Tricker Kelian Cieslak | EMOVES special

Every sport has its own scene. Tricking is known for having an open culture where knowledge is widely shared among its members. Knowledge about how to train your body and how to eat healthy. The tricking community is a warm community. "We are just like hippies.”


Tricking is a mixture of different sports. Many of the movements originate from karate and taekwondo and are combined with dance forms from capoeira, gymnastics and breakdance. Trickers participate in battles in which they show their kicks, backflips and gainers (a backflip in which you land on one foot and start another backflip right away). A jury will then choose the best performance.

Unlike breakdance, tricking doesn’t originate from street culture, Kelian Cieslak tells us. He is a double Dutch champion and organiser of Shut Up & Trick (the tricking event during EMOVES). The sport has its origins in martial arts and research plays an important role. In a Facebook group that has around 24,000 members, trickers from all over the world share their knowledge and experiences. About how to train your new tricks and how to eat well. "Even documents about the best way to stretch your body are shared.”

"We are just like hippies.”

Kelian Cieslak

Training together

Trickers form a warm community. "We're just like hippies", Kelian jokes. Also during Shut up & Trick it's all about training together, in addition to the competitions. "When we train together, we forget about time. Sometimes I see someone arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday, having learnt all these new tricks in just a few days. That's a great feeling.”

Kelian himself switched from breakdance to tricking nine years ago. The sport was quite new in the Netherlands and he came to know about it via Youtube. Later Kelian also founded a tricking association in Best.

The sport is still in development and new tricks are added all the time. During battles you react to the movements of your opponent: one person shows something, the other tries to surpass it. Battles are both short and explosive. But because it is still such a young sport, the training facilities are limited. "We often buy rejected mats from primary schools to help us practice and we’re constantly looking for good and affordable training halls. As an athlete I sometimes travel to three or four cities in a week to be able to train somewhere.” But soon the trickers in and around Eindhoven will have their very own place. An urban sports hall is currently being developed in the building SEY, the former Philips telephone exchange next to the Glasgebouw at Strijp-S. Kelian is closely involved and will soon take care of the management of the building.

Dealing with fear

During EMOVES, the international tricking community comes together in the Klokgebouw. This is where the 2x2 battles take place. The duos will be put together on the spot, a nice mix of young talent and professionals.

In addition to being a top athlete, an organiser and future manager of the new urban sports hall, Kelian is also a stuntman for TV shows and an actor for training police officers in (physically) difficult situations. Before he started working he completed one year at the ALO and got a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Movement Education. He now uses this knowledge to train others. "One of the basic things about tricking is dealing with your fear. For some tricks you really have to get out of your comfort zone. Especially movements in the air without using your arms feel scary at first.” He likes to help people improving their skills. "Once you start trying, you’ll learn fast.”

In the new sports hall he wants to continue the open culture of tricking. “Everyone is welcome to join.” And he hopes to create a breeding ground for new talents. "It would be really great if we could train a professional team here.” The new hall at Strijp-S will officially open its doors on September 15.

Foto's door Bram Berkien.