Why healing injuries takes more than a phoenix down


Injuries Phoenix Down

Three mosquitoes are hanging out on a wooden fence. Little do they know, they’ll be dead in five minutes.

Twenty feet to the left there are five humans sitting around a camp fire. The smell of blood makes them hungry, so they take flight for dinner.

Ten feet into the journey, Dan notices something. He whispers to himself.

“Oh no.”

He sees a candy cane like structure dangling a glowing blue bug zapper.

Dan the mosquito knows all about bug zappers. When he was younger his dad lectured him about their danger every day.

“You’re going to want to go near them,” he would say, “but you can’t. You have to resist.”

And every night Dan’s dad taught him how to restrain himself.

These memories take form in Dan’s mind as he see’s his best friends flight path bias towards the bug zapper.

Fran wasn’t as lucky as Dan. His dad didn’t teach him about bug zappers.

“Ohhhh…what a pretty blue color,” Fran said…right before the smoke from his burning carcass shadowed into black night sky.

Stan wasn’t far behind. His dad didn’t teach him about bug zappers either.

“Ohhhh…what a a wonderful bright light,” Stan said…right before he plopped atop Fran’s dead body.

Dan is sad, but has nothing left to do but feast. There are five humans at his disposal, so he continues on.

He’s five feet from the bug zapper. Holding strong. Dan’s father taught him well.

He’s stopped in front of the bug zapper. Admiring his willpower. Looking down at his dead friends. And that’s when a gust of wind randomly launches Dan into the bug zapper.

Dan, Fran, and Stan. Five minutes ago they were best friends.

Now they’re dead.

The next day Jorge, another mosquito, notices the bodies below the bug zapper during a morning flight. He uses his deductive reasoning and concludes on the cause of death with confidence.

Here’s where we shift from mosquitoes to injuries. (About time, right?) Jorge can tell you about the cause of death…but not the reason for death.

Although being zapped with the cause of death, it wasn’t the reason for death. Dan died because of the wind; it was a fluke accident. Stan was attracted to the brightness. Fran was attracted to blue.

Injuries are manifestations of  problems, they aren’t the problems themselves.

I have knee pain is as descriptive as Fran died from the bug zapper. It tells you about the end, but it doesn’t tell you why the end happened.

When you’re dealing with an injury, ask yourself:

Are you fixing the pain? Or are you fixing the problem that’s causing the pain?

If Jorge used phoenix downs on his mosquito buddies and wanted to make sure Dan, Fran, and Stan didn’t meet the same fate, he’d need to use a unique strategy for each person.

  • Dan’s death was random.
  • Fran’s death was from enjoying the color blue.
  • Stan’s death was from enjoying bright lights.

If you really wanted to “fix” these mosquito amigos, you’d need to fix the reason why they died in the first place. Using a phoenix down is nice and all because, hey, you’re alive and free of pain. But you’re at risk of flying right back into the bug zapper.

Assuming the injury isn’t random (because sometimes injuries are random), look for the reason. Deal with the pain, yeah, but don’t stop there. Dig. Dig. Dig.

As the saying goes: where there is smoke, there’s fire. Putting out the fire is lovely. But the more attention you give to the fire itself, the less you give to the arsonist sprinting out of the back door and into the woods.

And as long as the arsonist is alive, your house is in danger.

How to Tornado Kick – A Written and Video Tricking Tutorial



Video exampler: here

Singles and slow-mo: here

Recommended prerequisites: lots of inside (crescent, roundhouse) kicking

Description: The tornado kick is a spinning jump inside kick. Because of this, I recommend building up a decent amount of flexibility and strength by drilling your basic kicks. What we’re doing is adding complexity, speed, and anger atop that foundation.

The two dominant inside kicks are the inside crescent kick and the roundhouse kick. Most traditional martial artists prefer the roundhouse because it’s more fight friendly. Alas, I’m a trickster, not a fighter. It doesn’t matter what kick gets thrown as long as you can control it and it looks pretty. Over the years, I’ve grown into the crescent style kick, but it’s good to experiment with both.

