So, you’ve heard about this crazy new style of yo-yoing called Double Dragon, where you play with two strings on one yoyo. You wanna try it, but have no idea where to start. You’ve come to the right place.
Welcome to the Official Double Dragon Tutorial Series: to address all of your questions and more, so you too can become a dual-stringed beast. In this article, we’re going to begin with the basics of how to get started playing with two strings on your yo-yo. Then we’ll go over some of the fundamental concepts and tricks that make Double Dragon what it is.
What kind of yoyo set-up will I need for Double Dragon?
Let’s start off with the basics: what you need hardware wise. The best bearings to use when playing with two strings are konkaves and center tracs, but regular flat bearings also work fine. You want a bearing that will allow both strings equal space to move freely, so a grooved bearing will have less than satisfactory results.
Now it’s time to pick a yo-yo. I prefer the Indecision or Bad Decision from Werrd, but any wide-gapped, long spinning yo-yo with medium/high walls is ideal. With a higher wall, you’ll have a much easier time adjusting the plane of the yo-yo in case it tilts off axis. Zero wall yo-yos aren’t as cooperative for playing with two strings.
The last thing to do before we can start throwing is put the strings on our yo-yo. The best kind of string to use is thinner than standard poly. What I use is thin Kitty String or slim G-String. Avoid thicker string, it will cram the gap and kill spin time. A good way to measure your strings is to hold the yo-yo up to your solar plexus, and tie the knot at about arm’s length. Playing with shorter strings makes it a lot easier.
What’s the best way to start playing Double Dragon?
The simplest way to get into Double Dragon is to start with Tethered Dragon, which is where you have both strings tied to one finger. In this configuration, you can throw and catch with one hand, as with standard 1A. To wind up, thumb start or snap start the yo-yo just like in 1A, and do a regular backspin bind.
After you throw Tethered Dragon, you might need to unwind the strings incase they get tangled. This is similar to adjusting string tension, but with 2 separate strings instead of the internal strands of a single string. You can untwist them with the sidewinder adjustment technique (inwards or outwards depends on the direction of the strings’ tension). Or for more precision, do pinwheels until the strings are untwisted and neutral (clockwise or counterclockwise depends on which way the strings are twisted).
In Tethered Dragon there are many new avenues for string tricks to be explored. Before you get carried away, let’s take a look at a few Tethered basics:
To perform Tether Rolls, first throw a breakaway and make sure the strings are untwisted. Then insert your non throwhand finger inbetween the strings. The object of the trick is to perform pinwheels, alternating on the inside and outside of your non-throwhand, switching off strings on each rotation. In this trick, the yo-yo can spin clockwise or counterclockwise (either way works). When you’re done pinwheeling, you can let go and bind return, or if you’re feeling adventurous, go directly into a Tether Tower:
To do a Tether Tower, first pinch one of the strings with your non-throwhand, about halfway down (either string can be pinched, it doesn’t matter which one). Then, swing the yo-yo around in front of your hands such that the strings overlap, causing the non-pinched string to form a wide loop as it is bisected by the pinched string. Catch the loop in the front with your throwhand. To get out, just drop the string and bind as usual.
Now, to get into Double Dragon from playing tethered, first throw a breakaway. Once the yoyo is spinning sidestyle, take the outermost string off your finger and transfer it to your non-throwhand. Congratulations! You have entered a neutral state of Double Dragon, where the yo-yo is spinning but not mounted on a string formation.
To bring the yoyo back to your hand, you can go back into Tethered Dragon and bind like you would in 1a and voila, this is the easiest way to get in and out of Double Dragon.
But you’re not going to want to switch back into Tethered for the beginning and end of every single trick, so you ought to learn how to bind without detaching from Double Dragon. To do this, you need to perform a backspin bind, which can be done with either string, using either an overwhip or an underwhip. As long as the whip is pulling against the direction the yo-yo is spinning, it will be a backspin bind and should return to your hands. Keep track of which direction the yo-yo is spinning by remembering the direction you’ve thrown it in. Be sure to always catch the yo-yo with the hand performing the bind, to keep the strings from getting twisted before the next throw.
But before you throw the yo-yo again, you need to understand the proper hand positioning after catching. If binding with an underwhip, after catching the yo-yo you need to shift the yo-yo circularly underneath your non catch hand, so you can throw the yo-yo on the side opposite from where you bound. When making this transition from one side to the other, be careful not to twist the strings, keeping the yo-yo in the same plane. For binding via overwhip, the procedure is slightly different; now you throw on the same side where you caught the yo-yo. Again, keeping the yo-yo in the same plane, be careful not to get the strings twisted while the yo-yo is in your hands.
We will get into more advanced throwing & catching techniques later on in these articles, but for now you have everything you need to know to start binding, throwing and learning tricks in a continuous, untethered state of Double Dragon.
Now that we know the very basics of this new style of play, lets put those skills to use by learning some tricks! As you’ll soon see, the fundamental Double Dragon tricks are unique from other styles of yo-yoing because of their symmetrical string formations and ambidextrous movements.
