How to mosh dance

How To Mosh: Every Move You Must Know

Call it "thrashing," "slam dancing," or "going HAM" -- it sure doesn't matter what term you use once you've gotten caught in a mosh.

The ultimate physical expression of rock 'n' roll's pure power and energy, moshing has a rich history dating as far back as the late-’70s, derived from punks who'd jump around at shows. Eventually, the speed and aggression of hardcore and thrash metal began to inspire the shoving and slamming we now know -- the honest rage and love of music exuded by bands like Black Flag and Anthrax inspiring crowds to take things in an angry-as-hell direction.

That said, moshing wasn’t always a positive release, and many a Nazi and hardcore gangster used the pit as a place to beat people up, inspiring bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and Fugazi to publicly call people out for moshing at their shows. It seemed like the crisis had come to a very public head in 1996, when Smashing Pumpkins publicly announced they were against moshing after a woman died at one of their performances.

But as fans of punk and metal evolved, so did moshing; these days, the pit is much more of a place to blow off steam and give oneself to the power of the riff than partake in a flailing free-for-all. But in case you’ve never had the pleasure of getting your shit rocked at a Lamb Of God show -- or simply wish to reconfirm what you know -- here’s a move-by-move breakdown of the mosh.


Before we talk mechanics, let's go over the generally-accepted rules to moshing. Disobey these at your own risk (i.e. do so, and people will think you’re a towering anus).

1) Pick ’em up when they fall – What it says on the label. When someone falls down, you pick ‘em up before doing anything else.

2) Hold lost items over your head – If you find someone’s lost phone, shoe, watch, glasses or wallet on the floor, hold it over your head and walk around or through the pit so they can find it.

3) No punching, choking, or fighting in general – That shit is how cops get called and venues get closed. Take it outside, champ.

3) Don’t shove someone into the pit who doesn’t want to go – Don’t be an asshole. If you want a better line of sight, move.

4) Karate gets what karate gives – Yeah, you can do several spin-kicks and chop your hands all over the place, but don’t get upset when you get slammed by the huge dude who is sick of you.

5) Don’t crowd-kill – Crowd-killing is when you wile out on the people at the edges of the pit to get them involved. Leave the innocent bystanders alone.

6) Nazis, bullies, and gropers are cruising for an abusing – If you’re here to throw the Heil, beat on someone smaller than you, or cop a feel, you’re begging someone to murder you with a crowbar.

7) No whining – Aw, did a crowd surfer accidentally kick you? Did you get accidentally duffed in the face? Sucks -- but guess what? It’s a mosh-pit. There’s a bar in the back to lean on, if you’re not feeling it.

Got it? Great. Let's move on to…


Here are the basic styles of moshing, and the moves that come with them.


Elbow-based moshing. Fun to do, sometimes painful to be around.

1a. Two-Stepping

This is an essential. It’s honestly the perfect move to make before you start doing any serious damage. It’s like running in place, only with ample elbow-throwing as you get into it. What a move, look at it go.

1b. The Lawnmower

An oldie but a goodie that became popular in the early 2000s after emo kids stole it from corny punks. It’s a pretty comical move to make at this point, especially if the point of moshing is trying to look scary. However, it used to be very a cool looking startup to an eventual beatdown.

1c. Picking Up Change

Pick it up pick it up pick it uuuup! This one sort of makes you look silly, but it’s fun to do. Snap your hand down to the ground and then yank your elbow back. Ooh, a penny!

Next up…


Mosh moves that emulate combat. Just know you kind of look like Mac from Always Sunny doing these (aaand you might get your ass kicked).

2a. The Hinge

Make a fist and stick it out in front of you. Whip your arm back and forth in a wide arc as though it’s is attached to your shoulder by a hinge. That’s it, that’s the whole move.

2b. Roundhouse

This move is when going to a show becomes the cheapest martial arts class you could ever take. Kick the leg up as far as it goes, and spin in a circle, to make contact with someone who doesn’t see it coming for the life of them. Might get you kicked right the fuck back.

2c. The Windmill

The windmill can be traced back all the way to the early '90s (check out some of those moves in Biohazard's Shades of Grey video from 1992) -- but the move would become much more mainstream with the explosion of early 2000s metalcore/hardcore. When people whirl their arms as fast as they can, there’s no way they can miss. What better way to guarantee a hit than to actually just aim at everything?

