By Noble
As a hero, being adept in acrobatics and gymnastics could mean the difference between life and death. Knowing how to hit the ground properly and quickly roll back up, how to spin away from a thrown projectile or even how dive for cover properly are only a few of many different uses being familiar with acrobatics would have for any hero. For some, such as myself, acrobatics can acctually be incorporated into your style of crime-fighting, similar to Tim Drake of DC, the Acrobat of Marvel, and certain aspects of the infamous Spider-man of Marvel. Of course, no one expects you to be able to go out and backflip your self out of harm’s way flawlessly every time, that’s unlikely and impractical. However, in this quick acrobatic tutorial, I’ll do my best to assure that you can learn as much as you feel able to.
*Noble’s note*
Personally, I’m a trained acrobat who has been performing for a few years now, so all of these techniques I have acctually done, over and over. However, you may not have been. Because of this, I thought it best to rate the techniques between one and five, based on their individual difficulty. I suggest you start off with the lower-level techniques if you feel unsure about the mid- and high-level ones.
*Noble’s note*
I also recommend you start training in these techniques in a light gym outfit, then work your way up to gradually wearing your hero outfit. You armored heroes might have a hard time with some of these.
*Noble’s note*
The entire description of the move and the steps are not necessary for you to learn the technique, but will help with your understanding. If you want just the ‘quick-and-dirty’ version of each move, where I say it plain and simple, read the breakdown of each technique.
‘proper’ summersault, dive-roll, cartwheel, shoulder-roll.
1. Proper Summersault: Rating: 1/5
Now, most of us have been doing summersaults since we were young, so we all should understand how a summersault works. You put your hands on the ground in front of you, crouch, jump up and roll. Sounds fine and dandy, in a grass patch maybe, but on a cement surface, trying one just like that will probably hurt. A ‘proper’ summersault is done much more gymnastically, so that it can be done on hard surfaces like ashphalt painlessly. Technically speaking, a summersault starts with both feet on the ground. A jump into a summersault is considered a dive-roll, and will be the next thing I explain.
To do a proper, hero-friendly and painless summersault, fallow these steps:
1. Look where you’re saulting. Quickly glance to where you intend to roll and make sure there isn’t anything that will hurt to roll on in the area you’ll be, well, rolling on. Obviously, things like broken glass, sharp rocks and branches will hurt, so try to avoid them, or consider dive-rolling over them.
2. Position yourself. Again, quickly. You may not have a lot of time to do this, although odds are you’re dive-rolling, which is much more useful, but you never know. The feet forward, hands down approach you learned as a kid will work, but you need to know this if you don’t want pain while rolling on a hard surface: tuck your chin. Honestly, try and look as closely at your belly button as possible. This keeps your head tucked in nicely, and curves your neck and spine properly, adding a smooth roll to your summersault while remouving pain, as well as giving you a bit of intertia to spring back up.
3. Hands on the ground. Keeping your feet facing the direction you’re going to roll, but not necessarily together, put your hands on the ground in front of you, placed in the same way as if you were doing a pushup, or at the starting line for a sprinting race. This requires that you bend your knees and get low to the ground, but in which ever way is most comfortable to you. The knees may be bent completely and the legs spread, very also Spider-man like, or may be tucked in tight to the body, in a Robin style. Personally, I find it easier if I keep myself on the toes of my feet instead of flat-footed.
4. Roll. Roll by either curling in from your shoulders, leaning your weight forward to tilt you off the balance you have, or lifting off with your legs in a small hop. It depends entirely on your body type. If you are long-legged, curling inwards into a ball and leaning forward will not get you anywhere, whereas if you are upper-body oriented, lifting off with your legs will just send you flat on your back, knocking the wind out of you.
Breakdown: Feet pointing towards the direction you’re rolling, hands on the ground like a push-up, knees bent, tip-toed, chin tucked, back arched, lean forward/kick off, roll, stand back up.
Uses: Personally, I’m not sure if a summersault would serve much good on it’s own, but it could be used as a quick dodge/evade, and knowing how to arch your back and roll properly, as taught by the summersault, is necessary if you want to learn more useful techniques, like the dive-roll and shoulder roll.
2. The dive-roll: Rating: 2.5/5.
The dive roll is probably the single most useful acrobatic skill to learn as a hero, as it can be useful in dozens of situations. A dive-roll can get you behind cover, away from harm, into the right position or over an obstacle/threat quickly and efficiently, when properly done. Through practice, you can eventually jump farther and higher before the actual roll itself, maximising it’s efficiency. The highest jump I’ve ever seen is litterally over another man’s head, where as mine is currently 5 feet up at most. I recommend you learn the proper technique to a summersault before you attempt this one, since you’re going to need to know how to roll on your back properly to avoid pain, especially considering you’re jumping and diving into this one.
