Do you remember the original Tarzan movie? It was the cartoon one, where Tarzan was doing his thing as the Jesse La Flair of the jungle, and then Jane comes in and they totally fall in love. (Cartoon or not, she was an absolute dime. Tarzan pulls.) Anyway, there’s that song from the soundtrack that became super famous, the Phil Collins one. The chorus goes “You’ll be in my heart…” It’s a beautiful testament to the power of love and the strength of family, and how across time and distance, people are always connected by their affection for one another.
Okay, so while your mom was crying in the seat next to you, that song probably made you roll your eyes. Hell, I still feel like it’s a little much. It’s just so… Gooey. It’s Hollywood movie meets Hallmark card. It’s… Hollymark? Let’s go with that.
But what if, when it comes to tricking, the whole “you’ll be in my heart” thing is kinda true?
Let me explain. When people go to a different state or a different country, they often come back with a souvenir to remember both their trip and, perhaps most importantly, the people they shared it with. And preteen girls (or grown-ass men, I’m not judging) exchange friendship bracelets, because it feels good to have a physical symbol of their bond. And on Valentine’s Day, couples might give one another chocolate or a candle, because the taste of that chocolate and the smell of that candle will also be the taste and smell of the love they share.
The point is, these big, meaningful things that we call “friendship” and “love” make life worth living, but they’re also pretty abstract. You can’t really see them or touch them, and that’s kinda unnerving. You might even start to wonder if they exist at all. So when someone really matters to you, it feels good to have a bracelet or chocolate or a candle that you can touch or taste or smell. Because then, even when the person is far away, you still have that very physical, very real reminder that you two matter to each other, that you’re still connected.
The way I see it, we trickers do that too, but in an infinitely cooler way. The striking parallel between friendship bracelets and tricker wristbands aside, what happens when you go to a gathering, or even at a regular gym session with your homies? Someone will throw a trick, and you go “WHOA that was cool! Can you teach me that?”
And then they do. Or maybe someone just gives you a tip that FINALLY fixes your touchdown raiz or cheat 900. Either way, that person just helped you accomplish something. They gave you the means to achieve a goal. It may not be a bracelet or chocolate or a candle, but they gave you a gift that we want even more: a skill. Maybe you can’t touch or taste or smell it, but it’s stored in your head as knowledge and in your body as a feeling. And when you watch footage of yourself nailing that brand new trick, you can see it for yourself.
So as you go through your tricking life, recognize that you are collecting pieces of advice from the people around you, and each one connects you to your friends and all the good times you’ve shared. When I do a cheat 10, I often think of the Hills brothers in Sydney, who showed me how to slow down my rotation and chamber the round kick leg. That was their gift to me. When I do a cartwheel side flip, I remember Thaison Tran from Melbourne, who encouraged me to try it for the first time. Cory Dunson gave me the tip that made corks click for the first time, Rashad Thornton showed me suicide kip up, and Ike Stovall inspired me to perfect my masterscoots. John Franks helped me with E-Kick, and Jono Wong pointed out a major flaw in my cart full. Ricardo Nugent showed me that a cork is just a fancy raiz. James Daly taught me how to Arabian. Alex Solis’s spotting technique is transforming the way I do fulls, and Han Thu Cao is helping me with my boxcutters. And when I do a cheat 720, my first-ever trick, I think of my childhood Sensei, who remains one of the most influential teachers I’ve ever had.
Even for those of you who mostly train alone, I bet there are a ton of samplers and tutorials that helped you perfect your skills. Who were you watching? Maybe Jujimufu or Steve Terada? Even if they don’t know it, they’ve given you a gift, a skill that has become an integral part of how you trick and how you express yourself. And every time you put their advice to use, you strengthen a very real connection between you and them, a connection that stretches up an entire cascade of knowledge extending to their teachers, their teachers’ teachers, and beyond. And when you pass their tips on to someone else, that chain grows even longer.
That’s the beauty of tricking; everyone can pitch in to help play teacher or student, creating a flow of information that enriches the sport and everyone in it. Through the years you acquire a variety tips and tricks from the people around you, and each skill becomes an emblem of a friendship that you formed with another human being.
I once read that we are the sum total of all the people we’ve ever interacted with. And with tricking at least, that seems to be absolutely true. You are not alone on this journey; you have friends and idols that inevitably become a part of it, and a part of you. In fact, when you’re done reading this, give this article a share and tag someone who gave you a helpful tricking tip. It feels good to tell someone you appreciate them, and it’ll totally make their day.
Even though the friends that I miss and love are in other states, other countries, and other continents… Their tricking knowledge, their experience, is now embedded in me, and I carry it with me wherever I go. So yeah, Phil Collins was right; they will be in my heart. So what if it’s cheesy? It’s true. And that’s the way I like it.