Here’s some more 5A May action, with a new video featuring Whimsy co-founder Terry Tse. Hooray for counterweight play!
Yoyo used is the Aloha by Whimsy.
Here’s some more 5A May action, with a new video featuring Whimsy co-founder Terry Tse. Hooray for counterweight play!
Yoyo used is the Aloha by Whimsy.
One of the most well known names in all of 5A, Jonathan Robinson (AKA JonRob) is an extremely skilled 5A player and the kind of yoyoer that really has an aura around him that lets you know that he knows what he’s doing. A member of the YoyoFactory Contest Team, JonRob has competed in numerous contests and had numerous signature yoyos as well. Aside from winning Trick Innovator of the Year in 2007, JonRob also helped popularize some of the most well-known terminology in yoyoing. I had the chance to chat with JonRob and learn more about him, and immediately was excited to learn more about this 5A legend!
JonRob, you’re definitely a very well known name in both 5A and yoyoing in general. How did you first pick up a yoyo?
Thanks, I actually was exposed to “new school” yoyoing (at the time) in Spanish class in high school… Around 1998.
Yeah, that was definitely around the “boom” of the late ’90s. What were some of the trends/popular tricks in yoyoing you remember from back then?
Well… I wasn’t really in the scene back then. I learned as many tricks as I could from the old school Yomega DVD with Jen Baybrook in it. I played with stock Raiders that I would buy from the mall. I then fell in love with a trans-green RBII that I threw for the next five or so years. I did the same few tricks over and over again. Moving to Delaware changed my life.
What happened in Delaware?
After living in Delaware for some years I found out about Mitchell’s Toys Trains & Hobbies. Then, I went to my first contest and the first real yoyoer I ever met was André Boulay. Since I already had some basic fundamentals, André was able to teach me like five tricks in 30 minutes. After that I was hooked and started going to yoyo club twice a week. At the time, AJ Kirk was in charge of club so after learning most of the easy ladder tricks I began to learn 5A tricks from AJ. Around the same time Tyler Severance and his brother Danny began showing up as well. Next thing you know Tyler and decided that we wanted to take over 5A… and we did.
That’s really awesome, so you were basically learning tricks in a one-on-one way back then? Around what year was that going on? I remember seeing you throw some great 5A in Save Deth Volume 2 which Danny and Tyler both also had parts in.
Like 2005/06 I think. Yeah, it was of a group of us. After Tyler and I learned all the tricks we could from AJ we began to try and find our own and show up to club the next week with bigger and better stuff. We pushed each other from the beginning. It was a great time in yoyoing for me. I was hungry and I wanted to be great so I would yoyo 4, 5, 6 hours a day every single day.
That dedication definitely paid off! Some may not know, but your first sponsor was Anti-Yo. How did you get hooked up with them?
It was at 2007 World Yoyo Contest when I first met Kiya and he offered to fly me out to Chico for Nationals that same year. After arriving in Cali he asked if wanted to be on the team. It was hard to say no to the guy who just flew you out to the west coast for the first time and you were sleeping at his house. It was a good look for a while.
You were also sponsored by SPYY for a while. How did that come about?
A lot like Anti-Yo… you get to know people, talk to them and build relationships. SPYY was a real good ride. Steve gave me the yoyo of my dreams! I made a little bit of money and he made a little bit of money. At the end of the day it wasn’t a 100% comfortable fit for me at that time so I decided to do my own thing for a while.
Now you’re with YoYoFactory, right?
Yeah… YYF was probably where I should have been from the start. The yoyos they make fit me, when I’m with the team it feels like family and they are the most professional yoyo company in the business… hands down.
Being involved in a lot of different aspects of yoyoing, what would you say your favorite is between contests, videos, tricks, etc.?
I’ve always felt like a competitive yoyo player first. I played sports my whole life and I like the competitive aspect of yoyoing, even if I’m not that good at it anymore. The tricks are next only because you need those to compete, then the videos cause they help build hype and get your name out there. I could care less about trick innovation and videos. I just want to win one big contest before I stop competing.
