Duncan Yo-Yo Professionals Takeshi Kamisato & Drew Tetz are performing once again at the Downtown Disney® Area in Lake Buena Vista, Florida 2/15 through 2/17! Visit Once Upon A Toy in the Downtown Disney® Marketplace to meet the guys and learn a trick or two! They’ll be on site each day from 2-9pm!
Everyone loves a Top Ten list, right? The kids go crazy for the Twitter these days, so I thought it was about time someone ranked the best yoyo players on Twitter. Because, you know, if it’s not ranked, does it really exist? And besides, all the cool blogs have Top Ten lists, so here’s ours!
10 – Ann Connolly – @annmayy
Best Recent Tweet: I woke up to bloody toes with bruises and remnants of neon paint all over my body. I just @ Coral Bungalows http://instagr.am/p/Te94izG3Tj/
Ann’s arguably the world’s best known female yoyoer. She’s been traveling quite a bit recently and her Twitter feed has taken a bit of a travelog feel about it.
9 – Drew Tetz – @drewtetz
Best Recent Tweet: clippers died halfway through my haircut. i look like two-face, or an urban outfitters employee. please charge faster.
Drew’s one of the good guys of yoyoing. He tweets about yoyoing, art, design, and his many creations including lasercut yoyos and kendamas.
8 – Paul Escolar – @paulescolar
Best Recent Tweet: My recycled plastic/wood composite desk chair just
cracked. Sh*t just got real. going #GREEN is not for #FATTIES .
Runner Up: WOW, That was a Good Belch! I don’t remember the last time i had one that was more than a mere Burp. #BOOGERWOULDBEPROUD
Fabulously funny Paul really rarely tweets about yoyos, but his tweets are funny and, yes, fabulous. And for good measure, follow him on Instagram for peeks at his sketchbook.
7 – Ed Haponik – @kinopah
Best Recent Tweet: more and more, i find the overall quality of my original tricks to be inversely proportional to their length. http://vimeo.com/56491225
A school teacher by trade, Ed is almost poetic in his writing. OK, strike the ‘almost’, he IS poetic. He even avoids capital letters in a nod to poet e.e. cummings. Smart, thoughtful feed from a good guy. If you’re looking for a role model in yoyoing, you could do worse than Ed Haponik. For example, Steve Brown. See? Definitely worse than Ed Haponik.
6 – Hiroyuki Suzuki – @HSJPN
Best Recent Tweet: Christopher Chia met Ludacris when he was shooting ANGLAM Ver.CC Video! pic.twitter.com/uyp5B86s
Multi-time world 1A champion posits on his store, his yo-yos, mainly in Japanese, but sometimes in English.
5 – Takahiko Hasegawa @Taka_yoyo
From what I could find, Taka is the world’s most followed yoyoer on Twitter. (Keep in mind my study consisted of a bored Sunday afternoon on the internet). That’s the good news. The bad news is Take tweets solely in Japanese. Still, there’s lots of pics of cool yoyos!
4 – Daniel Ickler – @ZammyIckler
Best Recent Tweet: I wish they made pizza on a stick, like how a corndog is like.
Runner Up: Merry Z-Mas and Zammy New Year to all! Sorry if as Zammy Clause is delievering yoyos that he breaks a door..or chimney.
Endlessly entertaining feed, some of which was actually intended to be funny! The personable Zammy will tweet about anything and everything.. .be forewarned, he’s liable to put a ‘z’ in just about any word. In the immortal words of Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids – “And if you’re not careful, you may learn something before it’s done!”
3 – Chris Mikulin – @clyw_canada
Chris has proven time and time again to be one of the sweetest guys in the industry, and his Twitter feed shows the results of that….a nearly endless stream of love and support from CLYW fans, peppered with news about CLYW releases and videos.
2- YoYoFactory – @yoyofactory
Best Recent Tweet: Just saw the @yoyoskills award list. Lol. Not sure who is kidding who. #undeniable
Ben McPhee’s in charge of the Twitter feed at YoYoFactory and he’s quite a personality. The guy that everyone loves to hate weighs in on style, life and (occasionally) yoyoing.
1 – Steve Brown – @unklesteve
Best Recent Tweet: I’d love to write a sequel to The Vagina Monologues made of stories from male audience members who didn’t know what they were going to see.
The never-shy Steve Brown is always entertaining and often polarizing. He’s been around long enough to know just about everyone in yoyoing and at some point has pissed off all of them.
