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.