Sometimes, you just want a laidback video with some pretty string formations. Cameron Henderson’s got you covered with his latest, a fairly solid mix of tech tricks on the Chief. He notes that he’s been throwing for just under two years—impressive progress!
Hot on the heels of his recent 5A May Torque video, Filipino wonderboy Bryan Jardin has agreed to answer a few questions about his 5A philosophy and yo-yo experience. With multiple championships under his belt at both Philippine Nationals & the Asian Pacific Yo-yo contest, he has already proven himself to be a formidable force on the Asian competitive scene, and a podium finish at the Bay Area Classic suggests that he has not slowed down upon moving to the US. In addition to being a great player, Bryan is well-known for his energetic off-stage antics and his huge smile. Pull up a chair and learn a little about the man behind the tricks.
How did you get started in yo-yoing?
I started yo-yoing when I was 9 years old, around the time that the Super Yo-yo scene crashed in the Philippines. Everyone had a yoyo. To make the long story short, Edmund San Antonio ( Duncan Crew Philippines ) introduced me to the advanced tricks, and I thought it was the coolest thing that I’d seen in my whole life. So he made me buy a ball bearing yoyo. I learned the tricks really quick because I’m into it. I tried competing for Basic, Intermediate and Advance- freestyle but I ended up losing. But I don’t care, I had fun! . Yoyoing helps me to build my confidence in the outside world, I’ve met a lot of friends and learned a lot of things in life.
Who are some of your favorite players & biggest influences?
Many of my favorite yo-yo players are old school players. Steve Brown, Rafael Matsunaga, Kohta, Yuuki Spencer, Sebby, Paul Escolar, Gary Longoria and Spencer Berry. I still look up to them.
For new rising star yoyo players, I like Michael Kurti, Isaac Sams, Andrew Maider, and Janos Karancz,
3. How do you generally create your tricks & combos?
I usually use 1A mounts for my 5A combos. I’ll create a lot of mini-tricks and put them together, I always make sure that the flow is right and I don’t usually care about technical. If I can’t come up with new tricks, I look back to the old 5A tricks, but I’ll add more style and put it in a competitive way.
4. You’re known in the community for your high energy both on and off the stage. What was the most fun you’ve ever had at a yo-yo contest?
Hahaha! This always happens, so I’m kind of used to it… After Sean Perez’s Freestyle, people will congratulate me because they think that I’m Sean. One time, a kid ran up wanting to hug me, take a picture and get my signature. I find it so funny because I always hang out with him and we both have the same Duncan Shirts. Brothers!!
5. You’re doing a great job showing off yo-yoing for Duncan at Downtown Disney. Is it more fun to perform for non-players who are impressed by everything or yoyoers who appreciate the technical difficulty of what you do?
For Non-players, I rarely do competition/technical/difficult tricks for them because even though it looks good, they don’t really understand it. Haha! One thing I like for the non-player crowd is to teach them tricks, I find it more fun and exciting.
I really like showing my tricks to yoyoers because at least they can understand the difficulty, style, flow and smoothness of my tricks. And if they like it, it gives me more hope to create new tricks!
6. What’s your favorite 5A trick of all time, and why?
My favorite 5A tricks are body tricks and aerials, because my definition of 5A is the counterweight/string/yoyo is away from me. I like it when I can add aerial moves and move the yoyo around my body.
7. You recently placed at BAC and have a history of strong performances at AP. How are American contests different from contests in Asia?
I’ve been competing in Asia for years and years, so I do tricks that fit to Asian Contests, which is more speed+technical. Here in the US, they focus more on style+flow+technical, which I find way easier to compete in, and I feel that this is were I belong when it comes to contest. I mostly like American 5A players because I can see the tricks whenever they freestyle, it’s much clearer. I really do appreciate a routine with good flow and not so fast. In my opinion, fast tricks are too robotic, especially for 5A.
8. What’s your favorite nickname for Brandon Jackson?
Haha! Before I answer this question, I would like to describe him. Brandon is Impossible. I think he is a walking Google, he knows everything! Brandon is a really good higher up and a friend… I always call him boss, because he is actually my boss! But I really want to call him BJ, Because we have the same acronym, I’m BJ too!
9. How do you plan your freestyles?
I plan my freestyle first before picking a song. I divide my freestyle into three pieces. It’ll help me to compress my freestyle so I can put more tricks in. It’s a little bit risky because I ended up putting a lot of tricks, and I don’t have spare time if I make a mistake. But that’s how I roll, I’ll go big or go home.
