Doc Pop presents another episode of his vlog, PopCast, and this one features….me! Which is super weird for me to post but people seem to be digging it so I figured I would share. Enjoy this conversation that Doc and I had at 3 am after being up for 48 hours straight.
Armie Hammer Thinks I’m Interesting
A while back some of you might remember that I worked on Disney’s The Lone Ranger with Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, and Tom Wilkinson. It was a pretty good time, you can read more about it here.
Well, Armie Hammer is currently doing a press tour for his new film, Call Me By Your Name, and was asked “Who is the most interesting person you’ve met, in your life?” and surprisingly enough the answer is…me!
(It starts at 4:26, in case the video doesn’t jump to the right spot.)
I’m more than a little gobsmacked by this, but it’s really kind of Armie to remember me. We hung out a fair bit during filming for The Lone Ranger and had a really good time throwing yoyos on set during the down time. And when you are making a movie, there is always a TON of down time.
And Reddit user u/suburiboy found this clip on the Disney website, which I’ve never seen! It was filmed, I was told, to be used as a bonus feature on the DVD/Blu-Ray release but I guess that never happened. Glad that Disney finally uploaded the footage, though. Maybe now my kids will think I’m cool. (Probably not).
2017 World YoYo Contest – Over 40 Results
Scales Podcast – Japan Minisode & Episode 4
The Scales Collective is back with two more episodes of their podcast…a mini episode discussing the first two events of the 2017 Japan YoYo League, and an interview with…well, with me. Neat.
2017 has already proven to be one of the most competitive years of yo-yo of all time, and Japan is at the forefront of it. Scales members Patrick Canny, Colin Beckford, and Keiran Cooper discuss the first two contests of the 2017 Japan Yo-yo League – East Japan A Block and Central Japan – and analyze some of their favorite freestyles from each, as well as predictions for what the rest of the year will show for yo-yo in Japan.
Steve Brown is one of the most important yo-yo players of all time – from being an inventor of a world-renowned division, a National Master, yo-yo news website leader, contest organizer and more, it is safe to say that his impact on the community has been something worth noting. In this episode of the Scales Podcast, member Andrew Bergen interviews Steve on some topics such as running the 2016 World YoYo Competition, his insight on people who are interested in running competitions, and more. Listen to this episode and gain some knowledge from one of the industry’s best! Thank you to our sponsors: YoYoExpert, Caribou Lodge, and Recess International!
In The News – 2016 World YoYo Contest
Oh snap, it’s me!
I appeared last night on WKYC Channel 3 here in Cleveland to promote the announcement that Cleveland, Ohio will be the host city for the 2016 World YoYo Contest. Check out my awesome shirt and the beginnings of a truly ferocious winter beard.
Please Welcome Florentina Louise Juan Brown!
Please join us in a BIG congratulations to Steve Brown and his wife Jenni!
(Just in case you didn’t know Steve is the co-founder of YoYoNews, main-editor for all YoYoNews (aka everything and anything on this site), and Marketing Manager for CLYW! Plus a TON of other things. Seriously… a ton of other things.)
Florentina Louise Juan Brown was born on July 6th. Picture perfect baby!
Cheers to Steve and Jenni!
Updates to YoYoNews coming soon – we appreciate your patience while we give Steve some time to be with the family!
Steve Brown – Reddit AMA (9.26)
This is either going to be awesome, or a fiery train wreck that gets me fired from CLYW and excommunicated from the yoyo industry.
Tomorrow morning, starting at 10 am EST, I’ll be doing an AMA on Reddit for the /r/throwers subreddit. I encourage you to ask me absolutely…anything. We’ll see how this goes.
YoYo Store Rewind x Steve Brown
Hey look…it’s me! Hironori Mii shot a little bit of my dusty old self throwing off some tricks with the Shutter while we were hanging out in Budapest for EYYC 2014, and Shinya Kido edited it to make it look like I know what I’m doing. 😉
For the record, I have beat the merciless crap out of that Shutter and it still plays great. I’ve been throwing that same one since August 2013 and it’s still fantastic. Get one.
#trickcircle Round Up 5/5/14: 5A May Edition
Hey gang! Gather ’round the internet machine and join us for the best yo-yoing you can fit into 15 seconds, #trickcircle. In this series (previous installments here) we scan Instagram for videos tagged with #trickcircle, pick recent favorites, and collect them here along with some thoughts on what makes them great. In the spirit of 5A May, let’s keep this installment to counterweight tricks.