All in all, what would you say your favorite moment out of your whole yoyo career would be?
WOW! That’s a good question…
I’d probably have to say my 2008 World YoYo Contest performance. It was hella dirty, but the song, swag and outfit were on point! 2010 BAC was another one of my favorite moments. The original 5AMay movement was at that contest. I had a good freestyle, a great song and I had on some fresh ass Jays that day!
Winning Trick Innovator of the Year award could have been one of those moments, but it has been surrounded by bullsh*t since the year Jake and I won it. I still feel some type of way about sharing that award and everything that has happened with it since then. It’s a joke now.
Yeah, I can’t say I disagree with you there. What would be your advice for any aspiring 5A player out there?
As far as advice, the best thing would probably be to learn all of the basic/fundamental tricks that are out there, then learn some tricks that a few of your favorite players do, then just stop watching 5A players or yoyo players for inspiration and just be creative. Having a solid foundation if tricks is key, though.
Do you think getting good at 5A requires a different approach than 1A?
I don’t even have an approach to 1A, it’s just something I do in between 5a tricks when I’m not thinking. I suck at 1A.
One more question: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I wouldn’t expect much… lol. It gets harder and harder to stay motivated every year. If I could have just one perfect freestyle I would hang it up. Until then, I’ll probably just keep trying to find new tricks to score more points with. My number one goal right now is to keep my wife happy and my kids on point!
Right! I definitely feel you there. You have a great attitude towards yoyoing, thanks for doing this!
Yup, no problem. Thanks for doing what you do!
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!)
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don't get it twisted… I'm not a tech player. I've been going big since day one. First person throwing 5A wraps in freestyles back in the day. @tylerseverance and I broke down every single part of wraps/tangler and made dudes step their game up! #5AMay
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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.
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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?!
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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!
Magic Knot is not as much of a trick as it is a concept, or even an entire substyle. With a Magic Knot mount, you can do juggling tricks, grind tricks, 3d tricks, body tricks, and even some tech tricks if you’re using a longer string. Many of the harder Magic Knot tricks are natural bangers and therefore make for excellent stage tricks, regardless of what kind of crowd you’re performing for.
Not Quite Horizontal is one of my favorite tricks. It adds an extra layer of difficultly to a classic trick.
If you’re doing this trick in a contest, get the best bang for your buck: Have as few difficult windmills as you can. Under the leg, behind the back, over the arm, etc. Just doing the regular windmill repeatedly will make the yoyo spin out very quickly.
Whether you know him as Miguel, Miggy, “Flame”, or the guy who’s name is on the YoyoFactory Genesis (as it’s his signature yoyo), Miguel Correa is a 4x US National Champion and undeniably one of the best 5A players of all time. Starting his yoyo career in the late 90’s, Miguel went on to really pioneer 5A and do a lot of great things for yoyoing in general. Miguel has always been someone I wanted to interview, so upon having the chance I was definitely excited to learn more about him!
Miguel, you’ve been yoyoing for a pretty long time and unbeknownst to some were actually an important figure in the “midschool” era of yoyoing. How did you start yoyoing in the first place?
I have an earlier memory of playing with a yo-yo, but I really started playing in late 1999. I bought a knock off X-Brain at the mall…it shattered within half an hour of play. I took it back and the guy was cool enough to accept it as a return and swapped it out with a real X-Brain. I was young, but even then I knew he probably wasn’t supposed to do that. He hooked it up.
Aha, that’s awesome! You eventually became a pretty prominent 1A player back then, but how did you first start learning tricks and get integrated into the internet yoyo scene of the time?
Early on I bought some trick books and learned through illustrations. Occasionally, I also read text descriptions online. After I built some skill, most of the learning came from one on one interaction and online videos. Then, after convincing my dad to buy a camcorder, I was able to share online the tricks my friends and I were coming up. We only had a few forums and sites dedicated to yoyoing at the time so it was relatively easy, if you had the tricks, to get people to notice you.
