Happy Fixed… almost Saturday! Okay, yes, I’m running extremely late on this one, but hopefully Kyle warmed you guys up and we can keep the Fixie train rollin’.
This week is special because it’s my last Fixed Friday column before the World Yo-yo Contest! While Fixed Axle doesn’t have a dedicated division like 1A-5A, the Fixed Axle Throwdown is a time-honored tradition, and last year’s onstage antics brought it to new heights (as you may remember from David Ung’s documentation of it.) While the show is traditionally semi-invitational in order to fill the correct number of slots, we’re accepting applications, so if you want a shot at being a wildcard comment below and find me or Ed at Worlds to let us know you’ve got what it takes… to be Fixed Axle Champion of All the World!!!
Please pardon the extra exclamation points, it’s just so exciting.
This year, as in years past, we’re going to have a peer-judged, criteria-based best trick contest. What does this mean? We randomly choose a theme, the competitors perform a trick based on the theme, and then use their shoes to vote for their favorites. We’ve got a good solid lineup of star players and some fun surprises for the day of the contest, but why spoil those? Let’s get back to the column.
There’s no real unifying theme on the tricks this week, but I brought out a couple of bangers & combos to get myself pumped up for Worlds. Combo #1 is performed on one of those crazy 70mm wood yo-yos Chuck & Jensen have been using. It’s not my place to hype, so I can’t tell you if or when these will be available, but Jensen’s impeccable flow was definitely a big inspiration in these sequence. If you want a challenging trick for the weekend, give the broadway 2or0 a shot: throw a breakaway, rotate your body towards your throwhand (clockwise for righties) and try to catch the yo-yo in a double-or-nothing. Tough stuff, especially if you aren’t into hitting your face! Not to brag or nothin’, but the one in the video is actually a broadway 2or0 stall that I regenerated into… hit it in front of me at Worlds and I’ll give you a Butterfly or somethin’.
Next on the chopping block, another string/stall fusion sequence, showing how you can exit a complicated mount straight into a stall and mix it up with your normal tricks. This particular example is more a combo of some of my recent favorite moves than a super original trick, but I encourage people to try and find similar links.
Next up, we got a reimagining of one of the most classic string tricks of all time, the Kwijibo. My favorite thing about Kwijibo is that it’s such a recognizable, classic format that people can really play with it and get some interesting “tributes” to it. For example, Elephark & yours truly each came up with a distinct E-fan Kwijibo. This variation throws kickflip suicides into the mix, which isn’t too tough on the first transfer but deceptively tricky for the second throw. I’m proud of it.
For an intermission, a brief glimpse at one of the perils of plastic yo-yos. We love ’em. I’ve really been putting this orange butterfly through its paces this week, but was still a little surprised when it popped open on camera.
…but let’s get back to the real tricks. The next trick, the Fingerflip. This is a bit of a retcon on the original “kickflip” trick, combined with the tough love setup for slacks & whips. Basically, throw the yo-yo, catch it with your non-throwhand, throw a flip (carefully!) and remember to use your knees when you catch it back on the string. A subtle, but very rewarding move.
Continuing in the vein of the broadway 2or0 stall is another weird instamount, the Burly or Nothing stall. So called because it’s so burly, I very highly recommend practicing this trick in a mirror with an unresponsive yo-yo before going for the full blind catch. Once you feel comfortable (or at least not terrified) with that, try switching to a responsive yo-yo and catching it in a stall. It’s fun! As long as you don’t hit yourself in the face, I mean, but isn’t that true of everythign?
Now, I’d like to slow it down and return to the trick that was giving me technical difficulties earlier, the Straitjacket stall. Straitjacket is a trick pioneered by Brazilian visionary Sid Seed that involves eating your vegetables in the morning and having a lot of skin, and has caught on in a major way with some of the lankier young players — most notably, Isaac Sams. I think Isaac’s actually hit the straitjacket stall on camera before, so I made sure to add some original flavor with a behind the back catch to ninja spin. You’re welcome. (Also, for anybody attempting to learn this trick, I strongly recommend using some long string and a Butterfly. Trust me. You’re gonna bang your knuckles quite a few times, you’ll want something light.)
Final trick of the video is a weird & goofy trick with a lot of body language, but I like it. Heavy inspiration from Anthony, Chuck, and Kyle Nations. For those of you who are interested in trick theory, the binding concept for this trick’s construction was trying to cross/recross/uncross my arms at every step while remaining at one or two levels of string. It’s a lot slower than some other combos, but has a neat back & forth pumping effect, too.
While Fixed Friday is almost over, hopefully these tricks will carry you through the weekend. Don’t forget to sign up for the contest if you want a chance to shine, practice hard on your spin moves, and go have fun! Also, I know this week’s beat is kind of crazy, but if you wanna download it you can totally do that right here.