Anthony Mychal Hybrid Blueprint

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Tricking Saga

How to Aerial – A Written and Video Tricking Tutorial


Video exampler: here

Singles and slow-mo: soon…

Recommended prerequisites: cartwheel, hand releasing cartwheel, orthodox cartwheel, southpaw cartwheel

Description: The aerial is a cartwheel without hands. Before “diving” into this move (pun severely intended), you need to have a solid cartwheel foundation and a decent enough flexibility foundation. Both sort of go hand in hand.

All in all, the aerial is one of the easier “flipping” tricks to get into because it’s progressive and you have your hands as landing gear to safeguard you from discomfort. As a bonus, it’s one of the more versatile tricks that leads into a rabbit hole is nifty aerial based tricks.

Aside: I command you to visit Acrobolix because Jujimufu is an irreplaceable hub of aerial information. He is king, and thou shall kneel. He’s helped me out a lot. Beyond a lot. I owe a lot to him for his help, so don’t be surprised if you see “stolen” tips below.

Slide by slide breakdown

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

Start in a relaxed position. My hands are out by my side because the hands (specifically the shoulders) are such an important part of the trick that I queue their purpose into my head before anything else.

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

After a few steps, I bring my leading knee towards my chest and take a hope. My hands are wide and they are wide for a reason. Keep your hands up!

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

This slide is where my trailing foot plants into the ground after the initial hop. I paused it here for two reasons. First, look at my eyeballs. They should be looking where you want to go. More on the details here in a bit. Second, take note of my body position. Next slide is your guide.

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

Even though my trailing leg plants, my body still moves forward. (This was the point of the lead in from the second point in the previous slide.) My leading leg planted a on line with my body momentum, not behind it. You can’t get behind yourself, else you won’t get enough push. See how vertical my shin is? This is because my momentum is going to keep going forward. 

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

Remember I mentioned the eyes? The eyes look to where you want to go. Ideally, you want your torso to be horizontal to the ground. That’s the absolute best way to maximize height. You don’t want to have an excessive downward angle, else you’ll aerial your face into the ground. Alright, alright…you probably wouldn’t land on your head, but you wouldn’t get much height. My torso has a slight toward pitch, which is fine. It’s close enough to horizontal to get me some height.

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

Now, onto some of the specifics. The lifting leg goes back. Hard. Act like you’re lifting it not only high in the air, but behind your body. See (1) below for this. My left arm is doing a lot of work too. I’m thinking about bringing my left elbow in across my body. See (2) below. My right arm is opening up and sort of slinking over my body. See (3).

Aerial Anthony Mychal

Silently underneath all of this, there’s one last important mention: keep your upper body in front of the lead leg. Go back and look at the previous slide. My upper body isn’t being launched behind my leg, but rather in front of it. Your upper body leads you into the move, so keep it in front of yourself.

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

When all of those arm actions combine, my torso turns over to face the direction of travel. That’s when you know you’re doing a good aerial. Your torso rips your body through.

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

The previous point is better explained here. Look at my arms. They’re “closing,” in a sense, and my leg is going to plop right between them. Sometimes tricksters do “trickster” aerials, which usually have the torso open the entire move. If you want to move into advanced aerial tricks, you need to learn how to take the aerial over the top (do a gymnast aerial) rather than side-to-side.

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

A good sign of taking the aerial over the top: your first landing leg cuts the space in between your arms in half. It’s not uncommon to do aerials where the arms get mangled and the right arm (well, my right arm) gets caught in front of the landing leg. If this is happening, you need to go back to (1), (2), and (3).

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

Eject the landing gear.

Aerial Tricking Tutorial Anthony Mychal

Blur face.

Recap cues:

  • Keep your torso in front of your legs!
  • Lift the leg high, hard, and behind.
  • Bring the left arm across your body — try to keep it in front of your lead knee.
  • Slink the right arm over the top — internally rotate the shoulder and let everyone smell your armpit.


Putting your hands down? It’s a natural defense mechanism. Suffice to say, you have to crash. Seriously. Just chuck it. Commit to not putting your hands down. Have someone punch you if you violate this code. And then once you realize that crashing isn’t so bad, you’ll be less prone to bail out.

Bent legs? Yeah, I have this problem to. Part of it is technique. If your technique is shady, it’s harder to get straight legs. Part of it is flexibility. Being able to do the splits is a good indicator of having enough flexibility. Part of it is conscious awareness. If all else fails, you need to queue yourself into keeping them straight. Usually, in order to do this, you have to be able to do the trick rather automatically, so don’t forget the order: learn the trick first, even if it’s ugly, and then polish it up.