10. What do you think is going to be the biggest yo-yo trend of 2015?
I 2015 will be the battle of young yoyo players, they’re so crazy and innovative. I think kids will dominate the big stages in 2015. Old yoyo players will be history.
Any closing bits of advice?
For the kids out there dreaming of becoming a sponsored player:
- Be yourself
- Know your roots
- Be a role model to others
- Be creative and Innovative
- Be friendly, don’t act like a superstar
- Be active in contests
- Original Tricks are always the best tricks
- Enjoy what you do
Once you’ve learn how to do these things, companies will find you!
Greetings, gentle readers, and welcome to another installment of #trickcircle! We’re scouring Instagram for 15-second bursts of yoyoing and posting our favorites here. Check out the videos, follow the players, get inspired, and go out and throw. (Don’t forget to tag your own clips with #trickcircle and join the fun!)
To many people, JonRob is the @5AGOAT; he is widely remembered for bringing tech 5A to the masses through his battles with Jake Bullock, but wants to remind people that he’s been “going big since day one.” This wrap & tangler combo definitely backs up that statement, and the continuous motion is a great contrast to his more laidback counterweight tech. JonRob & Tyler Severance were some of the very first people to integrate wraps & tanglers into competition 5A, so if you’ve ever wanted to learn some of those, you could definitely start by picking apart this sequence.
Riccardo Fraolini (@blablanchard) has been featured on #trickcircle before, but how could we not run this insane suicide sequence? No wonder CLYW wanted to pick him up. Riccardo could easily be called the king of the instaclip: seems like every week he’s got another one of these jawdropping tricks. Riccardo’s banger elements are definitely what grabs your attention, but there is also a huge amount of care in crafting the way that these moves flow so seamlessly into each other, and he deserves credit for finding the optimal links between simple moves. And that final suicide! What?!
Serezhk Basygin (@serezhkabasygin, via @aeroyorussia) may not be a household name yet, but with tricks like this it seems like it must only be a matter of time. As is coming to be the standard for Russian 1A, this combo is almost entirely dense, technical maneuvers, including a number of clever slack GT setups, but what really caught my attention is the steady sense of pacing. Pauses are often seen as flaws for breaking up the flow, forcing players to become faster & faster, but this trick is a great example of how slowing down can really boost a trick’s impact. He uses pauses to draw attention to the mounts & elements and let them sink in before mutating them again, and the breakdown to GT halfway through the trick is a beautiful example of tension & release.
In the spirit of 5A May, Junpei Shimizu (@junpei_5a) shows three counterweight entrances to a popular variation on the reverse bind. This is a great use of the Instagram format, using the relatively small amount of time to showcase a few different moves that fit together well, and bonus points to him for hitting them all in the same take. These elements might look simple taken on their own, but they are all well-constructed combo finishers and well-worth adding to your repertoire.
Did you learn that bind in the last trick? Here’s Maxim Gruzintsev (@decaika) using a similar bind in the middle of a 1A trick to catch the yo-yo and switch into a horizontal combo. Players have been chasing plane-changing regens for a while now, but with the increased sophistication of horizontal play and the recent trend of using stalls & catches mid-combo the field is starting to get really interesting. This is definitely one of the more seamless entrances yet, and the implications for a contest situation are enormous: why waste time between tricks catching & throwing into a horizontal combo when you can just switch in the middle? He has a stop-n-go entrance that ain’t bad neither... oh, and he got attacked by a cat on camera. You gotta see that. Cat attack!
Hey gang! Gather ’round the internet machine and join us for the best yo-yoing you can fit into 15 seconds, #trickcircle. In this series (previous installments here) we scan Instagram for videos tagged with #trickcircle, pick recent favorites, and collect them here along with some thoughts on what makes them great. In the spirit of 5A May, let’s keep this installment to counterweight tricks.
It only seems right to start things off with the man who first decided that yo-yos worked better tied to dice than to fingers, @unklesteve (aka National Yoyo Master Steve Brown.) Steve laid a huge amount of the bedrock for 5A; there’s a pretty good chance that he made up half of the tricks you can do back in ’98 with Neff. The crazy thing is that Steve is still shredding: there ain’t nothing outdated about that combo up there, and few people can manage those kinds of finger switches with the ease that he does. I recognize the launch from one of my favorite tricks in Steve’s 365yoyotricks project, “Circuitous”, great to see two equally gnarly paths branching out from the beginning of the combo.