Slide by slide breakdown

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

All about the momentum, baby. Everything is to the left because everything’s going to go to the right…only to come back to the left.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

Here we are, cocked and loaded.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

My momentum is shifting back to my other leg, but check it out: I’m placing my leg beyond the mid-line of my body just a little bit. And because of this, my body has to play catch up.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

Because my leg was planted beyond the mid-line, my body has to play catch up, and you can use this to your advantage. Things are now in motion, preparing for the spin takeoff, but check out my head. I’m looking straight ahead. You want to pick out a target in front of you to kick at and single it out.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

Look at your target for as long as possible, but when your body is forcing you to turn, turn. Keep the hands high during all of this. My right arm is “lagging” behind because it’s going to rip down and through. Like a rubber band, you have to stretch it if you want it to recoil with some anger.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

During the turn, high hands dig down to prepare you for the vertical part of the trick. The important part of this slide though? My foot. Check it out. My body has almost rotated 180 degrees, yet my foot still hasn’t planted.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

Ah, look at the leg now! It’s planted and even rotated a little bit ahead of the rest of my body. This is what block is all about. It’s why we go a little horizontal on the takeoff, too. Whatever “piece” is leading your body, it should always be one step ahead.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

Planting the leg the way we did now gives us some good momentum to work with. After the arms dig through, you want to throw everything up and look for your target. That’s all you need to think about for now.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

I wasn’t lying to you. Throw the hands and leg up, look for the target.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

Once you have the target in sight, prepare the kick. The type of kick you throw will determine your body position. Since I throw a crescent kick, my torso is more square to my target. If I was throwing a roundhouse, my hips would be turned over more.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

At this point, it’s all about the kick. If you threw the non-kicking leg up high, it will take care of itself. Mine straightens out naturally. No thought goes into it.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

Kill. In order to kill, you have to be looking at what you’re killing, so look at your victim.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

After you kill your victim? Keep looking. See how my eyes are still facing my target? Your legs will carry your momentum through.

Tornado Kick by Anthony Mychal

You’re on the right track if you start to land on both legs simultaneously. That’s when you know you’ll have a good chance to take this trick to more advanced levels.

Recap cues:

  • Takeoff is huge, get horizontal momentum going to your advantage.
  • Eye up target.
  • Swing arms down and back straight up. 
  • Lift lead knee high.
  • Eye up target a second time.
  • Kick target.


Bad kick? Maybe you just need to practice. If you haven’t put in some hours training basic kicks, start there.

Low kick? How’s your flexibility?

Your next conquest:

See the rest of the tutorials:

Victual voodoo #4: eat something you hate every day


Mr Yuk Eat Something You Hate

Junk food is delicious. Apple pie a la mode. Brownies. Cookies. All taste bud orgasms. (I love sweet things, if you couldn’t tell.) I’ve tried to hide these feelings. Tried to be like people that I look up to that have found a way to never sweat mortal guilty pleasures. But the inner skinny-fat kid sticks around.

So I’ll be the first to admit: junk food tastes better than the food I eat 90% of the time. But I don’t dread the 90% of my meals. I eat raw cabbage. Raw carrots. I don’t need a pound of brown sugar on my sweet potato.

Muggles often say I have no taste buds.They might be right. My response after eating raw ginger: not bad. It’s on video at 5:50 in this Chicago Gathering Sampler.

But my lust for peanut butter says otherwise.

But there was a time when I absolutely hated raw cabbage, raw carrots, and a lot of the things I eat now. Just like muscles are trained, tastes buds are trained. Unless a grandpa guru showed you the light when you were a kid, chances are your tastes aren’t used to “health” food.

Your first reversal step: find something you hate that’s also good for you. Your second step: eat it every day.

There was a time when I hated raw carrots. I vowed to put a raw carrot on my plate every day. I doused it with red pepper flakes to make it somewhat palatable. But I showed up. Every day. What used to be a potential puke fest is now a pleasure. I don’t dread raw carrots, and I actually enjoy them. My taste buds probe for their inherent sweetness now instead of gouging for my gag reflex.

So find one food. That’s all. One at a time. Get it down any way you can. It’s going to suck at first, but extract more flavor every day. Is it sweeter? Maybe saltier? More bitter? What about the texture. Appreciate some aspect of the food, even if it’s the fact that you have food to eat in the first place.

