Ever notice how when you meet a new tricker, they just happen to like your favorite band? And how they catch on to every one of your movie references? AND how they not only know what the Fusion Dance is, but are ready to do it with you? This keeps happening to me, and I’ve realized that even though trickers come from all around the world, we’ve created our very own culture. On that note, here are 14 things that trickers love more than life itself.
Obviously we all love Dragon Ball Z, but we also call newly recruited trickers our “Pokémon,” and Hayao Miyazaki’s work is legendary to us. Plus if you haven’t seen Yu Yu Hakusho, One Punch Man, Naruto, or the Avatar series, you gotta rethink your life choices. Anime connects us to the oriental culture that we learned to love through martial arts, and it’s full of the action-packed fight scenes that made us all want to be ninjas in the first place. And enjoying these shows requires some imagination, and our creative combos prove that we’ve got plenty of it.
For this one I talked to Cory Dunson, a founding member of Tennessee Tricking (TNT), who explained that “kendama is an ancient Japanese toy, and warriors and samurai and martial artists used to give it to their children to play with… so that when it was time to teach the bow and arrow and swordsmanship and karate, they’d learn a lot faster because of the coordination you develop from kendama.” But in the here and now, “it’s a good way to calm your mind after some BS at work. Or waiting in a long line. Despite all the weird looks you get from grown ups and kids laughing at you.” In short, “if you wanna grow up to be a samurai/ninja, get a kendama.”
I’m looking at you, Rudy Meadows, Phill Gibbs, Scotty Skelton, Andy Le, Ingun Yoo, Kyle Cordova, Shai DeBroux, Jujimufu, Ben Cauvy, etc. I need to know how you do it! I want hair like that! If you want I’ll comb your hair while you sleep and run my hands through your luscious locks and maybe lean in for a quick sniff… I mean, uh… That got weird. Never mind. Was totally joking. Totally.
Hating on parkour
Yup, we tend to get sick of the guys that take up WAY too much floor space at the gym practicing their konging or whatever. But in fairness, they’ve got some pretty crazy skills, and I think we all secretly wish we could swap some techniques with traceurs.
We’re talking Super Smash Bros., Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, and other pieces of digital perfection. We’ve even named some tricks after video game moves, like the Hurricane Kick from Street Fighter (shout out to my boy Ryu). But strangely I haven’t met as many trickers who are into great games like Halo or Call of Duty, so what’s the deal? I think we trickers like to get our hands dirty, go up and punch our opponent or slash the boss in two with a sword. Hiding behind a sniper rifle just isn’t our style; we like to grab life by the balls and get up close and personal with our obstacle, whether it’s an evil creature or a new trick. And the more unrealistic the game, the better, since we’re all about staying both imaginative and straight-up weird!
Speaking of weirdness, at heart we’re really just kids with a bizarre sense of humor. And since tricking really expanded thanks to the Internet, it makes sense that we’re all obsessed with Internet jokes. Like over 9000 of them.
SO MANY WRISTBANDS. How else are you gonna represent your favorite team or remember all the gatherings you’ve been to?
When our favorite tricker releases a new sampler, it may as well be Christmas morning. For those of you who didn’t get the memo, here are the directions for watching a sampler:
1) Almost break your mouse pressing Play.
2) Stare unblinkingly at the intro scenes until the tricks begin.
3) LOSE YOUR MIND AT THAT COMBO ZOMG DID YOU SEE THAT
5) Try to watch the combo frame by frame. (Pro tip: click the gear icon on the bottom right and select “Speed” to slow things down.)
6) Continue past that combo and 8 seconds later WTF WAS THAT HOLY CRAP
7) See steps 4 – 6 until sampler is over and you’re suddenly very sweaty.
By the end you’ve fallen in love with tricking all over again, and you immediately start planning your next session while “Eye of the Tiger” plays in your head.
Watching all those samplers, you can’t help but notice a trend: a lot of pop punk, post-hardcore, and metalcore, plus anything with a good drop of course. A Day to Remember, Dance Gavin Dance, and I See Stars are some notable favorites. I think we love this stuff because, honestly, we’re all adrenaline junkies! We love the rush of a newly landed trick and even the thrill of danger in a bad fall. So this music not only keeps us hyped during sessions, but also gets our blood flowing at all other times. Plus, both the tricking culture and the pop punk, post-hardcore scene are young, loud, non-mainstream, fun, quirky, tolerant, and incredibly authentic. No wonder they match up!
For all our antics, we work HARD. We’ll spam a trick 50 times a session or more just to get it right. We may not be wearing belts, but we still value the traditional martial artists’ dedication to perfection.
Literally nothing better. That is all.
Explaining Tricking to Muggles
“Ok so tricking is a combination of kicks, flips, and twists… What? No, it’s NOT like parkour!!” Giving this speech is like showering: I’ve just accepted the fact that I’ll have to do it at least once a day. It may get annoying sometimes, but I’ll never get sick of seeing that look of confused astonishment on the face of an unsuspecting Muggle or hearing their eventual conclusion: “That’s… AWESOME.”
The little things
Look, almost no one is getting paid to trick. In fact it costs a lot of time and sometimes a lot of money. But we do it anyway because we simply love to do it. We know that what really matters in life is passion, and that enthusiasm bleeds into all the little stuff we appreciate. We’ll wear our new tricking shirt to bed every night for a week, and we all think our favorite sampler deserves an Oscar. And that new grassy area we just discovered might as well be a freaking Olympic gymnastics facility for how much we love training on it. At the end of the day, we really don’t take life too seriously. We just appreciate the little things and have a ton of fun with it.
Trickers from all around the world get each other because we’re all walking the same path and speaking the same language. We connect over mutual struggles and new victories, always exchanging tips and respecting both the expert and the Day 1 beginner. Ultimately, you can’t have a tricking culture without a tricking community to support it, and I’d say we’ve got a damn good one.