Let’s take a trip down south to visit @bryanjardin, AKA 2 time Asian Pacific Champ & 4 time Philippine Champ Bryan Jardin. Bryan’s style is fun, exciting, and hard to keep up with—kind of like Bryan himself. Where Steve’s combo was based around clockwork motions within a few mounts between his hands, Bryan’s is all about momentum. He keeps the mount simple, but the confidence behind his tricks comes out in power & speed that make for a very exciting show. Entering red propellor from around the arm at the end of the combo was a particularly nice touch.
Taking us back to technical territory is @scottsm7 (2011 US Champ Samm Scott.) Samm has been exploring this style of combo more frequently in his recent freestyles: dense tricks that rack up by points by mounting, pinwheeling, and redirecting the counterweight & yo-yo around the hands while maintaining control of a central string structure. You can definitely see traces of influence from Jon Rob & Jake Bullock, but more than anything what shines through is top-level string control placing every element exactly where he needs it to be.
Let’s take a break from the long combos and get to something more instantly satisfying: bangers! @danielbudai (AKA Daniel Budai, 2 time Hungarian Champ & 2012 European 5A Champ) brings us this mighty green triangle. The beauty in this trick is that the elements all logically flow together, but the end result is still surprising: the motion of the counterweight out of e-fan naturally unmounts the yo-yo and continues into the crook of his arm, and the momentum of the yo-yo naturally sets up a GT formation to land in. The other best part of this trick is definitely that it lets you flex like a strong man at the end, so if you learn it make sure to pose in the mirror a bit.
@chasebaxter is an American player who has been steadily moving up the ranks in contests and is beginning to make waves with combos like this one. Chase’s style features a good mix of ’07-10 American contest 5A influences and his own “swangle,” perhaps best exemplified with the 1-2-3-4 counterweight mount buildup at the beginning of the combo and the drop suicide at the end. Definitely a name to watch.
At the beginning of the month, Takeshi Kamisato challenged @edhaponik to come up with some Fixed Axle 5A. Ed is certainly no stranger to Fixed Axle, but fixie 5A has gone largely unexamined due to the fact that traditional counterweight tricks are reeeally hard without bearings. Ed sidesteps this technical challenge and uses a responsive setup (a butterfly!) to his advantage with this sidewinder freegen, a visually appealing exercise in quick reflexes & lateral thinking. This trick contains some of the best parts of modern fixed axle play: it may seem like a “dead end” due to its lack of string hits and inability to combo in/out of anything, but it’s not easy to find a single move with a visual effect as strong as this one. Furthermore, even players who understand why a sidewinder flutters can enjoy banging the hell out of their knuckles trying this trick at home—trust me, it’s harder than it looks. And isn’t that the heart of all yo-yo tricks?
The biggest request I’ve had for 5A May thusfar is for some more fixed axle freehand, which is unfortunately really freakin’ hard. Fortunately, I felt so pumped from watching Japan Nationals that I got off my butt and came up with these two tricks. Trick number one is a kickflip suicide juggle, and the second is a kickflip inside of an e-fan caught in a 2or0. Enjoy!
When I went to 44CLASH in 2011, Kohta gave us stickers that read “WHO’S GOING TO BE A NEXT GENERATION?” Upon receiving & reading his sticker, Hank pointed to Daiki practicing tricks in the corner and said “That guy. He’s the next generation.” Two contest seasons later, and he is definitely living up to this promise. Dee’s recent clip featuring Daiki for Fist Salud shows you why he’s the future: clever transitions, sophisticated combo construction, and of course his signature cross-armed horizontal circular eli hop banger—what’s not to love?
One Drop Japan team member and tech 1A revivalist Tsukasa Takatsu recently released this video showcasing the Benchmark O and rounding up his tricks for 2014 thus far. If you’ve caught his tricks on his Instagram and wanted a closer look, this is a great jazz-fueled bucket full of inspiration. We’re huge fans of Tsukasa’s trick construction, especially the maturity of his compositions given his relatively recent arrival on the scene, but more than anything we’re totally astounded at the amount of stuff he puts out. Where does it all come from?
The deeper one gets into yo-yoing, the more one is exposed to all the wonderful jargon and nebulous concepts that its enthusiasts have come up with. One of the trickiest bits of vocabulary to define has always been “technical yo-yoing”: most players know it when they see it, other players can give you a vague definition, and non-players will look at it and walk away shaking their heads.
