It’s Friday, stinkers.
As this goes to virtual press, I am almost certainly dragging my pop-up camper (with the minor assistance of my minivan) across the breadth of my beloved state of North Carolina, toward the serene inevitability of the Atlantic Ocean. But even though I’m probably two tires deep in the East Dismal Swamp – which is a very real place – we can still hang out via this column, right?
This week, I wanted to focus on things you can do when your left hand goes pins-&-needles after sleeping weird on it, while you are baking with an enormous unwieldy oven-mitt, or after you have a horribly tragic accident while juggling battleaxes. One of the great things about fixed axle (and responsive yo-yoing in general) is that even when you reduce your number of available hands by 50%, you can still have a rad session.
Most of you #fixedfriday faithful probably gravitated to “the way of the static axle” BECAUSE of the constraints, as opposed to in spite of them. That is to say, you were looking for the creative challenge inherent to short spins and tug response. Constraints are actually really good for creativity. The pseudo-defunct term “0a” refers to looping tricks done with 1 hand, which for years, was what most modern players associated with fixed axle yo-yoing. As evidenced by Drew’s Planet Hoppery a few weeks back though, there’s a lot you can do with these simple motions. Around here, we put “da funk” in defunct©™®, and the limitations of a single hand just means you have to dig a little deeper to get inventive.
Trick #1 might be old hat to you by now, but it’s worth revisiting. There’s nothing like simple inside loops to express the carefree, gleeful character of fixed axle yo-yoing. It’s THE original 0a trick. To stick a bit of a post-modern twang on it, try going right into an inverted Lunar hold after a few. Incidentally, this also works great as a means to switch from forward loops to a “downward” trick like Hop the Fence or Zipper Stalls.
So you’re down to 1 hand… but no one said anything about your legs, right? The 2nd trick is one of my most simple 365 entries from last year, Man & His Pants. The name is obviously taken from “Man and His Brother”, which itself, is short for “Man on the Flying Trapeze With His Brother”… which, when you think about it is a really weird name on par with “Seth P Makin’ Da Zines In Da Back (For Da Girls)“.
You’ll have to forgive me from 0:17 to 0:56. I received a call from my younger brother, John, and since I was doing 1-handed tricks, I elected to take it. Whatever, I can multi-task. I’m pretty sure I featured the Snap-Start move at 0:17 in my Tape Measure video, but it’s July, and who can even remember? In any case, this is actually one of my favorite Steve Brown tricks called “I Like Your Style, Ed Haponik“. Yeah, I have a Steve Brown trick named after me. My lip gloss be poppin.
Next up, we’ve got a fun fixed axle take on the classic Plastic Whip. I’m always surprised to find how few people do sidestyle P-Whips. I learned them from Shawn Fumo, and I find them so natural. They also work nicely as an intentional stall-whip. The hardest part is regenerating stably out of it.
Shoot For the Moon is probably the most wonderfully iconic, quintessentially “perfect” yo-yo trick of all. We’ve said it again and again. I could probably have saved a lot of time and flash card space by just doing a few Moons for this week and calling it a day, because you’re not going to find a better use of a free hand (stop it, you). However, on the off chance that you’re somehow sick of standard Moons and want to up the ante, try doing Over-Unders, alternating between StM and Nate Sutter’s Under the Moon variation. It’s a great way to work on improving your control.
The sequence around 0:48 is unfortunately a bit tough to see what’s happening. Essentially, you’ve got 1-hand trapeze stall, followed by a 1-hand bro stall (essentially the same “reverse Lunar” hold as described in trick #1). Then, I go back the other way to a 1-hand Double-or-Nothing stall, followed by the 1-hand equivalent of a 2.0 bro-stall. Basically this is a sort of 1-handed Rewind. You could go up to 3.0, but you start to run out of string, which is necessary for the regeneration.
At 1:02 we have another great Steve Brown trick. Steve has a great directness and simplicity to his trick construction, which is hard to find these days. I love how outside the box this catch is. Most of us want the yo-yo to keep spinning with every fiber of our being. Even in this modern fixed axle thing we’re doing, we only want the yo-yo to stop in very specific circumstances (i.e. on the string, in a stall). Whatever though. I can snap-start, so why not just catch the yo-yo in the middle of WHATEVER, knowing I can reinvigorate it a moment later. It’s a great trick.
Next up (1:09ish) is a Drewish Dumptruckish kind of thing. Just a regular breakway into a throw-hand chop stall (technically this is YET AGAIN the same catch as trick #1, but it feels different due to the breakaway). A typical Dumptruck would have the yo-yo flipping over in space before regenerating so that the spin direction change is cancelled out (that was the most insane audience-specific jargon-sentence I have ever written). In this case, you’re just turning your wrist out, which has the same effect, allowing you to continue the breakaway stalls ad nauseum.
It seems like months ago I discussed the concept of Straight-String Redirects (it was). 1:19 is another example. 1-hand undermount stalls can be tough with that pesky opposable thumb in the way. This is a great drink-in-hand-while-grilling trick – perfect for mid-summer.
The next two tricks are simple underarm things. In the absence of a 2nd hand, your arm (not unlike your leg) can be pretty useful. The first example is a simple bicep stall, which is great for showing off your guns to the ladies… who are always impressed by muscle-bound guys hell-bent on showing off their fixed axle yo-yo prowess. The second one features one of my favorite holds. I love the precision of that weird bent-arm, over-the-shoulder chopsticks catch. Especially with a wood yo-yo, if you bump it even a little, it’s going haywire. That said, it’s actually pretty easy and segues nicely into a Lunar Landing catch.
I’ve done quite a few 1-hand Stop N Go’s where you find yourself in a 1-hand trapeze, pull up into a stop, and kind of throw it back down. This one is a bit different, as it starts from a standard Plastic Whip. Definitely doable with the average fixed axle yo-yo, but balancing the tension to work for both the whip and the stop can be tough. The final trick is a sillier version of the same. I love it, but it definitely needs to be fleshed out and cleaned up. After the stop, the idea is to get the yo-yo bouncing up and down, kind of like a cross between the classic trick Frog in a Bag and Gravity Pull. Bounce as much as you like. When you release the yo-yo, it should fall free, but bear in mind the bouncing can twist the string a bit, causing it to catch a few times. It’s a work in progress.
Alright. If you’ve taken the time to work through all of that, then I’m at the beach and my camper is fully unfurled. Have a great week. I’m going surfing.