Double Dragon – Easy Tricks
In Double Dragon, before we can mount the yo-yo, you need to learn some fundamental holds, where you are holding the string but the yo-yo is unmounted.
Pentagram Hold + Bounce
To get into a Pentagram Hold from a neutral state, place the left string over the right index finger, (or vice versa.) Then, take the slack right-handed string with your left index and pull it underneath to mirror the position of the left string. Keep the strings on the side of the yo-yo that’s closer to your body.
An easy trick you can do from this hold is called Pentagram Bounce. Perform this trick just by boingy-ing the yo-yo up and down in front of the string formation. To get out, just drop the strings.
Cradle Hold + Mount + Bounce
To do Dragon’s Cradle Hold, First make two magic drop holds. Then put your thumbs into the opposite sides’ holds, pulling the strings apart and across each other, like cat’s cradle. To get into the Cradle Mount, hop the yo-yo up and mount it in the middle of the lower string segments. When done correctly you will be in a symmetrical formation that looks like a star. From here you can do the Cradle Bounce, where you boingy the yo-yo up and down within the string formation, like so. To get out, just hop the yo-yo out of the front of the mount, and drop the loops you’ve been holding.
Although the Cradle is a symmetrical string formation, the Cradle Hold/Mount can be oriented either left or right. Cradle Mount Right is when the right magic drop hold is in front, while Cradle Mount Left is when the left magic drop hold is in front.
Dragon Rolls is the equivalent of the 1a trick Pulling Taffy, except you switch strings each time you remount. It was the first front style dd trick I came up with. Front style in Double Dragon involves simply turning your body perpendicular towards the yo-yo, and can be done on either side.
To do it, perform a bottom mount and immediately dismount the yo-yo. Then pick it back up with another bottom mount on the other string. Dismount and proceed until you’re done.
Switches is a simple, symmetrical repeater that goes from a trapeeze on one side, and then switches to a trapeeze on the other. Throw in the lindy loop to complete the motion. This trick can be performed from a regular trapeeze on top of the string, and also from an undermounted trapeze. As with Dragon Rolls, this trick involves shifting attention from one string to the other mid trick, letting each do half the work, as the other hangs slack.
Waterfalls was one of the first Double Dragon tricks I came up with. This trick implements the slack into a symmetrical motion, rather than letting it just dangle behind the string that’s pulling the yo-yo.
Start by putting one string over your index finger, like the beginning of Pentagram Hold. Then, move your thumb on the holding hand so it is on top of the string being held. Throw the whole formation over top of your holding hand, so you can catch the slack with the opposite index finger, and drop your thumb to secure the string. Now, drop the hold from the first hand, repeating the motion the with your other hand, returning the slack to where it first began. Repeat from side to side, index, thumb, throw over and catch, until you’re out of water.
This is an essential concept for understanding many advanced dd tricks and moving through dd fluidly. The definition of what makes a Drape is using a slack string and taut string together to cross the strings. To keep the strings from just getting twisted on the axle, a Drape is achieved by catching the slack string, similar to Tether Tower. The two forms of basic drapes are Over Drapes and Under Drapes- this depends on if you catch the slack on top or underneath the taut string.
To do a Right Under Drape, swing the yo-yo around in front of your hands from left to right, keeping the left string taut, and allowing the right string to go full slack. As the yo-yo makes way around the right hand, drape the slacked string into the path of the taut string. Catch the slack on the other side with your right hand. For an Under Drape on the Left, just invert this procedure, using the right string taut to swing the yo-yo from right to left, and draping the left string to catch the loop underneath on the left.
To do a Right Over Drape, using the left string for tension and the right string to be draped, swing the yo-yo in the other direction from right to left. Drape the right string over the left string, such that you can catch the slack loop on top of the tense string. Invert the procedure for an Over Drape on the Left.
Once you’re comfortable with drapes, you should be able to transition between left and right drapes instantaneously.
The Brown Triangle is named so because it is neither a Green Triangle nor a Red Triangle. It is a merger of the two ideas (gts being mounted in a knot and rts being mounted out) to form a triangle only possible with two separate strings. As with red and green triangles, there are millions of ways (to be discovered) to get into a Brown Triangle. This is the most basic:
Do a drape. Open up the drape-side loop with the hand that isn’t holding it. From the front, mount the yo-yo onto the bottom string, which is the string tied to the hand that you’re opening the loop with, and drop the hand you caught the drape with. Be sure to dismount out the front of the triangle.
To get into a Brown Triangle with a little extra flare (and an extra string hit), before mounting the yo-yo on the bottom string, you can mount the yo-yo on and off inside the drape with the opening hand.
To do Triangle Transfer, first go into a Brown Triangle. Swing the yoyo over and above the finger holding the triangle, changing the drape direction while transitioning to the opposite side. Now remount into a brown triangle on the other side. Rinse, repeat, and lather.
This concludes the first installment of the Double Dragon Tutorial Series.
Stay tuned next week for Volume 2.