Freestyle Introduction
There are a few definitions which every freestyler should know. This move-list will be totally useless if you don’t know those definitions. For those of you just breaking into the freestyle realm of footbag, knowing just a few basic things will help you immensely in the long run. All of the moves on the following pages have move descriptions that are in quite a bit of detail, but if you don’t know what a dexterity is, or what Paradox means, you could find all of this quite confusing. So here’s just a few definitions to get you off on the right track.

Everyday Definitions:

Add-Hunter=Refers to people who take advantage of the shortfalls of the Add system. People who hit almost nothing but Motion and Blurry Whirl just for the five adds are Add-Hunters.

Adds=An idea that Rick Reese and Kenny Shultz came up with WAY long ago, adds (Which stands for “Additions”) are used to count the number of move components in a move. I can’t stress enough that adds do NOT equal difficulty of a move. There are six add categories: DEX for dexterity, where you get one add for each dexterity in a move. PDX for paradox, where you get one add for a paradox component if your move contains one. BOD for any spins, flying contacts, symposium components, ducks or dives, where you get one add for each instance. UNS for an unusual surface delay, such as a final delay on the sole of your shoe, or crook of your knee, where you get one add. XBD for a delay performed when your delay foot is in crossbody position, or tucked behind your other leg, where you get one add. And DEL, an add given to a move if it ends with a delay.

Back-To-Back=The execution of one move on both sides of your body, one after the next. Ie:Paradox Whirl>Paradox Whirl

Bail=To perform a trick that’s below your ability, for instance, hitting Blurry Whirl, getting a bad set out of it, and BAILING to a Butterfly. This can also refer to a mid-trick change, for instance, Torque is a Mirage, bailed to Osis.

Beast=A very impressive combination of three six add or higher tricks in a row.

Bust=The act of performing a freestyle act. Ie:Busting a Ripwalk.

Circle-Kicking=The group of kids in the field at lunch-time, kicking that hacky-sack instead of studying Chemistry.

Clean=A move that is hit without any “the”ness or unnecessary body contact. Also, when a move is hit well, but away from the body, so it can’t be “sealed”.

Combo=Just that. A combination of two or more freestyle moves performed without dropping the footbag. Ie:Blur>Smear>Fairy Butterfly or any other “Combo” of freestyle moves. A Mirror combo involves four or more tricks, where the second half of the combo is the same as the first, but done on the opposite side of your body ie:Blur>Smear>Fairy Butterfly>Blur>Smear>Fairy Butterfly. A Rewind combo involves any number of tricks where the combo would look the same if rewound on a VCR ie:Blur>Legbeater or Sumo>Atom Smasher>Atomic Drifter. The second combo is a rewind because Atom Smasher is a rewind of itself.

Comp=A footbag competition. Can involve any number of different freestyle, net, or simple kicking competitions. Also known as “Tourneys.”

Consecutive=This can mean two things. Either the number of times one can contact the footbag before it hits the ground, or the execution of one move any number of times on the same side of your body ie:Blurry Drifter>Blurry Drifter

Crispy Style=A method of performing a trick that separates each component. Ie:Nuclear Same Butterfly(With a plant) is the Crispy version of Barfly.

Delay=The act of stopping motion of the footbag by using a surface of your body as an obstacle as opposed to just kicking the bag. Usually the feet are used, but often other body parts are used. A delay that is halted and held in position for a noticeable amount of time is called a “Stall”.

Dexterity=A move component and Add Category. A dexterity is performed by bringing one leg over the top of the footbag from one side to the other. Dexterities come in two varieties. The Out dexterity comes from the outside of your body to the inside (Left leg would go over the bag from left to right). An In Dexterity goes from the inside of your body to the outside (Left leg would go over the bag from right to left). Neither is more difficult than the other, except under certain circumstances.

Drill=A method used to learn freestyle moves. This is a combo that usually involves a series of moves performed on one side of your body, followed by the same moves on the opposite side of your body. Ie:Paradox Mirage>Legbeater>Drifter repeat.

Fairy Set=A toe-set where the setting leg does an out to in dexterity while the bag is on it’s way up. See Fairy(2).

Far=A paradox move involves a clipper set across the body. Some moves aren’t paradox even with this type of set. These moves are called “Far”. Ie:Far Legover=Clip>Same Out>Same Toe. Since the bag is never fully circled, this move is not paradox.

Fearless=A combo comprised of only moves five adds and up. Ie:Blurriest>Fury>Pixie Paradon. Very tough stuff.