Thirsty for more? Because it's time for…


The cardio of moshing. Usually a good way to get the whole crowd involved. Smokers beware.

3a. Skanking

The go-to move for ska kids and pop-punks, skanking is like exaggerated walking, or two-stepping with no thrown elbows. Generally peaceful, and a great way to move through a…

3b. The Circle Pit

Ol’ reliable. The fascination of the circle, the wheel, the spiral, has been a driving force for mankind for all of its existence, and the circle-pit has been around since the beginning of pissed-off-dude dancing. Anyway: everyone runs in a circle creating a human whirlpool. To instigate, hold up an extended index finger and spin it over your head. Especially popular at thrash metal shows.

3c. The Wall Of Death

Though this term was originally used to describe when Nazis and assholes at hardcore shows to just mow folks down and trample them, the Wall Of Death has become a much-loved group activity at metal shows. The crowd splits down the middle and pull back, creating an aisle down the middle of the floor. At the singer’s command, the two sides run Braveheart-style at each other and collide in a glorious clash of mosh pittery. Good times, but always remember Rule #1.


WORDS: Amanda Van Poznak

The 5 Rules of a Mosh Pit

If you haven’t been to a gig before, then your first mosh pit is likely going to be quite the experience

A pretty average mosh pit

People running into each other and jumping over the place; from an outsiders perspective, mosh pits can seem very violent and unpleasant.

And honestly, they can be.

When the people in them don’t follow the rules, that is.

When done wrong, a mosh pit is a place to start a fight with the wrong people.

When done right, a mosh pit is a way to dance and express yourself to music in a physical way. It’s sort of like head-banging with your entire body. 

So this blog post is here to help you understand the differences between the two and help you to enjoy moshing for the enjoyable experience that it is, rather than the unpleasant time it can be.

Let’s begin with the cardinal rule of all Mosh Pits.

1. The Golden Rule

Seriously, if you only learn one thing about mosh pit etiquette, it should be this:

If someone falls down, pick them back up.

In this video it’s a circle pit, but the rule remains the same.

A mosh pit is a place to dance and be energetic, but they can be very dangerous If you fall down, as you can easily get trampled and badly hurt.

Let’s imagine that you fell down. I’m guessing that you would want someone to help you up, so make sure that you do it for someone else.

One of the first times I joined a mosh pit was at a gig for The Damned, back when I was around 15.

One of my all-time favourite Punk bands, just so you know

It was such a fun experience, jumping up and down and into people: I was loving life!

But all of a sudden, I slipped on the beer-soaked floor and fell right on to my back.

Looking up at the dozens of people jumping and slamming into each other over me was absolutely terrifying, and I nearly had a panic attack. 

Thankfully a few lovely people noticed and helped me to my feet immediately.

I think I got out of that pit pretty quickly after that, but I had learned an important lesson that I would remember from then on.

2. Know that Mosh Pits exist

People moshing in the wrong place is annoying and potentially dangerous.

I once saw three guys try to start a mosh pit at the very back of a Pet Shop Boys gig.

It didn’t go very well and they were not popular people with the rest of the crowd.

So like, don’t do that.

Spoiler: This is not normally a band with a mosh pit

However, equally annoying are people who get frustrated by mosh pits when standing in the designated mosh pit area.  

If you are at a gig of music any heavier than, say, S-Club 7, then there is likely going to be a mosh pit.

If you are stood at the very front of that gig, there will be a mosh pit directly behind you.

You need to accept that and decide for yourself if you want to stay.

Here’s my very detailed drawing of how gigs work.

I could definitely be a graphic designer…

What I’m trying to say is that if you are at the edges of a mosh pit, you may get knocked into by people moshing.

It is likely accidental and just a part of the experience in that area. If you don’t like it, move back.

Do not get annoyed at the people in the pit. They are in the accepted mosh pit area and you are in the wrong.

3. Crowd Killing is dumb

Mosh pits are places to dance and jump into people. It’s fun, and carries with it a slight sense of danger. 

A crowd killer is someone who windmills their arms to intentionally ‘accidentally’ hit other people.

Do not be that person!

A mosh pit is not an excuse to punch, kick or otherwise intentionally hurt others. 