This particular style of tricks is known for its intense complexity, its focus on slight details & variations in tricks, and its heightened level of difficulty. Yo-yo tricks exploded in growth with the introduction of the bearing, and it could be argued that the roots of technical play were established with Steve Brown, Neff, and the SpinDox during the Renegade era. However, “tech” as we know it would really hit its stride in 2003 with Johnnie DelValle’s groundbreaking championship freestyle.
The focus on intricate string play and long, risky combos was a huge paradigm shift. Though the Eli Hop and other showy choreographic moves have found their way back into competitive play, technical play shows no signs of leaving. If anything, the championship title awarded to Hungarian tech wizard Janos Karancz a decade after JD’s victory seems to indicate a new golden age of tech.
I thought it would be best to turn to the pros to discuss some of the core tenets of technical trick construction, and am proud to feature well-respected trick theorists Mikhail, Rafael, Isaac, Spencer, Gabe, and Jacob. Let’s hear about it.
How would you define “technical yo-yoing”?
Mikhail Tulabut (Team YoYoJam): “The simplest way I can define it is a trick/combo whose string geometry is more complicated and dimensional than Double or Nothing. It’s like holding up a flat piece of paper compared to holding up a paper airplane.”
Rafael Matsunaga (Duncan Crew): “For me, if I call something ‘technical’, I’m mostly thinking about complexity of tricks. Even though some simpler concepts may require more technical expertise and are actually harder than what I call technical, I’m probably more inclined to use technical to describe trick with multiple string folds and hard-to-describe mounts and moves.”
Jacob “Elephark” Jensen (Werrd): “I think of modern yoyoing as the sort of yoyoing that focuses primarily on creation and sharing ideas, as opposed to classical yoyoing, which gives importance to mastering a set of tricks and/or performing for the sake of selling yoyos.
I think of technical yoyoing as the facet of modern yoyoing that focuses on concepts and elements for their own sake, or the sake of the trick. The science of yoyo tricks, if you will. … For me, I think the term ‘tech yoyoer’ is most accurately descriptive of a player who studies and preferably attempts to expand the library of trick concepts available to the community. Kind of like a scientist. Okay, exactly like a scientist. And there’s theoretical science and there’s practical science, and each scientist gets to choose how many scoops of each to put on his plate at lunchtime.“
Isaac Sams (Duncan Crew, Innovation Movement): “Technical yoyoing: sequencing that is too complex to fully follow without learning it.”
Spencer Berry: “I usually lump technical yo-yoing into most of the tricks that non-yoyoers may be amazed by, but probably can’t tell apart. Which is a huge lump! To a yoyoer, I could probably even get more specific: tech tricks are those that explore holds beyond the building blocks. Sometimes tech tricks explore new concepts or combine multiple simpler concepts into single motions, but more often than that they are the product of kids seeking originality while they bounce from string to string, knot to knot. If the trick is complicated, it is easier to be unique, right? I often hear tech and flow pitted against each other – but a trick can easily have both or neither and of course grades in between.”
What, in your opinion, makes a trick or combo “good”?
David Ung (Team Yoyofactory): “I think a good trick is one that requires every motion. Extraneous movements in tricks and combos really bother me (in most cases. Some people have really interesting “useless” moves that I think are fantastic). Good tricks generally have great pacing, too. I don’t know exactly how to explain/define good trick pacing… but just look at Yuuki or Charles to get a good idea. There is always enough original material/moves sprinkled throughout the trick to keep you entertained the entire time.”
Gabe Lozano (Duncan Crew, Sector-Y): “To me, a trick or combo should follow a general theme. This can be done in several ways, but my personal favorite is taking a move or hold, and then finding all the neat transitions in and out of that move/hold, and then tying it all together in a way that flows nicely. That way, all the pieces fit together and feel cohesive.”
Mikhail: “1. Dynamics. There should be a rhythm to it. Kind of like the 3 Act structure of story-telling. Setup (Mount), Confrontation (String hits and maneuvers), and Resolution (Banger/Reveal/dismount).
2. Flow. Things should always be moving and feel natural. When I’m working on a trick, I like to feel and “listen” to where the yo-yo and my hands want to go. It obvious when I try a movement and the yo-yo just won’t have it.