Flipside=The “bad” side of a shredder. Some footbag players are almost perfect on both sides, but everyone has one side that’s less perfect than the other. Ie:If your right foot clipper is stronger than your left, you’re probably left-sided. Your right side is your Flipside.

Flyer=Any move in which the final contact occurs in mid-air. “Flying” is worth one add.

Genuine=A level of play in which the shredder in question doesn’t perform any moves below four adds. This is a very sought after position, but no one is truly Genuine yet.

Guiltless=A level of play in which the shredder in question doesn’t perform any moves below three adds. Many shredders are Guiltless, in fact it’s the level of most professional footbag players at the moment.

Jobs’ Notation=The shorthand method invented by Ben Jobs in 1995 for describing freestyle footbag moves. See “Understanding the list” below, unless you are Scott Davidson.

Link=To perform two moves, one after another. Ie:I linked Ripwalk and Barfly! or He was linking PS Whirls like Lon!

Opener=A move used to open a combo. This is usually a butterfly, setting up for a big clipper-set move, but if the combo starts on clipper most people try a big move as an opener.

Original Recipe=A method of performing a trick that involves the combination of two or more components into one motion ie:Torque is an original recipe Stepping Osis.

Osis=A quarter-to-half spin in which the first leg to pass the bag scoops it up into a clipper delay. ie:(Clip>Back Spin>Op Clip)

Paradox=A component of a move that requires a radical change in body position to execute correctly. Usually used to refer to Clipper-set moves in which the setting leg performs a dexterity (This dexterity being the paradox element) and the bag is then returned to the setting side of your body using a dexterity or a delay.

Pixie Set=A toe-set where the setting leg does an in to out dexterity while the bag is on it’s way up. See Pixie(2).

Plant=A pet that will never get bored with you. OR the act of putting your foot down in preparation of the next move component. Ie:Magellan requires a plant.

Props=An important part of freestyle. If someone hits a new move, or pulls of a nice combo, or tries really hard to impress you with their styles, it’s nice to give them a high-five or even just a verbal high-five.

Scuff=Known by some as “Toe-Ups” or even “Dragon-stomping”, this is the act of using your foot to scrape your bag along the ground, using the momentum to flip it up onto your foot. This will always make a true freestyle player cringe, ESPECIALLY if you do it with their bag. This will ruin freestyle bags, sometimes the day you buy them. Don’t under any circumstances, scuff another freestyler’s bag, especially one made of facile or suede.

Sealed=To show mastery over a move by linking it to another move, or catch the bag after doing the move. ie:That Janiwalker was clean and sealed to butterfly!

Self-Serve=A frowned upon act. In a circle of shredders you don’t know very well, you shouldn’t pick the bag up after you drop it and start another combo. Pass it to another shredder. If you didn’t get a good combo, that shredder might pass it back. This rule can be bent if you are a beginner and you are just learning to link moves together.

Session=A get-together of footbag players for the purpose of playing footbag. A session usually lasts for two or three hours of intense shred.

Set=The act of flicking the bag upwards from a delay, as well as all move components done before the bag reaches it’s peak and begins to fall.

Setting Leg=The leg that set the footbag for the move in question. This leg will not change until the final delay in the move.

Shred=The word used by most when talking about Freestyle Footbag. Some say “Hack” which is kind of an incorrect term, because it’s evolved from “Hacky Sack” which is a brand-name held by Wham-O!(tm). Shred is a newer, more correct term. ie:He shredded hard! Want to Shred? Better eat your shreddies!

Simple=A concept that describes “Near-Symposium.” For instance, a simple Legover starts like a flail, but near the end, your setting foot touches down and you catch the bag on your support foot. These moves aren’t really any more “Simple” than their non-symposium counterpart, but they are an interesting concept. At times it can be hard to tell if something is truly simple. Simple is not worth any additions.

Skool=An important part of freestyle. Skooling means practicing. Most start out unable to do an Around the World. After a couple months, most will have Skooled their ATW, and moved on to harder concepts. Skool can also stand for “Show-Up” although it’s taken much more lightly with footbag. If you Skool someone, you might hit their same combo at twice the speed, or double their Smear record. It’s usually impolite to Skool someone who’s unfamiliar with those they’re shredding with. Skooling others is left to professionals who have been skooled many times already.