While there is a history of violence at punk/metal shows, it is mostly a thing of the past.

The idea of indiscriminate violence in a mosh pit is a stupid machismo thing.

I don’t understand it and don’t want to.

4. Dont pull people in

Let me illustrate this point with an urban legend I’ve heard many times.

The story goes like this:

A space opens up at a metal show for a mosh pit/wall of death/circle pit.

Some guy on the edges of the pit sees a girl in front of him wearing a tube top. He decides it would be ‘fun’ to pull her top down and then push her into the pit, presumably to get trampled.

Another person sees this, so announces for everyone to stop, then steps in to the space to protect the girl.

Several people also step in and create a barrier around her, giving her privacy to pull her top back up and get out of the pit if she wants.

The guy who pulled her top down & pushed her then gets punched in the face and shoved into the pit, just as everyone else charges in to mosh.

Urban Legend

I have no idea if this story is true, but it paints a picture and has a moral to it. 

If you try to force others into a pit, especially just so that they get hurt or scared, you are a terrible person.

It’s also unlikely that anyone else in the pit will care if you then get hurt.

Now, I am aware that this contradicts the Golden Rule.

However, I like to think the guy in the story gets picked up before he’s hurt badly, leaving him to walk off to think about what he’s done.

Ego shattered but bones intact.

5. Crowd Surfing is optional, usually

Crowd surfing is the act of climbing on peoples shoulders and being carried to the front of the stage by other people in the crowd. 

The act is still very common at gigs, so be aware that people may be passing overhead.

A boot to the back of the head is not a great feeling. 

Be aware of what’s going on in the pit. If people start to crowd surf, keep an eye out so that you don’t get hurt, and if someone is surfing over you, give them support to reach the front and not fall to the ground.

As an aside: if you are in a pit and the crowd surfing is too much, I would suggest just moving back.

Being one of the people supporting a crowd surfer isn’t really something you can opt out of.

I once saw A Day To Remember at Download Festival in 2017, and the “pit” was just 200 people all trying to crowd surf at the same time.

It made it hard to actually enjoy the band because I was helping people surf to the front every few seconds.

Important Note:

Now, this shouldn’t need to be said, but it does. 

Crowd surfers are not open targets to grope or sexually harass. Your job is to help the person along with minimal touching to their parts that you wouldn’t want to be touched by strangers.

Sexual assault at music shows is far too common, and one reason it is so common is because some people see crowd surfers as open targets to cop a feel.

They aren’t.

Wrap Up

Those are your five rules for mosh pits, and hopefully some real-world experience that may help you in gigs to come. 

Just remember the golden rule, and everything else stems from that. 

If you’re in the pit, you have agreed to the socially accepted rules of that pit.

Care for the people around you and don’t use it as an excuse for a fight or a grope.

Mosh -

For the article with the homophone name, see Moche.

Not to be confused with Mohs or OBC.

For the articles of the same name, see Mosh (disambiguation).

Mosh during The Dillinger Escape Plan concert.

Mosh is a type of dance violent medium of punk, hardcore punk and metal dating back to the 1980s. Borrowed from pogo, which was practiced by British punks around 1976, various codified additions were added to it in metal mechanisms 1980s to become mosh. Moving the arms back and forth (some of the movements are choreographed), throwing the legs back and forth (a bit like a martial art), sometimes touching the ground with the hands in rhythm with the music, pushing each other on punk, metal, and especially hardcore music (note that in French the term "pogo" is preferred for punk and metal). Mosh is popular at concerts.

Mosh is usually practiced in the area called mosh-pit or circular pit . Initially, mosh dancing was usually done by people right next to the stage. It is now common to see mosh pit circles scattered throughout the auditorium or including the entire auditorium.


  • 1 Origin and history
    • 1.1 Origin
    • 1.2 History of
    • 1.3 In France
  • 2 Description
    • 2.1 Some movements
  • 3 types of moshing
  • 4 References to mosh in culture
  • 5 Risks and criticisms
  • 6 Links
  • 7 External links

Origin and History


Vinny Stigma of the hardcore band Agnostic Front is "mosh" as an acronym for "March Of Skinheads", but many credit it to also Darryl Jenifer, bassist for Bad Brains, due to his Jamaican the pronunciation of the word "mush" in the word "puree Babylon". Lots of first wave punks in talking scenes more pogo (and in America thresh ), while the term slam seems to have gained widespread notoriety, especially as the hardcore and metal scenes began to grow. Mix and influence each other.