Crashing into the ground? Try reaching more forward with your torso, rather than down. It should feel uncomfortable with how forward you’re going.

Your next conquest:

  • Axe2Aerial

See the rest of the tutorials:

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:

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…]

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:


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.


Click here to visit the tricking tutorials page!


Image credit: old clothes


How to Butterfly Twist: A Written and Video Tutorial

Video exampler: here

Singles and slow-mo: here

Recommended prerequisites: butterfly kick

Description: The butterfly twist is considered to be a butterfly kick with a 360 spin. For my money, it’s only 1/4 of the butterfly kick and it feels like a completely different trick, which is why you don’t even need to know how to butterfly kick clean in order to have a nice and fancy butterfly twist.

Slide by slide breakdown

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

The takeoff is butterfly kick magic. Revisit that tutorial here if you need a full refresher. Weight is all on my right leg and arms are back, too. Everything is back right now.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

I get momentum from a little spin, as do most people. My spin is pretty mild though. See how I’m pretty much straight up and down? That means I’m coasting into the trick. I’m letting this takeoff give me momentum, but I’m controlling things. When I was first learning this trick, one of the mistakes I kept making was going hyper speed into the takeoff. Keep your head calm, keep your body relaxed.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

After the turn, everything is back as the lead leg swings out. Pace is starting to heighten here to prepare for the violence. If you’re comparing your video against mine, be sure to examine what your shoulders are doing in relation to the swinging leg. Although everyone is different, I like to keep my shoulders back a bit when I throw the swing.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

Ah, just like in the butterfly kick, that lead swing leg opens before it plants into the ground. Everything is still back, but I’m getting ready to dip into the U and play that funky music.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

Dip into the U. Not only does this get you height it also gets you rotation provided you dip across your body. I harp on that in the butterfly kick tutorial, so recheck that if you have to. My body starts in front of my legs (my torso is closest to the camera right now). It’s going to dip across my front leg and my torso will end up closer to the house.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

Just as planned. With the U dip not only down and up, but also across my front leg, my torso is now on it’s way to be closer to the house than my lower body. (Wasn’t the case last slide.)

This is the butterfly kick’s last moment of similarity. The goal here is to lift the back leg as high as possible. Doing so not only gets you height, but it also keeps your body horizontal to the ground. I know it doesn’t look like I’m lifting it high, but I’m trying to. Compared to not  lifting it at all, it’s a big difference.

Also: arms. For any twisting trick, one of the keys is to keep the arms wide at first. This gives you more power for the spin itself because you can coil them inwards to your body. Tricking is all about transition of momentum. Wide arms at the moment of takeoff is a good thing.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

The only thing that happened since the last slide: me jumping and then coiling my arms to my body tighter. One thing to consider is stalling the twist, which is something you might hear others tell you to do. Stalling the twist basically means getting as much height as you can before initiating the twist. Once you start twisting, your height gaining is all but over.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

And to show the stall, here’s another video. The first part of getting more height and stalling is actually coming to full extension. See my jumping leg? It actually…uhh…jumped? This is tricky to do for starters. If you’re having trouble with height or with getting horizontal, check your jumping leg out.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

In this slide, you can see my torso is still facing the ground and yet my entire body is off the ground. If you hit a position like this, all that’s left is coiling your arms to your body and turning your head. Seriously. As for how to coil? I usually think about bringing my right arm to my heart and striking over top my body with my left elbow.

Now, this stalling business isn’t exactly easy and I have two classifications of stalling. One is to truly do a butterfly kick and then twist over. That’s a mega stall. For most of us, when we need to stall, that’s a little bit beyond what we’re looking for.

My friends and I discovered, one day, that stalling for us was all about taking a glimpse at the grass right after takeoff and right before spinning. Just a fraction of a second hello! to the grass, not a memorizing stare down.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

Your legs will do funky things in the air. I’m not consciously thinking about them, nor do I ever unless I’m trying to do a specific trick. Your body will settle into something comfortable over time. You have enough to think about already, so for the legs it’s all about throwing the back leg up high and jumping with intensity. That’s your job.

Slide above? Check my head. Your head leads all rotations. Where the head goes, the body follows. I’m tight and my head is searching for the ground right now so I can spot my landing.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

Landing spotted and I eject the landing gear. I’ve been doing this trick long enough to have most of it unconsciously programmed, so don’t take too many notes from these final slides. I unravel almost to stand upright at the end, which likely won’t happen. Key point is to look for your landing. Spot your landing, and then reach for your landing.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

Once you spot your landing, you can unravel from the coiled position.

