BTC: Tricker Hit Parade and the Hastening Heartbeat

The 2012 crackpots won’t shut up about Schumman Resonance and the earth’s racing heartbeat and how time is literally accelerating toward a zero point, at which time we will all apparently be escorted by luminous karmic god warriors from the 5th Dimension into a blissful, egoless Eternal Now paradise. (Weeee!) While the skeptic in me has trouble stifling her giggles, I have to admit something… I can’t help but feel like time really IS speeding up when I watch footage like this:


(This is another one of those times where turning off the sound and picking your own soundtrack may prove less monotonous.)

Wiki describes martial arts tricking as “a relatively new underground alternative sport movement, combining martial arts, gymnastics, breakdancing and other activities to create an aesthetic blend of flips, kicks, and twists.” There are no formal rules, no official regulations, no limitations whatsoever beyond those placed on a fit human body by gravity and centrifugal force. To a battered old gimp like me, it just looks impossibly fast and light. Some of these kids seem superhuman.

It’s not like I’m about to bust out a Mayan calendar or anything, but yeah. Is the human race –if not the planet itself– speeding up at an ever-accelerating rate? Food for thought while we sip our morning joe, grunt and crack our stiff necks, and hunker down in front of our computers for another physically strenuous day of farting around on the web.

13 Responses to “BTC: Tricker Hit Parade and the Hastening Heartbeat”

  1. Carrie Cleaver Says:

    Chiropractors worldwide rejoice in such activities. Great share.

  2. Lydia Says:

    “turning off the sound and picking your own soundtrack may prove less monotonous”

    No kidding. I mean, hello, the Mortal Kombat soundtrack? Was *made* for this.

    A friend of mine has a fantastic theory about our perceptions of time and its passage. In short, time really is speeding up. That’s why time goes by so slowly when you’re a kid and so quickly once you reach a (ahem) certain age. Our body clocks were born in a time that moved slower than the one in which we’re currently living. So yes, not only do the years *seem* to fly by…they are! At least to those on the downhill slope.

    Which is pretty scary. It means that “middle aged” is actually maybe “two-thirds aged” in our perception of time passage. And with that happy thought, I’m off to dig out my copy of “Beyond the 120-year Diet.” Here’s to longevity and life-span extension research!

  3. Xander Says:

    I don’t think that we are “speeding up”, just that we have the luxury of being able to have the time and security to perfect “pointless” exercises such as this.

    In days gone by, we wouldn’t have had the luxury of spending half of our waking lives perfecting these tricks. Part of the reason that Bruce Lee was so awesome was that he was lucky enough to have grown up in an environment where he could focus on his physical training. In the society that he lived in, he was a lucky 0.01%. The rest of the peons had to focus their energy on providing for themselves, and their families, hoping they didn’t sever a limb or break their spine…they certainly didn’t want to provoke that risk by attempting gainer 540′s to handsprings.

    It’s also thanks to technological and medical advances that humans can become this competent at such physics-defying feats of acrobatics. Without the crash-mats, foam pits, ankle/knee/elbow supports, headguards, and the advanced surgical, medical, and pallative care systems that we have today, the majority of these kids would have been far too scared to push their training this far; what today we see as a mild injury might have been fatal two hundred years ago.

    I also feel it’s somewhat down to our new ability to amalgamate the various martial art forms into one unique mixture; taking inspiration and knowledge from differing disciplines, taking our anatomical knowledge, our knowledge of physics, and merging them with the most ancient of all disciplines; guys dicking about.

  4. Scott Says:

    Reminds me a lot of capoiera:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCazYlnGYtY

  5. jen Says:

    i love it when i see human beings who make us realize how much the body is capable of & spend their time pushing the boundaries of what we think is physically possible.

    i think it’s important to have people who do that regardless of whether it brings home the bacon or not. bacon isn’t that great for the body anyway.

    take a deep breath earth, time’s been chillin’ at the zero point for…well, forever. maybe it’s only our brain’s linear perceptions that are racing toward the finish line? ’bout damn time. so sip some tea & relax while these guys flip linearity into a backward spin. flying lotus made an awesome soundtrack.

  6. Tequila Says:

    @Scott…Same thing I thought. This however has a much more cinematic vibe to it…

    @Xander…Very true about the technology and medical advances helping Humanity push themselves in actions like these. It’s been very interesting to see dancer friends go through a variety of procedures just to keep on doing what they do. In the past they’d have had to stop dancing to any real level long ago without them. Makes it interesting to see where people who’ve mastered skills in their prime take them past that point where most would have assumed they’d retire and stop.

    @jen…it’s been routinely proven bacon makes the body infinitely happier. I can even show you the report from the prestigious Pork Institute of Germany.

  7. Mer Says:

    Jen, yep, complete agreement with you on all fronts. :)

    Scott, tricking should definitely remind you of capoeira! Some of those moves are directly lifted and developed from that form.

    “I also feel it’s somewhat down to our new ability to amalgamate the various martial art forms into one unique mixture; taking inspiration and knowledge from differing disciplines, taking our anatomical knowledge, our knowledge of physics, and merging them with the most ancient of all disciplines; guys dicking about.