Steve also maintains @365YoYoTricks (one new yoyo trick every day), @sbgallery (his online art gallery), @triplecrownyoyo (official Twitter account for the Triple Crown of YoYo contest), and @shinbonetweet (his company that handles digital sculpting and prototyping).
YoYoRadio – @YoYo_Radio
Shameless self promotion. The world’s first internet radio show about yoyoing called yoyoradio.net. Yes, there is a second internet radio show about yoyoing called yoyoradio.net. We were first. We are best. TAKE THAT, copycat Japanese yo-yo radio!
World Yo-Yo Contest – @wyyc
Best Recent Tweet: Testing the WYYC twitter feed.
Runner-Up: No, that’s it. It’s the biggest yo-yo contest in the world , and their Twitter feed amounts to one tweet that’s over two years old. And they wonder why people want the contest to move out of Orlando…
That’s all, folks! And don’t forget to follow @YoYoNewsBlog on Twitter for the latest updates on stories just like this one. How incredibly meta!
Stall somersaults are very similar to the somersaults in traditional 1A, but can make a marked difference in breaking down the dead time and pauses intrinsic to stall play. There are a few key differences that can make them a little bit trickier to learn initially, but once mastered can be used to your advantage in constructing smoother, more dynamic tricks. I highly recommend learning somersaults in order to speed up your play and get away from the “back and forth” look that comes with stalls. They can even help you build up momentum to power into new tricks with more spin than you would have otherwise, cushion the “impact” of incoming stalls, and a thousand other uses – whatever, you’ll figure ’em out, let’s get learning’!
The first thing you’ll probably notice when attempting a stall somersault is that the yo-yo will wiggle, twist, and generally be difficult about the whole flipping over thing. This is, as you have probably learned by now, because the yo-yo is not spinning and thus not stabilized, but it’s still obnoxious. Fortunately, there are a few ways to minimize this effect – and a few ways to use it to your advantage, but we’ll talk about that in a later installment.
The first way that people usually learn to balance their yo-yos in a stall somersault is taking careful note of how far apart their hands are and trying to maintain that distance, which stops the string segments from twisting together. This also has a bit of a different visual effect, because it usually results in a larger, slower somersault – Chris Neff was and is the master of this style of somersault with spinning yo-yos, and his style makes for a great template to copy when learning them.
Another thing worth learning about stall somersaults (and stalls in general) is that the closer the yo-yo is to your hand, the less likely it is to flop around. Learning these is less about somersaults and more about where you catch the stall, and is unfortunately mostly something you’ll just have to learn through feeling and practice. Learn how your yo-yo responds, practice moving your hands together on the return, and try to get it to land as close to your hand on the string as possible. Also, you’re probably gonna hit your knuckles a couple of times. Sorry about that. The good news is that once you learn to manage this you’ll have much better control over how your tricks look altogether, and you’ll be able to fire off snappy somersaults without having to worry about the yo-yo twisting up at all.
A third, more technical way to manage the somersault is to do a double-on stall, which also lets you do an additional flip during the dismount for extra flair. You can do achieve this mount a number of ways, such as trying a double-on trapeze motion from a simple trapeze stall, or even just wrapping the string around the yo-yo an extra time. One of my favorite ways to get into it is actually an instamount; it’s a little bit more advanced, and will probably result in at least a couple of knucklebusters, but it’s a nice flashy trick to add to your arsenal. As the yo-yo is returning and just before it lands on the string, move your throwhand around the yo-yo so that the string wraps it and it lands in a double-on trapeze stall. And don’t hit your knuckles. That’s the tough part, I guess.
Anyways, learn some basic stall somersaults, spice up your combos, get more power out of your combos, and don’t forget to tell everybody about it over at the Facebook group. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What elements from modern braintwister combos can be worked into stall somersaults? Are somersaults purely flashy, or do they add layers of subtlety to trick composition? What are some other ways to control momentum mid-trick?
First Fixed Friday of the year! Is anybody gonna spend 2013 throwing only fixed axle yo-yos? If you’re anything like me you’ve already screwed it up with sweet, sweet metal, but hey, it’s Friday, so let’s get back to our roots and toss the bearings aside.
Rather than teaching a roots trick, though, I’d like to show you another new school original concept. This week’s trick is called Dumptrucks; it first appeared as trick #300 in the 2012 365yoyotricks lineup, and is a simple yet surprisingly versatile stall dismount. It could be best described as a z-axis half-swing that dismounts the yo-yo while resetting spin direction, but frankly that’s a lot of jargon and it’s a lot easier to just watch the trick. Check it out!
