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July 20, 2007 at 12:39 am #27137adamguildMember
The story of
Why would someone be motivated to create a judging system for flatland?
First off, Ground Tactics is not a subjective judging system. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s an
objective scoring system. There are two objectives: high score single
trick, banger and high score set of tricks, connectors. It has been
developed to offer an alternative to opinion-based competitions (it is
not meant to replace the current systems). This project grew into
Ground Tactics, the initial goal wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t a battle-type concept. It
started as TRIKtionary, a complete trick list.
I started collecting every flatland trick and name. When I told others
what I was doing, the project began to snowball. I was getting tricks
and names from people all over the world! The support and interest
overwhelmed me, and I began to think how this list could benefit all
riders. I wanted to share it with everyone. I drew a stick figure
sketch of every trick on an index card, and tacked them to three walls
in our studio (over 400 tricks). This enabled me to stand back and
look at the similarities and differences in these tricks. I saw
patterns and began organizing them into families of like-tricks. In
the process, the BMX Matrix revealed itself.
I studied how tricks evolved from other tricks. I wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t expecting to
get this deep into it, but I donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t like to do anything half-ass. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve
become obsessed with documenting and sharing the BMX Matrix. I decided
to do two things: 1.) Develop an in-depth guidebook and 2.) Edit a
sample version, on video to display how the Matrix could be applied to
a scoring system. I know I should have put the guidebook out first,
however, the video was necessary to help me explain to others what
direction it could go. Nothing is set in stone as far as Ground
Tactics goes. The guidebook will take another year to be complete.
Currently, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s in a very rough form.
Back to the Matrix, which is really the heart of Ground Tactics. You
canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t see it, but the scoring system is based on it. In sports, scores
are based on measurable facts. This is something that flatland lacks
(only because itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a relatively new sport). With the Matrix, all
tricks are listed by degree of technicality. The most basic, like the
common bike ride is valued at zero. With variations, the value
increases. The most technical tricks are valued up to 25, plus
upgrades (packers, trucks, etc.). The Matrix and TRIKtionary do not
include combinations, only base positions. The links are left for the
rider to figure out and create.
Freestyle has always been about being creative ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ taking what has been
done to the next level. This became obvious when I studied the cards
covering my studio walls. So, with this in mind, adding values to the
tricks seemed effortless. Starting at 0, followed by 1, then 2, and so
on, as the tricks progressed. There were a few exceptions, which were
studied and discussed in detail with others. Hundreds of people passed
through the studio, so there have been many conversations regarding the
topic. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve heard many opinions, and have absorbed every one. In my
research, I have contacted riders requesting input, and have referenced
boxes of magazines and videos spanning over twenty years, in order to
This effort was meant to help progress flatland and share the knowledge
I have gathered. It was not a path I ever imagined I would take. It
has been over four years of work so far, and I have been paid nothing.
It is a labor of love and a way for me to share something I am
passionate about. I realize that many riders consider flatland art,
not sport. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an artist and see the
art in flatland. At the same time, however, flatland is diverse and
many riders seek to compete.
With so many riders training for contests, the need for an objective
system has never been greater. Ground Tactics is an example of what
that could be. Similar to basketball, a two pointer is the same two
points for everyone. Someone doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t get more points for popularity.
People knew of my passion for flatland and that I didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t care to
compete. As a result, I was asked to judge and consult for many
events. I was flown all over the globe, and am very grateful for this,
but part of me felt guilty. People trusted me, and I did my best every
time, but when it came down to it, there was no system to refer to, and
no solid explanation for contest results. I started turning down
offers such as C.O.B. Tokyo, and Moto Ground Force Singapore (my
sincere apologies, thank you for the consideration). I started
thinking about a solution, a way to back my actions and stand
accountable for my decisions. Since flatland is so complex, I knew
some of the details might be lost in translation. I thought it best to
put the experiment out on video (all inTRIKat titles are experimental).