3. Surprise/Originality. Natural movement and flow is nice, but I also like to see movements/slack/mounts that come out of nowhere and haven’t been done to death.”
Rafael: “I believe good combos are like good music. Everybody likes a different style, but some characteristics are universal to good combos/music. First of all, a good combo must be well executed, otherwise, it’s the same as a fantastic sheet music being played by a mediocre musician. Then it comes to composition itself. If the elements follow a certain pattern or just go well together, that’s a nice combo. I know that’s a bit vague, but like music, once you listen to a good song or see a good combo, you know it. And just like music, some styles and elements end up becoming a fad and nobody cares any longer, even if people keep doing it (like dubstep, or I guess trap these days)”
Spencer: “I’d say most of MY favorite tricks that I CAN do have sensations to them. Either a motion that just fits right or a theme that carries the yoyo through some sort of story (not necessarily literal, but motions that build, climax, release, arc, etc).
As far as tricks I enjoy watching, my favorites are usually exemplary examples of someone’s personality made yoyo trick. I think Rojas and Haycock are perfect modern examples of this – watching them play they are unmistakeable – often imitated – but never faked. There is a sense of identity – suddenly holds, moves, even tricks you’ve maybe seen before become infused with a fresh personality.
The real challenge, I find, is making a trick sufficiently simple for me to both want to learn it and enjoy doing it. In the past i was drawn to long, complicated, proprietary tricks. Because I knew they were mine and I felt like it was new territory. But I’ve definitely shifted into a seek the simplicity phase where it is equally challenging to find something that is simple but fresh and fun to do.“
Isaac: “Since the ‘modern’ style of yoyoing is so young, we have to take inspiration from the non-yoyo world to make any sense of what we’re doing. Some of today’s best tricks are made like this, and the reason why they’re the best is because everyone can make the connection, not just yoyoers. A good combo has no borders.
Another thing to take note of is utilizing all your possible zones. A really long combo done in front of the player is boring, it usually doesn’t catch enough attention. A well-scoring combo will consist of tech placed inside-arm, outside-arm, overhead, over arm—basically, cover as much area as you can.”
What pitfalls should be avoided during combo construction?
Gabe: “I personally dislike combos that are disorganized. If you’re throwing in hops, boings, stalls, grinds, arms, etc. into one combo, it’s just a disorganized mess. Even if every element is cool, when you throw them all together, your elements don’t get the recognition they deserve because they’re surrounded by too many other moves that don’t complement it. The trick then becomes forgettable. Good tricks are memorable, and having a strong theme and focus is key.”
Isaac: “What kills a combo for me is when a player stays in a mount for a while without accelerating through the trick. What I love about the Russian style is that their combos only consist of ridiculous transitions, so you can barely tell when they are in a mount before they’re already out.”
Rafael: “A trick is boring/bad if no effort is put into it. If you’re just taking existing elements from two popular combos and putting them together, there’s no effort in creativity. If you come up with a new hold but can do nothing with it, there is no effort in construction.
Overusing the music metaphor again, if you’re just doing other people’s combos, you’re that dude with a guitar playing covers on the beach. People may enjoy it, even give you props for playing their favorite song, but when Tom Morello parks across the street you’ll be as good as dead. Good tricks and combos come from trick artists.”
Mikhail: “Never-ending combos. I attribute this to ‘contest yo-yoing.’ Yo-yos spin longer, and regens save time to get more points, but holy crap when a trick should obviously end at a trapeze, and they just regen out of it to regen out again it feels like a run-on sentence that should have clearly ended a while ago but it just didn’t and kept going because it could and it didn’t even use a comma to break up the thought and just started a whole new thought because it was easier to just keep going even though the statement was clearly over and came to a natural and fitting end but nah never mind let’s just keep going for a little bit because I can and then an abrupt. End.”
Spencer: “I don’t want to say that any tricks are bad, I think if someone came up with it and it brings them joy then it is a success.
If a trick or combo is boring it is probably having trouble distinguishing itself. With the abundance of tricks that exist now, it is very easy to create something that may be technically new, but has nothing fresh about it. Which is strange to say—because people make fresh tricks out of old holds, old moves, old tricks all the time—but there is also a lot of new tricks that don’t seem fresh because they don’t assert themselves to anything beyond a series of moves someone put together. Does that make any sense?”
Technical yo-yoing may rightly be regarded as one of the most unapproachable styles, but persistent practice and mindful trick design can also make it one of the most impressive. This is by no means a complete summary of the wide world of tech, but hopefully is enough to inspire you to try some kink mounts.
