Written by Azfar Afham
Tricking, also known as martial arts tricking, is a hybrid of culture and sport. It combines Western culture and the influences of Eastern culture, the result is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone around the world.
It has martial art kicks from Taekwondo (South Korea), Capoeira (Brazil), Chinese Martial Arts (China) and Karate (Japan). It also consist of dance moves and style from breakdancing (America) as well as twist and flips from gymnastics. Tricksters (tricking practitioners) incorporate some kicks from video games such as ‘Tornado Kick’ by Ryu from Street Fighter. These combinations of kicks, flips and twist, and dance moves create a form of art.
Tricksters could perform dynamic manoeuvres by shifting their centre of gravity and increase speed in every move to create momentum. This momentum helps the trickster to keep moving and produce more difficult manoeuvers that appear to the eyes of the viewers as breaking the laws of physics.
Recently, this sport slash art gained popularity through YouTube and numerous competitions. Red Bull provided a bi-annual competition as a stage for trickster to compete among themselves. The competitions are called ‘Red Bull Kick It’ and ‘Red Bull Throwdown’. ‘Red Bull Kick It’ was held in South Korea, while ‘Red Bull Throwdown’ was held in America. Both competitions are slightly different. ‘Red Bull Kick It’ consisted of two rounds, the first section was for the participants to showcase their tricks and the second round involves participants attempting to break wooden boards with their feet by using their mastered tricks. ‘Red Bull Throwdown,’ on the other hand is a platform solely for tricksters to boast their skills and tricks.
This sport is not for fighting or self-defence even though it involves martial art kicks. Tricking is used in martial art demonstration. Nowadays, tricksters incorporate these moves into dance choreography. K-pop boy group known as Got7 utilises tricking in their dance choreographies, this is evident in their debut video “Girls, Girls,Girls.” Another famous trickster is Jacob Pinto. He is three-time Red Bull Tricking Champion. He has been featured in television commercials, films and shows in the United States such as Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.
I have been practising Tricking for a year or so, I started learning demonstration kicking from my Taekwondo master. Before every training, I would train those kicks to improve my state at the time. Now, I could do some kicks that people would say it is impossible to do. In the span of a year, it was difficult as the only guidance at the time were videos from the Internet. By being my own teacher, it had caused me to receive multiple injuries such as knee injury, shoulder injury and back injury. These injuries does not stop me from practicing and learning tricking, with passion you can do anything.
“Tricking helps me grow and develop self-confidence especially after performing a difficult move. Tricking may as well help me see my body limits and push my body more than that to improve myself.” – Azfar Afham