Some of your old 1A tricks from back then are pretty cool. How would you describe the process with making up those kinds of tricks back then?
Back then it wasn’t difficult to make up something new. The difficult part was making it look good. For me, I always tried to have some fluidity to a trick. My process was generally to come up with an original move, and then find the natural rhythm it wanted. Basically, the tricks found me.
I think there are a lot of tricks from back then that might not look impressive but are actually pretty hard as far as the technical aspect goes. You went by the name “Flame” then, right? I remember seeing you in one of Spencer Berry’s Phalanx videos from way back then.
Ha! Yeah, Flame was my angsty web handle back then. Wasn’t cool then, still ain’t lol. I was a part of Spencer Berry’s Project Phalanx. Basically, it was an assembled crew of people Spencer deemed worthy. He had a site and we would send him our tricks and he would compile clip videos out of them. There were at least two Phalanx videos I can distinctly remember, “Primus” and “Secundus”. To be perfectly honest, when I was asked to be a part of the project, I wasn’t sure if I was actually good enough. I asked Spencer one time why he chose me to be part of the small collective and he said, simply, “I saw potential”. So, big shout out to Spencer for that motivation.
So, I have a debate with myself on a trick I did in the first Phalanx video, “Primus”. During my section I do a trapeze, to a trapeze and his brother, but right before it lands, I whip it. I never gave this a name, but everyone knows it as Jade Whip. That’s the earliest video I personally have ever seen of Jade Whip, so I’m claiming it until further proof is unearthed. I never gave it a name so I don’t know who named it.
Wow, that’s awesome! What made you want to gravitate more towards 5A?
I had moderate contest success in 1A early on, but my local peers like Jesse Garcia and Eric Hesterman were killing it. They were far and away better than I, so eventually as other styles emerged I decided I wanted to try out 5A. There weren’t a lot of tricks for it at the time so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try and help build something from the ground up. I made that decision around 2002.
It was definitely a good one! How was the 5A climate then as opposed to 1A?
After 1A overtook 2A as king, I feel it really opened up a spot for a new number 2 style. 5A was really really special back then. There weren’t many players at all and there wasn’t a real trick ladder set forth in the style. The style itself was intriguing enough that you would see pockets emerge of different styles of 5A, in particular in the U.S. I had my style of 5A, there was a distinct mid west style of 5A, and a west coast style too. It was the closest thing in the yoyo world to me like there was regional stylistic differences of the same music sub-genre. Punk sounds different in New York than it does in Gainesville, FL. Something about that spoke to me and excited me. This was all truly something NEW and it was all being developed in wildly different ways. Take that music analogy along with Steve Brown’s extroverted personality, it’s easy to see why people like Tyler and myself gravitated toward 5A and really tried to make it our own.
That totally makes sense, I definitely see why you did too. Were you just throwing the standard Freehand 1s then? I remember seeing you throw a Tigershark in one of those Phalanx videos.
I was on Team Spintastics early on, then I was on Team Buzz On after that. Somewhere in between I was throwing a lot of Freehand 1’s. I had a nice collection at one point too. For the Spintastics stuff, we could modify Tigersharks, mostly adding weight and later on changing the guts. I figured a way to get Renegade guts to fit and later Spintastics had spacers made to accommodate the Renegade bearing, then they added domed caps and called it the Eclipse.
That’s what the Eclipse was? Wow! I’ve always been super curious about the old Spintastics stuff. I’ve thrown the Great White Shark from back then, it was really light but it was possible to add weight rings to that too, right?
We used 8 gauge wire to add weight initially, under the cap, then for the Eclipse they added a custom machined brass weight ring.
That’s pretty legit! What initially led you to competing to 5A, and what was your first contest?