Remember that Kendama with a string groove that Takeshi modded? You know, the one that let players mount the Dama on the string and even do partial windups for performing yoyo-inspired tricks. Pretty cool, yeah? Well, I’ve had it for a month now, and I got together two minutes of tricks right here:
Hope that you enjoy it! I’ve been stoked on the cross-pollination of ideas between yo-yoers and kendama players, and I’m grateful to Takeshi for making this mod to help me get some of my ideas out. If you like the music, download it for free right here.
Daniel “Zammy” Ickler put together this supercut of one of the finest trick innovators of all time, Paul Escolar. In Zammy’s own words:
“This video was made out of respect for Paul and all his material he made between 99-01. These tricks are the staple of 1A and everyone should see them. … Gabe also had re-recorded tricks that was for his PSY project but it was never seen the light of day in a more centralized manner… until now.”
Paul truly is a formative force for modern 1A, it’s always good to watch the Spikey Haired Freak in action.
Brilliant Italian tricksmith Riccardo Fraolini hits us with this clip under the banner of fun-loving European collective R-Special. If you’ve seen any of the previous R-Special videos or any of Riccardo’s insane #trickcircle instagram tricks, you should know what to expect: a great sense of humor and quality filmmaking, paired with some of the freshest concepts you’re likely to see all year. There may be only one combo in this video, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll see something new in it. Get your slack inspiration on now!
The #trickcircle tag on Instagram has become the spot for players to share their latest moves, and we here at @Yoyonews are picking out the best ones to share every week. We’re still about two weeks behind, so we’ve got a huge crop of amazing material to sort through and it might take more than one installment before we’re caught up, but enough talk: let’s get to the tricks!
OK, I know we talked last week about @blablablanchard (Riccardo Fraolini) and that I’m jumping ahead a bit in our queue of tricks, but this was too good not to share. It opens with a fairly understated slack sequence before dropping into an unusual-looking chopsticks mount… and then string starts spitting out the top of the yo-yo into his hand like some kind of weird magic spell. Jaws stay dropped as he moves his hand to charm the string back and forth a few times, accentuating it with a humorous head turn, before propelling it all the way to the other finger and properly finish his mount. Colin Leland (of TMBR Toys) notably made a video in 2007 called “The Magnum Project” exploring this response-centric trick, but few players have been able to crack the concept open as effectively as Riccardo has here. Love it!
@smietanejro (AKA Piotrek Smietana of YoYoJam Poland, Backspin, and organizer of the recent WFC International) compresses a ton of conceptual goodness into a short amount of time with this great 3D bind. It sets up with an undermount tossed into a grind, which is then thrown upwards and outwards which triggers a sidewinder effect on the return. Not only is this creative, flashy, and good for fixing string tension, but in a contest setting it automatically tacks 4 or 5 extra clicks on to the end of your combo. As contest tricks become increasingly dense, it pays to put a little bit of flair into your catches. For a bonus instaclip, check out his “Puff Puff” trick — picture trick tech ahoy!
@daigowerrd (AKA Daigo Komiya of Werrd Japan) brings us this beautiful counterweight combo. Contest judge Boxthor once told me that a hallmark of Japanese combo construction is variations on a theme, and you can definitely see this idea reflected in the redirection sequence at the end of this trick. Daigo’s style, though, crosses all kinds of borders, and he’s known for creative details that make all his tricks feel both cohesive and surprising. The final bind/unwrap sequence is a particular favorite of mine Bonus: check out his bouncy chopsticks 1A repeater.
@johnwrobot (AKA John Bot of CLYW) is the yo-yo player equivalent of a cult classic. While he may not be as well-known as players like Hank or Tyler, they (and many others) will cite him as one of the best dudes to yo-yo with ever, something which is plain to see in the Team Chubby Lovin’ and Tricks Old & New series. Part of his charm is that his tricks are almost narrative-driven: true, they’re fun to watch on video, but the best way to experience them is to watch it performed with accompanying sound effects and a silly story behind the name. This particular trick, Double-on Tondra, is an elaborate double entendre (!) following the creation of a 1.5 zipper he titled the “tondra” while eating burgers in Adam & Seth’s apartment the night before Dave’s wedding. Maybe you had to be there, but the trick is fun no matter what.
