Footbag & Zen

Footbag is what high school students play when they get high and a sure element at music festivals across the world but it is also a sport performed by serious athletes. But why do young men and women want to use numerous hours every week practicing a sport that reminds of river dancing and has no financial prospects? Why do people with jobs or in the middle of taking their education spend time organizing clubs, tournaments and making videos? And why do these same people spend considerable amounts on going to Worlds and other tournaments every year on the other side of the world?

One of the main reasons for me and many of us to keep on coming back is of course the amazing community we have, both locally and internationally. This article is going to focus on entirely different aspects of why this sport is so great.

Another reasons for why I love footbag is how much you can work on a single trick, a single motion. An example of this is one of the most popular tricks – the Ripwalk. A perfect Ripwalk is done without force and where the body and not the head is in control. It doesn’t take a lot of strength but hours of practice. There isn’t a set result but you have to slowly feel how it is supposed to feel. It is this perfect feeling that make many of us practice for hours. The motion is so compressed, that is possible to find the absolute perfect Ripwalk. The three tapping sounds a perfect Ripwalk makes can make many of us swoon and I am sure a lot of us can recognize a Ripwalk solely from the sound it makes. And then there are thousand of tricks like this in footbag.

Video of Jay Boychuk doing Ripwalks

I love when it is not only a ripwalk that makes you feel like this, but an entire run. When you feel like you are in the zone. I don’t mean in the zone like when Vasek talks about tora, that’s on a whole other level. I would rather compare it to the Buddhist word “zen”, moments of enlightenment acquired through direct practice and meditation.

In everyday life there isn’t always a lot of interesting drama around us. But in the less than a minute a decent footbag run takes it is possible to depict great drama, true storytelling. The use of inspiration from the other players in the circle, the change in pace and intensity, the special style and personality you reflect with your game – all of this makes you enter a special mindset and this can be felt by the viewer. This is why in my opinion that a normal freestyle circle is the best part of the game, and the way we should expose our sport to the public. It’s the one place where footbag can truly be freestyle.

I love freestyle footbag.

Written by Asmus Helms

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