Something is making you not like the food. Find out what it is and then blow through the plateau or overshadow it. Just as you use progressive overload and level up your lifts, you need to progressively overload your taste buds. Build taste. And do it by running head first into your weaknesses.


How to 360 Crescent Kick: A Written and Video Tutorial



Video exampler: here

Singles and slow-mo: here

Recommended prerequisites: outside kicking (crescent kicks, hook kicks)

Description: The 360 crescent kick is a jump outside crescent kick. It also is sometimes called a 360 hook or a 360 wheel, which is just getting more specific on the type of kick thrown. For my money, you should go with the crescent kick.

The 360 crescent kick is one of the prettier tricks, in my eyes. Nothing beats a powerful jump followed by a graceful yet violent crescent that follows. And as with any kick trick, you better have some basic kick training under your belt for not only injury protection, but also cleanliness. If your basics are sloppy, your tricks will be sloppy.

[click to continue…]

Ask Ant #6: I’m afraid of squats and deadlifts…help?


Ask Ant Afraid of Squats and Deadlifts and Barbell Training Injuries

The question:

I need to be doing deadlifts/squats for my legs. I’m a bit scared of squats because I’m so tall and thin and have hurt my back doing them wrong in the past.

The answer:

I want to be a chef. A great chef known for the next ten generations.

But I’m afraid of the knife.

It hurts when you cut yourself, doesn’t it? And what if you cut your finger off? What if it falls off the  cutting board and lodges into your foot?

A lot of things are dangerous. But a lot of dangerous things can be done safer. I’d expect a novice to cut a finger off before a chef, even though the chef moves with more complexity and in a higher risk way.

But there’s always risk. Always.

Because the reality (and the part you probably don’t want to hear): if you want to have a low body fat, be jacked, do flips, and all in a self taught way: you don’t want to be Mom cooking holiday dinner. You want to be a world class chef.

And you’ll never become a good chef, let alone a world class chef, if you can’t get over your fear of the knife.

Here are some things to think about to get you started.

Start basic. Dull knives aren’t as dangerous as sharp knives. Bodyweight squats aren’t as dangerous as weighted squats. Challenge yourself to do 100 unweighted squats every day for the next 30 days. You’ll feel safer doing barbell squats then. If not, then do goblet squats. Do those for 30 days. Do the empty bar for 30 days. I’m sure after that you’ll find that adding a measly five pounds to each side won’t be scary.

Build the confidence, don’t expect it to fall from the tree. 

Learn from those with experience in your situation. A sushi chef needs different lessons than a butcher cleaving spare ribs apart. If you aren’t going to be a geared powerlifter, don’t talk to geared powerlifters. If you aren’t lifting in a monolift, don’t talk to those that lift in the monolift. 

I’ve always lifted alone in my garage. For a long time I had no power rack. Just squat stands. No spotter. To this day, I rarely ever train to failure (even though I’ve upgraded my equipment) because I couldn’t risk it long ago.

Learn from the elder elephant. A fifty year old man that’s been squatting for 30 years knows more about injuries than a 20 year old kid that’s been squatting for three months. 

Shoot videos of yourself. If you’re going alone (with no elder elephant), you’re going with a higher risk. Upload them to YouTube. Spam forums with the videos. Get someone to look at them.

Grow. You messed yourself up before. Good. That doesn’t mean you need to quit. You just need to do things better. You have feedback to work with: what you were doing before was bad, don’t do it anymore. That’s valuable information.

Don’t fear cuts; expect cuts. Small cuts are necessary because they continually remind you of what’s at stake. If you aren’t careful, further danger awaits. 

I know this isn’t the kind of stuff you want to hear. I struggled with this a long time ago. Injuries suck. They’re scary. But you should just accept the fate now: you’re going to get nicked up here and there. 

And you know what? You’re going to be alright. See? You’ve already injured your back. Back injuries are one of the worst injuries you can have. You’re alive. You’re breathing. Weight room injuries are peas and carrots compared to most team sport injuries. 

