Grump thoughts – stream of consciousness about tricking topics.
On facebook, I constantly see many people talk about style as “how” you do something, not necessarily what is done.. they commend people with clean technique and observable power as having great “style”, despite executing a generic combo. I’d hate to think that so many people have such simple tastes. I’d argue that this basic assessment of technique and power definitely contributes to style, but is far from being the deciding factor. Likewise, the tricks you choose cannot themselves be what defines your style, as some argue. I feel like people recognize something special about what they’ve seen, but either can’t voice what it is, or have never really thought about what it is that really creates this word/concept we throw around so much. Style is more than simple, superficial observations, its the greater impression you leave with someone. To me, these things that people throw out there are simple ingredients in a recipe. So what is style really then? How can we approach defining it in a somewhat logical or objective way?
Simply put, I believe a tricker’s style is the sum of their choices..
How a trick is performed, both in its gross mechanics, as well as the energy the put into it matters. A cork can be technically perfect, but super lazy. Conversely, it can also be technically flawed, but thrown with such aggression that it becomes visually more impressive than a more perfect example. As important as what and how, is when and/or where a trick is performed. This is the key to the OC, i believe.. Style is influenced greatly by the order of your tricks, which in turn influences the transitions used in a combo. If you look at a typical power tricker, you’ll notice, on average, only a handful of transitions get used often: pop, punch, vanish (and/or redirect), and s/t. This style of tricking is fast and linear – its always accelerating. Now watch someone like Nelson Zuniga or Ish Payne trick.. You’ll see every transition in a sampler. Many transitions they utilize, like reverse-pops and misslegs aren’t performed to increase speed or power, but to demonstrate skill, cause surprise, or adjust rhythm, among other reasons. The typical cookie cutter power combo will follow a predictable pattern: a common kick or two, maybe something like a coindrop (because swag lol), followed by their setup move (tdr/cart) into twisting and s/t series. Honestly, its clear that the entire combo is based on setting up the twisting. Now someone like Sessh may end with a big twisting trick finale, but he also tends to add in a lot of level and axis changes as he moves from twists to vert to ground and back into twists. A lot of the ground work that Sessh chooses to do is for a reason – he’s actively pioneering a different way to trick. Why these choices are made contributes to style. Finally, I’d add that overall, long-term patterns define style. We know who’s a twistbot, who’s a kickbot, who’s going to favor power twisting over lower tier skills in favor of technically diverse combos. However, within those general guidelines, we can also observe patterns of movements that people like to do over and over. For example, when i think of Jordan Okubo, i think of unexpected turns, a lot of kicking, obviously, and cartdub variations.. he simply doesn’t use btwists or corks often at all. When i think of Bailey Payne, i think of the wrap game being destroyed, but also solid use of mega and semi landings, recently. The point of this rambling is that a single combo can’t define the style of tricker.. Style is really created or defined by so much more than simple one liners and superficial observations.. it requires insight.
Style, to me, is the sum of the choices about -what- tricks are chosen, -when- and -where- they are performed in a combo, -why- they were ordered or transitioned the way they were, and -how- the tricks themselves were performed.