The results are in for one of the absolute closest contests in years, and Gentry Stein is your new World Champion!!!
Today we have a chat with the 2013 1A World Champion and everybody’s favorite slack trick wizard, János Karancz!
Thanks for joining us, János! Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do outside of yoyoing and how did you get started?
It’s my pleasure! Thank you for the opportunity!
I am 18 years old and I have just finished high school and I will start university this September to learn landscape architecture engineering. Sometimes I play darts and I have a banjo, too. I can’t play it yet, but I am planning to learn some good songs on it.
In 2005 my yearmates in school started to play with yo-yo and I found it very interesting, so I joined them. I can’t imagine my life without yoyoing and I feel extremely lucky my friends showed it to me.
What players were you inspired by when you first started?
When I first started, I was inspired by a lot of players including my yearmates in school and everyone I saw in videos, but the player who completely changed my attitude towards 1A was Takahiro Iizuka. When I first saw his videos in 2009, I couldn’t believe his tricks were possible. He showed me that anything is possible. Since then I have been very interested in slacks, whips and lacerations. He is my favorite player and I am very thankful to him.
How do you approach trick composition now? Are you still inspired by other players or do you focus on your own ideas?
I try to focus on my own ideas, but I get inspered by other players of course.
But I focus on using only my tricks/elements on stage and in videos. This is very important for me.
You are quite consistent even in your harder tricks. How much do you practice?
Thank you! I try to practice my freestyle several times every day and in the last 1-2 months before a big contest I focus on practicing it 10 times every day. I’ve been using this method for more than half a year now.
Had you competed outside Europe before? What were your thoughts and expectations knowing you would be competing against very strong and experienced players?
It was the first time I was competing outside Europe. I was very happy and honored I had the chance to meet and compete against the best players in the world. I tried to consider this opportunity more like an award than a challenge, but of course I practiced a lot and I hoped that I could do a freestyle I would be proud of and that the audience would enjoy. I hoped that the audience and the judges would find my tricks original and good and if I could hit them, I could get a good placing, but I knew that all of the finalists were quite amazing players. My main goal was to do a freestyle that the audience would enjoy and I would be proud of.
Does winning Worlds change the way you think about yourself as a player? What are your plans for future competitions?
Getting first place at Worlds makes me feel my tricks are scored well at competitions and I can compose my freestyles properly. I am very happy that I could achieve it.
My plans for future competitions are still to hit my freestyles on stage the way I would like to and to make the audience enjoy it. I also hope I can create good and innovative new tricks and that I can use them in my other freestyles.
The yo-yo you used at Worlds seems to have quite a bit of history. Tell us a bit about it.
Since I first got my blue Duncan Barracuda, I had been playing with it all the time. I used it at four competitions in a row and I got first place in all of them. I used it at Spanish Nationals, at Hungarian Nationals, at the European Championship and at Worlds. This yo-yo is still in that state, the way I binded it at the end of my freestyle at Worlds and now I keep it in an exhibition case in my room.
I wanted to ask about your freestyle construction. Although your tricks are very technical, your routine is neatly constructed. How do you approach building your freestyle? Why did you choose to use more than one song, for example?
Thank you very much!
I can’t remember how I built my first freestyles, but I’ve been using the same method for a very long time. When I create a new trick that I like and I feel that I have practiced it enough to put it into my freestyle, I replace one trick in my current freestyle that I don’t like that much with the new one. But I can’t put it anywhere, because there are some tricks that I must do at the beginning of my freestyle, because of the string tension.
I try to use more than one song and some sound effects too, because I think it makes a freestyle more interesting.
What’s next for you, are you competing in any contests soon?
I will compete in the European Championship for sure and I haven’t decided yet if I will compete in Hungarian Nationals too.
We’re reaching the end of the interview, would you like to add anything, or send a message to the readers?
I would like to thank everyone very much who has supported and encouraged me! It wouldn’t have been possible without your help! I am extremly honored to be a part of this community and I am very thankful to you!
Thank you, János!
As we gear up for the 2013 World YoYo 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 YoYo Contest.
The mastery of a single style speaks to the greatness of the individual yoyoer; endless hours of practice and innovation are crucial to success. Now imagine doubling that: this is what these five individuals have managed to do at an extremely high level. Being elite in two or more divisions is perhaps one of the most incredible displays of talent possible in the world of yoyo and those who endure the challenges deserve recognition.
5. Shane Karan –
- 1x National Champion (5A), 1x National Champion (4A), 1x Regional Champion (4A), 1x Regional Champion (2A), 1x State Champion (2A)
Shane is the only American to win two divisions at the US National competition in the same year. This feat is very unlikely to ever occur again and thus cements Shane’s spot as a legend of multiple division competition. Additionally, Shane is extremely skilled in 2A remaining competitive in every competition he has entered. Shane’s diverse skill set is why he deserves a spot on this list.
