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A kip-up is an acrobatic move in which a person transitions from a supine, and less commonly, a prone position, to a standing position by propelling the body away from the floor. It is used in activities such as acro dance, breakdancing, gymnastics, martial arts, professional wrestling, and Freerunning, and in action movie fight sequences. The kip-up is also variously called a rising handspring, kick-up, Chinese get up, kick-to-stand, nip-up, flip-up, and carp skip-up.

Execution and physics[edit]

From supine position[edit]

The performer draws both legs (which may be either straight or bent) to the chest, rolls back onto the shoulders, and optionally places hands on the floor near the ears. The performer then thrusts both legs away from the floor while pushing off from the floor with shoulders and, if used, hands.

The leg motion during the thrust involves an expanding angle between legs and trunk that develops angular momentum in the legs. When the thrust is completed, the rotation of the legs with respect to the trunk is terminated and, as a result, the angular momentum of the legs is transferred to the entire body.

The linear momentum of the thrust carries the body into the air feet first while the angular momentum causes the airborne body to rotate. The back is arched so that with sufficient thrust, back curvature, and body rotation, the performer will land on the feet.

From prone position[edit]

With body face-down, the performer pushes against the floor with fists or palms while kicking back the legs so as to develop momentum that carries the body into the air. The performer lands in a squatting position. The feet may not be utilized.


Name Description
Straight Legged Kip-up While the mechanics to the move are all but identical, the distinguishing feature to this is that the legs remain straight while they are brought to the chest. While it is slightly more difficult, it only serves to be more aesthetically pleasing to some. This variation is more typical of martial arts.
No Hands Kip-up This variation is considered more difficult because it generally requires more force to be exerted on the shoulders and neck. A distinguishing feature of the Wushu version of this is normally executed by placing the hands directly above the knees as the legs are brought to the chest. From there the hands push to add extra speed to the legs as they recoil back to land. Practically every variation of the original Kipup can be done without hands and springing up from the shoulders and back of the neck.
Prone Kip-up With body face-down, the performer pushes against the floor with fists or palms while kicking back the legs so as to develop momentum that carries the body into the air. The performer lands in a squatting position. The feet may not be utilized.
Rolling Kip A Kip-up executed from a push up or kneeling position. The practitioner starts a forward roll but instead of rolling over to his or her feet, the legs are held back and close to the chest. This sets up the practitioner to push off and do a Kip-up.
Headspring Also known as Head Kip, it is a move that consists of getting in a kneeling position and going on the top of ones head and pushing off doing a forward handspring like Kip-up.
Kip-up 180 The difference between a normal kip-up and a kip-up 180 is the rotation added while floating in the air after pushing off the ground. The 180 indicates a rotation of 180 degrees. A harder variation that works the same way is the Kip-up 360.

Hop back variations[edit]

Hop back variations all involve the practitioner starting in a standing position, possibly jumping in the air and landing on their shoulders/back to spring back up by way of kip-up.

Name Description
Standard hop back to kip-up, or Continuous kip-up The practitioner crouches down and back as if sitting down on an imaginary chair. Then they hop backwards in a similar manner to a back handspring. The hands are placed behind the back of the neck to protect it from receiving damage. Once the body has landed on the shoulders and hands, the body coils like a spring and a kip-up is executed.
Rubber band The rubber band is a bboying (breakdancing) move which consists of repeated kip-ups which do not go all the way to standing position. A rubber band is more like a back handspring, except it requires gently lowering the neck/upper shoulders to the ground to kip back up.
Ditang breakfall The ditang breakfall is a variant from ditangquan. It consists of the practitioner jumping directly up and almost coiling up the body for a kip-up in mid-air. They then fall straight down to the ground and land on the upper part of their back and slap their hands to the sides to break their fall. The practitioner pauses on the ground momentarily after which they kip-up. They may repeat this whole procedure multiple times. This kip-up is normally done straight legged with the legs split a bit off to the sides.

See also[edit]

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