Tweaking a muscle doesn’t compare to shredding your ACL, MCL, and meniscus in six slivers.

The silver lining behind all of this is that proper strength training often teaches you mechanics that transfer into other activities. Given the situation, you might survive a few freak accidents down the line.

But that’s the thing: you have to learn. If you don’t have a coach, you need to dig. Not just from one resource. From many. Then you need to tinker. Tinker. Tinker. Tinker. Trial and small error, as Nassim Taleb says.

To this day, I tweak my squat and deadlift form even though I think I have them right. I try things that haven’t worked in the past just to see if I was doing them wrong the first time around.

Most self taught read Starting Strength. I did. It’s a good book. Buy it.

But don’t think of it as the end. Don’t let your eye sockets shrivel when you come across a different idea.

Go buy Becoming a Supple Leopard. Or research Wannagetfast, Chris Korfist, Alex Vasquez, and Evolutionary Athletics. The ideas there are different enough that you’ll question right and wrong.

This is a good thing because it’s going to help you find your sweet spot.

Fear leads you down a bad road. You avoid the movement, you lose the movement. Everything becomes old clothes; you become more fragile than ever before.



If you’re wondering how to ask a question, sign-up for this thing. I send out weekly notes with personal, honest training reflections and tips, book reviews and suggestions, and the most recent blog posts from my personal email address. All you have to do is hit reply and type away. 


Cage to King. What it Means to be a Brain in a Body.


Cage to King - Lion

Somewhere in the world, a lion wakes up every morning not knowing what it’s going to eat. Every day, it finds food. The lion isn’t worried—it just does what it needs to do.

Somewhere else, in a zoo, a caged lion sits around every day and waits for a zookeeper. The lion is comfortable. It gets to relax. It’s not worried much, either.

Both of these animals are lions. Only one is a king.

- Julien Smith, The Flinch

Seven letters. R-D-C-F-E-K-P.

Those seven letters mean nothing to you. You digested them. Nothing happened.

Seven letters. F-U-C-K-Y-O-U.

Those seven letters mean something. They affected you more than you know. Your heart beat jumped. You started breathing faster. Your pupils dilated.

Few are conscious of their body. Fewer are conscious of their brain. Fewest are conscious of the orgasmic unification of the body and brain.

You don’t appreciate your complexity or the capability squalling just beyond the skin of your fingertips. It’s a sleepy shadowed understanding of what it means to be human. It’s living in a cage.  

But you just have to reach out and clench down. White knuckled. And you do that with your fingers — fingers that are a part of your hand.  A structure with close to thirty bones and over one hundred ligaments controlled by nearly fifty electrical wires that can fire with choking violence. Or tickling tenderness, if you so please.

Either way your pupils come along for the ride. Your eye is capable of seeing 500 shades of gray. Capable of processing 36,000 pieces of information in an hour. They are the window to your soul, changing with the mental toughness of a task.

Which brings us to the brain. According to Roger Penrose, our brain is more complex than anything else in the universe. And not to mention the number of synapses in your brain outnumbers the starts in the Milky Way Galaxy. By one thousand times. 

This is what you’re dealing with. This is what you own. Your body. Your brain. Marvels of engineering. No machine compares to the living, breathing, functioning biological system of you. 

Forget cars. You own the most complex and sophisticated vessel in existence. No money down. It’s yours.

But it’s easy to overlook. Easy to be out of touch with what it means to have a body at brain’s command because we forget about things we can’t see.

We see flesh. We like flesh. We take care of flesh. Women wear makeup. We cut our hair. We like things we can see. We care about things we can see.

But we can’t see our guts.

And our guts are always whispering. Always feeling the world beyond our skin. Always thinking. Processing. Wondering how to change to better prepare for what’s out there.

It’s science fantasy. We don’t want to believe, as Robert Sapolsky wrote, that our mother’s chicken pot pie was once digested and transformed into our thigh bone when we were a kid. It’s easy to shove this psychedelic reality outside of our head because everything works without us even having to know how it all works. And that’s fine.

Until it stops working.

And that’s what happens. We don’t care until something goes wrong.