Butterfly Twist by Anthony Mychal

Recap cues:

  • Swing, dip, jump.
  • Dip in two axes. First, down and up. Second, across your lead leg.
  • Lift the lead leg high and fully extend and use that jumping leg for all it’s worth.
  • Once you got your height, coil your arms and look over your shoulder.
  • Spot your landing.


No height? 

  • Try to slow down your takeoff. Sometimes a quick takeoff can lead us more horizontal than vertical.
  • Lift that first leg high.
  • Come to full extension on the jumping leg.
  • Say hello to the ground for a fraction of a second before twisting.

Body not horizontal?  Look first at the back leg and how high you’re lifting it. After that, make sure you aren’t bringing your torso up out of fear. Saying hello to the ground helps this, too.

Landing on your knees? You probably have the motions down, but the comfort isn’t there. You need practice and confidence so that you can make use of your body 100%.

Landing on your back? Commit to the spin. Coil. 

Your next conquest:

  • Hypertwist

See the rest of the tutorials:

Ask Ant #1: How to juggle strength training, gymnastics, and tricking

Ask Ant is my way of turning an inbox of nightmares into useful content for you. Each question is taken from my inbox, and identities are always kept private. 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. 


How much lifting do you recommend if my goals in order of priority are:

  1. Do amazing things with my body (gymnastics/tricking, specifically going for an aerial right now)
  2. Not get fat (I’m fine staying where I am in terms of body body composition)

I’m terrified of cutting back on lifting because I’m afraid that my body will think “ha ha! I don’t have as much heavy things on me so I can send calories to fat instead of muscle now.” But I worry that lifting doesn’t have a lot of direct carry over to tricking and gymnastics and may impede my ability to do awesome because it makes me not as fresh/more inflexible.

First, the only way strength work would make you more inflexible is if you stopped training for flexibility, or are generally stiff from being sore or tired.

Second, you’re right to question the carry over. Strength, beyond a certain point, is counter productive insofar as training for it simultaneously with tricking or any other fits of acrobatic fast-twitch fits of rage. Realistically, beyond the trite double bodyweight squat and/or deadlift, extra strength isn’t going to help you trick all that better. Tricking is a skill, and to get better you have to trick. You seem to know this, though.

Third, for the fat issue, this one’s simple: don’t eat like you’re trying to build muscle. Your partitioning can be a world of anus, but if you aren’t giving your body the absolute excess to throw to fat cells, it won’t have anything to throw to fat cells.

And with that, don’t be afraid to forego muscle building training. The most muscular people in the world don’t train for muscle year round, and that’s something to learn from. Training different things keeps you motivated and keeps your interest piqued. It also makes your actual muscle building stints that much more powerful and meaningful.

What I like to do in the summer: lift more frequently, but with less…care? In a sense? I guess?


Of course, these are barbell-centric programs and require a leap of faith if you want to make your own sorta thing. I’m doing a mash up of both programs right now, but with strictly front squats and snatch-esque deadlifts for the lower body. The upper body is all gymnastics training: handstands, planches, levers, one arm chin-ups, weighted chin-ups, weighted dips, handstand push-ups, straight arm handstand press work, L-sit junk, ring complexes.

Sounds like a lot, but it’s not. It’s 1-2 sets of squats and deadlifts, 2-3 sets of 2-3 of the gymnastics bits, and then I’m out. Never train to strain. Tempo is higher than usual, too. I find myself going into sets a bit more winded than I find comforting, but I’m not trying to make it metabolic work or anything. Always leave fresh.

It’s a nice change of pace and something you’ll probably become addicted to. Because, well, you tend to get stronger, feel healthier, and are fresh for just about anything you want to do otherwise.

You’ll also train your body into a better work capacity. Instead of crying over lifting zapping your energy for tricking, you’ll build up some steel down there so that they can handle a bit more work.

Nutritionally, I prefer a more relaxed approach during all of this. I’m unlike most people in that I really don’t care about external appearances. My body is for me, and it’s my own vehicle for Quality. Summer is laden with parties and birthdays, and I’d drive myself insane trying to be super strict. I find myself just mitigating the damage as best I can by setting 2-3 days up in “extreme” fat loss mode, knowing that at least one or two days per week will include some alcohol, and another one or two will include me making a more robust dinner.

All in all, don’t be afraid of trying something new or regressing in some domains if it means progressing in others. It’d be nice if we could level up our entire being all at once, but it doesn’t usually work what way. I will say, though, that going through a period of less will surprise you. It’s worth the dabble.

