It’s Tricky

Kaleb Foster challenges himself in the sport of tricking


Gracie Kruep

Foster throws kicks he learned in Taekwondo to build momentum in his combo. Fusing martial arts and gymnastics is what makes tricking so unique.

Aidan Allen, Staff reporter

Kaleb Foster takes the floor. All of his friends around him, phones out ready to record. He takes a deep breath, gets in his stance and runs forward. He throws his hands to the ground pushing off as if this would be his last trick ever. He jumps into the air and spins faster than he ever has, touches down with one foot just to swing the other into another flip. He lands perfectly solid on the ground, a huge rush of adrenaline hits him as his face lights up in joy. He’s just landed the trick that he had been working on for months on end. The entire gym erupts in applause and support, everybody running to Foster just to drown him in a mosh pit of hugs as if he had just won the lottery, to him he might as well have.

 Foster part takes in the relatively unknown sport of “tricking”. Tricking is a type of gymnastics that incorporates martial arts and sometimes break dancing, generally labeled as a much more difficult sport. From an outside perspective, tricking and gymnastics could seem very similar but on the contrary, they couldn’t be more different.

 “Gymnastics is a very strict, very technical based sport,” Foster said,  “[Gymnastics is like] that model perfect brother or sister you have [while tricking is like] that one weird step-cousin you have that you’re not really related to.”

 Foster also goes into detail about how specifically the two sports are different,

“Tricking is a lot of off-axis stuff, which makes it hard to learn because you’re not straight up or down,” Foster Said

Foster has been tricking since he was eight, but has been participating in Taekwondo for 11 to 12 years and still actively participates in championships. He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where the tricking scene is much bigger, which is where he met some other martial artists who took part in tricking. When Foster moved to St. Charles, he pursued tricking, often practicing at gymnastic centers that hold open gym times. Tricking is a self-focused sport in which the athlete doesn’t necessarily need other people to get better. 

“For a long time after I moved here, I tricked by myself,” Foster explained. 

Though Foster began his tricking experience alone, mostly practicing by himself, he hasn’t always been alone.

 “Now I found a pretty good group of friends that constantly come to open gyms in the area.” 

The more people that Foster tricked with, the deeper he got into the tricking community.

For as unknown as the sport can be, the community of tricking is immensely large and disperse, coming from every end of the earth. Foster recently attended a huge tricking gathering in Kansas city over the Labor Day weekend in which people from all around the world participated.

  “A bunch of people from all across the world, people from Ukraine, people from Russia, people from Israel where there” Foster said “It was crazy to see how tricking really transcends culture.” 

 In most sports, it’s all about competing, training, and practicing so the player can be better than someone else and win more points for their team, but tricking is all about competing with yourself and constantly pushing yourself to be better than you already are. Tricking isn’t about getting points or competing for the best time. There is no reward for landing a new trick, no trophy. People do it to see how far they can push their limits and how far they can take it. 

Pullquote Photo

I have such a passion for it that I’ll push things aside so I can go and I can spend a couple of hours throwing my body around and falling on the floor, sometimes my feet.”

— Kaleb Foster

,” Foster said.

Tricking is a sport about passion and so many athletes who trick have that same level of passion so naturally people come together to share that passion and help push each other which is why the tricking community is so large and disperse.  

““It’s crazy how a gymnastics spin off can bring so many people together,” Foster said. “I think tricking and this community really accentuates what it’s all about.”

Junior Ethan Fuller is relatively new to the sport of tricking, but has been doing other forms of gymnastics for a long time.

“I started out with tumbling, but it was more fun to trick. Putting a trick into the more traditional moves” Fuller said.

While Foster began tricking with a martial arts background, it certainly isn’t necessary to have one to get into tricking. Some start with other gymnastics and move over to tricking, while some start without even having a single flip.

“It doesn’t matter what skill level you are, there are people who can barely do a backflip to people who can do quad fulls which is like a backflip with four spins” Foster said.

Like most sports, tricking does not come instantly and takes an immense amount of effort to get good at. While Foster puts as much time as possible into this sport he still has to balance all of his other activities along with tricking. 

“Currently, I’m an instructor and I teach Taekwondo classes,” Foster said.

Foster manages to incorporate most of his activities closely to one another so he can still practice everything he does and continues to constantly get better without getting overwhelmed. 

When participating in a sport, everybody has to start somewhere and some don’t progress as fast as others.

“Everyone has gone through that struggle of having that one move that they just can’t get,” Foster said, “You just have to stick with it, I promise, I’ve been there.”

Foster has spent years perfecting the skills he has today and all of that has been done over time and work. A complicated sport like tricking takes time to get the hang of and there’s so many aspects it’s easy to get frustrated as many do. Especially when coming from gymnastics, that transition can be difficult because of how strict gymnastics is about form.

“It forces you to do things that are very unnatural in the air. It really pushes you to understand your aerial awareness,” Foster said.

For most people tricking and most forms of gymnastics take time to get used to because when starting its difficult to understand where the athlete could be in the air and when to open or stop a trick. Taking the time to learn how tricking works and put effort into the sport really pays off for most athletes as they can throw their bodies into the air effortlessly and know exactly what they are doing. 

For Foster and many other athletes, they have spent a good portion of their lives training this sport for personal gain and experience, and many do this just because they have fallen in love with the sport. 

 “Those life lessons of being able to overcome adversity is what I think means the most about tricking,” Foster said.