Support Leg=The leg that gives support. When one leg is performing a normal dexterity, your support leg is planted on the ground. The Initial support leg is always the leg that does not set the move. (It gives support for the set)

Symposium=Any dexterity performed without support from the other leg. In other words you do the dexterity without ever planting your support leg.

Unusual=Any delay or contact with the bag that is done with a surface other than:

The inside foot surface, The Outside foot surface, The knee, The toe, and anywhere along the arm (Which is against the rules). Some examples are Heel, Crook of knee (Pincher, Squeeze), Sole of shoe, Forehead, Top of head, Calf, Tip of toe, kneck, Peak of hat, the possibilities go on and on.

The=A move in which one or more components isn’t completed properly. Ie:Try to do a Barfly but miss the bag the first time around it. Common courtesy says to pass the bag on if one of your moves is dubbed “The”.

X-DEX=A move in which there are at least two full dexterities around the bag, with a total of four crosses of the up-down axis of the bag. A way of showing paradoxism without actually awarding a paradox add to a move. Negated by symposium. Xdex moves are noted with an X beside the move.

Any other words will be defined as they are uncovered.

Moves Not Included:

This list is supposed to be very complete, containing as many of the moves hit by shredders around the world as possible. However, with all the different variations of moves possible, that goal is Impossible, literally. One thing that has been agreed on by the footbag community is that the set of a move does not change the difficulty of the move. This means that a move set from a heel delay is just as difficult, but no more difficult if it’s set from toe. This means that I’ve tried to avoid putting too many moves that aren’t set from Clipper or Toe Delay. However, if a move has a different name if the set is changed, it may be listed under both sets.

The one case where set does change the difficulty of a move is with PARADOX. That is in fact the paradox. All moves that are set from clipper in which the setting leg performs a dexterity, followed by any number of move components, one of which must include a return to the setting side. In this case, the fact that the move is set from clipper changes the difficulty of the move.

ie:Mirage=Clip>Op In>Op Toe OR Toe>Op In>Op Toe

Both of these moves are two adds and are the same difficulty.

ie:Pixie=Toe>Same In>Op Toe

Paradox Mirage=Clip>Same In>Op Toe

The second move is PARADOX, so it is one add higher than the first. Try it and you’ll see the difference!

Another situation in which the set matters is the ROOTED set. This is known as Antisymposium. If you delay the bag on your toe, then plant this foot and lift the other one, then set the bag up, THROUGH your lifted leg, forming a dexterity, this is considered a ZOID set. If you delay the bag on your toe, plant this foot and lift the other one, then perform an unsupported pixie set, this is called a rooted pixie set, and is worth one extra add. I’ve included a few rooted pixie moves, but I’ve avoided Zoid set moves, since nearly every move can be set this way.

The other situation where the set matters is with XDEX. If a move contains a single crossing set, and the set is changed to a double crossing set, the difficulty of the move is greater. With Mirage this makes no difference, but with a move like Blur it makes all the difference. (See XDEX under Everyday Definitions).

Following the idea that the set doesn’t change the difficulty, usually the final delay doesn’t change the difficulty either. Because of this, you won’t see too many moves that end with Outside or Inside Delay. There are a few, like Guay(3). Also, although the add-count of a move is changed, a move isn’t much different if it’s finished with a clipper, a dragon, a crossbody Pincher, a crossbody rake, or a Flapper. I’ve tried to include as many variations on a move that end with crossbody rake and Dragon, but the other variations have been kept to a minimum.

Understanding the List:

Jobs’ notation seems like a very difficult thing to understand at first, but it’s not really all that tough. The basic notation is as follows:

(Toe/Clip)>(Same/Op) (In/Out)>(Same/Op) (Toe/Clip).

By picking one of the two notations in each position, you can show the notation of:

Around the World, Pixie, Pixie Same Clipper, Pixie Clipper, Toe Pickup, Toe Mirage, Toe Drifter, Toe Whirl, Fairy, Fairy Clipper, Toe Same Butterfly, Toe Legover, Illusion, Toe Op Butterfly, Toe Reverse Drifter, Far Pickup, Paradox Mirage, Paradox Drifter, Paradox Whirl, Far Legover, Paradox Illusion, Royale, Infinity Butterfly, Pickup, Mirage, Whirl, Drifter, Clipper Legover, Bubba, Reverse Whirl, Clipper Op Butterfly, or Reverse Drifter.