4. Shinji Saito –
- 4x World Champion (Combined Division), 8x World Champion (2A), 2x Asia Champion (2A), 2x National Champion (2A), 1x Regional Champion (2A), 1x 2nd Place Regional (1A)
Everyone knows Shinji for his incredible 2A, but not everyone knows Shinji is an overall yo-yo king. Shinji is the only player to ever win the combined division on the World stage which certainly speaks to his multiple division skill; however, Shinji has never out right seriously competed in any division but 2A (which is why he remains fourth on this list) until 2013 where he took 2nd in 1A at the East Japan Regional. It is probable that Shinji could have dominated any division he wanted to–it just so happens it was 2A.
3. John Ando –
- 1x World Champion (1A), 4x National Champion (2A), 1x Regional Champion (1A)
John was always known for his 2A. Rarely was he seen without two yo-yos on stage, if at all. He took four 2A National titles home before he even won a 1A title, but in 2008 he burst on the scene taking the top spot at one of Japan’s most competitive regionals, East Japan. From there he immediately took his 1A to the next level and won perhaps one of the least expected 1A titles ever with a routine that changed the entire trajectory of the community.
2. Maya Nakamura –
- 1x World Champion (5A), 1x 2nd Place World (3A), 1x National Champion (3A), 1x 2nd Place National (5A), 1x Regional Champion (3A)
Maya Nakamura is the only player to take top 2 in two divisions at the World competition in the same year–taking the 5A title home and placing 2nd in 3A. Maya remains a competitive 5A player today but her 3A, which she appears to have retired from, was equally as competitive in the past taking home the National title. Wildly entertaining and amongst the greats of counterweight, Maya is often underappreciated in her contributions to 3A.
1. Takeshi Matsuura-
- 4x World Champion (5A), 2x Asia Champion (5A), 1x 2nd Place Asia Champion (3A), 5x National Champion (5A), 1x National Champion (3A), 1x 2nd Place Nationals (3A), 1x 4th Nationals (1A), 4x Regional Champion (5A), 1x Regional Champion (1A)
Takeshi is perhaps one of the greatest yo-yoers of all time. His domination of the 5A division is obvious but his unique double-National title in 2010, which is a feat few have ever accomplished, demonstrates Takeshi is elite in all aspects of yo-yo. Additionally, he is extremely competitive in 1A, managing to make to the finals through prelims at the World competition and placing extremely high at Japan Nationals. Takeshi is the pinnacle of multiple division skill–incredible in three divisions.
Honorable Mentions: All THP greats in both 2A and 1A
Who do you think are the greatest multiple division 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.
Woodz and Atsushi of Shaqler dropped a new video…the 1A is really solid and fun but as you’d expect the 2A is totally next-level. With Worlds just around the corner you have to wonder…if they’re willing to drop these tricks on video ahead of the contest, what are they saving for competition!?
(Video courtesy of YoYoRewind Store)
Using the “Keep Yo Soul” theme song for the current Hyper YoYo Campaign, it looks like Team Shaqler did an amazing job of getting a ton of kids interested in becoming yoyo players.
Having performed at the World Hobby Fair in Japan I can say that it’s pretty intense….it’s a consumer-based trade show (similar to Comic Con) with upwards of
10,000 50,000 kids barreling through to see the latest and greatest in Japanese toys, games, and hobbies. Companies like Bandai, Sanrio, Capcom, Takaratomy, Konami, Nintendo, and more show up with their absolute best to capture the hearts (and yen) of Japan’s massive kid market.
Many vendors offer special limited editions, available only at the show and this year it looks like Bandai offered a very special edition of their popular Hyper Cluster yoyo (pic below). Retailing for only 2,310 yen (about $25 USD), this white, gold, and black limited edition Hyper Cluster is sure to be popular with kids and collectors.
SpinGear just tweeted about this new offstring yoyo by World Champion Tsubasa Onishi. Looks…well, it looks a lot like another huge offstring yoyo for serious competitors. That style of play doesn’t really lend itself to a lot of variety in the equipment. I mean, you can shoot for different colors but even then….you’re really kinda stuck with delrin because there just isn’t enough demand to justify molding versus machining. But according to Spin Gear, there will be additional weight kits for this yoyo available later, so that’s pretty cool.