Mosh pits appeared no later than 1981 at a number of punk concerts, then it was called pogo. This type of dance then spread to the heavy metal scene, where head banging and slamming were later added. By mid 19In the 80s, when thrash metal bands like Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax were still playing in clubs, mosh pits were already a common sight during punk gigs. And at the giant Woodstock festival in 1999, moshing turned into real riots. To address the problems caused by this phenomenon, concert halls, accustomed to hosting groups that can cause mosh pits, are beefing up their security personnel to control the audience, in particular the "T-barricades" that divide the pit in two, and "are also moving ". away from the group.

Nirvana's music video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" launched mosh pit into the mainstream in 1991. In the video for The Leaving Song Part II from A Fire Inside and the video for the song Wake The Dead by hardcore band Comeback Kid, a mosh pit for about 100 people is presented. Mosh also originally matched a break in the song's rhythm, most often marked by slowness and heaviness, announcing the explosive ending. The given children's comeback song is an example.

B , The Smashing Pumpkins play a show at the Point Depot in Dublin. The crowd that comes to watch them is very large, and despite repeated calls for calm by the group, who ask the crowd to stop the mosh pit, a 17-year-old fan, Bernadette O'Brien, is killed - crushed and trampled. The concert ended quickly and the following evening concerts planned in Belfast were canceled out of respect for her. Billy Corgan, lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins, would later state that he left the band and show business almost forever after the tragic event.

In France

In France mosh pit is less common than other forms of extreme hardcore dance such as pogo. However, in some scenes it really worked out well with the addition of screamo and hardcore moves. The success of the Clisson Hellfest is proof of this, such as the giant mosh at the Dagoba concert filmed during the 2014 release. This phenomenon is similar in scale to scenes seen in the United States.


Dancing has always been a central part of the punk concert atmosphere. Reflecting the punk state of mind, punk dances initially have no rules and consist of moving frantically in all directions to the sound of fast rhythms, not hesitating to push your neighbor from time to time.

Hardcore concerts, because of the importance of the meaning of the words and the often stronger musical rhythm associated with the often reduced scale of the concerts, have witnessed the emergence of new forms of dance: dance rhythm in jerks, hand and foot combinations. and head movements, punches and kicks, chasing steps and drums. The dance is performed to the rhythm of the music and the different styles do not allow the same styles of mosh to be used. The dance is performed in an empty place in the middle of a crowd of spectators, called a "pit". The "pit" can be larger or smaller, depending on the size of the hall, the number of dancers, and the overall size of the audience. Mosh is an individual dance, although some figures can be performed collectively. Since 2010/2011 we have seen groups of pit dancers appear, such as the masked Mexicans from "el lucha core libre".

Some movements

Mosh is not a theoretical dance, but we can describe a number of movements with an agreed name:

  • hitting from the floor or picking up, altering or beating: consists in pretending to hit the ground with his fists, while leaning, advancing in the middle of the pit with small jumps or not;
  • "circular moshing" or circular pit is specially used for fast tempos: a group of dancers running or "moshing" form a large circle around the pit in an attempt to attract non-dancing spectators;
  • two step dance from old school hardcore . It consists of a dance step in which one foot passes in front of the other, the latter is removed to move it back forward, and so on, which may be accompanied by arm movement (pinwheel, swing from left to right, etc.). It should be punctuated by music;
  • windmill: it is to make a coil with two hands very quickly. This is often the source of minor incidents as it is of a very violent nature;
  • from side to side: it consists of running from left to right, pushing other spectators to increase the pit in front of the mosh;
  • kick-moshing: consists of performing as many kicks and punches as possible in empty space for the entire length of the piece. A very violent style of mosh, it is often performed in Hard-Core bands because the performance is very violent and therefore dangerous;
  • Gorilla stomp: consists of bending over and punching the ground while being beaten.

Types of moshing

Moshing is a generic term for any dance performed in a mosh pit or circular pit. However, some movements are more in line with certain passages of music.

Moshing, sometimes called pogo, means different things depending on the music it is used for.