Okay, now that you actually know what it looks like, lets break some of those buzzwords down. First off, this trick moves on the z-axis: most conventional yo-yo tricks happen while the yo-yo is spinning, which means that the spin is keeping the yo-yo stable. This is great, because eli hops would be a whole lot harder with the yo-yo floppin’ around all over the place, but you do start to get used to the idea that yo-yos stay in one plane, and most of us take for granted that we have to build all of our tricks on a single plane. Of course, nobody told Christopher Chia that, but we’ll leave the horizontal tech talk for later. The z-axis is relevant in this context because stalls stop the yo-yo from spinning, effectively “unlocking” the axis, so you can just swing that guy around, do flips, off-axis suicides, whatever.
Next up, “half-swing”. Once you’re in a trapeze stall, it’s possible to just swing the yo-yo around like an off-axis somersault. I don’t think that there’s really a name for this, so I just call them “swings”. This hasn’t led to too many useful tricks (so far), since it just starts you back where you started from, but the half-swing is interesting – basically, when the yo-yo is at the top of the swing, it’s in an upside-down trapeze. If you push out a bit and let gravity dismount the yo-yo, that’s a dumptruck!
The final portion of dumptruck tricks is remounting the yo-yo on the string, usually in a similar stall that you dismounted from. In our past two installments, when we dismounted out of our stalls the yo-yo was spinning the opposite direction, which meant that if we wanted to re-stall it would have to be on the opposite side of the string. Not so with dumptrucks! Swinging the yo-yo and dismounting halfway actually means that the yo-yo flips, which means that the yo-yo will be spinning the same direction it was before you mounted the stall. This can be really useful as a transition move in stall combos, because it lets you break out of that “left side, right side, left side, right side” rhythm or move into other more technical stall tricks. It also just feels really cool, so, you know. Learn it! Once you get the basic trapeze dumptruck down, it’s easy to start applying it to different mounts and from different setups. One thing that I’ve been messing with lately is trying to do them out of gorilla style/inverted trapeze. Learn it, use it, tell everybody about your new moves in the Fixed Friday Facebook group.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What implication does z-axis movement hold for string tricks? Is there gonna be a new weird wave of genuine string transition moves based around swings? Could half-swings solve the spin direction “problem” keeping stalls out of competitive 1A play? When Sisqo said “Dumps like a truck, what what” in “The Thong Song”, did he really think that that was a quality compliment? I mean, c’mon dude.
Also, as a little bit of bonus theory, did everybody see that awesome Yoyojam Theory video with Ben, Grant, and Yoshi? While the whole thing is incredible, Ben’s amazing flip trick at 37 seconds is especially applicable to fixie tricks – who’s gonna be the first to work that into a stall combo?
Hi, Kids! If you haven’t heard, I’m working with [The] Drew Tetz to bring some added Fixed Friday action to Yoyonews.com. Drew has been a friend and source of inspiration for years, and I’m stoked to be able to continue pushing and sharing alongside him.
For today’s segment, I wanted to share a move that’s near-and-dear to my heart – the “Stop N’ Go Eli Hop”. For those even remotely experienced with yo-yoing, the trick sounds like the most self-explanatory thing ever. However, it’s deceptively sketchy to get consistent, and even more so to incorporate into the context of a longer trick.
I first remember seeing this trick at IYYO in New York. It was late Saturday night, and a throng of yo-yo players had descended upon Washington Square Park. Paul Han was skating, other folks were chatting, and Justin Weber and Adam Brewster were sharing trick elements. Adam had been throwing one of my No Jives all weekend, and Justin had sequestered it to do some of the silly-hard responsive tricks that only he can do. The conversation shifted to Stop-N-Go, and specifically how there wasn’t much you could do once you stopped (other than, of course, GO). Justin said something like “Well, I guess you could just Eli Hop out of it.” He did it, spontaneously and beautifully, landing it before the yo-yo ran out of spin. I was dumbstruck.
It really is a great move, partly because it’s so explosive. Audiences of all sorts and sizes love Stop-N-Go, because you can really milk that John Cage-esque moment of silence before SLAMMING the yo-yo back into motion. With the Eli, it’s even better, because the yo-yo is sucked up on the Stop, and then blasted FURTHER up on the Go.
