Date of Completion

Spring 4-27-2017

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Krystyna Gielo-Perczak

Honors Major

Biomedical Engineering


Biomechanical Engineering | Sports Sciences


Martial Arts Tricking (MAT) is a relatively new sport that combines martial arts, gymnastics, acrobatics, and breakdancing for the purposes of creating aesthetic and impressive combinations of kicks, flips and twists. It has been growing exponentially through social media and the overall athletic and entertainment communities. The sport is very unique in that the movements, with their blended influences, provide novel ways for athletes to generate and utilize their momentum in a creative way. The results often include off-axis flips and twists, single-leg landings, and complicated yet fluid techniques that easily chain together.

Due to the sport only being a few decades old at most, almost nothing is known about it in the scientific community. While some rigorous biomechanical studies have been performed on singular movements from traditional martial arts or gymnastics, very few of the complex integrated movements of MAT have been analyzed. From a biomechanics and physical training standpoint, questions arise about how this new sport affects an athlete’s musculoskeletal system and what training regiments could potentially improve performance and prevent injury.

The goal of this thesis was to perform a preliminary biomechanical study of MAT, specifically some of the entry-level kicks and intermediate inversion tricks involved. Kinematic quantities, such as linear velocity and acceleration, for the main body segments of the lower extremities were recorded and analyzed using motion capture. Many comparisons were made about the mechanics and performance of each technique, which could prove useful in future studies regarding the involved mechanical loads and muscle activity.