It only seems right to start things off with the man who first decided that yo-yos worked better tied to dice than to fingers, @unklesteve (aka National Yoyo Master Steve Brown.) Steve laid a huge amount of the bedrock for 5A; there’s a pretty good chance that he made up half of the tricks you can do back in ’98 with Neff. The crazy thing is that Steve is still shredding: there ain’t nothing outdated about that combo up there, and few people can manage those kinds of finger switches with the ease that he does. I recognize the launch from one of my favorite tricks in Steve’s 365yoyotricks project, “Circuitous”, great to see two equally gnarly paths branching out from the beginning of the combo.
Let’s take a trip down south to visit @bryanjardin, AKA 2 time Asian Pacific Champ & 4 time Philippine Champ Bryan Jardin. Bryan’s style is fun, exciting, and hard to keep up with—kind of like Bryan himself. Where Steve’s combo was based around clockwork motions within a few mounts between his hands, Bryan’s is all about momentum. He keeps the mount simple, but the confidence behind his tricks comes out in power & speed that make for a very exciting show. Entering red propellor from around the arm at the end of the combo was a particularly nice touch.
Taking us back to technical territory is @scottsm7 (2011 US Champ Samm Scott.) Samm has been exploring this style of combo more frequently in his recent freestyles: dense tricks that rack up by points by mounting, pinwheeling, and redirecting the counterweight & yo-yo around the hands while maintaining control of a central string structure. You can definitely see traces of influence from Jon Rob & Jake Bullock, but more than anything what shines through is top-level string control placing every element exactly where he needs it to be.
Let’s take a break from the long combos and get to something more instantly satisfying: bangers! @danielbudai (AKA Daniel Budai, 2 time Hungarian Champ & 2012 European 5A Champ) brings us this mighty green triangle. The beauty in this trick is that the elements all logically flow together, but the end result is still surprising: the motion of the counterweight out of e-fan naturally unmounts the yo-yo and continues into the crook of his arm, and the momentum of the yo-yo naturally sets up a GT formation to land in. The other best part of this trick is definitely that it lets you flex like a strong man at the end, so if you learn it make sure to pose in the mirror a bit.
@chasebaxter is an American player who has been steadily moving up the ranks in contests and is beginning to make waves with combos like this one. Chase’s style features a good mix of ’07-10 American contest 5A influences and his own “swangle,” perhaps best exemplified with the 1-2-3-4 counterweight mount buildup at the beginning of the combo and the drop suicide at the end. Definitely a name to watch.
At the beginning of the month, Takeshi Kamisato challenged @edhaponik to come up with some Fixed Axle 5A. Ed is certainly no stranger to Fixed Axle, but fixie 5A has gone largely unexamined due to the fact that traditional counterweight tricks are reeeally hard without bearings. Ed sidesteps this technical challenge and uses a responsive setup (a butterfly!) to his advantage with this sidewinder freegen, a visually appealing exercise in quick reflexes & lateral thinking. This trick contains some of the best parts of modern fixed axle play: it may seem like a “dead end” due to its lack of string hits and inability to combo in/out of anything, but it’s not easy to find a single move with a visual effect as strong as this one. Furthermore, even players who understand why a sidewinder flutters can enjoy banging the hell out of their knuckles trying this trick at home—trust me, it’s harder than it looks. And isn’t that the heart of all yo-yo tricks?
5 Unbelievably Underrated Midschool Tricks
Ah, the era of the “midschool” yoyoing. Videos were more grainy, hair was more spiky, and cargo pants had more than enough pockets to tote around Renegades, Freehand 1s, and Spinfaktors as opposed to the more slim denim options of today. “Midschool” can be defined exactly how it sounds, and in the yoyoing world it generally means the era just before, during, and after the “boom” of 1998. It was an era of innovation in absolutely all facets of yoyoing, including tricks, contests, yoyos, and the integration of the recently popularized internet into the yoyoing world.
The most popular tricks of the midschool era are some of the tricks that you may have seen or learned from André Boulay’s YoYoExpert tutorials. Some significant ones include White Buddha (Paul Escolar), Superman (Jason Lee), The Matrix (Doctor Popular), Spirit Bomb (Jeff Longoria), and Kwyjibo (Taylor Whitley). What some players may not not know is that these tricks were learned by André during the era in which yoyo videos had to be downloaded using the dial-up connections of the time. Similar to the recent explosion of the #trickcircle hashtag today, they were created by and shared with enthusiasts and those truly in the know dedicated many hours to staying current to the tricks and trends of the time.
