My martial arts background
When I was 13 years old I made a new friend, he used to be known online as Taegashi. He invited me to take a Taekwondo class with him where he trained. The organization was USTA at the time, but soon after I joined they became ITA. Now it is Tiger Rock Martial Arts International. I trained there for 2 years and earned my black belt,which means absolutely nothing to me.
The dojo I trained at was a “McDojo”, the purpose of the school was to make money. Looking back, the training was a joke, the staff was a joke, my fellow black belts and I at the school were a joke. They were practically giving away black belts! But for the two years I was there, and especially considering I was starting with zero experience in sports or physical training of any kind, the results were definitely not a joke. During my time there my self-esteem went through the roof. The classes developed my flexibility, stamina, and basic martial arts technique. These Taekwondo classes were my gateway into an active lifestyle. Getting used to training in a public environment like this with others, and competing in tournaments, prepared me for a more advanced practice of tricking.
When I discovered tricking
In the summer of 2000 I discovered tricking when I saw my first sampler, the old Bilang Sampler 004, Chris Devera video 1.
Seeing that sampler changed my life. For the remainder of my time training at my Martial Arts school, all I cared about was learning tricks to put in my katas. You can see me tricking here after competing at a tournament in March 2002.
I quit because the way the Taekwondo classes were run were actually getting in the way of my tricking goals. I only wanted to trick, and that was it. Quitting was the best decision I could have made looking back.
A background in any martial art that emphasizes kicking will serve as a great foundation for tricking. Taekwondo and Karate are good choices. Even training at a McDojo will help you a lot. I don’t think you can go wrong, they’ll get you kicking and stretching, and the group training is gonna help.
If you’re only interested in flips than you’d be much better off looking for an adult tumbling class at a gymnastics or cheerleading facility.
You’d be even better off if you did both. Each will develop two things you need for tricking: fitness and self-esteem. Starting tricking without a training background will be hard, unless you’re gifted.
I’m not gifted, I could have never succeeded with tricking without my Martial arts background.