While there are a lot of traditionalists in the martial arts scene, it’s also important to acknowledge that there are many people who want to add something more “exciting” to the mix. We’re not going to argue the difference between learning a martial art for the sake of fitness, mental balance, show-off ability or anything else. What we are going to do, is acknowledge that there are martial artists out there who are after explosive moves and as much visual appeal as possible.
With those people in mind, and anyone else who’s interested in taking a look at some cool flips, kicks and tricks, here’s a breakdown of the most fundamental moves employed in extreme martial arts. Seeing as the scale of different kicks and flips is hard to even quantify, the chances are that this post will be the first in a series covering progressively more difficult aerial manoeuvres.
If you’ve already read our list of 10 insane aerial kicks taekwondo can teach you then you’ll be familiar with this particular kick. It’s not as hard as it looks and can easily be considered your ticket in to the world of extreme martial arts. Once you’ve recovered from the confidence boost you get from learning the 540, you’ll realize how many other kicks can be built off of it.
The essential first step in getting comfortable with idea of being airborne is the aerial – which is effectively a no-handed cartwheel. Even if the description sounds simple, a lot of people try and learn this trick by jumping sideways, which normally ends with a lot of crash landings. It’s still a jumping trick at the end of the day and is one thing that if you keep in mind, will make you more likely to land it sooner.
Here’s a video that even goes into how to transition from a cartwheel to an aerial, hopefully making the mental a hurdle a little bit easier to overcome.
A move taken straight out of capoeira, this is a balance move that requires kicking with one leg and removing a hand from the ground simultaneously. There’s still momentum going into this trick which some people tend to forget, it makes for a slow-motion looking trick that they can never quite manage. So remember balance and momentum are key – it’s still a kick after all!
Don’t be fooled by all the hype around the backflipping, it’s probably just propaganda from the gymnastics world to deter mere mortals from trying to enter their world.
The biggest thing to overcome with a backflip is fear, plain and simple. If you can get over that, you can backflip. Try performing this in – ironically – a gymnastics training facilites with sprung floors and a foam pit, you’ll be amazed by the results.
5. Backside 720
Here’s another spinning aerial kick for you to get comfortable with. Whereas the 540 is more about pulling yourself round with the kicking leg, this move is all about the spin. It’s important to learn the art of rotation in extreme martial arts, because once you do, throwing kicks mid-rotation is easier than you would think. If we had to name one thing that’s most difficult about rotational kicks, it’s the fact so many of them overlap in terms of names and degrees.
Notice how the guy in this tutorial specifies that the kick is a hook kick and remember if you learn it right the first time, you won’t have to relearn it at a later date.
6. Front Flip
Front flipping is hard than it looks, go figure! Much less intimidating than the backflip but also much harder. There are two reasons for it being more difficult, people tend to jump forwards instead of up, and they open up their bodies too early in the trick, which kills rotational force.
So remember, jump up and keep tucked until you can see the floor!
Getting up off the floor can be quite a clumsy and un-eloquent affair, which might be why the kip-up was invented. You would have seen it in many a martial arts movie when the good guy has just been knocked down and wants to get back up in a slightly more dramatic way, just to show the world he means business.
This trick takes some explosive power and isn’t the most natural of movements, so be prepared for it to take a little bit of time. Once you’ve got it though, you can also learn how to do it without hands which will look a lot more impressive. Some pretty skilled trickers even throw themselves backwards into it, or over rotate on a front flip to land in the beginning position of a kip-up – we wouldn’t recommend trying those kinds of tricks just yet however!
This is just a nice simple trick to have at your disposal, you see it a lot in the world of free running and parkour as well as extreme martial arts. A solid trick to lead into longer strings of kicks and flips, or just a solid trick to use on it’s own if you’re in the early stages.
As you may have noticed, a lot of these foundational tricks suffer from a few common problems, one of which is jumping forwards/sideways/backwards instead of UP. So as with a few of the others, remember to jump up and even if you’re using minimal technique, the probability of you landing a good looking sideflip just went way up!
A narbong is a kick that can be used as a transition, a skill that is all important in the world of extreme martial arts and tricking. What starts out looking like a normal 540, becomes a skip step into a normal hook kick, or any other kick/trick you can think of fast enough for that matter.
Make sure you get this looking smooth and it’s more likely that the audience won’t even notice you transitioned. That way you can use this to stall for time if you got a little bit excited and blew all your best tricks in the first five seconds of your combo.
That’s it for the absolute beginner tricks, so let us know what you thought in the comments below. If you’re interested in a seeing a few more difficult tricks from extreme martial arts, don’t be shy in saying so because we’d love to supply such a list.
Featured Image Credit: Andrea Balducci