Every now and then you see the occasional martial artist out and about, performing wild flips and twirls of kicks up in the air, flying so high it appears they are defying gravity. This highly flashy form of self-expression that holds its roots in martial arts has, over the years grown into a modern movement known as “ tricking ”.

It is undoubtedly true that man is a curious creature. Since as long as we have learned to utilize our bodies to its fullest, we have dared to challenge and explore the limits of how far we could express ourselves physically. From dance to acrobatics, man has always been attempting to develop the range of movement in their bodies to reach spectacular heights.

The Roots of Martial Arts Tricking

martial arts tricking

Although the sport of tricking appears to have taken off during the Internet age, the art of tricking can actually be dated back to the 1960’s, its roots stemming from Taekwondo practitioners. It was back then, a few martial artists first demonstrated these over-the-top ‘tricks’ that were out of the norm from the regularly disciplined actions or techniques that were seen in competitions. Due to its wild and rather ‘flashy’ exhibition, the art of tricking failed to gain any traction for several decades to come.

It wasn’t until the late 90’s-early 2000’s where the people began to look up and take notice of this particularly intriguing style of martial arts’ expression. The tournament known as Xtreme Martial Arts, which began around this period, is believed to be the gateway that opened the doors for competitors to show off their new, edgy, and extreme moves. It was due to several dazzling demonstrations from few talented individuals where the art of tricking began to be seen as highly appealing, as well as desirable to learn.

Daniel Sterling, Anthony Atkins, Steve Terada are just a few good exemplifications of martial art ‘tricksters.’

The Internet’s Role in the Rise of Tricking

martial arts tricking

Upon the advent of the Internet, tricking began to become more widely known, gaining more and more traction in popularity. The onli bring well-known tricksters come together to form one of today’s most famous tricking teams, Team Loopkicks to the opening of websites such as that allowed the community come together, the Internet truly paved the way for tricking to become a movement.

In time, tricking found its way over to Europe, making in places such as France and Spain, where people began to form groups on social media platforms such as Facebook to connect with one another. From these pockets of smaller communities uniting together and an endless stream of information passing through the networks, the movement of tricking continued to grow larger with every passing year.

Ever since platforms such as YouTube have come along, the trickster community has grown exponentially. With an infinite amount of resources able to be found from the now expanding number of tricking teams, classes, forums, and groups, this acrobatic movement will continue to spread, and in that process, so will the awareness of martial arts.

Martial Arts Tricking and Beyond

martial arts tricking

Besides the fancy tricks and looping kicks that fly high in the air, in the end, tricking is an extension of martial arts, and with that fact encompasses something much more fulfilling than simply demonstrating a physically spectacular feat. Just like every other branch of martial arts, it raises your confidence, develops discipline, and creates a sense of long-lasting connection between yourself and many like-minded others around you.

As one of the most prominent trickster groups, Team Loopkicks, have stated best, “More than any move or trick we learn to execute its the life lessons, sense of freedom, and friends we make that are the most fulfilling. Sure, the moves/tricks we learn to execute are amazing and give us an unparalleled adrenaline rush but the feeling of friendship, community, and unity is what sets tricking apart from other sports.”

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