, sideswipe, sailor-moon, snapuswipe, and gumbi are all included in the raiz family.
This trick is simple to learn but hard to master. It’s unique angle makes it difficult to get a aesthetic or, more importantly, useful raiz. As you can see from the example, a good raiz will almost always go from an upright position before dipping horizontally and even briefly passing completely upside down before landing. As trickers improve, this move and it’s variations tend to be one of the most used tricks in their arsenal.
The backflip is hands down the most recognizable move that is as rewarding as it is challenging to learn. While there are many tests to see if you are physically fit, arguably one of the simplest tests is if you can do a backflip and land perfectly on your feet. The trick calls upon equal parts strength, agility, and confidence like none other on this list and is a must-learn when it comes to foundational tricking movements.
Get an email everytime we write a new article or tutorial!
Check out Loopkicks Tricking Classes in Santa Clara, CA! Get your first trial class for FREE.
Check out the Loopkicks Tricktionary for clips, terminology, and theory!