A first glimpse at the movement matrix


It’s all the rage these days. We want to move naturally because somehow we’ve started to move…unnaturally? And so in our olden age, we’re out there crawling and rolling around like babies to hark back to our natural roots. We see babies squat, and we want to do that too. Babies know how to breathe, too! (We forgot how to do that as well. I’m holding my breath as I type this.)

Yeah, there’s a touch of sarcasm there. I don’t doubt we’ve somehow regressed from a movement standpoint, but I am such a wild navigator of the Internet to know that — surprise! — not all babies crawl. In fact, some say this whole “crawling” thing might be a relatively new thing.

Amazingly, babies of the Au hunter-gatherers of Papua New Guinea skip the crawling stage altogether. Instead, parents carry them everywhere– without any apparent ill effects. Tracer found that babies were carried upright in a sling 80 to 90 percent of the time, and on those rare occasions when mothers put them on the ground, they were propped up in a sitting position rather than placed on their stomachs. As a result, Au kids never learn to crawl, though they do go through a “scooting” phase of energetic “bottom-sliding.”

And Au kids are not alone. It’s the same in other traditional societies, such as in Paraguay, Indonesia, and Mali. Anthropologist Wenda Trevathan agrees that babies were probably rarely placed on the ground in the past and stresses how easily we can fall into the mythology of judging all human infants based on Western cultures.

- Source

So much for *ahem* “naturalness.”

Alas, the movement of movement continues. Movement itself is almost becoming a sport of sorts, and that’s something I’ve had a tough time wrapping my head around. Somehow I got mixed up in this whole world because I trick.

To be honest though: I trick. I don’t think of “movement” as some heavenly godsend or some duty of mine as a human being. I thought doing flips and stuff was cool, and so that’s what I do. I thought lifting weights was cool, and so that’s what I do. I thought gymnastics ring training was cool, and so that’s what I do.

I say this to remind you: don’t tangle your Schwartz.

If you want to move, then go ahead and move. I’m not going to judge you. But if you’re doing this “movement” thing to lead you to some kind of athletic greatness, you probably need to rethink things. As with most everything, some is good but more isn’t always better. You want to have some capacity for movement, but being a “movement specialist” means you can move, not that you have the capacity for any sort of skill.

This is something I think about a lot because I was once that dude that did everything under the sun to get better at tricking, save for actually tricking. This, I think, is why I suck at tricking so bad and why I’ve thought about it so much.

Below is a little matrix of things that go into a skill — things that I’ve found to be important, at least.






For now, I’ll just pretend like I know what the words mean as I explain it a little bit.

I think it’s hierarchical, meaning that if the first bucket faults, the rest faults.

If you’re afraid, then the first bucket (psychovestibular) is out of whack. And if that’s out of whack, everything below it will be out of whack. I don’t care how high you can jump, if you can’t get over the fear of going backwards, you won’t be able to backflip. I don’t care how strong you are, if you can’t balance you won’t be able to express your strength.

Likewise, the bucket below psychovestibular is the movement buckets, which is based off of (*ahem* stolen from *ahem*) Kurt Mienel’s framework. For absolute execution of a skill, that bucket usually has to be solidified, too. You might not be afraid of a baseball, you might have your balance, and you might even be the strongest guy in the world, but if you can’t swing a baseball bat, you won’t be a very good ball player. That’s the second bucket, which is probably best paralleled with technique in any given skill.

The buckets below are important too, so don’t think I’m not saying that’s the case. In fact, I don’t know what I’m saying so maybe I’ll just leave it here for now. Hopefully this makes some sense to you, but the point of it all is that skills are skills and generally need some specialization.

Training for energy systems and strength or any of that stuff is below the importance of technique. Unless, of course, you aren’t strong enough to pick up the bat.

A Trickster’s Guide to Ankle Injuries and Strength


In January of 2011, I broke my foot in five places during a fluke tricking accident. (Don’t bail tricks, kids. Never ends well. Your thoughts = your actions. Don’t tell yourself that things won’t end well mid-trick unless you want things to not end well.)

I was on crutches for longer than I want to remember. I was in an itchy cast most of that time, too. I still remember how tough it was for me to go to sleep every single day, as my foot throbbed with pressure against the tight shell of the plastered cast.

Now, if you know anything about me, you’d know that I’m an aggressive rehabber. I firmly believing starting movement as fast as possible after an injury. Despite my doctor’s orders, I was slowly easing weight onto my foot — even to the point of squatting a few days after getting casted. I was walking with a boot before my cast was even off, and I fully believe that my aggressive attack was one of the reasons I didn’t have a rebreak — something all too common with bone breaks in the foot.

