The Superhumans – ‘Academy’

the academyLast week we were invited to attend the I.C. Movement Academy in Hackney Wick, it was suggested by one of the Academy team that we attend a class called Trick and Tumbling. Cue me “Abi” who decided to take on the class thinking it was a mixture of rollie pollies and popping. I was so wrong, I walked into what I can only call a “Superhero Training Camp”and it was the most amazing fitness class I have ever seen. I actually thought I was in a scene from a Bruce Lee movie and I was the rubbish one that couldn’t fly.

So what is Tricking? “Tricking is a newly emerging sport which has mainly been growing through an online community of Acrobatics and Martial Arts enthusiast. They have taken it upon themselves to explore the human possibilities of extreme kicks and flips often mimicking fight scene stunts and video game/comic novel/superhero moves. Though this sport evolved through self-taught individuals, the Academy offer Tricking in a class so you can learn all these new moves at an increased speed and in the hand of experienced Trickers. The class is combined with gymnastic tumbling, which takes place on a special AirTrick airfloor, to improve overall control, strength, coordination and aerial awareness, as well as learning how to get your flips down and under control.”

Check this out: Studio Session

I am a long distance runner and was challenged by the dynamics at The Academy, the class had people of all ages from 10 to  50+ who were all able to do the flips and kicks that the tutors were teaching. If you are into fitness then I definitely recommend The Academy they are as I call them a team of Superhumans.  The tutors on the day I attended were two men called Alex and Cali, they were the best fitness trainers I have seen, they both were extremely patient and attentive to the various levels of the people in the class. They created special more advanced combos for more skilled Trickers and lower intensity combos for newbies like me. I actually managed to do a flip, I wish I had recorded myself flying in the air, ok not so much flying as slightly getting off the ground but for me that was an achievement and my body thanked me for it the next morning.

What I loved most about the Academy was the back story, each of the leaders has a unique skill and they have combined their talents to create what is an awesome array of classes, this is such a hidden gem in Hackney and is definitely something worth attending. (NIKE you need to sponsor these guys, this is serious sport). I was taken around the center by Cali who holds the World Record for free running. His enthusiasm about the I.C. Movement and the team was inspiring; you know you are in safe hands when there are a group of people dedicated to the fitness and training of people.

Here is a sneak peak at some of the skills of the team, this video had me inspired, hope it inspires you all too: Moving Through Space

There are many different classes to choose from and here is a synopsis of them, I would recommend that our readers go on their website


Every Monday and Wednesday morning at 10am at the I.C. Movement Academy teacher Megan Preston will stretch your body, mind and potential. Through a series of Vinyasa Flow Yoga exercises for 1.5 hour your core will be strengthened and your body realigned. The results of these exercises and breathing techniques will surely improve your day to day life and other sports activities.

Girls Only

1.5 hours of Tricking&Tumbling in a safe environment exclusively to the ladies. Building on women’s strengths and general application, seasoned Tricker, Freerunner and Dancer Cali Nelle teaches all sorts of Tricks and moves to do on their own or mix in with other arts and sports, like dancing. This class is ideal for girls who get less productive or intimidated when training with guys. It’s all about having positive atmosphere and getting the best out of your body.

Skill Surgery:

Each week a specific trick get’s chosen, dissected and offered to you in a most manageable way.

Contemporary Dance:

On Mondays at 2pm Adrian Falconer will take you through his own program dubbed D.A.N.C.E. (Dancing All Natural Creative Energy). Through this format, Adrian presents a variation of mixed movement that include styles such as, African/Caribbean, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Physical Theatre and Improvisation, with an emphasis on Hip Hop.

Advanced Tumbling

Alex Sharples welcomes all students that want to step up their gymnastic tumbling game on Mondays at 3.30pm. For an hour and a half he will work you through a large number of drills to get your flips twisting, link your moves, clean your form and reaching your potential. Though Alex is the perfect example of how far the self-taught generation can go, having his expertise and knowledge there you will certainly see your skills develop in no-time and send you flying higher than ever!

Capoeira Movement

Resident teacher Afonso Guerreiro, part of Capoeira Nago, provides a class specifically to learn all the fancy tricks, kicks and dance from the Brazilian artistic sport. No quite like any other Martial Art, Capoeira is known for it’s distinguished flow and seemingly hidden powerful kicks which suddenly appear with much flair. The spectacular flips and jumps, spinning moves, arm balances and floorwork will all be treated by Afonso and are great skills on their own but also a perfect spring board to the newly emerging sport of Tricking.