Back then, there were no GoPro tutorials in which you could see the trick as well as the pair of socks that the yoyoer has chosen to wear for the day. Tricks had to be learned through text, and if you were lucky, text and illustrations along with a short video. If you do enough digging, it is still possible to find some of the old tutorials and learn some old tricks if you have the dedication to do so.
In the years after the boom, the numerous tricks of the era were still discussed and learned on message boards of the time and were still some of the hardest tricks to learn. These days, yoyoers have all they could possibly want as far as learning tricks goes, and the tricks from the midschool era that do not have current tutorials of their own are old memories or completely unheard of by most yoyoers. Therefore, there is a goldmine of old tricks that many yoyoers may have never heard of and would probably break their knuckles attempting on one of the tug-responsive yoyos of the time. Yoyos then had to sleep for a long time, not “catch” the string in the middle of a trick, and still be reliably tug responsive.
Think old midschool tricks can’t hang with the tricks of today? Think again.
5. Orange Tulips (Red Clover II)- Paul Escolar
If you get the chance, head over to the Sector Y Archive and watch some of their videos in chronological order. Not only can you see yoyoing itself advance, but you can also see the members of the Spindox Yoyo Club push great concepts further and further with each video. At the release of their “Wish We Were at Worlds” clip video in 2001, the Spindox members were at the top of their game.
The most widely-recognized trick from “Wish We Were at Worlds” is probably Breath, by Spencer Berry. Another elusive-but-amazing trick in the video is Paul Escolar’s sequel to his his slightly-less-elusive trick, Red Clover. Red Clover II, otherwise known as Orange Tulips, combines interesting and still widely unexplored Houdini Mount concepts with a a Wrist Mount ending that makes for a fairly fluid, and pretty hard, trick. Check the video above for the trick, starting at 1:58.
The first move of Orange Tulips is taken from Red Clover, but after that, Orange Tulips makes it’s own identity and features a pop through a triangle string segment that is pretty difficult when first attempting the trick. The pop is necessary to complete the trick properly, and you’ll only know it’s done right when the yoyo lands and creates a Wrist Mount-esque segment that is situated on the fingers as opposed to the wrist. The end of the trick basically does the same thing as the ending of Superman by Jason Lee but in a significantly different way. An extra kink through the Wrist Mount is undone, and as the yoyo lands in a regular Wrist Mount, a normal dismount followed by a return to the hand completes the trick.
The trick is still difficult, and when doing it you can see that Paul was clearly connecting trick segments to do-and-undo each other. Even when performing the trick on a modern, unresponsive yoyo it has a midschool feel and completing it successfully definitely feels great.
The video of Orange Tulips in “Wish We Were at Worlds” is literally the only video of Orange Tulips that is currently online. While obscure, it is definitely underrated in my opinion and is honestly a great trick. Learning and performing it on a modern, unresponsive yoyo proves this, and it’s a shame that it hasn’t received more recognition within the community (A Cabin Tutorial, maybe?).
4. 8 Diagram Pole- SAGE
Coming to prominence around 2001, Black Hops is a trick that is mainly based around “hop” concepts that still remains somewhat relevant with players. SAGE (Albert Gonzales, inventor of the Iron Whip.), a yoyoer from the East Coast who was also doing grinds and slacks early in their creation, created a similar but significantly more difficult trick with 8 Diagram Pole in 2001.
I have yet to learn 8 Diagram Pole, but those that have speak of it’s difficulty. It doesn’t appear that it would be any easier on an unresponsive yoyo, but anyone that has thrown responsive and has seen the trick can most likely see it’s difficulty during the time it was created.
The concept behind the hops are somewhat similar to Spencer Berry’s “Insta-Mounts” (which Adam Brewster has been creating and sharing via #trickcircle lately) and despite lacking the flashiness and fluidity of today’s popular tricks, 8 Diagram Pole definitely deserves a place on this list as well as a place in trick history. SAGE has not been involved in yoyoing since the early 2000’s but his contributions undoubtedly left a mark on yoyoing.
3. TimeTwister- Gabriel Lozano
TimeTwister is probably the least underrated trick on this list, but it is still fairly underrated in my opinion and not necessarily known as well as some other tricks from the era. While it does have some “modern” exposure, TimeTwister is still a trick that some players may have never heard of or may have forgotten about. I actually learned TimeTwister early in my yoyoing career, and it’s remained one of my favorite tricks since.