(For those wondering, the problem with my foot now is a neuroma, and that developed about seven months after I was out of my cast after an Olympic weightlifting stint — one of the reasons I can’t really do much in the way of Olympic lifts anymore, and why I simply stick to aggressive pulls that are Olympic weightlifting-esque.)

Anywhooooo, despite all of the rehab I did with my cast on, my foot was still a limp noodle when the cast came off. I could barely walk, and I had no fine motor control down there. My foot slapped against the ground with every stride, much like a girlfriend slapping a boyfriend across the face. If you want an example of how bad things were, stand up. Shift your weight onto one leg, and lift the other in the air. You’re probably balancing on one leg just fine. Yeah, I couldn’t even do that for a millisecond.

Over the next month or so, I really entangled myself in rehab so that my foot would heal correctly. Since my ankle was casted, I was primarily looking at regaining ankle function, which led me down many avenues.

The entire time, I couldn’t help but think to myself: boy, this stuff could really help tricksters.

Dogen’s Titanium Ankle tutorial often floats around as the “go to” for ankle health among tricksters, but it’s really not even a scratch on the surface of true ankle health. I really wanted tricksters to understand the foot and ankle as I had come to understand them, because I thought it could prevent some injuries.

Just recently, I got around to putting my ideas down — how I rehabbed my foot — and spun it in a way that would benefit tricksters most. I filmed videos, took pictures, and created a neat little eBook. The entire process took a bunch of my free time, and I was originally was going to sell it. After all, paying some bucks for information on ankle injury prevention would be worth more than I’d likely even charge for it. We’re talking about not only tricking downtime, but also medical bill uptime. Even a simple copay for a lot of people in America can top $20-30.

But then I thought about the mission at hand. And then I thought about most tricksters, and thought back to when I was a Dragon Ball Z inspired kid doing insanely stupid things in my backyard in the name of tricking, most of which was only possible thanks to Jujimufu — a man willing to give a lot of his free time creating tutorials to help ambitious kids like myself.

And so that’s why I decided that, at least for now, to make A Trickster’s Guide to Ankle Injuries and Strength free. You only pay if you want to pay. You can grab it here via Gumroad (a new retail platform I’m experimenting with). Feel free to put in $0. If my writing has helped you in the past, and you want to donate some money, you put whatever number in the box you feel is right.

Either way, I hope this helps you. I simply ask that, from one trickster to the next, you let each other know about this.

This isn’t the ultimate ankle injury guide, but rather a reflection of my own experiences spun in a way that will benefit you from not only a rehab standpoint (dealing with pre-existing injuries and common treatments, like why you probably shouldn’t use the RICE technique), but also an injury prevention standpoint (there’s a strengthening program to follow). I’m pretty sure that you’ll come away with a different attitude after reading it, and that’s the goal.

Learning Muscle Building, Intermittent Fasting, and Tricking from a Modern Day Norse God

You can’t go wrong with big muscles, long blonde hair, and flash kicks. Chris Kunst — known as Tatsumaru to most — is the modern reincarnation of a Norse God. I’ve known him for a long time and wanted to get him in here to share his ideas.

He’s a fellow intermittent faster, trickster, and strength trainer. His physical transformation is inspiration for skinny kids around the world.

This interview is long, but I’m not going to apologize. Get a cup of coffee and read.

As Mario would say passing someone in Mario Kart, “Hewego” -

1. Can you first give us a little background about yourself?

My name is Chris, online most people know me under the alias of Tats or Tatsumaru — a video game character inspired nickname I picked in early 2004 when I signed up to the Tricks Tutorials Forums.

(Anthony note: Tricks Tutorials Forums no longer exist. I’m apart of a secret underground troop of people that are rebuilding these forums — which are about tricking, strength training, and randomness — for the greater good. You should be excited about this.) 

TT changed my life for the better, as it triggered my interest in training, nutrition and health – and that’s the stuff that keeps me busy on daily basis right now, having decided to study dietetics and all.

I am the author of Storm Tricks and have grown to become very passionate about tricking, strength training, nutrition, metal music and leading an awesome “alternative” lifestyle in general. I am a certified dietitian and am currently striving to combine that with the title of sports dietitian and personal trainer.

I basically enjoy helping people with the subjects close to my heart; training and health. That’s one of the main reasons I like working on my website; it’s a lot fun to help people, and I get a lot of satisfaction from it.

