Butterfly superstar Kyle Nations has graciously volunteered to fill in this Fixed Friday with a detailed post-mortem of his recent video extravaganza The Lepidopterist. Drink in the knowledge, kiddos! –drew
While Ed and Drew are off at the Fixed Axle Championship of All the World (and something else called the World Yoyo contest; maybe you’ve heard of it), I offered to fill in so that the column can keep on trucking. Get ready to get weird as I dissect my latest video for your reading pleasure and my shameless self promotion:
First thing’s first, you gotta be aware of your string tension. For my setup and the tricks I like to do, neutral tension is the way to go and a sidewinder is always a slick way to get there. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, mac and cheesy. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
The first couple tricks, Web Cartridge Reload and Steve Brown Crisis respectfully, are pretty straightforward variations on onehanded stalls. If you’re comfortable with the standard thumb n’ forefinger stall, the next logical step is to adapt that stall for a different pair of fingers. Actually pulling it off is another matter entirely. You have much more control over your thumb when it comes to the subtle “cushioning” motion that makes the stall work; substitute the thumb for your pinky, and you’ve got a recipe for bruised knuckles. But all you have to do is train your fingers to open wide while the yoyo is on approach and then close ‘em up once it’s passed your 2 fingers to hit the string. If you do it with your palm up, get yourself some red tights ‘cause you’re Spiderman! Hit it with your palm down and suddenly you’re millennial Steve Brown! I do it 2or0 Crisis Flip style because it’s better to rock on with 2 hands.
Nessie vs Champ vs Ogopogo is sort of a oneofeverything buffet as combos go, combining moves seen in Sting Like a Butterfly and some fresh nuggets. It begins with a reworked Anne vs Lizzie, which is a move that I think looks both simple and difficult and actually is both simple and difficult. What’s happening is I’m interrupting the yoyo with my throwhand as it’s responding. This creates a loop of slack which I catch with my freehand. You can get used to the hold by draping the string over your freehand, calling back the yoyo, and catching with your throwhand. But it looks and feels more awesome to do it in one fluid move. And being more awesome impresses more girls. Anyway, next I just swoosh that bit of slack around to my thumb while at the same time turning my throwhand to achieve the correct spin direction on release for a trapeze stall. With the loop on my thumb, I make a hingelike motion to get into that plain vanilla trap’ stall. The reason I don’t go into a more complex hold here is because I was set on doing a kickflip suicide, and those are hard, man! And this particular kickflip transitions to a crossarmed manbro stall because things can always be more difficult. But think of all the girls you can impress with moves like that!
Moving on, things get way easier after that kickflip. I simply uncross my arms before regenerating and stalling back on the other side of the same string segment. From here I perform a really odd move that’s hard to see in the video, so I’ll do my best to explain. I grip the stalled yo with my forefinger, pinky, and thumb so that I can fwoosh around the slack held by my freehand to end up in a braintwister stall. Now I twist that braintwister through the zaxis, regen, and perform a gorillastyle trap’ stall in preparation for an easymode dumptruck, followed by one half of Salvador Dali Windshield Wipers interrupted by a thumb stall. I dump that stall over my freehand for a little wrap flowing right into one of my favorite moves, the
Slap Wrap. Garnish with a somersault and an elbow bump and there you have one monster of a combination plate.
I hope that wasn’t too much jargon for you to handle, but don’t worry because it’s all smooth sailing from here, especially since we’ve arrived at Son of Thriller! Believe it or not, there’s actually more to this trick than awkward gyrations. Throw a forward pass, but catch it without turning your hand over. Then throw it back out, but be careful because now that the yoyo is flipped over, it’ll want to turn sideways and blow raspberries at you. Keep up the rhythm and you’ve got the trick. The throw and catch by itself looks a bit too much like a nazi salute, hence the Thriller pose. A Wayne’s World “we’re not worthy” pose is also acceptable.
The next couple tricks are my answer to Ed’s snap start tricks, but instead of snap starts, they’re based on rolling starts. What’s unique about rolling starts is you can start a dead yoyo without touching it which opens up intriguing possibilities. The first, Cosby Resurrection, is an interesting case because it begins wound and is promptly killed before being brought back to life. “I brought you into this world, and i’ll take you out,” and then back into it. The meat of the trick is just a doubleon hook that you unravel and roll start out. I like it because you could throw it into a combo without breaking your rhythm. The second roll start trick is called Necrophilia because you’re playing with a dead yoyo. Mostly, anyway, because I do give it a tiny bit of spin so I can perform the laceration without the yoyo going wibbly wobbly. It will be much easier to practice that laceration with a long spinning yoyo if you wanted to try this trick out. The really difficult bit, however, is the dump onto the back string. We’re getting really close to kendama territory here, so use your knees. Also, any trick looks good if you punctuate it with a Rump Bump.
The last trick is my favorite of the video because it looks good, feels good, and I can hit it more consistently than I think I should be able to. It’s called Pete Townshend’s Magic Triangle. Oddly enough, the windmill jam at the beginning was not initially the Pete Townshend part. After the bowling toss, which has a Son of Thrilleresque trickiness, I perform a move I call a Pete Townshend. You can see the full version of that trick 54 seconds in to Sting Like a Butterfly. Your throwhand revolves around in the same direction, and it always felt like a mini version of Pete’s windmill to me. So after that I do a stylish straightstring redirect to achieve the spin direction needed for a split bottom stall. From there, I found that if I dismount/regen over my throwhand, suddenly I have a loop of slack to throw around. So I whip that bad boy around to my freefinger and simultaneously stall on the back string. In this hold, I discovered that I can pull the front loop through the back and bingo bango: false triangle! But this false triangle has a mutation that makes a stalled yo want to untwist. I let it, but carefully because if it spins too far, it’ll have too much momentum in the wrong direction. It needs to twist and stop. The next move is similar to a kickflip suicide, but it’s really more of a pop shuvit if we’re going to stick to the skateboard vernacular. Now comes the magic because I don’t recatch it in the same loop, but rather the tiny opening down by the yoyo. By hitting that spot, the triangle dissolves into a trapeze quite magically. If you’re trying it for yourself, you can also stick your freethumb into that little opening to reach a similar end if you can’t hit the pop shuvit, although this method is not nearly as magical. But either way, you must end the trick with wiggling “magic fingers”. It’s not right without it.
And there you have it! The Lepidopterist scrupulously analyzed in hopes that it gives you an idea of what’s going on between my hands, a string, and that hunk of plastic at the end. And hopefully I’ve given some of you a couple ideas to toy around with and make your own. Ed and/or Drew will be back next week I’m sure with plenty of tales to tell from Worlds. Thanks for reading all you afixionados out there!