Open Gym:

Our Open Gym sessions (5 times a week!) are long open jam sessions for all different movement artists. It’s a time where self taught athletes like breakdancers, Freerunners and Trickers mix with dancers, gymnasts, martial artist and others. This creates an exciting, motivating and passionate exchange of skills and techniques, and through crowd-sourced learning and social facilitation, people have shown to learn at an previously inconceivable rate. If you normally prefer traditional stretching and bodyweight conditioning or calisthenics, coming and training in this exhilarating atmosphere can offer a refreshing boost of motivation and enjoyment.


Cali Nelle, founder of the famous Storm Freerun, is our regular teacher. Parkour or Freerunning has gained a lot of popularity in recent years (appearing in commercials, music videos and feature length films) as the sport involves heart stopping tricks and death defying jumps mostly performed in urban areas. The philosophy of these sports is to travel as quick as possible or in a unique way from A to B, usually with plenty of large obstacles in the way. At the Academy we teach you all the techniques involved to make sure you safely land or make it to the other side. Jumps, rolls and tricks get drilled in a safe environment, making use of our Parkour boxes, gymfloor and crash mats.

Tae Kwon Do

This Korean Martial Art can be translated as ‘the way of the hand and the foot’ and is a full body intensive sport to defend from and strike your opponent. Mostly recognisable for its flashy yet refined kicks, this Olympic sport includes training in both sparring (Gyeorugi) and forms (Poomsae). We follow World Taekwondo Federation at our Academy, where Cali Nelle offers you all-round training and grading. Cali is a black belt, and has been honoured to train the French equivalent of the Navy Seals. This sport has a big influence in the newer sport of Tricking and can provide a good base for beginners.

Kung Fu/Wushu

Kung Fu/Wushu both are terms used to describe Chinese Martial Art. The sport of Wushu is both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese Martial Arts. At the Academy we have two outstanding teachers, Daniel Pan and Ivo Arsts. Daniel, having trained under Chen De Qing, director of Jin Long Martial Arts Academy in Manchester and 5th Duan Wushu Instructor from Henan, China, is proficient and provides teaching in the following Wushu styles: Changquan (Long Fist), Daoshu (Broadsword), Gunshu (Staff) and Tang-Lang (Mantis). Ivo, who trained at “K.S.I.S.A.” in Latvia, mainly  teaches modern Wushu, combining traditional teaching methods with modern Wushu and athletic conditioning methods. His preferred styles are: Chanquan (Long Fist), Nanquan (Southern fist), Qiangshu (Spear) Daoshu (Broadsword) and Gunshu (Staff).

Together they provide a year long program to ensure your progress in this Martial Art and offer opportunities to enter competitions.


This class is provided by Jordan Calvert, a seasoned breakdancer from One Motion Crew. Handbalance includes handstands, one handed balances and freezes of all kinds, whereas powermoves mean the spinning moves in breakdancing/b-boying, e.g. windmills, headspins, flares, airflares etc. Through a combination of full body conditioning and increasingly difficult exercises a path gets created into learning what some regard as the hardest, most complex movements out there. The benefit of training under an experienced breakdancer, who understands these complicated tricks and can analyse the students’ efforts, is enormous and can massively increase and speed up the learning process.

This class is currently presented on Wednesdays at 1pm.


Megan Preston teaches, aside from Yoga, an hour and a half long class a week specifically on stretching. The class is mainly uses PNF stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching. These are stretching techniques commonly used to enhance both active and passive range of motion with the ultimate goal being to optimize motor performance and rehabilitation. This class is great for those who are looking to extend their kicks, especially dancers, Trickers and Martial Artists but also for those who generally wish to improve their flexibility.


Marc Alamara’s Fitness class features HIIT (high intensity interval training), with a focus on strengthening the core muscles and other fundamental body conditioning exercises including squats and lunges. An important aspect of this training is to increase the VO2 max , which is a measure of aerobic capacity so people will be able to perform for longer without reaching their lactate threshold. This is point at which blood lactic acid levels begin to rise uncontrollably and muscle fatigue will ensue. Less muscular fatigue also means less chance of injury and better performance. This hour long class will without a doubt improve your physical condition, reduce your risk on injuries and make you stronger psychologically, all the while making you aesthetically pleasing.

Have you ever tried any form of Martial Arts or even Tricking?? We want to hear your views