A trouble shooting trick for your tricks

December 1, 2009 Training

This page summarized in a caps-locked haiku:

WHEN TROUBLESHOOTING.

STOP TRYING TO DO THINGS RIGHT.

SCREW EVERYTHING UP.

You are here:

You’re having trouble landing a trick correctly.

You look back at the filmed footage and you see your mistake(s) and know what you need to do to fix it.

But no matter how hard you try it doesn’t work.

Jujimufu, tricking, 720 b-twist

A pending crash with a perfectly sane reaction. Hummingbirds.

Now what?

Try this: When reviewing your footage for feedback, don’t try to fix your problem. Instead, create new problems!

An example:

Taegashi, b-twist, snow

Here is my dear friend Taegashi back in 2002 b-twisting during winter. Why did he trick in that weather? Because he kicks ass, that’s why.

Taegashi, b-twist, snow

He had a great lift with the lead leg, look how high it is.

Taegashi, b-twist, snow

He sucked at coordinating his upper body during the twist. Look at his arm, what’s it doing?!

Taegashi, b-twist, snow

He crashed this because he failed to use his upper body properly, not because of the snow.

He failed to use his upper body properly:

And this is where most of us take the intuitive approach: If he’s failing to generate a good twist with his arms and shoulders, then most of us would tell him to do something like twist harder, or use your upper body more, or try wrapping tighter on your twist, etc.

Useless advice

Haven’t you had someone give you useless advice like this? Twist harder? Commit? Stall? Wrap tighter? etc. It’s not that it’s incorrect, it’s just that it’s bad advice. Yes, Taegashi needs to do those things, but if he just keeps crashing it the same way, then that advice obviously isn’t helpful. Because maybe he can’t figure out how to apply that advice. He needs a different approach.

The counter-intuitive approach

If I could go back in time, I would give him this advice: Taegashi, stop. You just keep failing the same way every time and it’s a total buzzkill. I have some ideas. I want you to completely forget about lifting your leading leg. I want you to be like those creeps who b-twist vertical with no leg lift. Try that a few times.

Okay, next do about five good jump spins so you’re reminded of what it feels like to spin well. Now try forgetting you’re doing a b-twist at all. Forget about lifting that leg high and lifting with your arms and stalling and getting back behind you on the twist and blah blah blah. The only thing I want you to do is swing your arms hard side-to-side, twist way too early, and crash.

Do you see what I did? I generated a different approach, even if it was incorrect, so that Taegashi could experience what the move feels like to fail in a different way. When you try to fix problems by adding something (twist harder, stall, commit, etc), you’re adding something to a full cup. You have to get rid of something to add something else. This is exactly what I did for Taegashi, I subtracted those things he consistently does correct from the trick and then tried getting him to add what he needed.

Focus on one thing at a time

It’s suggested often to focus on one thing at a time when training a trick. Focus on one limb, one motion, one idea. I’m simply suggesting that when you do this, abandon the other things you consistently do correctly, otherwise you’ll just keep failing the same way. There is no need to fail a trick the same way more than once.

Why this works

Taegashi is already in the habit of lifting that leg up hard and stalling the spin, he’ll do it unconsciously no matter how he tries this trick. He just needs to focus on that one thing and let his unconscious good habits take care of the rest.

Examples:

Corkscrew: Bad spin? Forget about lifting up your legs and arms at all, just try twisting way too soon and twisting side to side as if it’s a standing jump spin.

540 kick: Can’t get the kick over? Keep your kicking leg bent. Train that motion.

Aerial: Try your cartwheel or aerial taking off two feet at the same time. This could help you understand how opening up your body is the key to the aerial.

B-twist: Do it with your hands behind your back! That’ll make you realize a few things.

Backflip: Having trouble even attempting a backflip? Forget all those people yelling at you to not look backward. Do it. Look backwards. Just throw your arms up as you do it. You can fix the head looking backward thing later. Looking backward isn’t going to make it permanent for god’s sake, it might just be what you need to have a breakthrough and land the damn move. I looked backward for years before I decided to fix it, which took only two afternoons. It was easy to fix.

Combos: This goes for combos too, especially ones with tricky transitions.


Play with your tricks

If it didn’t work the first ten times, why the fuck would it work the eleventh time? So you’re gonna try harder from now on? Why not try some things differently instead? Play with your tricks, you know, actually have some fun fooling around with them? Stop trying to do everything correct and start screwing everything up because it’s hilarious. Sometimes we need to fool around to have an aha! moment.

A microscopical macrocosm

You might notice that this way of playing with your tricks is a microcosm of your overall tricking. Notice that you had to get rid of some things in a technique to allow new things a chance to flourish and a better equilibrium of forces within the trick to develop, just as you must neglect some tricks to allow new tricks a chance to flourish in your tricking arsenal; you cannot maintain everything at its absolute best all of the time.  Next time you want a trick, consider cycling out some tricks from your arsenal to give some a chance to flourish.

4 comments

  1. Josiah says:

    Great aerial advice. I like to run into it or do a couple cartwheels in a row then “accidently” not use my hands on one of them. Creating an aerial.

  2. Josiah says:

    Hello again, I recently changes my tricking take off’s to emphasize on jumping for height instead of the emphasis of generating speed. Is there any best way to get the most height out of your take off’s? So my main question is: Jumping in tricking is more difficult that expected. How do I not loose speed and momentum when I concentrate for height?
    Thank You

    • Jon Call says:

      Here’s a trickster secret, and a secret of anybody who is involved in the business of jumping high: think about speed, not height. If you think about height you won’t get as high as if you focused on speed. Minimize the time your feet are on the ground during takeoff. Watch these guys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CkAfx1E58M

      So switch your emphasis back on focusing on generating speed and minimizing foot-ground contact time during takeoff and you will get height. If you don’t get height this way you won’t be getting any height focusing on getting height anyway. Make sense?

  3. Josiah says:

    Yes, I think I was just focusing on spinning but I should let the spin through and kick myself up as high as possible. This will help a lot for my sideswipe, aerial and jackknife and probably all other tricks. Thank you for great advice.

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