We take the car in for oil changes and regular maintenance to avoid big problems down the line. We can do the same thing with our body.

Unlike your car, your body fixes and upgrades itself.

…if you push the right buttons.

Because, unfortunately, we don’t come with an instruction manual. We have no idea what we’re capable of. No idea how to change ourselves. No idea what button is responsible for what. Maybe even no idea that we have buttons to push.

When I was younger I wanted to be everyone but me. I was skinny-fat. Suffered from the usual teenage self confidence ruckus. Afraid to take my shirt of in gym class. Couldn’t do one push-up, let alone one pull-up.

And then I found something called tricking.

I became a stupid kid teaching myself how to do flips in my own backyard. No instructor. No blueprint. Just ambition.

And then I started to land some tricks. And then I learned how to backflip. And this lightbulb went off.

You don’t have to feel damaged, kid. You can change these things about yourself, ‘yaknow? You can change some things out here and it will change how things work in here. But you know what? You can’t expect to live the way you used to. You have to do some work. Change necessitates change.

I wish I could give you the magic pill you want. I wish I could give you weird tricks that actually blasted belly fat.

I wish I could tell you it’s easy. That you’ll never lose motivation. That you’ll never have to commit time. That you’ll never feel lost and confused and vulnerable. That you’ll never question whether or not you have an eating disorder. That you’ll never think about buying steroids. That you’ll never wonder why you don’t just eat microwave pizzas, watch Seinfeld reruns, and never care about any of this stuff ever again.

I can’t.

But what I can tell you is that you’re lucky. Because the clinically insane part of all of this is that you can change. You can pickle one of the most complex things in the world…

…and win.

You’re part nurture. Your environment shapes you. Every day. You’re never the same person two days in a row. Everything you do today will be in you tomorrow that wasn’t there yesterday.

This happens without thought. And now what you’re doing is consciously reaching into your guts, pushing some buttons, twisting some knobs, and probing for a certain kind of change. Perhaps permanent change. All by changing your environment.

But talk is cheap. There’s a creed. A popular one by a big company. And it’s wrong. It’s dumb. Here’s your new one.

Just did it.

Because that’s what matters. You don’t need permission. You’re going to make mistakes. That’s alright. Struggle is nature’s way of strengthening.

The world isn’t straight. It’s wiggly. There’s no such thing as absolute space and time. Everything is relative to you. Your environment. Your culture. Your fingerprint. It’s all yours. And it’s your job to find out what works for you.

The caged is fed their life; the Kings fights for their life.

Sometimes I feel like the dumbest guy in the room. I make mistakes. I’m a skeptic. Even of myself. I have a hard time looking people in the eye and telling them that some consider my life’s work nothing but vanity and narcissism—caring about the body and all.

You’ll get that. If you find a good way to respond, let me know. I just ask them why they mow their lawn, get their hair cut, wear clothes, and hold their farts in at dinner parties.

Not everyone can be King. Some are better off in the cage.

And you know what? Maybe this is about looking better naked. Most of us start there. But it’s about something more. It’s about potential. About upgrading. About having the power to change. About crafting a user manual. Your own user manual.

It’s about having complete control over yourself.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

We watch dancers. We marvel at their grace and fluidity. Their control over their body.

We see extreme sport athletes. We marvel at their bravery. Their control over their mind.

We see snake charmers. Fire walkers. The control over their emotions. 

We love it all because we silently appreciate how special it is to own parts of your being. As if the masses are doomed to live a life not only without the control, but also longing for the control.

You aren’t doomed. It’s possible to own yourself. To dominant some piece of your being.

All physical and mental upgrades are nothing more than you showing dominance over your body. And that dominance, that control, spills into the rest of your life.

This is what it means to be King. It’s not about ruling others. It’s about ruling yourself. It’s not about some sort of academic pursuit. It’s a way of life. And you don’t need to be an expert.

In the end, you only get one life. One body. One brain. This isn’t about following a certain set of rules. Or a certain program. The question isn’t whether or not you can follow a formula.

The question is:

Are you going to be curious enough to care?



