Cast down your bearings, ye fixed axle faithful, and join us for another glorious friday! This week we’ll be taking a closer look at my trick Crisis. This is a bit of an advanced trick, but there are some foundational steps that are handy for intermediate players, too.
You may recognize Crisis from the recent “Mind Melee” battle with Spencer Berry. Spencer is one of my favorite yoyoers of all time, and when he agreed to a battle I wanted to use a trick that paid tribute to the golden era of Spindox, the legendary California crew that he, Gabe, Jason, Escolar, Gary and company immortalized. While I used a Freehand1 for the battle to get a little more oomph, I actually did compose the trick on a Butterfly – but enough about me, let’s get learnin’!
The first move in the video is a thumb mount stall, or more specifically a chopstick double-or-nothing. The spinning version is one of the most fundamental thumb mount tricks, but can be a little challenging if you aren’t familiar with it – you might want to grab a bearing yo-yo and check out this video to get acquainted with it. The basic idea, though, is that you throw a breakaway and let the yo-yo travel around both your pointer and your thumb so you get sort of a miniature 2or0 formation. Landing a stall instead of a string hit is a bit of a wrinkle, but if you can hit the bearing version the stall should come with a bit of practice. My best advice is to use a light, responsive yo-yo and give yourself a little bit of extra room on the string to accommodate the yo-yo winding up. (If you’re interested in more thumb mount stalls, I suggest revisiting our Play Like A Wild Man article.)
The next fundamental move for Crisis is a wrist mount stall. Wrist mounts are fairly standard fare for modern 1A (and a staple of the Spindox!) but less frequently seen in stall-based play due to the possibility of knots. Having said this, if you can land a wrist mount with a spinning yo-yo, you’ll probably be able to hit the stall pretty quick. The tricky part is actually finding a good way to dismount since the traditional Spirit Bomb dismount is difficult when the yo-yo’s not spinning. In this example, I use a “bounce house” dismount, something introduced in the “Huh? Wha?” FF segment: pop the yo-yo up onto the top string and use the momentum to redirect it behind the lower string, thus dissolving the kink and setting the yo-yo spinning again. Crisis has a more advanced dismount, but more on that later.
Alright! Now that we’ve got those foundational mounts down, let’s get into the tough stuff. The next step is getting into the meat of Crisis with its centerpiece move, the crisis flip. The idea behind this is that you twist your throwhand to wrap the string around your thumb and forefinger, so you’re set up for a throwhand thumb mount, and then catch the yo-yo in a 2or0 chopstick stall on your free hand. Once your hands are sufficiently bound up, you’re going to swing the yo-yo forward so it breaks plane and catch it upside-down in the right hand thumb mount. THIS IS REALLY HARD. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right away, it’s pretty counterintuitive and took me a lot of practice. It’s an exciting concept, though, because it allows you to do tech-y thumb tricks within a stall, changes the stall direction, and all kinds of other cool weird stuff like that. I initially just dismount out of it by throwing it out the side, but the full trick gets a little fancier. (Sidenote: If the 2or0 chopsticks stall feels too awkward with the throw hand windup, you can see an alternate entrance at 1:00 where I use a normal double or nothing and drop the throw hand strings.)
The next step in Crisis is in line with the grand tradition of tech tricks, which is to say: adding a kink! This is why you needed that wrist mount stall. After you do the crisis flip and you’re in the inverted thumb hold, you move your throwhand forward and let the yo-yo go backward through the thumb mount, thus creating a kink – this is difficult to explain, but hopefully the slomo clarifies it a little bit. Players like Yuuki Spencer & Jesse Garcia do this move quite frequently. Because it’s a stall, though, that yo-yo is kind of just falling, and you wanna try your best to give it a swing to the left side so that it starts spinning again. It won’t spin for long, however, because you’re going to catch it in a trapeze stall in front while sustaining the kink mount on your thumbs. Those familiar with wrist mounts or kinks will know that if we dropped the strings now we’d get a knot, so let’s focus on getting out of that: my solution is to invert the entire structure by swinging the yo-yo forward and tilting your hands backwards, dismounting the yo-yo through the strings with a dumptruck motion. If you get through in the right spot, you’re home free!
Another thing that you can do out of a crisis flip is a move I like to call A Mountain Climber Who Plays An Electric Guitar. The idea behind this is that you flip up into the strings, but try to sustain the free hand loop, and then pop it up in the air so that you can catch it like a drop suicide. Wu-tang!
Yet another thing you can do, though I haven’t explored it much yet, is to flip the yo-yo through the thumb mount rather than landing it upside-down. As you can see, I don’t really have anything practical with this yet, so I sort of just do a wacky little untwisting motion, but surely one of you will find use for that extra twist in the string.
Finally, a bit of goofy fun with… uh… a Butterfly tied to a kendama? I haven’t caught the kendama bug as badly as some in the community have (mostly because I’m really bad at them!), but I do think it’s fun to try and crossbreed ideas between the two disciplines. For all of the yoyoers upset because people are playing with (gasp) a different toy… lighten up! Seriously. Toys. What are you doing?
Learn the trick? Want to see more kendama/yoyo fusion? Want me to stop using stupid light yo-yos? Let us know in the comments!