which way to twist?

one thing I thought about this morning was how I struggle to remember which way I should twist on a few moves. Now primarily thats because I haven’t discovered through repetition enough yet, but also there’s appears to be no right or wrong way (for my brain anyway). Example: generally I take off on flips and jumps by throwing up my strongest leg first (which happens to be my left leg) … good stuff, got it… lovely. So why do I cartwheel the other way? leading me to have to learn to sideflip the ‘wrong way’ if I want to do a r/o side sumi? 

I can guess that the problem is the cartwheel… about how most of us learn them when really young… and before we’ve established a stronger or weaker leg… and even if I just do a cartwheel once every few years, that’s still enough to keep that rotation in our system.

But then what about twists? If i’m doing a front full twist on the tramp, then I throw my right arm across my chest… however a b-twist is thrown with my left arm across my chest. Now if I think about it, I can figure that a b-twist happens that way because I’m taking off on my strongest leg, so everything will follow afterwards, whereas a front full on the tramp has no ‘strongest leg’ to deal with, so why twist the (apparently) wrong way?

What all this does is create inconsistency in something that should (imo) be entirely natural. Now obviously I’m going the self taught route, so I know I’m not taking the same steps to progression that I should be taking. But I’m guessing a lot of people have the same problem. It would be nice to know ‘why’, and how to identify when and where its likely to happen, how it can be cured (if wanted) and how we can come to feel comfortable with the apparent mental conflict.



Filed under acrobat, breakdancing, Flips, free running, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Tricking

4 responses to “which way to twist?

  1. p3tecracknell

    Thought I’d comment on this one as it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last couple of years.
    Firstly, I used to coach gymnastics under guidance of a successful Romanian coach who amongst other obscure practices used to require every one of his kids to twist the same way (to the right). His argument was that it reduced skill confusion, eased coaching terminology (I also got the impression he didn’t believe in a natural twisting direction).
    Gymnastics/tricking is definitely harder to negotiate when it comes to twisting as it’s less linear than trampolining. In trampolining, every single move is an extension, combination or both of another principle move. A back in full out for example can be taught as a back somi, half twist to front drop, barani. As long as your barani and half twist to front drops agree, everything is ok.
    I am also a confused gymnast – I cartwheel right leg, twist left in somis, twist right in B-Twists (and hopefully one day corks). I used to twist left in standing tuck back 360s (

    ) and now twist right… from the little information I’ve picked up over the years, I reckon the key should be to pick a direction and stick with it no matter what.
    It’d be interesting to find out what people of other backgrounds (MMA/pure tricking) think on the matter..

  2. well I’m kinda surprised that you’d get confused, but then clearly the coach played a big part in that! I don’t know what the Martial Arts approach to it is either. But anyways… it just makes me think that whatever way we learn or are taught initially, if it doesn’t sit right in our heads, then it’ll cause conflict forever until we address it. Which reminds me of a story, why I can’t tell my left from my right, but that’s another post.

  3. dimitris

    Hi there,
    first time I write to your blog. I know it is some time since you posted this topic but….
    I used to be for 16 years a martial art guy. At martial arts we try to train our body to have 2 strong sides and not one strong and one weak. This is because during fights, you can find out that your opponent can beat you if you use your “strong” side…because when you fight eith this side your opponent has a better side. then your “weak” side can save you. (I am sorry for my pure english, I hope you understand what I want to say).

    the last 5 months I also do some gymnastics-parkour. My trainer was amazed that I could do some tricks both sides. He advised me to decide which is my better side and focus on working this. According to him teh body can learn easier and faster when it only has to think one trick in a particular direction. Otherwise the body considers doing a trick both sides as tgwo different tricks.

  4. thanks dimitris,

    this makes sense in a martial arts situation, whereby competitive or real life fights are against an opponent.

    In gymnastics, parkour / free-running, as there is no opponent to worry about, training is focussed on the ‘performance’ as best as can possibly be done. Having a weak side is ok, as long as your strong side is perfect!

    For something like XMA tricking, I would imagine most trickers have an equal left / right strength regarding kicks and punches due to their formal tuition, however when it comes to the gymnastic flips in tricking, maybe the strongest side is ok to use?

    either way, its good to hear your perspective :)

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