@darnell_hairston, the prince of Cleveland, breaks out some unconventional mounts in this trick that blurs the lines between frontstyle and sidestyle tricks. While his body is definitely turned and his motions are informed as though he’s performing a frontstyle trick, the fact that the yo-yo motion occurs outside of his throwhand means that his fingers are pointing the same direction and it could be directly translated into a cross-handed sidestyle trick. It breathes a lot of new life into an otherwise straightforward maneuver.
@yoyopeople (AKA John Higby) proves once again that he is truly a magic man with Magic Sleeper, a befuddling conversion from offstring to 1A. How does he do it? He’s already confirmed that it’s not washing machine… and, frankly, the mystery is part of the fun! Creating a trick that entertains non-yoyoers & hardcore players alike is no easy feat, and John’s sense of fun & endless creativity makes him one of the most watchable yo-yo performers of all time.
Hello, Fixed Axle Faithful! As you may know, this is the last Friday of 2013. What you might know is that this is also the last installment of regular Fixed Friday content—it sounds dramatic, but I highly doubt you’ve seen the last of us, we’ll just be stepping back from one a week. As Ed noted, it’s been fun, and we’re quite proud of our work; after fifty episodes I hope that we’ve given fixed axle acolytes some material to chew on and maybe taught somebody a trick or two. Thank you all for stickin’ with us through this crazy year and for supporting us in whatever comes next.
As this is the last installment of the year, I thought it might be fitting to do a roundup of my favorite concepts. Consider this the Cliffs Notes version of the Fixed Axle master class, and please by all means check out our back catalog… but more than anything learn these tricks!
Before we start talking about individual tricks, I would urge every new Fixed Axle player to check out Ed’s “Back to Basics” clip & article, which addresses most of the questions about equipment, string tension (important!), and all that good stuff.
Job #1 is developing good control over the yo-yo. You’ll be spending a lot of time winding your yo-yo back up, so you might as well learn a couple fun ways to do it! I personally favor the thumb start (demonstrated by André here), a quick pushing down on the yo-yo with your fingers to start it spinning again, but it wouldn’t hurt to learn a couple of different regen techniques. Another favorite is Engineer’s Windup, wherein you set the dead yo-yo on the string and roll it along the trapeze to build friction and start the string winding—while many people write this move off as cheesy beginner stuff, I find looping out of it quite satisfying, and Kyle Nations actually built it into a trick with his “Necro” concepts.
Though I don’t feature it in the video, I would be remiss not to mention the almighty snap start. Ed has a great primer on those.
The next trick, Sidewinder, is an absolute essential, because it is hands-down the fastest way to fix string tension on a responsive yo-yo. You can read my full article on it here for a more in-depth look, but definitely learn it! Lefty loosey, righty tighty, keep that string in shape.
Pocketwatch, created by the brilliant Nate Sutter, is perhaps the simplest new trick in years, and that’s what makes it brilliant. Read Ed’s writeup on it and don’t forget to shake your hips for maximum points.
Trapeze Stall & Trapeze-Bro Stall are not only the building blocks of modern stall play, but also the first tricks featured on Fixed Friday. Neat, right? Complete the circle by reading that original article, trapeze stall was a total gamechanger for me and I consider it a modern essential. Once again, Ed’s knowledge is indispensable, and his “How to Stall” video is perfect for fixing your technique, and his Bro-Stall Repeaters video can show you some more advanced variations. The Double-or-nothing (2or0) stall was not covered in depth in a FF article, but once you feel comfortable with your trapezes you should try going all the way around and practicing your rollouts.
Zipper Stalls is perhaps my favorite stall-based repeater, perfect in its symmetry & simplicity. Ed made it, so naturally he’d be the best to learn from (probably in this article he wrote featuring it) but I love seeing the way players’ individual style affects the aesthetics of this trick. Being able to roll smoothly from one stall to another and learning the way the yo-yo flips depending on spin direction is an essential skill that this trick develops in you pretty quick.
Thumb Mount stalls are another fixed axle standby, the perfect fusion of response-powered tricks and string trick precision. The Lunar Landing, addressed a little bit later, is probably the most famous example, and Ed discusses a number of them in his Lunars clip, but you can also see a few good examples in his one-handed clip. The entrances in the video are some of my favorite, but I’ll admit some are harder than others: forward pass to reverse lunar is definitely the one I would try to learn first.
