One of the liberating things about playing a lot of fixed axle is the simplicity of the holds. Since playing wood depends on some pretty brief (or else regenerating) combinations of elements, you typically don’t have the time to find yourself in anything too convoluted. The effect is that a simple hold or stall takes on more “meaning” in the scope of the overall trick or session, and the nuance in which you hit that move helps to define its flavor. You can evoke a kind of lazy, nonchalant feeling by throwing a stall, holding it while eating a carrot or something, and then regenerating in your own good time. Alternatively, you can try to make your stalls as punchy, abrupt, and staccato as possible, which can cause passers-by to get strangely anxious or remember missed appointments. It’s good to master both extremes, and use them appropriately.
These “Straight-String Redirects” are an example of an element that’s native (if not endemic) to fixed axle play. Usually, a stall is, well… a stall. You land, and you hang out there for a second (or a minute). Then you regenerate and go about your day. With these redirects, the stop and re-start are essentially instantaneous. The idea is literally to push the straightened, tense string into the returning yo-yo, “bumping” it into an immediate regen. The string has to remain under enough tension to remain rigid. I find it takes a lot more control than the typical stall, because controlling the angle off of which the yo-yo will bounce is a pretty subtle movement associated more with gross body movement than fine motor skill.
The first trick is one of my 365 moves from last year called “Wimbledon”. Anybody can do a Trapeze/Man-and-His-Brother stall-peater. This one ups the ante by using a throw-hand pinch mount (in place of the Man-Bro), and more importantly, requires the yo-yo to be continually redirected off both string segments. It’s really not very hard, and pretty easy to see what’s going on, but I do find it pretty good practice to try and improve that “bouncy” feel. Watch the slow-mo to get a sense for how the throw-hand hold pushes the yo-yo back away toward the Trapeze.
The next trick is my version of Planet Hops 2.0. Regular Planet Hops is among my favorite fixed axle tricks, and if you can’t do them [literally] all day, you’ll find this version pretty tough. Get em dialed. The vid here is shot a bit too high, but you can still see what’s going on. As the yo-yo comes up each time, alternate between redirecting it with your free-hand thumb and index finger. The secret is that the free-hand is controlling the regens WAY more than the throw-hand. This is a good example of these straight-string redirects, because you really have to be firm and precise to make it work.
#3 is as yet unnamed, but still a fun, weird trick. I don’t know what it is about tricks that kind of look like you’re not doing anything more impressive than Gravity Pull, but they seem to appeal to me. Obviously, this is NOT just Gravity Pull, but if you do this one at Starbucks, the barista might conceivably believe that they’re better at yo-yo than you. Just keep in mind that you’re doing super-avante-garde fixed-axle tricks, and you will out-hipster that hipster by 9k. For this one, invert the typical throw-hand “Bird In Hand” mount and as the yo-yo returns, follow it with the hand, banging it off of that index/thumb segment. Repeat to the opposite side. You’ve got to hit it hard and straight or you’re just going to look like you’re having some sort of episode (which might, admittedly, get you a free sympathy-coffee).
If you really like to test your control, the fourth trick puts a redirect in a broader context. Easy enough to see what’s going on here. Throw down straight into a front-mount redirect, bounce out into Shoot the Moon, punch back down, rinse, repeat. So simple, and yet somehow hitting 5 in a row makes you feel like you’ve got the telekinesis of Jean Grey. The thing is, it’s hard to bounce that redirect straight out, and if you’re not able to recover a bit on your Moon, the yo-yo inevitably lounges to one side like some obstinate reclining nude.
I hope you find these fun. These moves have a pretty different feel, but are easy to practice. Whatever you can stall, you can also pretty much redirect. Try it on some of your go-to stalls and give them a shiny new feel. Happy Friday!!!