The idea is simple:  look at tricks not by their takeoffs and landings, per se, but by their rotation and flip.  What does that mean exactly?  It means that rather than viewing a cheat-9, swing-9, and pop-9 as 3 distinct tricks, view them as the same trick, a “9”, from a different takeoff or transition.  Where one is possible, all 3 are possible, simply by changing the transition into it.  Likewise, the landing is not a defining characteristic of a trick, but an extension of its base.  For example, a cork is a cork, whether it lands in complete, hyper, mega, or semi.  The landing is simply an adjustment you’re making to create a particular position and transition into the next trick; the fundamental part of the trick is still a cork.  This concept goes for gyros, and hypers as well- a 540 is fundamentally a tornado, with an altered landing (a hyper condition).

With this in mind, any 2 tricks can be comboed in a number of ways, creating different aesthetics and diversity, simply by altering the transition (the landing of one trick, and the takeoff of the next).  Simple, right?

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about- this is the kind of thing Ish Payne and Dan Perez do so well:
For this example, we will be using tornadoes (c3r) with one of the 3 hyper conditions (so they all land in backside on either foot, or both), and a 540-round (900 in mainstream- rotationally, these are backside 900s from each takeoff).  Every combo is a tornado with a hyper condition into a “900”.

HS = Hyperstyle- kick + 180* in-air rotation, landing on the non-kicking leg.  It’s an over-rotation.  Rounds will land in backside, hooks in frontside, and always on the non-kicking leg.
H = Hyper- kick + 180* in-air rotation, landing on both feet simultaneously.  Rounds will land in backside, and hooks in frontside.  TH = True Hyper- + 180* in-air rotation, landing on the kicking foot.  Again, rounds will land in backside, and hooks in frontside, always on the kicking leg.  In TKT, these are also sometimes called Katana (k: TH round) and Shuriken (s: TH hook)
c = Cheat- a typical cheat takeoff (outside kicking leg lifts, and upto 180* of on-ground pivot occur) from either stance: in these examples they will begin in backside.
s = Swing- a typical swing takeoff, or a movement similar to a stepover hook’s takeoff.  In these examples they will begin in backside.
p = Pop- a pop takeoff, where both feet jump simultaneously.

Takeoffs for the 540r (“9”) will be labeled in parenthesis for clarity.

By landing: HS (backside, non kicking leg)

c3rHS pop (p)5r
c3rHS vanish (c)5r
c3rHS reversal (s)5r
c3rHS swingthrough (s)5r

By Landing: H (backside, both feet)

c3rH punch (p)5r
c3rH reverse-pop (c)5r
c3rH reverse-pop (s)5r
Notice that reverse-pop has 2 options for vert kicking.

By Landing: TH (k/katana: backside, kicking foot)

c3k pop (p)5r
c3k vanish (s)5r
c3k reversal (c)5r
c3k swingthrough/wrap (c)5r


11 combinations, each with a particular look and feel, that are the same combo by rotation: c3r + 180 hyper condition <> transition <> 540r.  There are actually other ways to perform this, but these are the easiest examples to grasp, and the rest are simple modifications, such as altering rotations slightly, changing reversals to redirects, or vanishes to skips.

Notice that in every case there is a reversal, a swingthrough can be performed.  Reversals, and by extension redirects, are interchangeable with singular transitions (swingthrough, carrythrough, missleg, and rapid).  Any point where reversal is possible, a singular transition can be performed in exactly the same way, simply without letting the second landing leg touch down.  This works in reverse, of course- any swing/carry/etc can be replaced by a reversal.  Likewise, skips and vanishes are interchangeable.  A skip is simply a vanish where you hop from one foot to the other, rather than stepping.  Unified transitions work similarly, as they allow us to alter our landings and takeoffs to utilize both legs at once, and to choose to land or takeoff sequentially.  You can use this concept to alter any combo into something new and different, while maintaining the majority of the muscle memory of the other.  At this point, I don’t even think in terms of 12 distinct transitions, but rather in terms of their groups: reversals, vanishes, swings, misses, and unifieds.  With that understanding, coupled with the more generalized approach to tricks themselves talked about above, I can more simply link tricks together, and then modify the transition to create a different look or function.  In short, by simplifying the first layer of thought, I can more easily create lots of possible options to create the exact look I’m after.

