So I’ll preface this by saying “it’s been fun”. It’s been fun, and I’m intensely proud of having made this column a weekly feature on YoYoNews.com; proud of helping to document “the state of fixed axle” during what has been a fascinating resurgence. When I first fell in love with throwing wood, information on its necessary skills and disciplines were few and far between. Progression had stagnated to the point of a dare or punchline, and seeing which long combos could be hit on a No Jive or a Butterfly was the only “fixed axle style” out there. Drew and I set out this year to simply have some fun and see where we could go, but that attitude evolved as we developed a lexicon and identified the directions that best fit this weird medium. Along the way, we had some battles, wrote a preposterous amount of text, and posted up some 2 hours of thematic video. In the back of my mind has been the idea that some guy or girl who finds themselves obsessed with chasing the simplicity and tradition inherent to fixed axle will have an archive of conceptual ammunition to go on.
This week, I wanted to go back to one of my favorite wells, albeit one that is not normally a natural for fixies – picture tricks. Generally, these depictive string formations are much better suited to bearing play, if only because they take a long time to develop. Remember though, that the original picture tricks were classics like Eiffel Tower, Rock the Baby, and Texas Star. Even Sleeper, Creeper, and Shoot the Moon are visually named, suggesting that all of yo-yoing has its roots in pictures.
Luke Hildebrand sent me a black version of his diminutive delrin throw, the Emmett. Despite its small diameter, it’s pretty solid, and I figured the steel axle would give me enough sleep time to pull off some of these. It did not disappoint, and I’m pretty sure this is the only metal-axle fixie I’ve thrown on FF this year.
I start off with a tough one called Deadpool. To me it kind of looks like the wisecrackin’ Marvel Comics character, so bizarrely portrayed by Ryan Reynolds in that Wolverine movie. Unfortunately, doing this on fixed means, you have about AN second to hang out in the actual picture if you intend to get it back to the hand, so this one came out kind of like a “morbidly obese Deadpool”, but it’s the thought that counts. This trick uses a mount similar to Drew’s classic 20th Century Fox/Flying Ice Cream/Spiderman-in-a-Propeller-Beanie sequence.
Next up, we’ve got my own interpretation of a John Bot classic. Although I initially named it “Space Invader”, I soon realized it was just a frontstyle version of his trick, Cat Star. I do like dropping mine into Eiffel and then braintwisting out. John was the first player who really showed me that picture tricks could be a modern style in and of themselves, and I found his “story tricks” to be absolutely brilliant. My Bionic Rudolph trick uses the same basic mount as his StarFox/Bandit-Elephant sequence, but ends in a seasonally appropriate bit of Xmas flair.
The 4th trick is not picture-ish at all. Whatever, I was just messing around with the Emmett.
At :30, we have one of my favorite tricks ever, Star Within A Star. I heard that this was a boom-era Sky Kiyabu invention (although I could be wrong). Possibly the most awesome work of symmetrical string geometry I’ve seen, and I love how you can pause in the Triforce picture before completing it. Immediately following it, we have a variation I call Sands of the Hourglass, which is kind of my own take on the classic Hailey’s Comet (1-handed Star mounted in trapeze).
The next two tricks are some of my more complex ones, and they require a degree of delicacy on fixed axle. At :50 is Flux Capacitor, which I’m sure I’ve highlighted on FF before at some point, and then after that is a weird trick I call Conjoined Twin Towers. I really don’t fully understand how it works out, but you basically get two Eiffels which are totally interwoven, and yet it drops neatly out. Yo-yo’s… how do THEY work? 1:10 shows another John Bot gem, Takeshi’s Ray Gun. Easy to get into, and brilliantly simple in concept, I do homage to John in my next trick, the star-to-trapeze formation I named “Johnbotulism”.
Pretty much every old-schooley thrower has some variation on the Flower trick. They are perfect for small demos, and say what you will about the pitfalls of princesses and ponies… little girls love the flower trick. They also dig on the Flutter-By trick, which I get into at 1:40. That one has a habit of snagging on the way out, so it’s a bit sketchier for a school or library show. And, speaking of things that flutter, my last trick for this week was named by Drew Tetz as “The Great Blue Heron Or Something”. Seeing as it looks only vaguely like a bird, the “Or Something” is absolutely integral.
And that’s a wrap. Mind you, I don’t think we’re done with Fixed Friday by any means. Though I’m taking a vacation for a couple weeks, I’ll still revisit this column in the new year. It might not be a weekly or bi-weekly thing, but as thematic ideas become apparent, we’ll be there to try our best to document them. Thanks so much to anyone and everyone who has checked out this corner of YoYoNews.com all year, who’ve left us feedback and suggestions in the comments, and who have, themselves, pushed fixed axle play forward through all of the videos, instagrams, and support of small manufacturers. As I said at the top, “it’s been fun”.