The purpose was not to offend anyone, but to give back to BMX. Ground
Tactics is the first video IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve done where the riders got paid. All
travel expenses came out of my pocket. Flat Clothing and Flatland Fuel
put up the $1000.00 purse. With four years of labor behind it, I will
never recover my costs completely. Although I would love to give away
copies to everyone, I canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t afford to do that. Thirty to thirty-five
riders interested in providing feedback, received advanced copies. I
thought I would sell some at a low cost to give everyone an opportunity
to see it. Unfortunately, the price at Flatland Fuel is inflated ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“
110%. Highlights will be on http://www.bmxgroundtactics.net in August, and
the complete DVD will be available for $14.99. Currently, there is a
rough copy of TRIKology. Look for the complete guidebook next year.
Details of the scoring system may not be apparent in the video. There
is a lot of information. Visually, the screen might look like a video
game or any modern sporting event. There is a lot going on in my mind
when I watch a rider and I wanted to give the viewer a sample of that.
You will notice the round number (Ground Tactics is based on 5 rounds),
also the number of attempts the rider is on. There is no time clock.
I want to promote a low-pressure atmosphere where riders donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t hold
back and do safe tricks. I want to see cutting edge riding. In the
lower third area, subtitles provide the viewer with trick names.
Sometimes it flashes too fast to read, but each variation, direction,
and modification is being calculated. If the rider faults on an
attempt, the penalty flashes. There are eight degrees of faults from
dabs to slams. You will see everything, faults and all. For those
that find it too difficult to watch the faults, the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œreplayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â version is
provided in addition to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œplay allÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Ground Tactics works on a par system. Rounds 1-4 are par 5, while
round 5 is a par 10. In other words, a rider is given a certain number
of attempts before being penalized. With the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œFresh out of the Box
FactorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, riders are rewarded for complete sets on first, second, and
third attempts. After said par, slight deductions come into effect.
There are two classes: Professional and Amateur, with two distinct
differences between them. First, ProÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s get paid, AmÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s get products.
The main difference is that a professional rider only earns credit for
tricks valued at 13 and over. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe Filler FactorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â is designed to
address the issue of doing a couple of safe tricks over and over to
accumulate points ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ not here, maybe in Tony HawkÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s video game (IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m not
sure, IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve never played it, ask P.J. Terry). ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe Broken Record
FactorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â kicks-in when a rider repeats the same trick, consecutively,
four times or more. A rider will receive credit for the first, second,
and third repeated trick, but the fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on, will
not be rewarded. A rider may perform these reps, but will not be able
to milk them for more points after the third. There is much more that
goes into evaluating a run than just accounting for flashy tricks.
Some people believe that a measurable scoring system is unnecessary.
I am not trying to sway any opinions. However, before criticizing this
effort, consider for a moment why the AFL/IFL was put to rest. Do you
wonder why ESPN eliminated flatland from the X Games? Do you wonder
why flatland will not be considered for the Dew Tour, the Olympics, or
any other reputable event? It is due to the lack of organization,
unity, system and seeding/ranking. If we can provide for these
challenges, flatland will gain the level of respect it deserves. Among
other benefits, this will attract sponsorship dollars that will go into
riderÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s pockets. It would be nice to see this in our lifetime, so the
next generations could benefit. Everyone including non-riders can
enjoy flatland. The common person can appreciate the skill and
dedication involved in flatland, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s visually stunning whether you
ride or not. Why not take it to the next level with organized
competition, where the riders benefit. Organizers like Mat Hoffman and
Steve Swope, along with Zeiss (Circle of Balance), Verberg
(Flatground), Ito/Uno/Tanaka (KOG), Massabova (Flat Ring), Jumelin
(Ninja Spin), Prantl (WorldÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s, MasterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s), Adams/OÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢Brien (Voodoo), and
Day (AFL/IFL) deserve much love for what they did for flatland events,
I thank you. I am very grateful for your support and showing me my
dreams of putting flatland in the spotlight. It reinforces in my mind
how incredibly awesome flatland is.
The future for Ground Tactics is Internet competition, where riders
submit footage. Membership fees go to pro purse, and members get a
Ground Tactics DVD.
Nobody will be forced to join, buy, or watch the DVD ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ nobody will be
required to write a review. Internet competitions will open doors for
those who are unable to travel to international events.
Thanks to those that have supported this project. The input and
constructive criticism is much appreciated. Free annual membership
will be given to inTRIKat alumni and Ground Tactics DVD purchases from
There is much more to these projects than I can put in this email. If
you have any questions, contact me. I would like to answer as best I
Thank you for your time,
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