In the first trick, which is the basic foundation, the key point is keeping the yo-yo straight when you pull apart. In regular Stop-N-Go (which works from either an under-mount or Trapeze), the free hand doesn’t have to do much. It kind of just holds the yo-yo aloft while the throwhand plunges down, restarting it. With the Eli, the free hand determines the direction the yo-yo will take AND whether the yo-yo will come out straight or slanted. You’ve got to keep your hands in line or the trick will just laugh at you. With a responsive yo-yo, you also have to keep the slack string out of the gap. Otherwise the Eli will go out and then come right back to your hand, robbing you of your hard-earned trapeze. With some control, this becomes a pretty crazy regen-repeater.
By ‘08, I had been working on Eli Hopping into stalls for a while, and applying the Stop-N-Go version seemed a natural, but there’s a pretty hefty catch. As you know from Drew’s last entry, spin direction is an essential consideration in working out stall tricks. You really have to be aware of positive or negative spin before you try to stall something out, or the stall won’t work consistently. Since the spin direction is reversed during the Stop-N-Go (which is, itself, a regeneration), whatever stall you land in has to be reversed (i.e. Man-and-His-Brother, as opposed to Trapeze).
Thus, in the second trick, you have two solid options shown (there are obviously more). In the first Eli, I grab a segment with the throw-hand and landing in a Man-Bro Stall. You can regenerate that back to a standard trapeze and (if you’ve got enough spin) get it to Stop again. On the 2nd Eli, I’m flipping the free hand over to land in between the thumb and middle finger in a Reverse Chop-Stall. This is another cool (but challenging) option which works since the yo-yo is spinning opposite its normal breakaway direction. Experiment with some other reverse-stalls out of that Eli. The options are limitless, and popping straight out of Stop-N-Go can add a neat feeling of continuity and staccato flow to your freestyle sessions.
Nathan Martsolf created a facebook group called “Fixed Friday” based around the idea of people giving up bearings once a week. Alliteration seems as good an excuse as any to teach some tricks, and there’s been a lot of interest lately in modern responsive stalls, so let’s spend this fixed friday learning a couple of tricks!
I’ll be breaking down two stall tricks today – one for those just learning modern stalls, and one for players who want more of a challenge.
The first trick sequence is a trapeze stall, dismounted to a trapeze-brother stall, dismounted right back into trapeze. It’s likely to be one of the first sidestyle stalls you learn, and can really help you get the feeling of catching the yo-yo on the return. If you’re new to stalls, well, first of all, you should really watch Ed Haponik’s “How to Stall” video; while it was shot years before Ed rose to Fixed Axle glory, he does a fantastic job of explaining the trick of calling the yo-yo back and why stalls work the way they do. Pay close attention to when the yo-yo starts to come back: it’s almost more like throwing a breakaway than a trapeze. By the time the string hits your finger, the yo-yo should already be winding back up, and it should land on the string without you having to force it at all. Also, in a move totally counterintuitive to modern yo-yoing, these tricks will be much easier with softer throws and more responsive yo-yos. Go figure!
The second portion of the trick where you transition to trapeze-brother is not that different from its freespinning cousin, but it can be difficult due to the unfamiliar feeling of recalling a yo-yo with your non-throwhand. It’s also important to note that your dismount from the trapeze is effectively your “throw” providing the spin, so it’s worth practicing this part until you can consistently get enough momentum to swing over to the other hand and bring the yo-yo back. Once you can do this, the trick is probably actually less motion than you would imagine: just let the yo-yo bring itself back and mount over your finger. From here, you can do another fancy dismount to return yourself to trapeze stall or catch the yo-yo. High fives!
One very important thing to note about this trick is the way that the spin direction changes. When you dismount from a trapeze stall, the yo-yo has frontstyle spin. If you were to try to re-mount it in a trapeze stall, it would just bounce off of your finger, but it mounts in trapeze-bro just fine. Similarly, if you were to try to mount a trapeze-bro stall with sidestyle spin you would have a pretty tough time with it. Why?! Well. Spin direction not only determines which way the yo-yo is rotating, but also the way that it’ll wind up, and if you try to mount on the same side that the string has wound you’ll most likely get rejected. It sounds complicated, but for the most part you don’t really need to worry about it: just mount on the throwhand side of the string for frontstyle spin and the non-throwhand side for sidestyle spin. Actually, you know what, don’t even think about it at all, just practice this trick a lot and you’ll figure out the rhythm yourself naturally.
The second trick is a little tougher, a variation on the kickflip suicide caught on the throwhand thumb. This was in my Puppydog Love video and people seemed to like it there, so here’s a closer look at it. You’ll definitely want to know kickflip suicides before learning this, and it helps being confident with your thumb mounts, but it’s actually much easier than it looks. Swing the yo-yo away from your body, making sure to keep your hands as straight as possible, and release the string right before the yo-yo is horizontal. It should continue to flip on its own, and with a little practice you can get a nice loop out of it. For this one, it helps to keep your hands closer together on the release, which puts your thumb in the right spot and actually can make the loop a little bigger, too. Kickflip suicides can make surprisingly good transition moves, and this is a pretty nice one to add to the arsenal.
