Astrojax Trick ‘Mac Daddy’

Astrojax Trick ‘Mac Daddy': John Ferrell showing off his new Astrojax trick ‘Mac Daddy’.

“One day at work I was sitting at my desk and thought the following: Can I do a double wrist flick and chain it into a flick flip rewind?? I went home, tried it out, and the Mac Daddy was born!!” – John Ferrell

Jul 2013



It’s the Astrojax “EVERYONE WINS” contest!


It’s that time again – time to announce a new contest!  With less than 3 weeks left in the month of June, we thought we’d keep it simple and fun and hold a contest in which EVERYONE WINS.  That’s right, everyone!  We want to see YOU and your Astrojax.  Good, bad, ugly or otherwise – film ANY Astrojax trick(s) and you will win our new sticker pack.  Want a FREE t-shirt too?  Send us your video and you’ll get a free t-shirt and a sticker pack with any $10 or more order.  Not too shabby!

So, that’s it?  Yep, that’s it.  But in case you still don’t know what “it” is…we’ll break it down for you.  Get your camera or camera phone and shoot a quick video.  Upload it to YouTube and complete our contest entry form.  That’s it.  You win.  Done.  Oh, wait, that’s not all.  Go for broke and send us something truly fun and entertaining and you just might win our top prize:  a $25 Gift Certificate to US ASTROJAX, plus the sticker pack and t-shirt!    

Top entry: FREE Sticker Sheet, FREE t-shirt, and $25 Gift Certificate
All entries: FREE Sticker Sheet.  Or FREE Sticker Sheet and FREE t-shirt with any $10 or more order

Film your video.  Upload to YouTube.  Complete entry form on Contest Page.  Win. 

Cool or interesting settings.  Personality and Enthusiasm.  Videos filmed in horizontal HD.  Shout-outs to US Astrojax.

June 30, 2013

By entering this contest, you give US Astrojax the right to print your first name and last initial, city and state, and post your video submission. Free t-shirt will be included with any $10 or more order. International contestants may be asked to pay partial postage to obtain free sticker sheet. All video submissions must be recently filmed.

Jun 2013



Astrojax Trick Check Video Contest Results!


When we launched our latest Astrojax video challenge, the “Trick Check Contest”, we were a bit uneasy.  With school and exams wrapping up and summer fast approaching, would timing be a problem?  Nope!  We’re happy to report that many of you rose to the occasion and accepted our challenge!  For those of you that are just finding out about US Astrojax and our contest series, you’re in for a real treat.

FIRST PLACE:  Gideon Dunkley  |  Bronx, NY
We’re stoked to see some players going all out!  Case in point: Gideon Dunkley and his watch-over-and-over video submission.  The Gidmeister didn’t pull any punches, somehow remaining humble all while demonstrating his talented flow in this feel-good video.  Just…wow.  Congratulations Gideon – you are the First Place winner of the Trick Check Contest! 

Gideon’s Trick List:

  • Gravity Roll
  • Immelman
  • Intra-Venus
  • Hurricane
  • Crown Jewels 2



SECOND PLACE:  Ian Sielski  |  Warsaw, Poland
US Astrojax knows no boundaries, as evidenced by Ian Sielski from Poland.  Ian’s screen time clocks in at just under 40 seconds, yet he manages to squeeze in some impressive combos and graceful transitions.  You’ll enjoy Ian’s submission, and find yourself trying to pick up a move or two.  Congratulations Ian, you snatched Second Place in the Trick Check Contest!  Thank you for sharing a little bit of your beautiful homeland with the rest of the world.

Ian’s Trick List:

  • 3D Printed Guns (Combo): orbit interception to revolver to spin factory to revolver to fabulous to crown of jewels
  • Webbed Jewels
  • Mini (Manic) Fabulous with reverse



THIRD PLACE:  Ryan Garcia  |  Hesperia, CA
Grab yourself a recovery drink.  You’ll need it after watching Ryan Garcia’s energetic submission!  Ryan rocks to his own soundtrack, freestyling multiple moves and tricks.  Congratulations Ryan, you win Third Place in our Trick Check Contest! 

Ryan’s Trick List:

  • Calicopter (forward)
  • Calicopter (reverse)
  • Heart Attack
  • Swirly
  • Swirly (variations)
  • Change Up
  • Lasso



The trouble with contests is all those flippin’ rules…  Why should there only be first, second, and third place?  After some debate among the US Astrojax staff we decided that we could not have a “Three Way Tie” or “Fourth” “Fifth” and “Sixth” place (seriously, we’re not kidding).  And why did we entertain such nonsense?  Because we received so many great videos, that’s why.  Check out a handful of runner-ups, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

Scott Newberry  |  Palmerston North, New Zealand
Guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.