Image credit: lion



Victual voodoo #3: train your buds



You’re dying. You haven’t eaten anything in ten days. Another day without food and that’s it — game over. What would you be willing to eat? Anything? Everything? Even things you find most disgusting now?

I’m not so sure anything I eat on the regular are things I would have guessed myself eating ten years ago. First time I tried oatmeal, I gagged. Vegetables were torture. Water? Woah, woah. You mean I can’t tank fizzly soft drinks all day?

But it’s not: don’t like it > never will like it.

It’s: don’t like it > maybe next time.

Taste (and your ability to hack back certain foods) isn’t binary. How many things do you enjoy now that you hated when you were younger? Coffee, beer — it’s easy (and common) to hate these things upon first taste. But culture pushes most to build taste for them over time.

Don’t think, “I don’t like this. I’ll never like this.” Think about the culture behind what you eat. Think about degrees of dislike. Think about whys of dislike. Is it the taste? Texture? Smell? What makes you try something a second time even if you didn’t like it the first time around?

And then attack them. Eliminate the bottlenecks.

Think of cultivating your taste as one in the same as cultivating your physical self. You wouldn’t expect to deadlift 600 pounds overnight, so don’t expect to dive into raw vegetables (or something you find unbearable) overnight.

The best training program — or any magical set and rep combo — doesn’t matter unless you’re consistent. Same goes with taste. Start with simple habits and build on them overtime. Start general.

This isn’t necessarily a specific tip, but rather a light bulb. There are tips out there — tips that’ve worked for me that I’ll get to for certain goods — but that’s less important than accepting you’re going to have to train your taste.

You have to train your body.

You have to train your taste.

Few people have physical dominance without palate dominance. But, as usual, one does not simply walk into Mordor.

If you know something is good for you and you want to eat it, but you hate it, don’t give up hope. Train your taste. You’d probably eat nasty, wiggly, creepy crawlers if you were starving to death.



Image credit: worms

How to 540 Kick: A Written and Video Tutorial



Video exampler: here

Video tutorial: here

Recommended prerequisites: tornado kick

Description: The 540 kick is a jumping and spinning inside crescent or hook kick that plagues most trickster’s lives. It took me over one year to learn this trick, and I’m not the only victim to that harsh of a learning curve. Hypothetically, you’re supposed to spin 540 degrees in the air. Realistically, no one cares.

Just like with the tornado kick, I recommend building up a base of inside kicking. And just like with the tornado again, it’s your choice whether you go with inside crescent kicks or round kicks. Martial artists seem to prefer round kicks. I prefer inside crescent kicks simply because it makes martial artists mad, and being a rebel makes me feel special.

Slide by slide breakdown

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

The 540 is the takeoff. The 540 is the takeoff. Good take off = good things. Bad takeoff = bad things. Just as with every trick it seems, my weight and momentum starts on one side ready to be shifted to the other.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

Here we go. This is what blocking is all about and is a huge concept in every trick, but especially something like the 540. Not only do I want height for the 540, but I also need rotation. In order to make this easier, I’m going to get some horizontal momentum going so I can sling it vertically. Part of this is getting that left leg out in front of my body a little bit. It’s almost butterfly twist like.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

Momentum shift has begun and here’s where things get cool. See my right arm and right leg? Left arm and left leg? Each side is going to synchronize the arm and leg.

Note the wide arms. Bear hug something. I guess. But remember: you get more rotational sauce if you start with wide arms and then bring them in close.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

Left leg is planted firmly with arm firm and my right side (both leg and arm) are coming across my body to set up for an ideal jumping position. Head and eyeballs facing forward, which is big. Your head anchors your body, and for the 540 kick, you want yourself anchored forward. Pick a target in front of you and use it as a reference point.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

Right leg continues to rotate inward. Arms still high and wide, but look at that right arm of mine: it’s still facing my target. This slide is just moments after I ditched eyesight on my target in order to turn. Don’t forget about your target, you’ll find it again soon enough.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

This looks funky and it’s very hard to describe with text. At the beginning, my feet were facing forward. But look at my right leg. It actually planted facing the left edge of my house, which is slightly ahead of my shoulder rotation. I could talk about blocking again if I wanted to: the key to carrying momentum is to always make your next move just a little bit ahead of your center of gravity and momentum.

