You and a friend are having a nice picnic in the park. The Sun is shining. There's a light breeze that carries the scent of summer flowers. As you begin to bite into your sandwich, you become distracted by motion in your peripheral vision.
Turning your head, you see a group of young men and women running through the park. Actually, they're not so much running as they are jumping, kicking, flying, spinning, twisting, turning, flipping, and in athletic, artistic ways you've never seen before.
Are they gymnasts? Perhaps they're martial arts masters? Could they be dancers or practitioners of parkour? Most likely, they're a combination of all of those things. They probably refer to themselves as trickers, and the sport they're engaged in is a new sensation known as tricking.
The roots of tricking can be traced back to the 1960s when masters of taekwondo, a Korean martial art, began to perform interesting physical feats or "tricks" that were outside the normal boundaries of martial arts.
Tricking didn't take off immediately, however. It wasn't until the late 1990s and early 2000s — and the invention of the Internet — that tricking began to gain in popularity.
It's a very visual art form/sport, and it took the Internet's ability to make a tricking video go viral to turn this underground sensation into a popular new sport.
Today, tricking can include taekwondo kicks, the graceful movements of Chinese martial art wushu, and the improvisational aspects of Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira. But that's not all.
Tricking has also evolved to incorporate elements of gymnastics, acrobatics, parkour, and even break dancing. In essence, the sport is only limited by the imagination of its trickers.
Tricking is very physically demanding, requiring great flexibility, speed, agility, and athleticism. Fortunately, it doesn't require much in the way of equipment. Beginning trickers just need their bare feet and a soft, grassy spot to start.
Many people can master the simplest moves and kicks. Advanced tricks, however, can be extremely difficult to master. Some tricks seem impossible, as if they defy the laws of physics.
Scientists, however, note that trickers — even if they don't know it — are masters of manipulating advanced physics concepts, such as angular velocity, moment of inertia, and angular momentum.