Adam Todd  |  Alameda, CA
Production value & an adorable kid?  That’s like a double rainbow.


Anthony Rojas  |  Riverside, CA
Thinking outside the yoyo box!


Blake Mathison  |  Howard Lake, MN
Lookout old-timers, next generation Astrojax players are on the rise!

Chris “PalmWho?” Palmer  |  San Jose, CA
Intellectual philosopher, and funny to boot.  A must watch video.


To say we’ve been inspired at US Astrojax is an understatement.  We owe a big shout out and thank you to all of our contestants.   All, including those that were not featured above, are winners and will be contacted shortly with details about their store credit.  But stay tuned, summer has landed and we’ve got new contests on the way!


Kudos, comments, questions?  Leave ‘em below!

Jun 2013



Astrojax Combo Theory


There are lots of theories about how to take tricks that you have learned and incorporate them into routines, or “combos”.  I want to explain my thought process on this, and I hope you will see that combining tricks turns a few cool moves into a really amazing Astrojax performance! It’s very important to understand that you are trying to compose a symphony of moves, not one-note sambas.  I find it interesting how people ask me, “What’s your favorite trick?” or “What’s the hardest move you can do?”.  I tend to frown on those questions because I believe that learning individual tricks is great, but combining them is like hearing multiple instruments in an orchestra. You want to be able to blend tricks in many intricate ways so you can bring variety to what you do.

Now, that being said, I’ll share how I tend to create combos.  You have to first know the trick you are learning inside and out.  Think about the trick you are learning and keep the following three things in mind: 

    • What do you do with the Jax to get into the trick?
    • How are the Jax moving while inside the trick?
    • How are the Jax positioned when you exit the trick? 


Now I can use these three simple steps below to analyze any trick, but the easiest for me to write about is the Venus

1.  What do you do with the Jax to get into the trick?
As you can see, you do a Vertical Orbit to start this move.  But look closer.  You can do a Vertical Orbit in two different directions to start a Venus.  You can have the end ball go over the left OR right side of your arm.  This now gives you two different ways to do this trick (and then more options to link it into other moves).  

2.  How are the Jax moving while inside the trick?
I understand this step sounds a little weird… I’m not really an English major….but hear me out.  Every trick has the Jax moving in a certain motion while “inside” the trick.  In the case of the Venus, the center ball is going over your outstretched arm while “inside” the trick.  Now what can you do with this?  You have three options that are really easy to see.  First, you can let the trick go as normal and simply let the center ball go over your arm.  Second, you can wait for the center ball to come over and grab it with your other hand.  From here, you have limitless possibilities like Lollies, Wheelies, or even Thrillers.   The last option I’ll discuss here is to let the Venus go a smidge more than usual and grab the end ball when it comes back around your arm.  With this, you can go straight into Pong tricks as well as many other moves.

There are many more ways you can “hit the abort button” on the Venus Trick and I challenge you to find more ways to do this.

3.  How are the Jax positioned when you exit the trick?
This means that when finishing a trick, the Jax are configured a certain way which allows one to link it into other moves without having to go back to Basic Orbits.  Tricks are truly mastered when you can execute a certain trick and then move straight into other tricks.  If you watch the best yoyoers, they are able to combine quite literally 10 to 15 different moves seamlessly from the time they throw the yoyo until it comes back to their hand.  You want to do this with Astrojax as well.

So what can you do with the Venus???  Well, I’ve already covered some of the most basic ways to abort the trick mid-flight, but when you do a complete Venus, you are back into a Basic Vertical Orbit.  However, you can choose to keep the rotation going to do what is called a “Infinite Venus” by using your outstretched arm to keep the Venus in motion. I’ve kept a Venus going for as long as a minute and it’s a really cool move visually with Blue Diamonds.  You can use Vertical Orbits as a bounce into another move, but the rule of thumb is to only use one Vertical Orbit.  Basically, the end ball goes down once in “one” Vertical Orbit.

On my profile, I’ve been toying with the idea of making “Combo Theory” videos, basically deconstructing some of my favorite combos that I do so you can see what tricks are used and how to perform basic combos.  I’ve made one video so far in this series and plan to do more in the future:

Well, that’s the basics of my Astrojax Combo Theory.  As I have mentioned before, the idea can be used with any skill toy.  While a part of my university’s juggling club, I was able to get my hands on many new toys and by using these steps, I’ve become proficient with lots of different skill toys.

And as usual, I’m always around the AP-Club forums and on Facebook and ready and willing to answer questions about Astrojax and other skill toys!

This is Theferrell, signing off.


