We all do it, so it seems only fitting to talk about a few methods to efficiently create realistic combos on paper, before we take them to the gym.

Step one, for most of us, is to keep a journal of some sort.  Some people choose to notebooks and a pen; i prefer to use the notepad app on my phone, because i’ll never forget it when i go to the gym.  The key to writing out realistic, doable combos is understanding the position each trick begins in, and ends in, how to manipulate that, and how different transitions utilize, or change that position.  Once you’ve grasped the basics here, you’ll start to see patterns between landing positions, and families of tricks using common transitions, and how to utilize less common choices by varying your tricks and transitional choices.  For example, a hook trick, like a stepover-hook will commonly be used to reversal or redirect into a cheat kick, vanish into an aerial/cart/butterfly family trick, or utilize some form of swing to access the raiz/wrap/gm families.  Do you realize that you can also skip into gainer family tricks without altering your momentum though?  Or that you can actually vanish into corks?  Do you realize that hook tricks land just like hypered-rounds and swipes?  Each of these choices affects the combo in different ways.  Sometimes you’ll want the utility of a simple, efficient transition, like vanishing into a btwist to setup a cork, and other times you’ll want to do something atypical, to create more of an original flavor.  With each additional move, the goal needs to be addressed:  Utility or Aesthetic?

Tiered Combos and Reverse Engineering:
I’m told that Bozzy talked about creating tiers of combos at Hooked this year.  That’s a valuable take away.  I think most of us do it intuitively, but making the action conscious is important, because it gives us a set of tangible goals to reach, as well as more opportunities to grow in the process, creating a better tricker long-term.  You can approach this in two basic ways, so let’s look at each.


Method 1:  Reverse Engineering A Distant Goal
In this method, think of some crazy combo you want to do in the relatively near future.  Something currently out of your reach, but realistically attainable in like 6 months or less.  Next, break down the combo into smaller parts, and create combo progressions for each part.

  • Goal:  c3typhoon s/t corkdleg punch 5jackknife  (mainstream:  c9double s/t corkdleg punch bs10jackknife)  *make note that each round kick trick will ideally land at/near hyper-style, to maintain the momentum line.
    Tier 1:  2 Combos:  tornado s/t cork, and corkdleg punch 5r(bs9) from any setup.
    Tier 2:  2 Combos: c7r s/t corkdleg, and corkdleg punch 5jk(bs10jack) from any setup.  Tier 3:  Final Goal:  c7t(c9dub) s/t corkdleg punch 5jk(bs10jack)


In the above example, each tier has multiple combos to be working on, each of which can be further subdivided into progressions.  For example, moving from tornado s/t cork to c7r s/t corkdleg is a pretty big jump, but there are a number of ways to reach that goal.  For example, training both tornado s/t corkdleg, and c7r s/t cork should train the motions to reach the c7r s/t corkdleg efficiently, with the added benefit of drilling lesser skills that are applicable elsewhere.  Even the most basic of those steps can be further subdivided into progressions, when necessary.  For example, tornado s/t 3h, followed by tornado s/t gainer, followed by tornado s/t cork.


Method 2:  Upward Expansion
In this method, take any combo or concept, and create multiple combos with increasing difficulty as possible using the same family of tricks or concept.

  • Starter Combo:  Tornado hook vanish btwist pop flash
    Level 2:  c5h(c7) vanish btwist pop full, and c5h(c7) vanish btwist s/t gainer
    Level 3:  Jakcknife vanish btwist pop fullhyperhook, and Jakcknife vanish btwist s/t boxcutter


In the above example, each increase in level utilizes the same types of tricks and transitions, but has a much greater difficulty.  Other options are obviously available, but for this post example we’ll keep it simple.  By using each level increase as a goal, the Reverse Engineering method can be utilized to create progressions to make that step easier, and with the added benefits that method comes with.


  • The point to understand, and utilize from all of this, is that by approaching your combos in a logical and methodical way, you can more efficiently reach your goals, and improve more areas of your tricking than by spamming and crashing the goal itself until it eventually clicks.



Homework:  Do Something Unique
Using the above techniques, construct goals and progressions that identify and break common patterns at each step.  The goal here is to maintain the desired utility of the combo, while increasing the individual expression in it.  The goal of this task is to utilize unexpected tricks or transitions in a given situation.  Few of us do this inately, which is why we see generic combos and patterns in tricking.  Rather than relying on divine inspiration to create unique combos, utilize logic and planning to break identified patterns, and create a unique combo.

  • Pattern:  c7r(c9) hook redirect tdr
    Change 1:  c7r(c9) vanish tdr:  This combo is slightly better because it is more efficient, but still nothing too spectacular
    Change 2:  c7r(c9) hook c/t tdr:  Slightly better combo.  By altering the transition to a harder, but very uncommon transition for the situation, this combo should command more attention.
    Change 3:  c3kHG(540gyro) s/t tdr:  This combo wins the OC game.  Not only does it utilize an uncommon starter trick and transition, it is also incredibly efficient, delivering a lot of impact in only 2 moves.

In order to find those uncommon possibilities, a strong understanding of each trick’s ins and outs must be reached, as well as their relationship to other movements, and how they interact with different transitional possibilities, not to mention common patterns each trick falls into.  Simply put, you need to know your $#!-, and you will need to experiment a ton, and sit down and logically plan something unexpected or unique.

  • If you do something cool, film it, and share it on the facebook page!  I’m always interested in seeing and discussing innovative ideas being played with.



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Written by The Grumpiest Of All
Just a grumpy old man who really loves tricking.