Friday, November 18, 2011

steeling myself (so to speak)

haven't played a bearing yo-yo in over a week. been awhile since i could say that (not that... it's anything significant to say).

still really excited and gung-ho about this idea. obviously, throughout the next year, i'll go through peaks and valleys, some more substantial than others. right now it's easy, because to get ready, i'm kind of cycling through my favorite wood yo-yo's (to which i ALSO won't have access in the new year). mainly been throwing my favorite clean machines, tmbrs, yyf legends, and my old #1 no jive. once i'm down to one, the real fun begins.

as for said one, steve and i have been e-mailing back and forth on specifics. true to his own tendencies, he's being more ambitious about building a better wooden yo-yo than i would have even hoped for, but i'm all the more stoked by the ideas coming out. this is not an attempt to sell yo-yo's, and currently, no plans exist to make this yo-yo available.

part of what i'm looking forward to (or at least what's immediately apparent) is the way i'll have to address the idea of playing 'for' other people. a lot of folks know i always have a yo-yo and will ask with no prompting whatsoever to see a trick (or for a whole show). kids are especially uninhibited about this, but grown-ups do it too. the 'pro' in me wants me to ask them to evaluate my stock portfolio or check my blood pressure or do whatever they 'do' on the spot for free... but that guy's kind of a dick. i mostly just smile and put on a rad little show.

doing a rad little show is both easier and harder with a fancy metal/bearing yo-yo. it's easier because you do longer tricks with more hits and weird formations. those things impress the uninitiated, even when you mess up. i'll miss shattering the illusions of people who have never seen progressive yo-yoing by doing a mindless, minute-long combo on my ronin without trying at all. it's fun to drop jaws sans effort. but it's also harder with bearings because i find that the more you rely on your equipment (or tricks enabled by your equipment) to run the show, the less you 'connect'. it's easier to shock people by yo-yoing in a way that, to them, looks nothing like any yo-yoing they've seen... but it's also fun (and in some ways, more rewarding) to enthrall them with play that looks exactly like yo-yoing to them... but somehow 'unquantifiably awesomer'.

it's a different kind of challenge, which is precisely what's fueling this whole endeavor.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


for the calendar year of 2012, i've decided to challenge myself to simplify and refocus my approach to yo-yoing.

for awhile now, i feel like all of my best yo-yo tricks have gotten shorter and shorter, and that my longer 1a combos have stagnated or else deteriorated into self-indulgent pointlessness. not that there's anything WRONG with that, but i feel like i need to do something to refresh my perspective and go back to what i love. considering the team spyy has built (and CONTINUES to build), my ability to rep the brand with relevant, progressive 1a tricks is spiraling down to a pinpoint. my value to the team has really only ever been in playing 'against the grain' (so to speak). i don't mean that to sound self-deprecating - i like thin yo-yo's that whack your knuckles.

and so, spyy has agreed to make me a[nother] new yo-yo (similar, but not identical to the one pictured above). i doubt this one will see any kind of widespread production, as that's not its aim.

starting 1/1/12, my goal is to play one all-wood yo-yo for a year.

a year is a long time, and wood is fragile. in the event that i burn through the axle completely or somehow irreparably damage the yo-yo, i'll have a couple of identical backups... but that's it. no bearings for a year, no metal for a year, no unresponsive for a year. to me, it's the equivalent of joining a yo-yo monastery, which when i think about it, is something i should have done awhile ago. in some ways, it's meant to be a kind of 'yo-yo death', but rest assured, while i'm walking away from the aspects of yo-yoing that don't appeal to me at all, i'm walking TOWARD the parts that do... which is unbelievably exciting.

since other yo-yo's will kind of cease to hold a lot of appeal for me during this process (seeing as i won't be playing them), i'll be using this space to document my progress (or regress, as the case may be). i'd like to note that i really appreciate spyy's acceptance of this. when i brought this to steve, he could have given me a hard time for having made me the flying v, having made me the ronin, and having sent me a truckload of awesome spyy's... just to have me give up on all but one wood yo-yo. instead he embraced it, said 'it's where your passion lies', and offered to make it for me.

i don't expect anybody to care about this. i know a few people read this blog, which always surprises me. i don't mean to act like it's a big deal. it really is just where i need to go with my yo-yoing. i really believe that by imposing limits upon your approach to an art, you can come to understand your own unlimited nature.

here's to finding out.