Dumptrucks, alright! I’m proud because it’s an original trick, and one of my favorite modern fixie concepts. I addressed it at length in this video, but the main takeaway is that you can flip the yo-yo halfway on the z-axis to dismount and regenerate, something that is stylish, fun, and useful for finding transitions. I may be biased, but I do consider it a staple of the modern fixed axle canon, so give it a try at least.
Behind the back braintwister is not a move in everybody’s quiver, but it serves as a good way to practice stalls in body tricks… and beat fools in butterfly horse.
2or0 chopsticks stall is one of my favorite stall mounts, because of how technically rich it is for being accessible straight off of a throw. I enjoy just mounting and rolling out as in the video, but you can see it applied to a more complex trick in my Crisis video.
I’ve chosen Makin’ Da Zines to be representative of all planet hop based repeaters, which you can learn more of in my Planet Rock column. Makin’ Da Zines is a favorite because it’s a stylish & satisfying exit from trapeze stall, something you’ll end up in a lot. There’s definitely something to be said for tricks that just feel “right.”
Shoot the Moon is an all-time classic hall of fame trick, and well worth learning even if you don’t usually like looping. Ed’s Lunars clip addresses them briefly, but it’s the sort of trick that you really have to just work at for yourself. My tips: use something light & butterfly-shaped, make sure your string length & response are comfortable, be careful that the yo-yo doesn’t flip between repetitions, and use a much gentler touch than you ordinarily would.
Stop & Go is a classic 1A move covered in many other places, but Ed does such nice things with them on fixed axles that I thought it was worth mentioning. Definitely plenty of unexplored territory there, and a great trick to show non-yoyoers, too. The following clip with the uncredited clip is also a tribute to Ed, specifically his daring “flinch” trick.
Bouncehouse is a subtle & fun transition move introduced in my “Huh? Wha?” clip, and when combined with Charles’ 2or0 entrance it has become one of my bread & butter fixed axle combos. LFO is another blending of elements that make a satisfying whole: you can see it in slomo in that sidewinder article, the blending of dumptrucks, sidewinders, and 3D catches feels great.
Kickflips, Heelflips, Shuvits, and the Mach-5 Whip Flip can all be found (along with other flips) in my Flip Tricks column. I think it’s fair to call the kickflip my “signature move” by now, which is exciting, ’cause I’m like not even a superhero or a wrestler so I’m not supposed to have those… but anyways, they’re high risk stall-specific moves that look great and feel fun, so you should at least try to learn one of them. Probably Kickflips, they’re the easiest, but shuvits are satisfying exactly because of how difficult they are.
UFO Recaptures are perhaps the simplest way to get into Horizontal tricks for fixed axle. Read more about them here. It’ll take practice to catch the returning stall on the string, but it feels great being able to switch between planes on a whim. The Double Regen is silly but fun.
Mystics are very technical, z-axis transitions between strings in the middle of a stall. Though the intricacies are often missed by non-fixed players, they do feel really awesome and open up a whole new way of looking at stall string formations. Check the full Mystical clip here.
…and, because it’s nice to go out with something fun, I ended with Venetian Blinds, a trick you should definitely not show your mother-in-law or the police.
Thank you all for tuning in all year, and I hope that we’ll be able to trade Fixie tricks on a contest floor sometime soon. I’ve had a ton of fun and have so much love for Ed, Steve, & André for helping making it happen. Don’t forget to join the Fixed Friday facebook group and the Fixed Axle Megathread on Yoyoexpert to shun bearings with the other cool kids. Music in this video is a freely downloadable remix I made of a song by Duns Broccoli. (P.S. Bonus shoutout & thanks to Louis DiGiuseppe for helping me shoot this, look for another exciting fixie video from us soon…)
Yo-yos used were the Duncan Butterfly, the Duncan Wheel, and the Moon by 44RPM.
BONUS CLIP: I forgot to put these in the video so now they’re instagram exclusives. Whatever. Broadway stall and kwijibo kickflip suicide.
Two of YoYoFactory’s brightest young superstars, Shu & Daiki, take some time out from their holiday shopping to throw down a quick & fun edit. Daiki’s 1A is on-point as usual, with clean geometry and combo construction, and Shu mixes up the 2A wizardry we’ve come to expect with some equally jaw-dropping 1A. Their two styles complement each other very well, and it’s great to see contest forerunners pushing clean, fun, and innovative tricks even offstage.
This video was brought to us by Dee in the name of that shadowy Japanese superteam we all know & love, FIST SALUD.