Martial Arts Tricking (influenced by the American Sport Acrokickers and the Freestyle Creative Weapon practitioners) is applying the traditional body dynamics of basic kicking and weapon movements in an innovative acrobatic stylist approach with the purpose to strike with a single power move or in a series of combinations to showcase one’s unique abilities. Martial Arts Tricking has evolved from the typical competitive sport to educational “Trick” gatherings internationally. “Trickers” have gained popularity through the Internet millennial generation and come from all styles of acrobatic movement. Martial Artists have challenged “Trickers” to evolve their skills by incorporating authentic rooted martial arts movements within film, stage and competition. The question still lies, is Martial Arts “Tricking” an art, a sport or BOTH?
Evolution of the KICK (influenced by Generation X): Basic hard and soft style curriculums have foundational skip, jump, and flying kicks incorporated into their art with variation on where a strike should be applied on the foot. As gymnastics and ice skating became widely syndicated on Wide World of Sports and Kung Fu Theatre gained popularity on national television in the 1980s, American Freestylist and Wushu practitioners showcased dive rolls, jump kick combinations, aerials, round off-back hand springs, backflips, and butterfly twists on a competitive stage. Then a new breed of artists emerged in the 1990’s, who learned both hard and soft styles and began to integrate variations of these techniques to inspire a handful of Acrokickers that would develop a respectable unique American based martial arts style known as Sport Karate. Acrokickers understood the philosophy of applying true ground kicking in the air and became the innovators that would define the millennial generation martial arts tricker. There has been debate on what the first Martial Arts Trick kick was. The 540 Round House presented in 1990 at The New England Open by Steven Ho which evolved from Chinese Wushu or the 720 Hook Kick presented at the Battle of Atlanta in 1994 by Carmichael Simon which evolved from Korean Tae Kwon Do. Regardless, these two movements are considered the foundational kicks of Martial Arts “Tricking” and can be presented in any variation given one’s ability.
Evolution of the Performance Weapon (influenced by Generation Y): Inspired by Martial Arts Trick kicks, the progression of weapons is focused on enhancing the speed, timing, and the agility to strike intricately. With educated martial artists not only understanding the application of the basic skill set of the weapon of choice, but advancing techniques by fusing movements from other creative styles these performers have excelled in a class of their own. Training other weapons have provided awareness that the theory of the weapon being an extension of the body or hand is no longer the philosophy. “Art in Motion” is the motto. From basic Bo hand rolls to vertical tosses (Casey Marks) and basic KAMA figure 8’s to finger rolls and throws (Rudy Reynon), tricking with the weapon adds momentum to the body dynamics to incorporate Trick Kicks, enhances and expands multiple dimensions of the weapon, and most importantly expands the area more than the weapon itself by incorporating acrobatics with multiple rotations.