David Ung was awesome enough to put together this great clip video showcase of the Fixed Axle Throwdown from the 2012 World YoYo Contest. Be sure to check out Ed Haponik’s amazing kendo catch at 1:52.
Isaac Sams & Zach Gormley have had a big year. The two sixteen-year-olds have been blowing minds at contests for a few years, but made waves in 2012 by launching Innovation Movement, a project based on furthering yo-yo tricks through exclusive videos and player spotlights.
Things only went up from there, with Isaac earning top marks at Triple Crown Chicago, his first 1A championship title, and Zach winning the US National Yo-Yo Contest with one of the best freestyles the country’s ever seen.
Besides that, though, America’s favorite young guns are also best buds, great trick theorists, and the nice kind of fellas you wish your little sister would meet. I caught up with the dynamic duo and got them to talk a little bit about favorite players, good tricks, and the future of Innovation Movement. –Drew Tetz
Hey dudes! Thanks so much for being the first Yoyonews interview, I’m psyched.
Zach Gormley: I’m really pumped! Thanks a bunch for thinking about us.
Isaac Sams: WOOP WOOOOP. I’ll try to make my explanations as short as I can, but sometimes I cant help myself I just LOVE YO-YOZ.
Let’s start out with an easy one: Who are some of your favorite players, and why?
Isaac: I have way too many favorite yo-yo people, so here’s my favorite three.
#1: Sid Seed: He’s been my favorite ever since I watched Kaibun for the first time, back in the day. When I think of words like innovation, style, icy, sexy, and perfection, I think of my brotha, $id. No one has tricks like him, and nobody ever will. Rodrigo Sid Seed Pires = KING
#2: Zach Gormley: #2 on my favorites list but #1 in my heart is my dude Zach. This fella won nationals doing the most difficult tricks ever seen on stage. In regards to arm tricks, it comes down to him and Ando. In my honest opinion, Zach is the best all around player at the moment.
#3: Yuuki Spencer: Needs no explanation.
Zach: Anthony – The trick artist; He makes bizarre elements you would never think of, and gets them to look good, too, it’s not just weird nonsense. He’s not just good at body tricks, he’s good at everything. The videos he put up in 2008 are still way better than pretty much anyone who is big right now.
Charles – His flow is unreal and his motions are on top of the worlddd. Plus, his typical “cool guy” stage presence makes his performances very swanky.
Isaac – Best buddy. Swell guy. Tech Master. Straitjacket King. Kendama pro. Super unique player, need I say more? He’s got some baller floral shirts, too, paired with those Escolar shoes… cough Triple Crown Champ cough
Shinnosuke Miyamoto – On Yuuki’s genius tech level with his own unique flow. Show him one of my tricks and he does it from the wrong mount somehow some way. Tell him it’s done from a different mount, and he does it with no explanation needed.
Tatsuya Fujisaka – Just like this guy’s tech as well. Tech is my weak point when it comes to getting me to like people. Handsome fella and nice flow.
No particular order, of course.
What does your trick/combo creation process usually look like?
Zach: Oh man, trick creation is kind of a nightmare, haha.
Isaac: I list segments/elements/concepts that I stumble on, and eventually try to piece together combos with them. I never force myself into creating a new trick, because I feel like my best tricks are made when I’m not trying. One tip I would give to any yo-yoer who’s having trouble making up new tricks is to take a break from learning and start creating.
Zach: Yeah, that all sounds good.
Isaac: I could’ve drawn out my answer lots more but I don’t want people to find out that I’m crazy.
Zach: When I stumble across a good element I typically make 2 or 3 variations of the element itself and pick the best so the element can reach its full potential. From there, I look at starting and ending mounts of different tricks/elements and piece them together like a puzzle – say one of my elements I notice ends in double or nothing, so I look at another trick and if I see it starts with a double or nothing I’ll put them together to make a combo that flows well and is good for comps.
The question is always brought up on how you stumble upon a good element/trick (use stumbleupon, duh.) I think that people that are stuck in a slump just never change what they are doing when they try and come up with something, thus nothing changes. It’s like saying you want to sell more shoes but change nothing about your shoes/marketing to get people excited for it. So what I recommend for coming up with elements is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Use mounts you normally wouldn’t, and try and mimic a motion you would normally do in a trapeze in a double or nothing instead. Maybe yo-yo outside instead of inside, that tends to help me a lot. Lastly, take a break. I don’t know why it works, but taking a break really helps you come up with new tricks. You start with a kind of fresh mind set, I guess haha.
