What's The Difference Between A Kasamatsu & A Tsukahara?

In his 1982 play The Real Thing, British playwright Tom Stoppard writes that love has to do “with knowing and being known.” If loving is knowing—knowing those tiny, nuanced things that turn an idea into a being—then loving gymnastics is knowing the difference between a Kasamatsu and a Tsukahara.

Because like love, the difference between the two just barely, barely makes sense. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Both the Kasamatsu and the Tsukahara vaults have the same entry: a handspring with a half (or quarter) turn onto the table. Things then start to get tricky: in a Kasamatsu vault, the gymnast twists in the direction of the approach (so a left-handed approach would twist left, and vice versa), and in a Tsukahara, the gymnast twists in the opposite direction of the approach (so a left-handed approach would twist right, and the other way around).   

Now, let’s get to the actual twisting. In a Kasamatsu vault, one twist is already implied; in a Tsukahara, there are none built in. This means that a Kasamatsu (or Kas) full actually has two twists, as does a Tsukahara (or Tsuk) double; a Kas double has three twists, just like a Tsuk triple. 

And because things need to get even more complicated, none of this even matters in women’s gymnastics: they’re all scored the same anyways. People only really do Kasamatsu-style vaults anymore, but because labeling them as Tsuks is less complicated (the number of twists in the name is the actual number of twists, not the square root or the derivative or the x+1 of the number of twists), the names have become interchangeable. Here’s a video of Jade Carey doing a Kas full/Tsuk double at the 2017 World Championships:


So when you see a vault that looks… Like that, it’s actually a Kasamatsu, but is also called a Tsukahara, so either way, you probably have it right. Love doesn’t have to be so hard, after all.

Brette Warshaw is a freelance writer and consultant based in New York City. You can follow her at @bstarwarshaw.

Averina Twins & Linoy Ashram Dominate Minsk Rhythmic World Challenge Cup

Only four gymnasts stepped atop the individual podiums at the 2019 FIG Rhythmic World Challenge Cup: Arina Averina of Russia, Dina Averina of Russia, Linoy Ashram of Israel, and Milena Baldassarri of Italy. On the group side, Bulgaria found itself on the podium for all three group competitions.

Gymnasts & Groups To Watch At The Minsk Rhythmic World Challenge Cup

The 2019 FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup series continues in Minsk, Bulgaria, from Aug. 16-18. Gymnasts from more than 30 countries will be competing for medals in individual and group events, but the top gymnasts to watch are from Europe and include three Olympic hopefuls.

Simone Biles Continued To Create History At US Championships

Just 48 hours after being the first woman to land a double double off the balance beam, Simone Biles continued to write history on the second day of competition at the U.S. Championships. 

Sam Mikulak Wins Sixth National All-Around Title

After 12 hit routines, Sam Mikulak won his sixth national championship with a two-day all-around score of 174.150, in addition to a whopping four of six possible event titles. Mikulak won floor exercise, pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar. 

The Untouchable Simone Biles

The other day I was talking to a good friend and former teammate of mine about Simone Biles. The 22-year-old gymnast came up because two weeks ago, as you no doubt have heard by now, while warming up at the U.S. Classic, Biles threw a new skill on floor, a triple-twisting double tuck. 

Simone Biles' Beam Dismount Highlights US Champs Day 1

The senior women put on a roller coaster of a meet on the first night of the 2019 U.S. Championships. There were historical moments, rough falls, and everything else in between. Not many people could have guessed which gymnasts would be sitting in the top five heading into the second day of competition. Here’s how it all went down. 

High-Stakes US Championships About To Begin

U.S. Championships starts this Friday, and the elite gymnastics world is heating up for this meet. Fresh off the U.S. Classic and Pan American Games, many of this country’s elite gymnasts are amping up their routines to compete at Championships. 

6 Times Simone Biles Broke The Internet

Thanks to her incredible athleticism and domination in the sport of gymnastics, Simone Biles is now a household name in the United States and around the world. 

Suspenseful Event Finals Close Out 2019 Pan American Games

Five events were featured in the final day of competition at the 2019 Pan American Games and the skills and routines did not disappoint. 

USA Adds Four Medals In First Event Finals Of Pan Am Games

The first day of event finals at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, saw medalists from eight countries in the men's floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, women's vault, and uneven bars. Team USA led Tuesday's medal count with four, followed by Canada with three, while Brazil and Colombia each won two medals.