Width: 53.8 – 55.0 mm (depending on gap adjustment)
Response: YYF Slim Pad
And really, what announcement about a Japanese yoyo would be complete without a hilariously confusing description, courtesy of Google Translate:
Model with respect to the shape of the creative ingenuity that was used to Kamui Onishi players prefer. It is the model that brought, was realized in the factory planning Onishi players themselves are produced in domestic. Endorsement is uncompromised performance ease of use that made the prototype himself until satisfactory.
Pick one up at SpinGear, and while you’re there you should get some Hyper YoYo stuff. Because seriously, it’s all awesome.
Today we catch up with 2011 1A World Champion Marcus Koh, from Singapore, for our first interview here on YoYoNews. Thanks for joining us, Marcus!
YoYoNews: You’ve been working towards being the World’s #1 for several years, and you even mentioned on Facebook before your trip to Orlando that you were chasing your dreams, how does it feel to actually be the World Champion?
Marcus Koh: Yep! It feels great to be the World champion! I think the best thing about chasing my dreams was about the amount of time and effort I spent for something I love, about falling and getting back up after making mistakes. These things make my yo-yo journey a whole lot meaningful and worth it. Nothing beats putting in effort and achieving success in the end. The feeling is… amazing.
YN: At Worlds, you had a couple of yo-yo changes on stage, when that kind of thing happens, what goes through you head? Do you fear you are ruining your chances or do you concentrate on finishing your routine?
MK: Honestly, I was in a state of shock and panic at that moment of time. Everything had to go wrong as those are mistakes that I have never made before during practice. However, the very words which came from my best yo-yo friend Lim Aik Hwee echoed through my head. Those were the words he said to me before I left for worlds. They were “Remember, it’s not the end if you switch yo-yos. You can still win with yo-yo switches. Just do not give up.” From that point onwards, I recollected myself, tried to remain as calm as possible and concentrated on finishing my routine.
YN: The 1A competition in Singapore seems to be quite fierce these days, with you, Christopher Chia and Darrell Mitchell all among the best in the world. How does it feel to compete at such high level even in local contests?
MK: I think it feels pressurizing but yet it feels good at the same time. That is because we are constantly being pushed to the limits and try to outdo each other at each yo-yo gathering / contests. As a result, this leads to more creativity and improvements from us each day.
YN: What gives you motivation to win? Is it personal drive? Friends, rivals, family?
MK: It was my childhood dream to be the world champion. Since I was 10, I was amazed by a cartoon TV series called “Super Yo-yo” and I have been working my way up ever since. My family and friends were the ones who were always there for me and they always motivate me to strive harder. So I would say the motivations were my personal drive, friends and family.
YN: Both you and Takuto practice hard together even on the contest days. How much collaboration goes between you and other players?
MK: I think there was not much collaboration/interaction before my freestyle as I was busy training for the finals. I do wish that I have had interacted more on a closer level with yo-yo players around the world. However I had to set my priorities right and select 1 thing or the other, I selected training to reach for my dreams. So after the awards, I tried my best interacting and learning from as much people as I can.
YN: Tell us about “Kill Everybody”, what’s the story behind your mass-murdering motto? 🙂
MK: To be honest, there is no story behind the motto “Kill everybody” as it does not suit me in real life. So it is only my stage presence. That and I found out that dub-step music really suits my style and this genre of music is something new for yo-yoing as a whole
YN: What’s your day like?
MK: My days are waking up early in the morning for school and maybe hang out with my friends after school. Then I will play with my yo-yo for a while when I reach home. That’s pretty much what a normal day is like for me.
Before the world yo-yo competition, my days were to wake up for school and when school ended I would rush back home straight to train for my world’s freestyle . I had to sacrifice going out with friends, social gatherings, etc. in the process. But it was all worth it in the end.
YN: Any special breakfast secret for a super bendy body for your behind-the-back tricks?
MK: Ahaha nope, Just lots and lots of practice.
YN: What’s next for Marcus Koh? More world titles? Do you feel a bigger pressure now that you carry the title of World Champion?
MK: What’s next? It shall be the same as it will always be. Me inspiring people and people inspiring me. I see myself getting to meet more different and amazing yo-yo players around the world, exchanging tricks, being amazed. Just like how every yo-yo player have experienced when he/she attends a yo-yo event/competition.
About feeling pressured. Not really, as I am sure the future generations in the yo-yo scene will soon take over me one day, and that’s a good thing! The new players in the yo-yoing scene are improving fast. It’s just a matter of time!
More world titles? Haha I can’t come up with a solid answer for now. I’ll see about that.
YN: Thanks for the interview, Marcus. Any special parting messages?
MK: Less hate, more Love. Happy Yo-yoing everyone.
Marcus will be attending the Russian National Yo-yo Contest in December, be sure to catch up and say hi!