Tatsumaru Flash Kick

2. How and when did you find tricking?

I discovered tricking in early 2004 when a friend of mine (whom I got to know through a few Jiujitsu martial arts classes, which I do not take anymore) linked me to Jujimufu’s and Antoine’s “Scorch” summer 2004 sampler. (Video linked below.) I was fascinated; it completely blew me away. All the cool kicks, flips and twists being tossed by guys that actually looked awesome.

Being a scrawny, frail guy at the time, who was not very happy about his athletic capabilities – I was inspired to turn around my lifestyle in order to become a good tricker. I wanted a better body too.

I read through Tricks Tutorials relatively fast because I was so motivated and inspired. I soon realized all these things – nutrition, flexibility, strength training, rehab, getting an awesome body, etc. – all go hand in hand with becoming a more awesome athlete. I aspired to be one, and still do so to this day.

3. What do you think people need to know about you?

Hmmm, there’s nothing people really “need” to know about me. I’m just a guy passionate about the things he’s doing; training, living healthy and helping people. I am a solo trickster at heart and have a very strong sense of discipline, or a very strong “inner drive” if you will.

I see tricking, training and my general lifestyle as a gateway to becoming closer to a “dream image” of myself. “Becoming a favorite character of yourself”, so to speak. That’s one of the reasons I can keep on doing what I do and be very passionate about it.

I am largely motivated by following said dream images and they influence my life a lot. All of this makes me quite the oddball in social context and modern day society. But it’s what makes me unique in a way, and it has become a strength of mine.

 Tatsumaru Deadlifting

4. How and when did your love for strength training come about?

It rather grew together with my interest in tricking. I actually started getting into “fitness” slightly before I discovered tricking, because I wanted to become bigger. I’ve been a really skinny guy my whole life. I had no knowledge on the topic of growing bigger whatsoever though, just like most people who start out.

When I found out about tricking, I noticed that the people I looked up to the most were into strength training, and I soon realized that expanding my knowledge on the subject a bit would benefit me greatly. I also delved into all the related topics, like nutrition.

Once I started tracking progress – both physique and strength wise – I developed a big passion for strength training. It was another way to push myself and my body, and to shape it closer to the image of my “favorite character”.  The longer you are involved in strength training the more marginal your gains are, but for me every little bit of progress has always meant a lot. It’s like receiving a present you actually wanted.

5. Most people see tricking and are either baffled or scared. They would never fathom getting involved. What was it about tricking that made you say, “I want to do this?”

I was scared when I started tricking too! I crashed a spotted backflip on my face and didn’t dare to attempt any backward trick until a year later, haha.

Anyway, I basically wanted to do something different – I did not like “normal sports” much at all. I was also pretty unsatisfied with my life and didn’t have a lot to “drive” me.

Tricking opened my eyes and sucked me right in upon first discovery. It was new and fresh, exciting, daring, somewhat dangerous even… it was something I needed to make my life more interesting. That’s how I reflect upon it in hindsight. Back then, I guess I just wanted to do it because it looked freaking awesome. Again, in retrospect: I guess you could say tricking filled a certain void in my life.

Tatsumaru Tricking

6. How do you balance strength training and tricking?

It’s not hard at all for me. In mindset, I pretty much prioritize tricking. With that I mean; I care the most about tricking, my sessions and the video I am working for (solo samplers). It’s my main passion and drive. In certain phases my priorities may shift to strength training a bit more – such as having injuries which don’t allow me to trick to full(er) potential, or in the cold seasons when I can’t trick outside as much.

I really prefer grass sessions over gym sessions because I love using the outdoors in my videos. I still have gym sessions and good progress in times of winter though – sometimes even better than in summer, because plyo is an awesome surface to trick and learn on. This has been my general approach the past few years.

I try to combine both as effectively as possible – and I do not skip strength sessions. I love strength training. I kinda go about it like this:

In general, I have 3 strength sessions per week. I focus on compound movements and always incorporate basic essentials like presses, squat, deadlift and weighted chin ups. My training routine changes depending on my goals of course.

If I desire to drop bodyfat, I lower training volume and go for intensity. If I desire to go for a muscle building phase, my workouts are higher in volume. I change my nutrition accordingly.

I always keep a strength log and have some sort of program to follow. I am an organizer and planner, so I enjoy making my own schedules and playing around with new things from time to time. I feel it’s unnecessary to overhaul your routine every 6 weeks or whatever – but incorporating new elements definitely keeps things fun and fresh.

Tricking has always been a spontaneous thing for me; I do not really plan when I trick – unless it is a gym session of course – those being scheduled and all. If the weather is good, I can trick up to 3-5 times per week. I prefer short and “as fresh as possible” sessions; not tricking much longer than 30-60 minutes.