In watching a lot of of old Spindox videos, you can see Citadel (Gabriel Lozano) playing around with a lot of concepts that are very similar to the ones in TimeTwister and you can also eventually see him throw TimeTwister itself, too. Everybody had their own elements to mess with back then, and Gabe chose twisty 1.5 mount concepts, rolls, and a sort of flowy trick that’s different than a lot of other stuff from it’s time and stuff from now as well.
In a non-cynical way, my favorite part of TimeTwister is the end. The part at the end in which you manually untwist the strings that you twisted a step prior really blew my mind when I first started yoyoing. The sideways barrel roll/hug movements within the trapeze towards the end were especially tricky for me to hit when first learning the trick too.
Pulling off TimeTwister feels really good, even on a newer yoyo. It’s a pretty long trick, and remembering all of the moves and doing them just right is definitely impressive.
2. Water Bomb- Steve Brown
I’m pretty sure that innovative frontstyle stuff was just about as common, if not a little more common, in the midschool era as it is today. Steve Brown had this frontstyle mount called the H20 Mount which was basically a Split Bottom Mount with an extra segment that allowed a little more creativity within frontstyle yoyoing. Water Bomb is my personal favorite that utilizes the mount, but another trick of Steve’s that utilizes the mount and is equally badass is Chinese Water Torture. Another yoyoer, throwing under the alias “Spiky Haired Raver” had a trick called Spring Water that utilized the mount as well.
Water Bomb definitely makes use of the extra segment within the H20 Mount, along with some rolls and boings to complete the trick. I just really like the midschool-esque fluidity of it all. It may sound obsessive, but I really think it was a combination of the yoyos, concepts being explored, and general climate of the late 90’s/early 2000’s that made for some really, really great yoyoing despite being outdated today.
I first saw Steve throw Water Bomb in the How to be a Player video by Duncan, and was impressed because at the time I had just learned Split the Atom and Mach 5. It really impressed me at the time, and it would still probably be a great challenge to learn today if a proper tutorial existed for the trick.
1. Havoc- Spencer Berry
It was genuinely hard to think of the #1 trick for this list. I didn’t necessarily write it in any particular order, but in any case “#1” should typically be exciting in some way or another. Well, what’s more exciting than a trick called “Havoc”, right?
It’s hard to believe that Spencer Berry invented in this trick in 2001. In my interview with Spencer, he said that Havoc was all about pushing complexity and he definitely did it with this trick. I first saw Havoc quite some time ago, and couldn’t even begin to get a grip on how to do it. Even now that I can do it quite well, it does not feel like any other yoyo trick that I’ve done before.
In my opinion, Havoc is the perfect trick technically, visually, and difficulty wise. Not only is it hard to learn, but it also hard to actually smooth out because all of the moves are so obscure that even a seasoned yoyoer will have trouble figuring them out at first. It follows the great tradition with it’s string segments doing-and-undoing themselves and lots of subtle movements being necessary to do in order for the trick to be performed properly.
Havoc is 1/3 of Spencer Berry’s Destruction trilogy of tricks (alongside Enigma and Cataclysm) and the reason that I chose Havoc out of the 3 is because it’s simply the most different and most difficult in my opinion. Luckily, Chuck over at CLYW dropped a Cabin Tutorial for it last year and if you’re interested in learning it, doing so is only a click away!
Hopefully you enjoyed this look at some obscure yoyo tricks! I actually didn’t start yoyoing seriously until 2011, but in the amount of time that I have been yoyoing I’ve definitely enjoyed learning about the vast history of our great hobby. Shoutout to Gabe and Spencer for letting me use their old videos, and shoutout to Steve for hopefully not feeling really old after reading this! If you have any stories, tricks, or anything to share feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
The End of 365yoyotricks.com
In 2010, I had the idea that I wanted to push myself to be a more active yoyo player. Back when I first started playing, and all through my days working for Duncan Toys and then briefly as a tour demonstrator for YoYoFactory, I threw constantly. It was not at all uncommon for me to put in at least 5 – 6 hours a day, and if I was on tour or handling a trade show then it easily became 8 – 10 hours a day. But having kids and starting a business take a lot out of you, and in 2010 I was coming off several years of barely touching a yoyo at all. I needed something to kickstart my creativity, and nothing does that like a public declaration so I announced that I was going to start 365yoyotricks.com, a website where I created, filmed, and uploaded one yoyo trick every single day for a year.