What do you think makes a good trick?
Isaac: I think a good trick (or even routine) should be in a similar structure as an essay, and I think I learned that from Zach, who learned it from Sebby – shout out to one of my favorite yo-yoers and people in the yo-yo community, btw. An introduction that catches attention, and then leads to the climax of the trick. I’ve learned that it’s very important to end your trick well, instead of just easily dismounting and binding.
Zach: Yeah, the words of Sebby, haha. That’s what I tried working with in my Nats freestyle, so it worked pretty well.
Let’s talk about InnMov: you guys had an amazing first year with a ton of great videos. What were some of your favorite moments from this year, and what are some of your plans for next year?
Isaac: Most of my favorite moments revolve around the beginning of IM, when Zach and I began making an outline of what our project was going to be. Asking you to make the logo, featuring players like Mark Mangarin and Ivan Maslin, creating a Facebook page, and making our first clip videos were important factors of the movement. Seeing Zach win nationals was pretty awesome too, since I’ve known that rascal since ’07, and I watched him go through that routine on Skype at least 1,000 times.
Zach: I don’t know if 1,000 times is quite accurate. More like 15, hahaha. But let’s just keep it at 1,000.
Isaac: Hahaha, whatever Zach, somewhere in-between. As far as future plans go, we’d like to make contest clip videos, spiffy interviews, IM accessories (omg stickers and more), and even apparel. By this coming spring, we’re going to host an online contest, so be sure to watch out for that…
So excited to see the things to come. It’s pretty rad that you two are such good friends, your split video from this summer was easily one of my favorites of the year. How has yo-yoing with each other affected your own personal yo-yoing?
Isaac: Thanks dawg, things only gon’ get betta now. Hopefully next summer’s video will be even better muahaha (#hype.)
Zach: Every time Isaac makes a new video I crap my pants, and he makes a lot of new videos. So I quite frequently have to do the laundry. Isaac is just mind blowing at tech. if you look at some of my newer tech tricks, you can find some Isaac-inspired things in 1 or 2 of ’em.
Isaac: Since Zach’s been doing so well at contests lately, it makes me feel obligated to do the same to stay caught up, haha. Although I don’t think my tricks really look like it, a lot of them, especially bangers/arm tricks, are inspired by him.
In closing, what do you want to see in yo-yoing in 2013?
Isaac: I’d like to see IM grow, Zach win Worlds, and Duncan Crew take over the world!
Zach: Haha, CLYW is gonna take over the community, you can go ahead and take over the world.
Zach is sponsored by CLYW, and his signature yo-yo the Arctic Circle is already on its fourth run. Isaac is a member of Duncan Crew USA. I like to call them “Duke Sams & Count Gormley” but I don’t know if they actually respond to that or not.
Drew Tetz just won the whole wide world with this video. Crazy improvised fixed axle stalls on a Duncan Butterfly. Brilliant.
A bundle of new fixed axle tricks on a Butterfly, including some planebreaking tech stuff, a broadway stall, and the first ever heelflip suicide. Practice up for next week’s fixed friday! Launched under the banner of the mighty Lil’ Scrappy Fetus Crew, whose other members have just released some new music.
A yo-yo trick can be as simple or as complicated as you let it. Many players like to elevate their craft by pushing tricks in previously unseen directions, exploring nuances in presentation, inventing new styles, or breaking the contest system wide open. Let’s take a closer look at some tricks from world champion Hank Freeman.
Hank is well known throughout the community for his smooth style, unique tricks, and complete dominance of the American 3A scene. He is generally considered to be one of the best (in my opinion, THE best) 3A players in the world, and his back-to-back world titles support this. He’s also a fiend for good ramen and knows all the words to “Rappin’ Duke” – but enough about that, let’s get to the tricks. Specifically, let’s look at some of his signature quickmounts.
The blueline mount is a standard in 3A, and the basic form of blueline rolls is one of the first tricks that 3A players learn. Hank kicks the trick twenty years into the future by performing all the steps at once, performing what is called a “quickmount”.
In his 2012 title-winning freestyle, a full half of his combos opened with quickmounts. This is significant for a few reasons:
- By throwing straight into a mount, he shaves off a good 3-6 seconds that 3A players are used to spending on individual throws. Those seconds add up, and being able to start every trick sequence with a quickmount could open up enough room for a whole new combo in the freestyle.
