I’m a huge believer in using your hands in tricking. Why? Because it’s easy, for one, but more importantly, that ease allows me to train for skills i’m not yet capable of doing, and to apply that experience more quickly upon learning a new skill. What i mean is, i may not be able to mega-cork yet, but by utilizing the mega-cart swingthrough to train, i will be much more comfortable and capable of swinging from the cork, once i get it. I see hands-down type tricks as a safer step toward higher skills, because they’re essentially planned bails, as well as the more common uses: swag and/or power. Here is a list of basic skills to learn, and utilize to maximize your training tools.
Before training anything on your hands, be sure to adequately stretch your arms, shoulders, and wrists. If you dont condition your arms and its joints, these tricks may leave you a bit sore, and have the potential for injury, so start slowly, at your own risk.
Cartwheels: This should be a no-brainer. Get both a side to side and front to back (gymnastics style) cartwheel on both sides, and if you really want to be thorough, learn them all on each hand (one-handed, each hand), as well as with neutral head position (dont look down, look forward the whole time). The ability to do all of those things is invaluable for comfort, awareness, and control in hands-down tricks.
Aside from the obvious uses as a setup, cartwheels are an easy way to increase our strength, comfort, and coordination when on our hands. This video is an excellent resource for everyone from beginners to veterans. Learn and understand the principles in it, and apply them to all of the skills you learn.
- I also highly recommend getting cart variations to all 4 landing positions. Cart-switch (complete), Cart (hyper), Mega-Cart (mega), Semi-Carttwist/Tinsica (semi).
Semi-Carttwist?! It’s just a cartwheel that lands forward facing, in semi, rather than sideways or backward (hyper). Arguably this idea is different than a tinsica, but for all intents and purposes, either works just fine. Here is a great exampler for Tinsicas. Hopefully You’ll be able to see the potential to setup tricks on the aerial/btwist and gumbi/raiz axes. Also, checkout some of Cody’s other videos, he does a ton of great things on his hands.
- Roundoff: Learn it.. make it good, and strong, and correct. The principles of a solid roundoff extend to every trick, particularly on-the-hand tricks, so learning this trick properly is time well spent.
Gumbi: Sorry, you need this, learn it. Gumbi is the easiest and safest way to train for raiz axis tricks. You dont even need to really swing out of it; just the ability to do it will make practicing a frontswings and many carrythroughs much easier, and safer. Gumbis will also help with progression through its variations – sailormoon, tdraiz, and raiz, and the switch/swipe versions of each, including gumbi. I highly recommend getting all of those, in any order, but at least one should be a high priority. By having one regular, and one swipe/switched version, you have easy access from the semi landing position to the complete and hyper takeoff positions. This tutorial my help you.
- One method to learning gumbi that was successful for me, is to learn it from a cartwheel.
Step1: Cartwheel on your good side, and end facing forward, either by pivoting, or landing almost like a tinsica. Once both feet land, continue forward into the opposite cartwheel, landing backward (gymnast style). This creates a reversal transition.
Step2: Repeat this combination, but this time, attempt to swing the second leg into the second cartwheel, rather than putting it down. Now, you’ve created a swingthrough or carrythrough transition (depending on how you perform it), rather than a reversal. This step should be repeated until you can comfortably, quickly, and powerfully perform it. This step can be scary at first, so take it slowly the first time through.
Step3: Repeat step 2, but intentionally throw your first cartwheel way off axis – you want your momentum to follow a more circular arc around you, rather than over. When you swing/carry into the second cartwheel, your body will naturally be pulled over, following the momentum created in the first cart. Allow your back to arch, and be sure to reach high, behind your head to catch yourself. The hand placement is crucial – your second hand should reach to the opposite side of the first. It may feel like you’re falling the first time you do it right, but you need to trust in your arms, and keep them straight and strong. Once you feel what the gumbi is, and you will definitely feel it when you do it right, repeat the process with increasing speed and power until it’s engrained in your muscles. Once you figure it out, gumbi is super easy, and super fun.
- This video is a great resource for getting, or improving your raiz, and many of the tips apply directly to gumbi as well.
- Finally, i recommend learning what we call Atwist-Gumbi, or sometimes Reverse-Gumbi. This allows you to gumbi from the opposite foot position, such as vanished from a hyper or semi landing, rather than swung or reversaled into. This trick is also an excellent pre-requisite for the full-backhandspring (tutorial below), which is essentially an onodi (arabian fronthandspring) into atwist-gumbi.
Master Tricks: Masterscoot is a fairly obvious trick to pick up. It’s a great tool for setting swingthroughs obviously, but also as a first step toward both wrap and grandmaster tricks from the hyper landing position. Dont forget to get yourself a masterswipe (tricker style) as well. It’s just a cartwheel from a master swing, and will be more efficient for training GMS and GMT/Kroc type tricks.
- For masterswipe, you can just do a masterscoot, and switch at the end, to land hyper, but it is not a true masterswipe. Instead, think of it more like a cartwheel from the master swing. Also note that the bboy masterswipe is not what we are talking about, and many/most tutorials on youtube are for the bboy style masterswipe.
Touchdown-Gainer/Valdez/Macaco: Learn macaco, at the very least. This trick is incredibly useful as a first step toward backward tumbling when landing complete, or relatively backward, into pop and swingthrough tricks, among others.
- Arguably the same thing as a valdez, fundamentally, valdezes have similar functions and functionality to macacos.
- Finally, learn to backswing into either macaco or valdez, creating a s/t valdez/macaco, or what some people also call a touchdown-gainer. I love this trick/concept because it allows you to train swinging into gainers with much less height and power necessary. Only half of the flip is necessary, and you can still practice the difficult part of the combo, which is the transition.
Finally, here are a number of extra tools that i highly recommend having. They may not be quite as useful as the ones listed, but they can be a great way to add a little something extra/different to your combos, as well as a fun way to conserve energy, since on-hand tricks often require less explosive power to perform.