    Hahaha. True, true. Although I do feel like there’s something far more admirable about strenuous physical dickery that ICANHAZCHEEZBRGR cubicle websurfing dickery. Maybe it’s grass is greener of me, dunno. Good point about the medical safety net, too. Which might explain (to a lesser extent) a bit of the internalized fearlessness it takes to do parkour as well.

  8. Peechiz Says:

    @Scott & Mer: As a practitioner of both Parkour and Capoera, I can tell you that when you get together a bunch of really agile guys together to jump over things/be upside down, things quickly devolve before and after practice into “hey look what I can do” and “does this look cool?” Because of that, there is a lot of interdisciplinary bleed-through with Tricking/Parkour/Freerunning/Gymnastics/Capoera

    I agree that the technology aspect allows people to get better at doing certain kinds of acrobatic martial arts, but I think that this stuff has probably been around a lot longer than most people are aware.

    I think it’s a product of media proliferation that it’s just now coming to our attention. It’s one thing to describe the spins, flips, and jumps, it’s quite another to witness it. Example: Masai warrior in Kenya.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai

    The warriors in this tribe have been said to have something like a 4 foot vertical jump with their legs straight ( I guess that’s what happens when you fight off lions for a living for a couple hundred years. ) But people are less aware of this particular physical feat because not many in their tribe are running around with sony handycams.

  9. Mer Says:

    Peechiz, oddly enough, I’m actually already aware of the Maasai thanks to my folks, who went on a long, fairly off-the-beaten-path trip through Africa (without a handycam) a few years ago. When they came back, they couldn’t stop talking about some of the incredibly physical feats they witnessed in Kenya.

    But yeah, I hope you understand that I’m not trying to imply that a lot of really off-the-wall (literally), fast and frenetic physical feats haven’t been kicking around (literally) for centuries. Was not my intent. Just that watching a bunch of teenage kids from a wide variety of demographics doing these kinds of things for the sheer thrill (and yes, one upmanship) of it has a way of making me feel like something is quickening.

  10. Zach Says:

    As Wiki says, this activity has actually been around for several decades, but it was definitely relegated to martial arts form tournaments for most of its first twenty years. An interesting note is that in my experience during that time, the tournaments factionated into several camps. The traditionalists, generally old timers, were focused on perfection of execution and could be quite misogynist in their judging. The youth, aside from a few outliers, generally gravitated toward more “impressive feats.” They formed the other two groups: Breakers (full disclosure: this used to be me) and Trickers.

    What always interested me is that breaking stuff has been around as a demonstration of strength/dominance/busking for hundreds of years, if not more, whereas agility has only recently been regarded as impressive by much of mainstream Western culture.

  11. guesswho9 Says:

    Anyone up for a bit of Street Fighter? :)

    When I actually see these moves, All I can think is of comparing them to characters from the Street Fighter series when they all do 6 ft flips in the air.

  12. David Forbes Says:

    Awesome video, Mer, and great way to use something really f’in cool to bring up some larger topics.

    I think the development of mass media and global travel have created the sense that things are speeding up. Both culturally and individually, we learn about things a lot faster than before, and have the ability to research new ideas much more quickly than previous generations. An increased awareness that something is happening, somewhere, all the time has given us the feeling that things are speeding up.

    I don’t believe there’s a zero point, though, in 2012 or any other year. The human mind can only take in so much information at once, and our perception of time remains malleable enough that waiting for a friend or loved one to arrive from a trip, for example, still seems like a really, really long time.

    On the plus side, I think this caffeine-laced sugar in the cereal bowl of our has made culture far more malleable, with humans no longer as tied to their upbringings as before, more free to define their own personality and identity.

    On the negative side, I think we’re more vulnerable to media cycles. I’ve seen even relatively intelligent people (myself included) dramatically shift their ideas of a person, place or country based on the played-up events of a few days. That makes it more important than ever, I think, to keep a grounding in history and multiple sources of info to keep an eye on the bigger picture.

    In martial arts, as a lot of the commenters point out, this hybridization has sped up dramatically in recent years, shaking up a lot of old traditions and creating some fascinating new combinations.

    There’s a primal revival feeling to this. Most cultures have had some form of “let’s get together and show off” athletically before, even back where doing so had a good chance of getting the participants severely injured or killed. The old Greek olympics required some pretty impressive feats, and the agility required by the Bull Dance comes to mind when watching the tricks above.

    But, as Xander points out, those were, at any point past the tribal, done by a relatively small minority of people.

    I don’t necessarily think it’s all merging into one art, though. Interestingly, alongside the aesthetic/agility current that’s seen the development of tricking there’s also been a similar blending of styles and chucking of old regulations in the “reality-based” (funny term that) martial practices that focus more on surviving, avoiding and inflicting damage.

    There too, there’s a use of more modern knowledge of anatomy and psychology to better understand something humans have been grappling with for our entire history. If something’s speeding up, it’s our ability to indulge our old desire to find the limits of mind and body and push them hard.

    It’s a fascinating world we’re living in, and I’ve probably rambled enough by this point.

  13. Twosixteen Says:

    Here comes the Sixth World.