1. Learn your Aim. The aiming of the dive-roll is crucial. You don’t want to dive in an attempt to roll at point A and acctually end up launching and landing flat on your back at point B, rolling haphazardly to point C, then coughing up a lung at point D before puking blood at point E. To learn your aim, keep both feet together and hop as far forward as you can, then crouch down into the summersault position. Now, stand up, and look back to where you jumped from. The distance from point A to where you currently are is your aim. The place where your hands where once you were crouched into summersault position is your exact landing point. Of course, make sure you aren’t aiming at a pile of broken glass, used needles, ravenous badgers and angsty sex-starved spike-covered goths. That would not be a happy landing. Trust me.
*Noble’s note*
Okay, so there weren’t any glass, needles or badgers, but I did accidently fly into a couple of angsty goths in the process of make-out-walking once when they rounded a street corner suddenly.
2. The Dive. To do a dive roll, what you want to do is basically dive forward with your hands out stretched in front of you, palms flat, as if you wanted to land into a handstand. The rolling aspect comes right away after this step, so unless you can just dive into a handstand, I don’t recommend you practice this step without fallowing through with the next one.
3. Rolling. As mentioned above, this step comes instantly after the dive. Step-by-step, this is what you do: Once you the ground, tuck your legs in and assume the summersault position. Then, and by then, I mean a split second after, let your self fall down and forward into the roll, fallowing through in the exact same way as if you were just doing a summersault, and before you know it, the momentum from the roll will have you back on your feet at point B, a good couple feet away from point A.
4. Absorbing the impact. Because you are doing a summersault at the point of impact, all of the force from your dive is transferred into the momentum of the roll, and if you fallow the guide of the summersault above to the letter, you will feel no pain at all when executing this move, wether it be on carpet, linoleum or a street. just remember to tuck your head in, by either putting your chin as close to your chest as possible, or trying to get your eyes as close to your stomach as possible. This arches your back properly, and gives you the right roll to avoid pain and injury.
5. Breakdown. Dive, extend arms, touch ground, curve spine, roll, stand.
6. Uses. The dive roll is a very useful technique, helping you avoid obstacles or injury by getting yourself up and away from the source of the problem, then launching you forward with momemtum after the roll, which you could use for either an intertia-enhanced punch, a simple evasion or even the means for a quick escape. With practice, you can get your dive-rolls farther and higher, giving you more options when using it.
3. The cartwheel. Rating: 1/5
Not so useful on its on, the cartwheel acctually is more of a necessary requirement before you move on to the roundoff, which you MUST have before other more intense techniques, such as backhandsprings, backflips, arabians, etc. That’s honestly the only reason the cartwheel is here at all. Without knowing the proper basic techniques, you can’t hope to move up to the intense skills. I kinda hope you all know how to cartwheel already, cause if you don’t, you had a very dull childhood.
1. Positioning, The cartwheel position isn’t hard. Stand still, and look forward. Of course, once you know what you’re doing, you don’t need to be standing still at all, you could be running, or falling, or whatever. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re reading this tutorial.
2. Step one. To do a cartwheel, first, lift up which ever foot is your lead foot (If you’re right handed, it’s your right foot, and vice versa). As you do this, lift your lead arm straight up into the air, and hold your other arm straight out behind you. This should turn your upper body slightly, lining your shoulders up with your foot
3. The swing. To begin the cartwheel, step down with your lead foot. The harder and faster you step down has an effect on how fast you will cartwheel, as well as how far you will go. As you step down, however, you need to swing your arms with the movement. The lead arm, which should still be upright, is swung down, while the back arm is swung up. The back leg is also swung up as the same time as the back arm, which helps you generate your momentum.
4. The transfer. This is the defining moment of a cartwheel, it determines wether you cartwheel or bail onto your face. Swing the now up-raised front arm down, and put the hand on the ground, fingers point in the same direction as which ever hand you plant first (i.e, fingers facing left for left handers, right for right handers). Now, push up and kick off with your back foot, transfering your weight from your foot to your hand. Your wight is oging to shift forward, so plant your other hand wherever your weight takes you (this varies on body type, as well as hieght). Your body should still continue to wheel forward, so remove your back hand from the ground at this point, and your feet should land on the ground in a line with your hands at this point.
5. Uses. None, in practical thinking, none. Honestly. “Don’t shoot me, I’m going to cart wheel away! Ahhh!” Yeah, don’t think so. The only reason I have it here is cause you need to know it to do a round-off.
4. The shoulder roll: Rating: 2/5
As useful as the dive-roll in just as many situations, the shoulder roll can acctually help you roll over a car that is attempting to run you down.
*Noble’s note*
…Practice the move on a floor or ground patch somewhere before you start jumping at cars…

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