These 33 moves are all of the possible single dexterity moves without a body add, unusual add or Dragon delay. There are no other possibilities unless you do a Rooted set, stomping move, or another dexterity. What this shows is that Jobs’ notation does it’s job (ha) very well. With simple changes to the notation, you can list almost any possible move, and the moves that can’t be described with this notation should be obvious.

What all this out-in same-op stuff means:

Let’s take a look at Toe-Set Mirage. (Toe>Op In>Op Toe). What this means is that the move is set from toe delay. The opposite leg from the set does a dexterity from in to out (The left leg would go from the right side, over the bag, to the left side). And the opposite foot from the dexterity ends the move with a toe delay. Each component is based directly on the last leg to do a component. Barfly looks like (Clip>Same Out>Same Out>Op Clip). This means the set is from clipper, the same leg does two out to in dexterities, then the opposite leg (The initial support leg) comes up and delays the bag on your clipper. If we switch one word for another, making it (Clip>Same Out>Op Out>Same Clip), we’ve created a nearly impossible move, where the clipper leg does a paradox out to in dexterity, then the other leg does an out to in dexterity, then goes behind your other leg and delays the bag on your clipper. This is a very impressive move, but it isn’t a Barfly (It’s a Nuclear Reverse Drifter :)

There’s plenty of other things you can do in a move. Gangsta Party looks like this: (Clip>Back Spin>Duck>Op In>Back Spin>Same Clip). What this means is that you set from clipper, then BACK spin, meaning you spin away from the bag so that your back sees it first. (If you set from right clipper you would spin to the right) Basically, a back spin spins you away from the bag so that immediately you can’t see it. Then when you spot the bag you duck under it (From right to left in this case) then you do a paradox in to out dexterity, then back spin again (To the right still in this case) and delay the bag on the same clipper. This move ends in something called an OSIS, which is a half-spin into a clipper. This is a very tough move, but what if we change a couple words again? (Clip>Front Spin>Dive>Op In>Back Spin>Same Clip). This means that if you set from right clipper you would spin to the left, meaning you would have full view of the bag for a much longer time than with a back spin. Then you would spot the bag and duck under it from LEFT to RIGHT, which means you would have to duck over the bag first, then under it. Then you would do the Whirling Osis, which in this case isn’t paradox any more. If you don’t understand this, don’t worry. Spin direction is hard to understand for the best of us.

Symposium move components are a little easier to understand, but hard to do. A Symposium Mirage looks like so: (Toe>No Plant While Op In>Op Toe). This means just what it says. You set from toe, but don’t plant your setting foot while you do the dexterity, then delay the bag on your setting foot. Symposium moves are just moves in which a dexterity is performed without support from the other leg. Examples of unsupported components that aren’t symposium are Pogo and Dada. Pogo is an unsupported Stepping set, meaning clipper set no plant op in, and this isn’t actually difficult. And Dada is an unsupported butterfly. Unsupported butterflies are quite fake, and though they can be done correctly, usually they aren’t, so they aren’t considered symposium.

Take a look at Ripped Warrior (Clip>Op In>Duck>Op Out>Op Clip). This move is a Stepping Ducking Butterfly. You would set from clip, bring your support leg from in to out, duck under the bag (From your first dex side to your setting leg’s side), then do a butterfly. But with Zulu Warrior (Clip-Op In>Dive>Op Out>Op Clip), you start the same, but dive over then under the bag, bringing it back to the side it started on, then dive over the bag again and do a butterfly. Zulu moves and Weaving moves (Ducking Same Side) always end with an additional duck over the bag to the opposite side of your body. (For more info see move descriptions for ducking, diving, weaving, and Zulu moves.)

The cool thing about footbag is the sheer amount of pure possibility. As you can see, even just using clippers and toes, you can create hundreds of different moves to play with. But a true freestyler knows that there’s more to footbag than clippers and toes. You can delay the bag on the sole of your shoe, the heel of your shoe, your kneck, the back of your knee, and anywhere else that a person with no arms could do. Gary Lautt even uses his hands to perform dexterities. He doesn’t touch the bag, so he’s not breaking any rules! The move Clip>Same Out>Op XBD

Sole is called a Sole Train or a Butterfly Flapper. It’s just like a butterfly, but instead of delaying the bag on your clipper, you delay it on the sole of your shoe, still in crossbody position. If you replace “Sole” with Heel or Pincher or XBD Rake, you’re creating an entirely new move that is unique and interesting, and if you use it in a routine, you’ll probably get points for uniqueness.

And that’s the Jobs’ system, and a little help with freestyle footbag.


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