In the latest frenzy of music and action from Ryan Gee we get a whiff of some juggling, and a decent grip of counterweight play. Neato!
As we gear up for the 2013 World Yo-Yo Contest, we take a step back to appreciate and admire the greats of years past. We will be posting the top 5 in each division in the weeks leading up to the World Yo-Yo Contest.
Today we rank the Top 5 Greatest Counterweight Players of All Time. Since our very own Steve Brown debuted his idea at the Bay Area Classic nearly fifteen years ago, the style has evolved tremendously. The evolution bred countless tricks that have brought a certain level of magic to stages across the world. From ‘astro’ to sideways counterweight, finger grinds to slack combos, counterweight play opened many doors in the world of yo-yo and gave these five individuals a medium to create an enduring legacy.
5. Rafael Matsunaga –
- 1x World Champion, 1x National Champion
The first player outside of the United States and Japan to win a World title in the modern era, Rafael is a legend of counterweight. Innovative in the early stages of counterweight at the World level, much of the mounts and concepts are indebted to Rafael. Promoter, entertaining and organizer, even since retiring from competition, Rafael has remained an important figure in yo-yo.
4. Makoto Numagami –
- 1x World Champion, 1x National Champion, 3x Regional Champion
Makoto won every major competition to be won: regional, national, continental and world. Highly competitive in the X-Division era and capturing his own World title in 5A in 2004, Makoto was one of the biggest competitors of the early decade. He was highly theatrical in his performances and brought a lot of energy and passion to the stage in his routines. Makoto will always be remembered for his contributions to freehand in its early development.
3. Tyler Severance –
- 1x World Champion, 2x National Champion, 18x Regional Champion, 13x State Champion
Tyler took home the World title in 2007—the last before the Takuma-Taskeshi era. Just recently winning his second National title, Tyler is still actively competing and seeking to add to his absolutely massive list of accomplishments. Tyler is well known for his intricate tangler and wrap combos which transcend counterweight influence; his creativity is undeniable with a resume to back it up and thus earns a spot as one of the top counterweight players ever.
2. Takuma Inoue –
- 1x World Champion, 2x National Champion, 4x Regional Champion
The only person to even come close to Takeshi—losing by less than a point in 2012—Takuma is a legend of 5A. With his own World title in 2010, Takuma is a loveable performer known for exclaiming ‘THANK-YOU’ during his performances. Takuma is a highly dedicated competitor. His tricks are all extremely high risk and his accuracy when performing them is just one reason why he is one of the greatest 5A players of all time.
1. Takeshi Matsuura –
- 4x World Champion, 2x Asia Champion, 5x National Champion, 4x Regional Champion
Not even a teenager and Takeshi had begun cementing his legacy. The youngest to ever win a World title at the age of 11, Takeshi was not done there. Recently capturing another Japan National title, he seeks his fifth World title going into the 2013 World contest. Takeshi is a performer in the fullest and his tricks, often performed to near perfection, compliment every aspect of his routine—every time. Takeshi is and will remain the greatest 5A player of all time for the foreseeable future.
Who do you think are the greatest counterweight players of all time? Feel free to post your thoughts below!
As a reminder, these rankings take into consideration competitive players from around 2000 and on.
YoYoNews battles return with a Duncan deathmatch! This week, old school 5A hero Maya Nakamura is taking on new school 5A upstart Drew Tetz in a Duncan Crew Deathmatch. Who will survive? Well, probably both of us, but it’s a bunch of exciting tricks so you should definitely check it out and vote. Maya brings the style & grace that we’ve come to expect from Japan’s counterweight queen with two high-level manuevers, one making a cheeky reference to classic trick Rock the Baby and the other a slick new triangle entrance, and I brought out the longest pinwheel/wrap combo I’ve ever done.
Not bad, eh? This battle is especially exciting for me because Maya’s winning 5A freestyle at ’05 Worlds was the first thing that made me want to take 5A seriously. It’s an honor to throw against such a talented & influential player. Vote below, and make sure to tell us who you voted for and why in the comments!