I suggest looking at similar movements from different positions, and grouping them together.  An example would be to view carts as more than just cartwheels to each landing position, but to include master-scoot/swipe, gumbi/tdr, and even td-gainers to each landing as the same family of tricks.  This allows us to change our landing position, such as from a cork, to any position and still “cartwheel” out of it to whichever positions we can do.  Typically, we’re limited to complete and hyper landings, because most of us aren’t killing the td-gainer-mega game.  So in this respect, masterscoot, cartswitch, td-gswitch, and gumbi are the same things, and can each be performed by changing the landing or transition out of the trick prior.


Now imagine how to apply this concept of grouping.  Let’s take non-twisted flipping and group all of the 0’s.  Normally, if someone says they did a 0000 combo, they mean they did 4 gainer-switches.  However, if you look at “0” as an untwisted flip from other positions, you create a ton of possibilities.  Think of it like this: each landing has a 0, and modifying the 0’s landing allows you to 0 on a different axis.

Complete:  gainer-switch, gainer-flash, gainer-mega, semi-cork
Hyper:  gm-scoot, gms, gms-mega, semi-gmt
Mega:  aerial-switch, aerial, aerial-mega, semi-atwist
Semi:  raiz, raiz-hyper, raiz-mega, semi-raiztwist  (This assumes raiz to be a 0)

Now with that in mind, any setup trick, regardless of landing, can create a number of different 0000 combinations.  I’ll list a few examples:

Setup to mega > a-switch st gflash st gms-mega st aerial
Setup to semi > raiz-hyper/swideswipe st gm-scoot st gainer-mega st aerial
Setup to hyper > semi-gmt st raiz st gswitch


The beauty is this scales..  you can add twists to any of these 0’s and create 1’s, which multiplies your potential exponentially.

The point of this simplification concept is to use less brain power to create broad strokes, then understand the specific landings, takeoffs, transitions and axes as details.  By simplifying, I am better able to take any combination I’ve done, and alter each piece to create a “new” and “different” combo with its own particular aesthetic, but overall similar flow (assuming I have the tricks to do so).  It’s like creating a template- cart pop full-hyper vanish btwist is really no different than say tdr st cork-hyper wrap full.  The transitions have changed, and this combo looks much different, but it’s still just cart trick to single-hyper to single.  I strongly believe that once our skills reach a certain level of proficiency, they become interchangeable in most/all situations, and can and should be played with in that way.  That’s not to say that each version of any given trick group is going to be as easy as the others, but with a little effort, they should be doable.  I base this on the idea that at equal levels between 2 base skills, like cork and btwist, the ability to hyper one should equate the ability to hyper the other.  All of the requisite skills are in place, they just need to be applied.   Another example would be taking aerial pop full, and changing the aerial to a gms.  They’re both the same thing, they just come from different legs, and the ability to swap between the two in most situations creates a lot of possibilities.

I urge you to try thinking, and comboing in these terms.  Think something like cart-trick to twist-trick to vert rotation, and see how many ways you can fulfill that requirement.  Not everything is going to work easily, and not all of it will look good, but this method will lead you to some interesting and often unexpectedly cool combos, or pieces of combos to play with.  It literally takes the guess work out of combo creation.  No more need for inspiration, just toss out some arbitrary numbers and see what you can do with them.  You’ll always find something nice, if you put in the time.  More importantly, doing this from time to time, or even every session, will help you train a number of different skills and concepts, increasing your overall knowledge and understanding, coordination, and skill repertoire.


One last thing:
Dont forget to sign up for Tricktheory Camp this summer, in Denver Colorado, from June 28th until July 1st 2016!  That’s the week between NEO and the Colorado Gathering, so plan to hit all 3 events, and spend a solid 9 days tricking with some of the best in the game.  Instructors for camp include members of Neotricks, Tribe, and Torque, with special guest instructors Vivien Youlou, Jason Goma, and Laurent Arrabito!  More are in the works, and will be announced as soon as they’re confirmed.


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