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  • Elliot "Alu" Axelman

What Is Martial Arts Tricking?

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

Not to be confused with 'parkour' (which I have also trained in for years), tricking is the art of expressing oneself with kicks, flips, and twists, often with unique combinations, styles, and tricks.

Born from the ever-increasing dynamic competition between martial arts exhibition performers (nunchucks, forms, etc.), tricking became a sport unto itself over the past decade or two. You see, as the black belts attempted to one-up each other in the exhibitions like NASKA and ISKA tournaments, they began to jump higher, twist faster, and even attempt flips in middle of their karate forms. Naturally, these elite martial artists created one of the most interesting, dangerous, and fun sports in the history of humanity.

Borrowing the kicks from martial arts (Taekwondo, primarily), the flips from gymnastics, and the constant spinning combinations and some floor-work from breakdancing, martial arts tricking is the ultimate form of self-expression. Unlike similar sports, it can be done anywhere with a human and flat ground - or any ground, really. There are no rules and it's naturally unstructured. There are some friendly 'battles', and they resemble breakdancing battles in which judges or the crowd picks a winner and then everyone hugs and compliments each other.

At a point, I was a decent tricker. As the ankle injuries and life began to increase the length of time between gym sessions, my skills deteriorated, of course. Ironically, the biggest impediment to me tricking right now is my right ankle, which is still sore over a basketball injury. Years ago, I rolled my ankle so badly on a layup due to uneven ground that I tore all three lateral ligaments. Lots of jumping and running often brings up that silly basketball injury to this day.

You can view a video of me tricking below:

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