The pre-requisite for learning a Forward Under is mastery of the Straight Jump. The forward under starts off very similarly to a straight jump. A strong swing coupled with a pronounced “Seven” will also aid in the process of learning this skill. Other skills like the shooting-star may be helpful.
A common mistake in performing a Forward Under is setting the trick like a layout. Many athletes attempt to lift their legs too high at the back-end of the trick when first learning the Forward Under. The kicks for a Forward Under come more quickly; setting the trick often delays the skill, making it impossible to get all the way around. At the back-end, the skill should not set, but instead it should “seven”. The Seven is sometimes held a bit longer than normal, depending on the size of the performer’s sweep-back. The delay is only a moment longer, but it will vary depending on the individual performer, the flexibility of their sweep, and the height of their swing.
After the Seven, the performer will sweep back with force. The performer then “beats” their legs forwards. Notice how the word “beat” is used instead of “kick”. A “beat” should not resemble a normal kick forwards. The forward beat should occur with a locked-body, thus there will not be a large displacement of the hips. During this phase, the body will resemble a hollow position instead of the normal piked position. The beat is performed in this manner to allow more time and range-of-motion to the third and final kick. The third kick is a strong backwards kick to form a very brief arch position, similar to a straight jump. By making the second kick small, we are allowing the third kick to be larger and longer. Nearing the end of the final backwards kick, the performer releases the bar and chases their knees. When performed correctly, the performer will feel as if they are springing off the bar.
When the forward under is performed correctly, the opening phase of the trick occurs quickly. The performer should attempt to open at 45-degrees to the ceiling for a proper catch-angle. Another common mistake is that the student will open exactly at the catch-point, which is parallel to the ground. This is a late open, and it will make it difficult for the catcher to grab hands. It will also make it more difficult to for the flyer to twist to their back. Opening at 45-degrees to the ceiling ensures that the performer decelerates the rotation enough for the catch and she will drift down to the catch point at a slower and more controlled pace.
A Suicide dismount can also be a good progression towards learning the forward under. Front tucks on Trampoline may also help.
Due to the nature of the Forward Under, it is often a very low trick, height wise. This can make the timing and height of the trick an issue for the catcher. But nonetheless, the Forward Under is an important and useful trick to know. It can teach students the concept of forwards rotation; it also teaches students the importance of a sharp and early Open in order to correctly slow down the speed of rotation.
A common mistake is for students to release early and travel the trick. Traveling this trick often allows the student to spin faster, thus giving the flyer the illusion that they are making progress. Forward under is a difficult trick to master because it is far too easy to perform the trick aggressively and end up traveling. On the other end of the spectrum, some athletes will have a tendency to kick too softly or hold on too long in an attempt to refrain from traveling at all. In this particular instance, student will have a very slow or non-existent rotation. Thus, it is a successful combination of both that will yield the best result. In flying trapeze, and in life, one should never have too much of one thing to the extreme. In the case of the Forward Under in particular, the flyer will learn that there is a delicate harmony that exists between aggression and control. Both Aggression and Gentleness must coexist together for the practitioner to become truly successful.