Well, for awhile 5A was part of the open division. So, I lost to 2A players a lot. My first contest was just a local mall contest nearby, I wasn’t even good enough to freestyle. In 2003, U.S Nationals held an exhibition contest for 3A, 4A, and 5A, I won the 5A exhibition. The next year, 2004, the winners were retroactively awarded National Champion trophies at the awards dinner. We were cited as performers showing excellence in our styles and contributing factors to the decision to open U.S Nationals to 5 total championship divisions.
Wow, thats crazy! You later went on to win several 1st place National titles since then. Whats your favorite contest you’ve competed in?
A great contest is never about what happens on stage. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite, the best stories are ones I can’t tell you here. There are many.
Keeping up the theme of 5A, what’s some advice you could throw out there for any aspiring 5A champion out there?
Know your basic and intermediate tricks well. Those are the foundations of 5A and knowing those elements and incorporating them into your more difficult tricks will make your tricks look better and score better.
Definitely. If you had to pick one from each, what would be your favorite 1A trick and your favorite 5A trick?
Speaking generally, my favorite 1A trick is easily Rancid Milk. I think the trick was at least a year old before I saw anyone besides Spencer be able to do it. My favorite 5A trick is one of my own called Siren. I have a tutorial of it up on my YouTube channel.
Rancid Milk is actually my favorite 1A trick too, by far. That sounds good! Speaking of which, you run your own site that’s pretty essential called The Definitive. What inspired to start that site?
There were a lot of factors that went into that. The Definitive right now is a place for my tutorials to live outside of YouTube. I try to update it with a written piece from time to time, but right now it’s not a priority. I do have more 1A tutorials filmed but I may re-shoot them, eventually.
I think it’s a really good site with a lot of good info all in one place. Lastly, what can we expect to see from you in the future?
You can catch me at BAC this year. We’ll see what happens after BAC, one contest at a time. I’ll be posting more promo stuff for the new Genesis. The Pulsar Collection Genesis is coming out to online stores soon, but be quick because they are super limited and some of them are already gone, sold at Japan Nationals. Be sure to follow me on instagram @themiggymigs and subscribe to my Youtube channel. Yeah, I think that does it.
Great, Thanks Miguel!
Fencing is one of my go to tricks while performing to a non yoyo crowd. It’s big, it can be fast or slow, looks cool, and always gets a reaction. It has a ton of amplitude while performing and contrasts well with complicated 5a tech.
Filipino players Cyrel Oregano and Martin Desamito drop some counterweight play for 5A May in this new video, presented by FlipSpin. Nice work!
Accidental 5A May! Yeah!
C3YoYoDesign dropped a new video from EYYC Champion David Molnar, featuring his new signature model, the Dymension. David is one of those “all bangers, all the time” players…tons of high-risk moves and the skill to pull them off.
Yoyo used is the Dymension by C3YoYoDesign.
Wind isn’t too tough, but learning how to do it will set you up for an incredible amount of 5a tricks. In 5a play, it is critical to be able to have full control over both the yoyo and the counterweight, and Wind teaches this skill in an easy to perform package.
Stalled tower isn’t tough, but it’s a smooth way to get into a picture trick. There is a surprising amount of stuff you can do from this mount that isn’t shown in this video. Play around with it, you’ll be surprised.
To celebrate 5A May YoYoNews, YoYoExpert, and Tyler Severance have teamed up to bring you some exclusive tutorials with motivation to learn!
Throughout the rest of the month Tyler will be releasing 5A tutorials and if you learn any of the tricks you can score an exclusive discount on a SuperNova (Tyler’s signature yo-yo!)
Details on how to score the discount is here:
5a stop and go is fairly easy once you understand how to get the yoyo to bind correctly. When learning the trick, I highly recommend putting on a new string and a new pair of response pads. They will make learning the trick much easier.
Under pops is an easy repeater than fits nicely into many combos. It’s a simple concept that can easily be build upon with different kinds of hops and horizontal variations.
Here is a link to the Stunt Pilot video if you want to learn how to make the trick go off plane.