  • Breakcore, a kind of hardcore techno that brings in a lot of former punk and former metalheads, and thus their mosh pit.
  • Grindcore also has his dance style, which is often referred to as grinding and a cross between skanking (see below) and slower mosh.
  • Metal concerts are known for their gigantic epaulettes, fueled by the popularity of the genre and hence the large capacity of concert halls. Due to the rapidity of the metal tempo, the speed of the dance movements themselves increases. Also known as Speed ​​mosh, this maddened pogo is often performed during concerts by bands such as Iced Earth and Megadeth. The faster the metalhead moves, the crazier and more uncontrollable the mosh becomes. Speed ​​mosh is called trash in Quebec, and the term "mosh" is commonly used to mean "hard".
  • Punk mosh or pogo usually includes big waves when everyone pushes each other, throws themselves at each other, kicks when the crowd carries one or more people, and straight pogo: jumping while pushing each other (an invention attributed to Sid Vicious from The Sex Pistols). Mosh at punk concerts is generally less violent and theatrical than mosh and pogo at hardcore concerts.
  • Mosh practiced during hardcore concerts is much faster. Hardcore mosh is often characterized by very fast and jerky hand and foot movements that are very frowned upon outside of the specific context of hardcore.

Mosh references in culture

  • The band Ultra Vomit parodied the song for flirting by Delpeche in a hardcore metal version, but singing "for Mosh". The song is the eighth on the album Objectif: Thunes .

Risks and Critics

While most moshers find moshing fun, amusing and enjoyable, there is always the risk of minor or even serious injury.

Moshing advocates acknowledge that dancing is associated with physical risk. But they also argue that pogo and mosh create social bonds such as friendship and camaraderie, and finally, serious (sometimes, unfortunately, fatal) injuries are caused by blows: that's a completely different thing.

But those who criticize moshing also accuse pogo of inciting violence and the relativity of these facts. Violence among the population inevitably leads to injury. Critics of moshing explain that we can see an escalation of violence, a vicious cycle that moshing breeds. The media encourages this interpretation.

Moshpit is an extreme sport for many. Many people truly believe that mosh pit stimulates and encourages communication. While mosh is supposed to be a dance where people don't interact, where no hitting is allowed (unlike pogo in the punk scene), accidents do happen, however, usually caused by people thinking mosh is a violent dance . An escalation of violence often occurs when someone not used to mosh pits or standing outside of them gets hit. It must be remembered that the mosh pit is intended for entertainment.

In fact, there is some kind of confusion between the real danger of the pit and the behavior of the mosher.

Definitely a risk for moshers or those who get too close to the pit. Many mosh pit supporters believe that one of the interests of mosh pit is its physical nature, and that its risks can be compared to those of any extreme sport. Some even suggest that mosh fulfills a certain desire to inflict pain and physically challenge oneself, as a kind of stress and pressure relief.

It has been argued that moshing is a kind of modern "rite of passage", where young people test their courage and strength with their friends or complete strangers in an unpredictable situation of violent and frantic dancing.


  1. ↑ Arte TV channel has been filming Hellfest concerts since 2012. Dagoba since 2014.

External links

  • (en) Website of Joe Ambrose, Author of Moshpit Culture
  • (en) Imosh. com - Heavy metal goods since 1986.
  • Danforth 3D clip of hardcore and violent dance scene

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Learn to dance MOSH!

Having jumped over the fence, I was once again convinced that I could no longer drive on the board. I need to stay at home for at least a week. He goes to the doctor. Plus a headache. The left leg is swollen. I hate doctors, they all love to be kissed on the ass. I think there will be complications. Doctors are shameful bureaucrats. But I did have fun. Yes, I'll be lame. I have always been lame. But I will never leave my skateboard! I'm back on the site of an abandoned building. This is a new squat that I have to get into. The problem is how to get inside when all the windows and doors are welded. There is always a way out in any situation. And in mine too. I'm already on the second floor. Cool house. Some freaks burned a whole collection of New World books. Dirt and trash is my find. Nothing interesting. The inscriptions on the walls of Shapr and Afa only make me happy. Last floor. OU! Yes, normal guys used to live here before. Water, electricity, a bathroom, a washbasin, a broken telephone, a large Soviet record player, an unmeasured amount of papers with Diana Mikhailovna Demchuk's watered program.

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