Also important is that it’s out in front of my body — my leg isn’t right next to my other leg. From a depth perspective, my right leg is closer to the camera. Again, blocking. 

Anyway, the arms arc downward just as they do in a vertical jump — they’re on their way down because they’re coming right back up.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

At the takeoff, you want to drill into your brain: find target, kill target. The goal is to get your body situation in a position where you can kick your target, and so that’s what we’re trying to do.

See the left arm and left leg? They’re doing the same thing. Both are lifting up to get me in the air.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

More air. The first part of the takeoff was all about going horizontal and rotating about yourself so that you could eventually use it to propel yourself in the air. Now’s the time to make use of all that cheddar, so get yourself up. Arms up in the air, first leg up in the air.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

I always point my fingers on tricks because I’m stupid. Don’t worry, it’s my pointer finger, not my middle finger. Here’s the good stuff though. Everything went up and my eyes are now fixated on my target that I’m going to be kicking. Find your target with your eyes. 

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

I promised you that my legs and arms would synchronize, and this is no different. Leg has started on its way to kick the target. Note that it’s pretty straight and would classify more as a crescent kick. With this, my hips are rather square to my target. If I was throwing a round kick, things would be different and the hips would be turned over more. Just something to keep in mind if you’re a round kicker.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

Still facing the target as the kick comes through. Non-kicking leg has dropped so that my kicking leg can come over the top without interference.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

After the kick? Still looking at the target. Non-kicking leg is bending, which makes rotating through the move easier.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

For the 540, I like to keep myself forward for as long as possible. My upper body sometimes gets caught behind when I do this, which you can see in the slide above. If I wanted to take my momentum with me as much as possible, I’d carry my arm with my leg.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

At this point, you might realize that my torso is at an angle. The torso naturally leans back for me during the kick, but it’s not something I consciously think about. And following up from last slide: if my goal was rotation, I’d be coiling right now. But as you can see, my one arm got left behind. It’s not ideal, but — hey — throwing tricks is rarely ideal. I’m not here to show you perfect tricks that I land once in a decade.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

Things are just chugging on from earlier as I deploy the landing gear. I stopped it here because it looks like I’m posing for the Ginyu Force.

540 Kick by Anthony Mychal

I land here, and I “technically” complete the 540 degree rotation. Again, I don’t really care much about the rotation. Just make it look good.

Recap cues:

  • Takeoff is huge, get horizontal momentum going to your advantage.
  • Eye up target.
  • Swing arms down and back straight up. 
  • Lift lead knee high.
  • Eye up target a second time.
  • Kick target.


Bad kick? Maybe you just need to practice. If you haven’t put in some hours training basic kicks, start there.

Low kick? Actually kick. Don’t think of the 540 as a leg lift over your non-kicking leg. Get some sauce behind the kick, and don’t be afraid of it.

Just sucking in general? Look, the 540 is a very complex move. It took me over a year to learn it and I was dissecting every video I could find and comparing it against mine. You have to put in your time. The best suggestion I can give is to train your tornado kick to hell and back. The better your tornado is, the better your 540 chances are. Try to integrate a 540 takeoff (more aggression) into a tornado kick.

Your next conquest:

  • Jacknife

See the rest of the tutorials:


A lesson from the Nintendo [RESET] button


Anthony Mychal Reset Button

I loved the original Nintendo. Beyond Mario and Zelda, I played games like Blaster Master and Deadly Towers. In these games, there were no save slots. You played the game until you either won or died. When you died, you had to start over from the beginning.

I usually died.

I think I beat Blaster Master once. I was in my twenties. It took me months (also in my twenties and with a friend) to beat Deadly Towers. When we got to the boss (nearly impossible) we knew we’d never make it back. We also remembered that it took us months to get to the boss. So we cheated. We looked up how to beat the boss. (It’s not my proudest secret.)

Something fascinates me about the original Nintendo. You put a game in. You press the start button. These are givens. They have to be givens.

But that reset button…

You could just hit the start button twice. Turn it off, turn it on. But they made the reset button.

