This is another topic I intend to make a video about one day. I’m adapting this post from some comments I’ve made on /r/bboy before, because I think this is worth writing about.
I believe that swipes are the easiest, physically most accessible powermove in all of breaking. So, I believe this is a fun move that every beginner should be able to quickly pick up, provided they learn it correctly.
I personally learned how to swipe after I learned to windmill and flare. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong when learning swipes originally. I think I didn’t understand how to place my hands in a circle. When I finally learned it, I realized that it was something I could have learned very early on. Let’s think about it for a second.. how hard are different powermoves to learn? Let’s list some basic ones, and the prerequisites necessary…
- windmill: a solid handglide freeze and a backspin. Alternatively, some people do learn it by skipping directly into a head windmill, like in this older Kaio tutorial, but either way this involves some sort of freeze foundation
- cricket: handglide freeze, obviously, and a good one to boot since you will be hopping around on it
- headspin: a very solid headstand
- handhops: a very solid handstand
- flare: some people do start with flares alongside windmill. This requires good flexibility, and realistically a good handstand. Maybe you could wing the move and learn handstand along the way, but this is a hard first move for sure
- halo: I have heard of some people learning halo as their first powermove. This only really makes sense for people who are really good with chair freeze and chair freeze transitions
When we look at this list, how do swipes compare? Sure, you’re not going to get it in a day because you will need to build the coordination to do it, but there is no strict freeze foundation necessary to learn them. Flexibility? not really, it helps to do clean ones, but you can do multiple swipes with relatively closed legs. An example is the video below, where Simonster doesn’t really bother using his full flexibility when doing these. A handstand? having that would be a plus, but unnecessary. You’re on your hands between swipes, but never in a real position where you need to balance or hold yourself up much. If you can do a few pushups, you probably have the strength necessary to do swipes
In college my roommate went with me to practice a couple of times. Within a month, he learned one leg swipes. Sure, they weren’t pretty, but he could do multiples consistently. He was just moderately fit and lean, and able to do like 20 pushups. No other real breaking foundation, besides having learned toprock and a 5-second handglide freeze in high school once. For a beginner, learning this move will develop strength, and there are aspects to swipes that will help build up to more advanced moves. It can probably be a real confidence booster. So, I encourage beginners to learn swipes.
Simonster has a very clear and concise tutorial. There are many swipe tutorials, I would recommend watching them until it’s clear how you have to move around in a circular motion when doing these