First off, I have to apologize. I lost my beloved GoPro in the fickle waters of the Atlantic last week whilst trying to capture my mediocre surfing on video. I suppose the argument can be made that if it were really beloved, I wouldn’t have willingly subjected it to the same fate as befell my best sunglasses and the two wedding rings I wore before finally tattooing the thing on. So, you’re left with a shoddy iPhone video instead of delicious slo-mo. Regardless, I had some fun with this one.
In general, yo-yo players spend so much time thinking about what to do while the yo-yo is moving and so little considering the manner in which we END our tricks. For a lot of players, a dismount is just an afterthought to the elaborate escape we navigated through a series of knotted webs. And catching the yo-yo amounts to even less! When you’re playing fixed axle though, the tricks are a lot shorter, and the end of the trick is proportionally more significant. So give it its due!
One of the best things about rocking response is being able to dismount sans binds. I have nothing against the bind, mind you (and there are certainly some dang sweet versions out there), but I don’t know a player worth his/her salt who doesn’t appreciate the feeling of a nice fly-away. The first few tricks are more “drop-away slams” than flyaway dismounts, but they still feel great. I love the abruptness of shutting a double-or-nothing down with no warning, and that first trapeze version allows you to engage B-Boy Stance immediately.
When you start to think about the catch AS the trick, it opens up all sorts of doors. How can you catch the yo-yo without closing your hand? I’ve shown some versions of this in the Tape Measure video a few weeks back, but there are others. You can just hold your palm steady as shown at 0:13. I tell beginners all the time that they don’t need to grab at the yo-yo. It’s tied to your hand, and that’s where it wants to go if you let it. It also becomes a fun challenge to see how late you can wait to catch the yo-yo before it hits the ground (or your phone). Don’t do this with a yo-yo you want to keep mint… actually, y’know what? DO. Attachment to the condition of your toys is lame. It’s also fun to see how close you can come to your head before you catch it (attachment to your facial bone structure is ok). More on that in a bit.
Jon Gates is one of the pre-eminent innovators in modern yo-yo history. Drew was right to suggest that I add the Gates Catch (0:22) to this week’s trick list. One of the keys to developing your own style is looking relaxed and even casual as you demonstrate it. I talk a lot about trying to find the equivalent of a Soul Arch in yo-yoing. Catching a yo-yo blind, with an almost frivolous disregard for the thing can change the expression of your whole trick. When you have them down it’s about the best feeling in yo-yoing.
Speaking of classic yo-yo tricks, you already know Hydrogen Bomb, right? This classic Bob Rule trick (0:25) is kind of a backwards split the atom, but what I love about it is that the whole trick feels like one protracted dismount, especially when you incorporate the Shoot-the-Moon at the end.
Now, sometimes we want our tricks to make a political statement. Maybe you want to yo-yo, but you also want to wish everyone around you “peace”. With the Peace Catch, you can do both… and look like an enormous dork. Regardless, it’s a pretty fun way to catch the yo-yo. If someone you don’t like does a Peace Catch to you, just do a Shoot-the-Moon right into a Whatever Catch (0:37) and walk away knowing you got the best of the exchange.
It’s also pretty fun to try mimicking the way your favorite players catch the yo-yo. I’m just not lanky enough to exude Drew Tetz, but I love the way he catches the yo-yo when it’s up at head level. He kinda throws his hand at it and swats it away. This is especially appropriate if you’ve just done something sketchy like the Kickflip-to-Casper at 0:42. I kinda do the same thing a lot, but I usually swat down at the yo-yo as shown in the Tough Love combo right after.
One of my other inexplicably weird/lame tendencies is to point down at the yo-yo with my free hand as I’m in the process of catching it. I swear I did it 5 times in my Ed vs. Drew clip, and again during the trick at 0:57, a new one I’m calling Dumptruck Rolls. It might look like nothing, but keeping the yo-yo straight as you 180 out of those stalls is a bear. It also evokes one of my favorite Chuck Short tricks, Pulling Taffy. Ask me to show you that one some other time.
I always like to inject a bit of danger into my yo-yoing. Ending a combo on Skyrocket is always a classic (especially if you’ve got a nice shirt pocket), but it’s even more fun to protect yourself from shock and damage by kneeling into the Kendo Catch shown at the end. I used this one to survive the “big air” round of last year’s Fixed Axle Championship Of All The World™®©. Remember, if you have to look up, you’re not a real ninja.
For more catching the yo-yo fun, check out the seminal, pre-Tricks Old & New John-Bot vid, Imminent Cranium Revolution. Happy Friday!