They knew you were going to lose. Going to get so frustrated. Yet maintain enough hunger that you’d want to play again so quickly that hitting the start button twice wasn’t an option.

I have a lot of Nintendo games I didn’t beat. I have no Nintendo games I never played. I probably hit the reset button on all of them at some point.

What I like about the reset button is that it’s a fresh start…but not really a fresh start. Hitting the reset button is different than playing a game in for the first time.

The reset button takes you back to the start screen, but you aren’t a complete newbie. You have some playing time under your belt. You might even know how to beat the first few levels in record time. (Maybe not record time…)

You’re starting fresh, but you’re not new.

Few of us hit the reset button in life. In training.

We keep playing the game despite being lost and confused. You aren’t dead, but you don’t know what to do. You retrace every single step you took.


Sometimes the best thing to do is hit the reset button. Start fresh. You might have to do things you already done. You might feel like a loser. But the reset gives you a fresh perspective. You might notice something you missed previously. Might talk to one villager in a different context that ignites something inside.

This is different from game over because with game over you have no choice: you have to reset.

It takes a bit more courage to reset when it’s not game over. You hold in that reset button. Teeth clenched. Is this the right move?

Game over is your ally. It smacks you in the face. You were’t good enough, but you’re free to try again from the start if you’d like.

Unfortunately, there’s no game over for us. We play and we play. We rarely ever stop to think: alright, alright…I lost. Let’s try this over from the top. Let’s scrap everything and do this differently the second time around because it’s scary.

All of the progress…gone.

But it’s not. It’s there. Somewhere. And even then, consider the point of it all. You’re stuck. Whatever you were doing didn’t work. Whatever you are doing isn’t getting you anywhere.

Why not start fresh?

Sometimes we need game over because, otherwise, we’d never have the stones to hit reset.

This is your game over…if you need it.

Trick tip #1: know what happens to old clothes


Old Clothes Anthony Mychal Trick Tip

Ever have a bunch of old clothes that you just can’t throw away? You know you’ll never wear them. Ever. But you can’t let them go. The thin film of dead clothes grows into a thick boulder of even deader clothes over the years. Junk smashing other junk. 

You’re left with baggage. Less room. More crap. Dead crap at that — crap you’re never going to use. It doesn’t make sense, this habit. It’s not the smartest quirk to have.

And that’s why your body throws it’s old clothes away. Whatever it knows it’s not going to use, say bye-bye. There’s no need to have useless junk taking up space and energy when both the space and the energy could go elsewhere. A more important elsewhere, to boot.

Your body is greedy. It’s always trying to survive in a way better suited to the world you’ve shown it.

Want it? Need it. The body is more likely to keep it around (or create it) if you need it.

Don’t need it? You won’t have it. Your body doesn’t keep old clothes.

You have a lot clothes when you’re young — clothes you regularly wear. Balancing and vestibular awareness. The juicy fluid in your inner ear. Spatial reasoning. Constructing a virtual pathway in your brain. Kinesthetic sense. Knowing where your body is in space. Spatial-temporal awareness. Knowing where you are in relation to other objects. 

You roll. Squat. Jump. Fall. You weren’t afraid of landing impact. You weren’t afraid of the universe rotating your consciousness as you somersaulted sixteen times in a row. You know, just for fun. For kicks. You, in all of your youthful plasticity, soaked up these abilities as you did these things. You bought the clothes. 

Your body is cool keeping these clothes around because you wear them. Because you do find it enjoyable to somersault sixteen times in a row for no real reason.

Today? Unlike when you were six? Sixteen somersaults make you spew your supper into the foliage. You don’t have those clothes anymore.

Put your arm in a cast and your muscles wither away. Put your balance, spatial reasoning, kinesthetic awareness, and that whole bag of treats into a cast (don’t use them) and they wither away too. 

They become old clothes. Never worn. Baggage. 

Every day you don’t put wear these clothes they collect dust. Every molecule of dust inches them closer to the corner of the closet where old clothes slither in soot. And what do you know about old clothes? What happens to them?

Your brain is plastic, just like your body. Use these abilities or lose these abilities. 

The best time to start was yesterday.


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Image credit: old clothes