I try to get out when still somewhat fresh, as burning out each session really slows down recovery and I’ve find that to be detrimental to both tricking and strength training progress. Tricking is supposed to be a fun thing for me, and I get out when something just doesn’t work. Sometimes you just have a bad day and you shouldn’t fret too much about it. Leave, come back another day and try again.

I don’t necessarily split strength training and tricking days – IMO there’s no need for separation. (Anthony note: there is no separation.)If I feel I can trick on a strength training day, I just do that. It’s a mood- and time thing; I need to be in the mood to trick and I obviously need enough time. Like I said, tricking is mostly a spontaneous activity for me. If I feel good, I have the time, and the weather is calling me – I will head outside and go trick.

I do have a lot of goals written down for tricking though! I keep a tricking spell book  which basically functions as a logbook for my sampler. In it, I keep track of my sessions and rate them afterwards, I have written down both realistic and unrealistic tricking goals to strive for, etc. Before each session, I usually look up my spell book and write down a few things on my hand so I remember to try and play around with them during the session. They’re usually completely different things, because some days certain tricks just don’t work.

In general – I put a lot of thought and effort into all these things and thoroughly enjoy doing so. I believe that such an active mindset towards tricking/training can really benefit someone’s inner drive. Or maybe the inner drive is something that is unique to certain individuals – I don’t know haha.

I basically love spending so much thought on planning ahead my tricking and strength training. Working on solo samplers is one of the most fun things in life for me – one of my biggest drives. It’s what triggers my urge to trick often. I’ll be like “hey, if I get this combo to work – I’ll have something awesome to add to my sampler” – head out, and trick. And if I’m at work or unable to trick at the current time, I make sure to write it down and try it as soon as I’m able to trick!

 Tatsumaru Viking

7. How do you feel strength training has either helped or hurt your tricking from both a performance and injury standpoint?

Ah yes, interesting question. Strength training has both hurt and helped my tricking. I will explain, starting with HURT.

First off, I have concluded that doing Olympic lifts is not necessary for a regular trickster or guy into getting strong and buff. Duh? I wanted to be cool and do them too. I have gone through many injuries thanks to trying to do them (and increasing weights too fast)  – mostly minor ones and silly small annoyances mind you.

But still; they were minor injuries that would hinder or interfere with my tricking sessions. Staying with strength training basics, meaning; deadlifts, squats, a press, chins and dips – is a solid enough foundation and I’m much less likely to get injured then, I decided for myself. Tricking is injury prone enough as it is, so let’s stay as safe as possible during strength training haha.

Another HURT thing, is training too “hard” during fat loss phases. I wouldn’t cut down on volume enough, and I’d underfeed to realize fat loss of course – so in these times, tricking suffered due to under recovery. One thing I learned from these phases is this; if I want my tricking sessions to be successful, I need to compensate by reducing strength training volume. Rest is important too, and I tend to forget that at times. You can read more about this here in an article I wrote.

At times I wonder; how would my tricking be if I just tricked, like so many other tricksters? I don’t really have the luxury to a gym many days a week like a lot of awesome tricksters do, but what if I did? Does my “bigger” frame (I’m not huge but bigger than most trickers) hinder my tricking? The truth is; I’ll never know. And frankly, I don’t really care about it, since I love strength training anyway. When tricking is over for me (as in; the body cannot handle it anymore) I’m sure I’ll keep on weight training.

Now, how has it HELPED me? In a lot of ways, thankfully!

For one, strength training is partly like a bodily rehab to me. If I don’t do strength training, I get minor aches and annoyances. Proper strength training can be very therapeutic, I believe. I need it, and love doing it.

Besides that, it has helped me mentally. It improved my self-image; I look better, I feel better, I trick better. Strength training basically helps me get closer to my dream image, which I talked about before. I want to be a buff trickster – so through strength training (and proper nutrition, etc.) – I can achieve these goals. This is basically one of the most important things to me and really keeps me going.

And I also suppose that strength training has made me stronger, more explosive and all that, haha.


8. Tell us one thing we don’t know about you.

There’s probably tons of things you don’t know about me haha! I am a terrible sleeper and this has probably robbed me of potential awesome gains. I recommend everyone to have good sleep habits  I’m still working on it after many years. The past few months I’ve been getting there. And I’ve been feeling much better.

9. Lately, you’ve gone to intermittent fasting as your primary nutritional strategy. Care to explain a bit about your current diet and training?

