I feel like we have to keep inventing a new vocabulary to express the ideas we want to share. I can’t decide if that’s pretentious or awesome. Regardless, a quick viewing of the video should render any obscurity moot. This week, I wanted to discuss my trick Zipper Stalls, but zoomed out a bit to include some “Stall Versions” of some other fundamentals from the 1a lexicon. An alternate title might be “So you’re in a stall hold… What now?”
Kendama is all the rage now among yo-yoers. I had a dream the other day that it had completely supplanted yo-yoing, and that the world had devolved into a post-apocalyptic ruin where no one believed that Zach Gormley’s “Superman” kendama trick had once actually been done with a yo-yo. Or something like that. In any case, one of the things I love about stall tricks (and Drew’s in particular) is that, absent of the spin’s rotational inertia, landing the yo-yo in any kind of static hold is insanely difficult. When a yo-yo’s spinning, its angular momentum keeps it from swaying and bobbing about, but once you’re in a stall, all that energy turns off. Hitting some of those Kickflip Transitions last week (or Stalled Magic Drop this week) takes precision… and knees. So if you’ve been grinding that ACL trying to hit Lighthouse, take a break, grab a woody, and see if some of these stall applications come a bit more natural.
First trick is Zipper Stalls. Obviously, this is based on the classic Mark McBride trick, which was one of the first things I learned off of the Ken’s World On A String site. It’s not a hard trick to break down, but it’s kind of tricky to make it feel good and smooth. One of the keys is controlling the yo-yo as it rolls through those somersaults, making sure it regenerates relatively straight. Once you have it down, it doesn’t matter so much, and you’ll catch those stalls even when they’re basically sideways. If you like the idea, try it out sideways as in the 2nd example. Same idea, just from Breakaway, but the feel is substantially different.
Trick #3 is kind of like a Zipper Stalls 2.0 thing. after that under-mount stall, spread the string with your free hand thumb/index, and back into that reverse-chop hold. This will give you a mutation in the string, which you’ll just have to roll back and unwind before regenerating. I’ve been trying to do a symmetrical version in front to make it a “true 2.0” but I don’t have it dialed.
Another simple repeater that all the kids [used to] love is The Matrix, one of many Doc Pop alpha tricks that looks 10^10 times better when Doc does them. It’s a nice one to apply to stalls though, because once you tuck into that 2.0 and let go, the yo-yo is pretty secure and easy to keep straight as you flip it around. Unwind after the stall somersault, regen into another 2.0, and… sure, we’ll call that ‘alpha style’.
Moving back to frontstyle, Pop N’ Fresh is a surprisingly easy static trick. even though the yo-yo isn’t spinning, the tension on both sides keeps it pretty level. The only sketchy part is actually getting into that Mach 5. You CAN hit an ordinary split-bottom stall en route to the Mondial pop, but it’s way easier to do a standard undermount stall and bring the middle string around. I guess if you’re a “static 1a purist” who has to hit the tricks as they would appear on a fictional static 1a ladder, then that’d be a problem.
I’ll admit I probably jumped the shark on the Stall Cold Fusion. Don’t worry I come back… with…
Stall Magic Drop! This is a very kendamish trick, indeed. A regular Magic Drop is essentially a wonderfully simple and subtle string rejection. The spin direction of the yo-yo causes the string segment to pop out of the gap (so cool that we can finally reference a non-stall trick where spin direction matters!). So the tough part here is convincing that string to pop out with no spin whatsoever. It requires you to really spread out that ‘gun-hand’ (and of course, to be really accurate as the yo-yo comes around). Probably a good idea to practice this one with a slightly longer string, because you’ve got to have enough to get around your wrist. For those of you who are wondering, yes, I have hit a stall Shockwave… one rep. Maybe for a future episode.
Last but not least, Miggy’s Tunnels tricks are some of the 1a concepts that I most appreciate. There’s something really elegant about folding into a weird mount and reaching into the abyss like Kate Capshaw in that Indiana Jones bug-tunnel to resolve it. Here’s a simple stall version. From Trapeze, fold into a would-be knot (Adam B calls those shapes Nebulas, which I’ve always liked), then immediately plunge your throw hand through, rolling the yo-yo back onto the front string. The knot will be gone, and you should have enough wind left to pull back to the hand. If you don’t have the non-stall analog of that trick down, it would make good sense to do that first.
The key to all of these is to be flexible. Just like kendama, they require you to bob and weave a bit, controlling the angle of the yo-yo as it pops, seeking it out in the air, and getting yourself into the right place. Most of yo-yoing is all about the fine motor stuff, and for lack of a better word, this stuff is comparatively… gross. Theoretically though, you could apply pretty much any 1a trick to a stalled out, spinless yo-yo. Show me something crazy.