May 2013



Astrojax: The Gateway Skill Toy

I consider myself a “Jack of all Trades, Master of Astrojax” kinda guy when it comes to the skill toy world.  Astrojax may be my primary focus, but I’m proficient with many other skill toys as well. Astrojax was the second skill toy I learned how to use (yoyos were my first), so I picked up a whole lot of others after learning Astrojax.  What I’d like to share with you today are the skill toys I’ve found easy to pick up after learning Astrojax.  Because Astrojax served as a ‘gateway toy’ of sorts, this seemed like a great opportunity to point out some other toys that you can cross-train with as you refine your skill toy techniques. As it’s not uncommon for a player proficient in one toy to gravitate toward another skill toy I thought this would be a fun post to share with you today.

First, let’s take a look at poi;

Poi is described as the art of spinning tethered balls in an artistic fashion.  Essentially, it’s the art of spinning stuff in beautiful patterns.  It’s got a very zen-like feel and if done to the right music, it’s a wonderful stress reliever.  The moves in poi are called “Patterns” since most (if not all) poi moves are continuous, so patterns develop.

Poi spinning is very easy to pick up especially if your jaxing style involves a lot of powerplay, or full-string, moves.  I don’t consider poi a “toy” but more like an “apparatus” or extension of one’s body movements.

One of the reasons why Astrojax relates easily to Poi is because, well, Astrojax can be used exactly as you use poi!  You can hold one end ball, and swing the two-ball end in the various poi patterns.  (Using Saturn balls can mimic a great set of light-poi as well). There are numerous instructional poi videos, but has the best in my opinion (YouTube handle:  Meenik ) whereas he has the videos I use to learn new patterns/moves.  

Once you’ve learned how to spin poi with your Astrojax, you are ready to either pick up a set, or make a set of “sock poi” using two soccer-socks (or your sister’s knee-length socks) and a pair of tennis balls.  US Astrojax actually sell three great sets of Kite Poi (Poi with streamers on the end, two regular sized ones, and one set for younger children) and the Boing Swing can be used as poi (I use Boing Swing with extensions tied to them so I can make the spin radius longer).

Because Astrojax combines features of the yo-yo, juggling balls, the lasso, poi and many others and we’ve already taken a look at poi, let’s check out the 5A Yoyo style.

The 5A style of yoyo is also referred to as a “Counter Weight” style of yo-yoing.  In this style, the part of the string that is usually tied to your finger is tied to a counterweight. This allows one more degree of freedom and opens up a whole new set of tricks that can be done by manipulating the counterweight. I do not claim to be extremely good at this style, since I only can do the basics, it’s easy to see how many Astrojax moves can be incorporated into this style by looking at the professionals.


Notice how he basically starts with a horizontal Thriller move??  And then he proceeds to blow your mind!!

Now, what do you need to get into this style?  Well, for starters, you need a yoyo. Basically, you’d want a standard butterfly shape metal bearing yoyo.  (Sadly, Plastic bearings have a hard time with this style due to the small spin time)  After that, you need a counterweight.  Now what can we use…. wait a second, let’s use ASTROJAX!!!  (since, obviously, you should have a ball or two lying around)  Best way to put the ball on the string is to take the string off the yoyo, thread the yoyo-end through the center of the Jax ball and let the ball slide to the knot-side of the string.  Take the yoyo-end of the string and thread it through the loop at the knot end of the string.  After that, attach the string back to the yoyo.

Once again, I’d recommend looking up videos on YouTube on how to start the 5A style since there are others much better than I that can explain the basics.  However, when you start learning moves, look to practicing first with Astrojax since the string length and weight distribution are roughly the same as a yoyo.  The only difference is that you don’t have to worry about the throw, and landing the yoyo on the string.  Get the basics down with Astrojax, then transition to the yoyo.

These are two of the most prominent gateways to other skill toys. By taking the time to use Astrojax, you learn how to visualize moves and become creative.  This is very useful when picking up any other skill toy.  Through hard work and that big word called “perseverance” (that’s a big word for a non English major!) you can pick up any other toy you set your heart on! 

If you’re interested in learning a new skill toy, feel free to mention it in the comments section, or post it on the forum under the “General Discussion Skill Toys” section, and I’ll be glad to share what I know.  For reference, here’s a list of the other toys I’m proficient with that I’d be happy to talk about.

Diabolo, Gyro-ring, Kendama, Shaker Cups, Juggling (3 balls/3 rings), Meteors, Flower stix/Devil Stix, Bolero (Mexican version of Kendama)

Until next time folks, this is Theferrell, signing out.

Aug 2012



Video Showcase: The Greatest Toy Ever Designed!

We know, throwing around terms like ‘greatest’ can get you in trouble nowadays, but regardless of your personal tastes I think we can all agree this is pretty awesome.  Check out our first video post on the site served up hot from our YouTube channel!

May 2012


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