Yes, I’ve been doing Intermittent Fasting for about 1.5 years now – having found out about it halfway 2011. It’s been one of the best things I’ve discovered nutrition-wise, and that’s also coming from someone who almost religiously ate 6 times a day, spread protein intake evenly, etc. etc. etc…

I don’t believe it’s for everyone, but a lot of people can benefit from it and I’d encourage everyone to at least try it, before criticizing it (although I can see why someone would – I’ve been there). It’s convenient, it’s healthy if done properly, and most of all – it’s fun as hell! I have come to love the big meals I get to consume.

I’ve experimented a bit with different IF approaches, but usually come back to Martin Berkhan’s classic Leangains approach (16 hour fast / 8 hour feeding window). I am quite flexible with my fast and often end up fasting longer than 16 hours – especially during fatloss phases I like increasing my fast-time and having 2 bigger meals instead of 3.

Currently I’m doing a lean bulk after a long fat loss phase. My strategies are the same though; caloric surplus on training days, and a deficit on rest days (a much smaller deficit than when dieting for fatloss of course!). In general; an enjoyable diet. I am quite an active person and bike a lot for transport, so can get away with eating a bit more, which is fun for me.

A higher protein intake is more crucial on rest days I believe; I like to eat at least 2-2.5 g/kg. Seeing as I’m in a caloric surplus on training days and muscle loss is not likely, I stress less about protein. I still try to hit 160-200 grams, and often end up higher anyway haha. I try to enjoy my carbs furiously on training days, seeing as I keep fat intake pretty low in general.

When dieting for fatloss, I believe there’s some benefits in going pretty lowcarb (<150 grams). For maintenance or bulk phases, I like to use 150-250 grams of carbs. An amount that keeps me sane and keeps the diet fun. On training days I go anywhere from 400-600 grams of carbs depending on how active I was that day.

I like training fasted whenever I can fit it into my schedule. I personally use BCAA’s for fasted training, but I do admit it’s more of a mental safeguard for me than anything. I eat my biggest meals after training; sometimes that’s a 1500 kcal meal, sometimes 2500 kcal, and very rarely it’s a one meal a day type approach where I go for 3000-3500 kcal. Those are challenging and shouldn’t be done too often, haha.

I’m a calorie counter myself, but only because it can be done very quickly nowadays, through handy calorie applications on smartphones and all. A rough estimate is what I go for anyway – I like steering my daily nutrition intake from there. I also like planning my meals ahead; I often think about my next post workout meal and look forward to it haha. Makes training even more fun and rewarding.

Don’t become too obsessed with that though; I’ve been there during an extreme cut-phase. I was basically living for my postworkout meal because I was lowcarbing too much and destroying my sanity through it. Don’t go there!

One other pitfall of IF I have developed personally, and I’d like to warn people about, is this: I have sometimes noticed I purposely do extra work so I can eat extra amounts. Simply because I really enjoy the meals I prepare haha. I advise people to not go there; it’s a danger zone!

Some final take away points. Prioritize protein intake. Eat tons of vegetables, they rule. Enjoy yourself at (social) eating/dining events and use the “caloric buffer” IF so easily provides well – it’s a great strategy to reduce damage. Experiment a lot with your meals and don’t eat bland stuff – IF can be fun as hell. Don’t stress too much about details – they do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Be active or productive during your fast. Plan ahead a bit, and learn to become a good nutrition improviser. Invest time in “knowing” foods. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re doing it wrong.

Tatsumaru Eating

10. To finish up, what advice would you give a beginning trickster from both a tricking and training point of view?

Set goals for yourself; something to drive you. If you want to get good at something and have found some sort of goal; learn about it and the subjects surrounding it.

For example; proper nutrition plays a huge (main) role in recovery, in what happens to your body (build muscle, lose fat), etc. – invest some time in learning about it, and put that knowledge to use! It will be worth it. Another example; learning an aerial. Maybe it’s dynamic flexibility you need to be working on, if you keep on crashing it because you don’t seem to be flexible enough. Spend some time reading how to effectively improve dynamic flexibility in that scenario! Oh, and put that knowledge to use again – otherwise it won’t help you much haha.

I’m really encouraging everyone to LEARN more OUTSIDE of the training sessions – never stop learning, wondering and questioning things! J Have a positive, curious and open mind!

Lastly, be patient. Progress takes time, and tricking has a steep learning curve. That’s why I would advise optimizing everything around tricking while working on tricks. Work on your flexibility, get your diet in check, read up on how to properly strength train and recover, etc. It might just have a very positive carry over effect to your tricks, and you might end up enjoying those “side subjects” very much! That’s how it went for me at least, hehe!


Thanks Tats. Was a pleasure.

Questions for Tats?

Drop ‘em below!