It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought, but in 2011 I did it. One original trick, every day. I dipped into a well of older tricks for days when whatever I was working on wasn’t ready yet, but I published video of 364 original yoyo tricks in 2011. (Halloween was a treat instead of a trick, with a coupon code for YoYoExpert.) In 2012 I decided to bring in some people who I personally wanted to see more play from, and put together a roster of players that are some of my personal favorites: David Ung, Nate Sutter, Ed Haponik, Drew Tetz, and Guy Wright. They contributed about a trick a week each, and I filled in the gaps. For 2013 I did the same thing with a new roster of players: Jacob Jensen, Spencer Berry, Darnell Hairston, Jake Bullock, and Rafael Matsunaga. As always, there were plenty of guest spots, but the formula remained; one new, original yoyo trick every day.
I even started a spin-off site, 365cooltricks.com, that is run by my friend Mark Hayward, featuring all kinds of tricks…juggling, kendama, magic, sleight of hand, bar tricks, and other object manipulation. It’s awesome, by the way, and Mark Hayward now has a much stronger understand of what I’ve done for the past 3 years in keeping 365yoyotricks.com going. Ha. Hi, Mark!
Today is the last trick of 365yoyotricks.com, “Denouement” by Hank Freeman.
My time is filled with fatherhood and husbandhood and running this site and organizing contests and generally doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to better the yoyo industry and community. So in the interest of making sure that I put all my energy in the best places possible, I’m closing the doors on 365yoyotricks.com. The site will remain up indefinitely, and thanks to the tireless work of Greg Pettit it’s a LOT more searchable than it was before so it’s now a much more functional archive of amazing tricks from a lot of fantastic yoyo players. (And me. Ha.)
A huge thanks to André Boulay and YoYoExpert.com for his help in keeping 365 going, helping me move the site from Tumblr to WordPress, and sponsoring the project with kickbacks for the players. Much love to everyone who ever contributed a trick, to everyone who ever watched a trick, and to everyone who slapped one of our stickers somewhere inappropriate. A huge thank you to Tressley Cahill for designing the logos for both 365yoyotricks.com and 365cooltricks.com.
It’s been a great three year run! The theoretical successor to 365 is the #trickcircle series that Drew Tetz has been curating from Instagram clips…so follow that hashtag on Instagram, and keep an eye on YoYoNews.com for weekly roundups and discussion.
Happy New Year, and thanks so much for supporting this project! It really did wonders for me as a player, and I hope you got as much inspiration from it as I did.
National Champ Jake Elliot & Steve Brown on YoYoRadio
On Friday, YoYoRadio will wrap up last week’s US National Yo-Yo Contest, held in Chico, California. They’ll talk with Jake Elliot, the upset winner of the 5A Division plus we’ll talk with Steve Brown, US National Yo-Yo Master and head honcho at YoYoNews.com, about his take on this year’s US Championships. Plus, the next edition of ‘Who’s That YoYoer,’ where Tom & a special guest try to determine the identity of a mystery yo-yoer based solely on ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions.
Tune in Friday, October 11th at 9:30 PM at YoYoRadio.net.
2013 National YoYo Museum Awards
Each year at the National YoYo Contest, the National YoYo Museum gives out several additional awards during the course of the event. These awards recognize outstanding individuals for their contributions to many different aspects of the art and sport of yoyo play. This year’s winners:
Best Girl Player
Best Junior Player
Most Inspirational Player
Ky Zizan (Werrd)
National Achievement Award
Steve Brown (YoYoNews.com)
Industry Excellence Award
Ernest Kaiser (General-Yo)
National League Merit Award
Brian Cabildo (Glasseye)
Mark Sitton Sportsmanship Award
Patrick Borgerding (YoYoFactory)
Trick Innovator Of The Year
Zach Gormley (CLYW)
See Steve Brown Take Off His Pants And Run His Mouth
I performed in Pittsburgh a few months ago with Mark & Jonathan’s Fireside Chat, a live variety/talk show hosted by Mark Hayward and Jonathan Burns.
They just sent me a link to a video recap of the show, so check it out if you’ve ever wanted to see me wearing a tuxedo, taking off my pants, yoyoing in a tutu, and/or running my mouth about how I starting yoyoing.
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