- Opening with a quickmount gives the trick a sense of momentum that can be difficult to capture in a slow-moving style like 3A. Not only does it grab the audience’s attention and set a strong pace, but it can actually make certain tricks (like some of Hank’s double zipper sequence) easier than starting from a dead stop.
- Hank’s quickmounts are astonishingly difficult, and are scored accordingly. Hitting a quickmount right at the beginning of a sequence guarantees you 5-10 extra clicks right off the top, essentially giving you an extra banger every time you throw.
- They look freakin’ sweet. I mean, c’mon, it’s just like “pow” and you’re all like “woahhhh” and Hank’s like “yeah man.”
As you can imagine, these tricks can take years of practice, and are only just beginning to show up even at the top level of play. With high level players like Ken Takabayashi, Taiichiro Higashi, and Yasuki Tachibana integrating them more and more, though, it’s easy to see that quickmounts are marking a paradigm shift in 3A. Hank has expressed a desire to begin every trick in his 2013 freestyle with a quickmount, and it’s not hard to imagine them becoming as standard as the double trapeze sequence is now… provided that any of us can ever catch up to Hank.
As a bonus, let’s take a look back at some of Hank’s b-sides (and some quickmounts from yours truly) in the 2011 pure 3A clip “Chos”.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND FURTHER READING: Remember when Jensen did his Worlds 2011 Freestyle in one throw? You know how weird and amazing Christopher Chia’s regens are? Will regen- and stall-heavy one throw freestyles eventually become the norm in 1A freestyles as contests become closer and closer and competitors cram as many points in as they can? Are 3A regens ever going to become feasible? Can anybody tell me how to do Velvet Quickmount without hitting myself in the face? Talk about it in the comments below!
When I asked Drew why he likes to make toys, he said that he believes design should be enjoyed. “Toys are disarming because you just want to play with them,” Drew says “and that element of play can lead to a strong bond with the object that you might not see from a more static sculpture.”
It’s great to see Drew being recognized outside of the yoyo community for his extraordinary creativity, and we really can’t wait for his flatpack yoyos and kendamas to become available. See below for a video of Drew’s flatpack kendama in action.
2011 saw National Master Steve Brown present us one yo-yo trick a day at the 365 Yo-Yo Tricks project. Next year Steve is ramping up the project by making it a team effort, with an incredibly diverse and remarkable roster. From YoyoFactory, in addition to Steve Brown himself, David Ung will be showing off his tricks, which are mostly seen in his amazing clip videos. This will be a great chance to catch up with David’s tricks, as he’s seldom seen freestyling at contests.
Finally, Drew Tetz of Duncan Crew will also be part of the roster. Drew, who’s always been a trick creation enthusiast, he used to run a now-defunct YouTube channel filled with single trick videos, and will no doubt have plenty of new material for the project. We caught up with Steve Brown himself to talk a little more about this very welcome surprise:
YoYoNews: Thanks for taking the time for this little chat, Steve!
Steve Brown: I always have time for my funk soul brother from another mother.
YN: That’s quite a crew you got on board! When did you decide you wanted 365 Yo-Yo Tricks to become a multi-man project?
SB: A couple of months ago I started thinking about the project, and realized I needed to make a decision…was I going to just end it when I hit the last trick, or keep going? I’ve put so much work in to the whole thing this past year…but at the same time it’s been a MASSIVE time drain for me and I haven’t made any money off it. The actual video editing and uploading is the easy part…finding time to spend an hour or two every day to make up a new trick isn’t easy for me at all. I’ve got two kids, two small businesses that I’m trying to get off the ground, the Triple Crown of YoYo, and a beautiful wife who prefers to spend time with me instead of just seeing the back of my head while I’m sitting at my desk.
After thinking about it for a while I realized that I didn’t want the project to end, but I really needed help. And after winning the Trick Innovator Award and seeing people come out of the woodwork to tell me that my tricks suck and that I’m no good anymore, I have to admit…I was really rattled by that. I’ve been a professional yo-yo player since 1995…that’s 16 years. Hearing that kind of crap, especially from a bunch of people who have been around half as long as I have (or less), really stung. So I decided that I needed help with the trick creation, I wanted to take some of the focus off myself because I’m sick of being a target, and I wanted to expand the project beyond just being another piece of vanity on the web.
At that point, the only logical decision was the bring in more people. It helps me with the workload, gives the viewers a wider variety of tricks, gives me a chance to show off how awesome some of my friends are, and still accomplishes the same goal of giving yo-yo players a new trick, every day.
