A fun and unique trick that is rarely taught to students. The Tornaros, also known as “Kip Half-turn”, is slowly becoming more popular. It is named after a Ted Tornaros, a flyer who performed and popularized the trick. In order to perform the trick in Regular Time (Double Time), mastery of the Turn-around and Front-end Uprise is required. In many schools, this trick is rarely taught to students due to the difficulty nature of learning a Front Uprise. However, it is entirely possible to perform the trick in Triple Time, by substituting the Front Uprise requirement for a Backend Uprise. The prerequisites for learning this skill are a solid Turn Around, either a Front or Backend Uprise, and a Half-turn.
When performing the Tornaros, the Flyer will turn-around, then either performs a Front Uprise or Backend Uprise, and at the back peak the Flyer will then perform the equivalent of a Half-turn to the catcher’s hands. In Figure A above, the flyer has performed a turnaround and mounted the bar. At the back peak, the flyer will perform a Kip as shown in Figure B. During this time, there will be a gentle push off the bar with the arms to help initiate the twist. If the push is done too vigorously, the bar will come off to the side too much and cannot be easily retrieved by someone on board. It should be noted that some sway of the bar is usually inevitable, but even so, we want to minimalize this as much as possible to increase the likelihood of returning from the catch. Figures C and D show the flyer turning and presenting towards the catcher.
The trick should be learned in a twisting belt. When first learning the skill, the flyer will need a wide grip on the bar after the turnaround in order to fit the twisting belt between the arms during the Uprise. Mastery of either the Backend Uprise or the Front Uprise is a Definite requirement, as the coach will be unable to assist the student during the Uprise when swinging in reverse. As a matter of fact, the coach should not pull on the safety lines at all during the Uprise when facing the opposite way. Doing so may have the opposite intended effect and increase the likelihood of injury.
A good preparatory progression for learning the Tornaros can be seen in second diagram. Here, the athlete will simply Turnaround, mount the bar, and at the back peak the athlete will slowly lean back and lift their toes forward to perform a bullet drop to the net. Take care to not release the bar too soon. Notice in Figure C, that the body has left contact with the bar, but the hands are still holding on. This drill can be performed in a regular non-twisting belt.
This progression does NOT actually assist in learning a Tornaros per se, but it will help the athlete get mentally comfortable with performing an Uprise whilst facing the opposite direction. It can take a few times to get comfortable with performing an Uprise whilst seeing the board; all the normal visual cues will be different. In this way, we are using the concept of ‘learning in pieces’, instead of attempting ‘all the pieces at once’. Additionally, learning a bullet drop from an Uprise position whilst traveling in reverse is a neat little trick to have on hand. That skill alone can help increase one’s body awareness and aerial awareness.
As the Tornaros (Kip Half-turn) becomes more popularized, we may eventually see other permutations of the skill. Some Flyers have even theorized and experimented with a Full-Twisting Tornaros; this would be called a Kip Pirouette. So, if you have a solid Uprise or a solid Front Uprise, consider talking to your coach about learning this unique and interesting trick. Your coach will be able to determine if this is the right trick for you.