…also, if you wanna see my trick in slow motion you should click here, and if you wanna download the song you can do that here.
Some pretty smooth tech counterweight play from Taiwan yoyo player, Sheng-Yon Zhu. Sheng-Yon has a really nice mid-speed style, and you can definitely see a ton of promise in his combos. Good stuff!
Robbie Graham has dropped a new video of 5A tricks, featuring some really nice concepts and transitions. Yoyo used is the Werrd Hour.
National YoYo Champion Miguel Correa has posted the last 4 tutorials in his 5A Video Tutorials series at DefinitiveYoYoing.com, and they should keep you busy for a while.
On a personal note, a huge thanks to Miguel for always working so incredibly hard to promote counterweight yoyo play. There’s been a profound lack of any real promotion of the style in recent years, but Miguel has always gone the extra mile to make these teaching tools available for new players who want to learn. Thanks, Miggy! And if you like these tutorials, you should probably buy any yoyo that has Miguel’s name on it. No idea what yoyo that would be, but if you happen to run across one, it’s probably pretty good.
Designed by yoyo player Zach Lytle, Duncan’s new “Magnetude” yoyo has been in development for the past five years. The Duncan Magnetude retails for $120, will be available in red or black, and comes with two magnetic counterweights and magnetic spinning sidecaps. The counterweight can interact with the sidecaps during play for unique magnetic counterweight tricks, or if you feel like dropping $240 you can get two Magnetudes to attach to each other during 3A play.
We don’t have any video yet of the Magnetude in action, but you can watch these videos below of Zach Lytle’s original YoYoFactory G5 mods to get a better look a the play style. Just remember, these are not video of the Magnetude.
Duncan Magnetude Specs:
String Gap: 3.28mm
Bearing: Small (5x10x4)
Response: Small Bearing SG Sticker
Zach Lytle’s BAC 2010 2nd Place 3A Freestyle (using magnetic G5s)
“Magnetic Flux” – Zach Lytle’s 2008 Proof of Concept video (using magnetic G5s)
National YoYo Champion Miguel Correa continues his 5A Tutorial series with four more tricks guaranteed to keep you busy for a while. Be sure to check out the rest of his counterweight yoyoing tutorials at DefinitiveYoyoing.com.
Welcome to the first ever Yoyonews Tutorial Tuesday! True, Tuesday is already over in many parts of the world, but skip the semantics and check out this counterweight wrap trick.
What other tricks and pros would you like to see featured in tutorials on Yoyonews? Let us know in the comments!
…and for those of who don’t wanna deal with my mumblin’, here’s a transcript of the steps:
The mount for this is a double or nothing, but with an under mount instead of a trapeze. This sets you up well for the launch, where you simultaneously dismount the yo-yo and release the counterweight, thus sending you into a double pinwheel. Make sure you’re comfortable getting into the pinwheel before trying the wrap.
To perform the wrap, swing the counterweight into your left wrist and “follow” it with your hand as you pinwheel the yo-yo inside your arms.. This takes practice; don’t be afraid to try it with a dead yo-yo, or if you don’t catch the mount afterwards right away.
The toughest part of the mount is controlling the momentum of the counterweight so you can catch it. Try changing your string length or using a heavier weight to slow it down if necessary.
Ryota Torigoe just dropped this 5A bomb.
I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s kind of insane. And beautiful.
C3YoYoDesign just dropped another great video, this one featuring Polish team member Maciek Cwynar.
There’s some quality counterweight play in this quick minute-plus video, and the horizontal regen at 0:45 is a really neat move. There’s also a great combination of deadspin toss moves (I’m making up the terminology as I go here, folks) starting at 0:51. I’ve really enjoyed those since the first ones I fiddled with in 2007, but it’s not a concept I’ve put much effort in to…so it’s really nice to see someone else doing something cool with it. Deadspin counterweight tosses like this have shown up as throw-away elements in a handful of contest freestyles over the years, but usually just as a quick transition rather than anything that’s expanded upon and explored.
If you’ve got examples of other deadspin counterweight moves, post links in the comments section and maybe we’ll expand on the idea for a future Trick Theory post.