YN: Why these players?
SB: David Ung’s video “Broke” was amazing. The way he started and ended every single trick with a trapeze, the pacing, the flow, the style…I loved every bit of it. I had the same reaction that Ben McPhee did…I had to stop in the middle and catch my breath because it was just so much to take in. I’ve always known he was a really good player, but that video specifically sealed the deal for me.
Drew Tetz has been doing some absolutely amazing counterweight stuff for the past year, and some of his wrap concepts really are next level. He also has a style that’s really effortless but earnest…when you watch him play you know he’s working hard but you know he’s really enjoying it. It’s a neat combination, and the end result is a player that I can watch all day long and never get tired. I also like that Drew is local, which means if he doesn’t get me his videos in time I can show up at his apartment and completely ruin his day.
I defy anyone to come up with a single valid reason why Ed Haponik is not one of the most inspiring and awesome yo-yo players in the world. If you don’t love watching Ed play, then you don’t love yo-yos. Ed will be completely mortified and embarrassed by this…which is part of why we love him. And his personal challenge to only throw a custom-built wooden yo-yo for the entire year is pretty awesome. I can’t imagine limiting myself to just one throw for an entire year, so I’m really looking forward to see how he does with it.
I’ve known Nate for a really long time. I was doing a demo many years ago at A-2-Z Science and Learning Center in Northampton, MASS and the original Freehand was the hot yo-yo at the time. I had a couple of rare colors of them in my bag and announced “Best trick wins one of these. Go!”. All the kids came up and showed me the hardest trick they knew, and for anyone who knows me you know that I didn’t care at all. Then Nate came up and said “I’ve got something”…he threw a suicide, but grabbed the loop as it came around his throw hand so the loop never actually flew across….and stuck out his catching finger anyway, and looked at it. We all looked immediately at the catching finger, and it took a full 5 seconds before any looked at his throw hand to figure out where the loop went. It was brilliant, and hilarious, and perfectly executed. I handed over the yo-yo immediately, and have kept an eye on Nate ever since.
I love watching Sebby play, and every time he picks up a yo-yo I feel like something incredible is going to happen. His freestyle at Worlds 2011 was my absolute favorite of the year, and to me it really highlighted everything that I love about watching him play. He’s got a really casual style, and when he’s nailing his tricks he tends to pace, but tightly wound like a panther. His tricks are all built around singular concepts, and even his combos will always revolve around getting into and out of one particular movement that defines the larger sequence. His style and creativity are exactly what I always hope my one tricks look like to other people, and what I see in him forces me to re-evaluate what I do and try to make it better.
YN: Do you plan on having a new roster every year?
SB: Yes, although it’s almost impossible for me to think about saying goodbye to any of these guys before we’ve even started. But I think for the project to really push creativity and keep people interested, a new roster every year is the best way to go.
YN: What else is changing in 2012 for 365 Yo-Yo Tricks?
SB: Some people have noticed that I’ve started posting the videos from my Vimeo account instead of YouTube. They’re still going up on YouTube for now, but starting in 2012 they will ONLY be uploaded to Vimeo. It’s a better quality service and I’ve had tons of copyright issues with YouTube…having content taken down for using music that I actually had the rights to use, having audio deleted without any notification, and the fact that if you do use a piece of music that gets flagged as a copyright violation, they don’t offer you even the smallest window to delete it yourself and avoid penalty. I’ve used songs from my friends bands that I wasn’t aware had been licensed out to a larger company for something, and gotten a copyright strike…even though I submitted documentation from the band that said I had permission. I just hate the way YouTube handles all that stuff and Vimeo seems way more artist-friendly.
I’m also in the process of upgrading the site and moving from Tumblr to WordPress. I’ll keep the Tumblr active and probably mirror the posts to there, but the main site will be moving to WordPress, and I’m working on organizing the tricks better to be more of a searchable database.
YoYoExpert.com has come on board as a sponsor and provided some nice perks for the players that I’m pretty excited about, and all the manufacturers involved seem excited about helping to promote the project. Most of the changes really are just technical, though…behind the scenes stuff that is going to be a huge time-suck for me but will ultimately make it a lot easier for the fans to enjoy what we’re creating.
YN: Thanks for your time, Steve! We’re looking forward to seeing yet another full year of yo-yo goodness!
SB: Thanks for the interview!
Be sure to tisit 365 Yo-yo Tricks’ players page for full bios of the new team and more information about the project!