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12 Days of Christmas Sale

12-days-of-Christmas-2013

Elves and Elvettes rejoice! Today kicks off our (first) annual 12 Days of Christmas sale! 

In the spirit of giving, we’ve hand-picked 12 items or categories to put on sale to show our appreciation to you – the skill toy community. In particular, we want to thank our loyal Facebook followers and email subscribers. Each day until Christmas Eve, we will be announcing a new product or category that will go on sale. These items will remain on sale until after Christmas!

Wanna stay on top of each sale item? Check our Facebook page each day, or make life easy for yourself and give us a Like! That way you’ll know the moment Santa opens his bag of toys…

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

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Yo-Yo Shapes: Imperial and Butterfly

yoyo shapes

In the yo-yo world, there are many different shapes (a.k.a. profile) and sizes of yo-yos.  There are yo-yos as big as 5 inches in diameter and as small as a quarter.  With this large range of sizes there’s a proportional range of shapes from the traditional to the flat-out strange.  But to keep things simple, I’m going to explain the two most basic shapes:  Imperial and Butterfly.

IMPERIAL YO-YO

So let’s start with the most basic shape of the yo-yo, the Imperial.  US Astrojax offers a lot of Imperial shaped yo-yos such as: Triple MoonLoop 360Dark GemMirage, Any wooden yo-yo (Minus Sleep Machine)BrainFireballRB IIFirestorm

The Imperial (also known as “classic”) shape of yo-yo features a narrow gap, thin profile, rounded edges, and large inner-walls.  These yo-yos are usually center-weighted, or the majority of the weight is near the center gap of the yo-yo and typically right at the axle.  The general purpose of this shape of yo-yo is to either (A) learn the basics or (B) looping or (C) just having a nice pocket sized yo-yo handy.  By using a classic shape yo-yo to learn the basics of throwing, returning the yo-yo, and throwing basic tricks like the trapeze forces you to have good technique.  Yo-yos with a larger gap like those mentioned later have more “room for forgiveness” and do not help foster good techniques.  However, looping is your major trick-area with these yo-yos.  By centering the “center of gravity” right at the axle, it is easier to loop due to one “flipping” the yo-yo during the basic loop maneuver.  Admittedly, I do not know much about this style of yo-yoing since I never got into it.  I own a fair number of classic-shaped yo-yos but never really caught on to looping.  However, it is a great style of fast-paced action that is sure to amaze anyone watching.

BUTTERFLY YO-YO

Next up is the Butterfly shape, also called “winged” yo-yos.  It’s name comes from the profile view which clearly has a butterfly, or winged look.  US Astrojax has a few of these as well: 888xDV888VolocityONEONEstarWHiPF.A.S.T. 201Triple ActionG-SpinFlex GapSleep Machine

Butterfly, or winged yo-yos are more of your string-trick yo-yos you see all those crazy guys using.  The butterfly has a wider gap between the two halves of the yo-yo, shorter inner walls and long angled or curved edges that slope out to the edge of the yo-yo.  Because of this, most butterfly shaped yo-yos are much wider than their Imperial counterpart.  And, in general, the weight of the yo-yo is placed on the outer-rims of the yo-yo to generate more stability and energy at high speeds.  Some of you might look at the description above and wonder why I’ve included the Flex Gap and G-Spin in the butterfly section since their edges do not have large curves like the Triple Action.  This is because the “Butterfly Shape” is a general term that is used for any yo-yo that has a very wide “catching gap” for you to land the yo-yo on the string.  This wide gap allows you to more easily perform complicated string tricks and allows for multiple layers of string to be on the axle (or bearing) at one time without it getting caught in the response system.  This is the type of yo-yo I personally use more often due to my love of string tricks.

From these two shapes, there are a ton of others being invented even as we speak.  There are some companies who let their pro players develop their own yo-yos and customize it however they want!  I hope someday there will be a yo-yo named, “Theferrell Flash”!!   But…. Alas.  That will probably never happen ^.^  Oh well, this blogger can always dream, right??

As always, I am open to comments, questions or suggestions.  Until next time folks, enjoy your yo-yo…. BE the yo-yo!

Theferrell

22
Jul 2013
POSTED BY USAstrojax
POSTED IN

A Wise Word

DISCUSSION No Comments
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The Triple Clutch YoYo Explained

Triple Clutch System

Ok, so remember in my last entry of this amazing blog when I decided not to describe the clutch system of beginner yoyos because it bored me to pieces? Well I lied. I decided to hold off because I was going to describe Active People’s Triple Clutch System in the next post…. And here it is!

Now onto the Triple Clutch System featured with Active People’s yoyos Triple Action and Triple Moon. The system is made up of three actuators and springs that clamp down on a rubber ring that surrounds a part of the plastic transaxle (Unscrew the two halves of the yoyo to see the transaxle, it is what the string is attached to). This system is different than a normal clutch system because it gives the player the opportunity to not only turn the clutch off and on, but it allows you to turn the yoyo into a fixed axle as well as a transaxle.

I guess I probably lost half of you right there in the last sentence….. so let’s break it down.

TC_Lock

The triple clutch system essentially gives you three yoyos in one. Let’s first talk about the “Lock” function. The lock function presses down the three actuators onto the rubber ring of the transaxle and locks the transaxle in place. This allows the yoyo to never sleep. No matter how hard you throw it, it will always come back to you. This mode is perfect for those who purchased the Triple Action or Triple Moon as their first yoyo. This helps eliminate the frustration of a yoyo that does not return until you can master the basic throws. This mode also can greatly help you to learn how to loop your yoyo due to the yoyo always returning. Learning to loop is best accomplished with the Triple Moon yoyo due to the imperial shape being more appropriate for looping tricks.

TC_Auto

Now, onto the Auto-Return function. (that is the “A” function of the yoyo). This function allows the yoyo to sleep and then automatically return to your hand. The way this works is between a combination of springs and rotational energy. You see, when the yoyo is thrown, rotational energy is forced upon the system. This rotational energy causes the three actuators to fly towards the outside of the yoyo. The same thing happens in your car when your body moves sharply to the left when making a sudden right turn. It’s called Centrifugal Force. And yes science nerds, I know that isn’t a real force…. But most people know what that is as opposed to “the inability to compensate for the centripetal force of the yoyo”.

Now back to the Auto-Return. When the yoyo is thrown, the actuators fly out and remain there as long as the yoyo is spinning fast enough to create the force needed. Once the yoyo slows down due to friction, the springs push the actuators down onto the rubber ring. The yoyo is calibrated so it has enough energy to wind the yoyo back up to your hand once the actuators clamp the rubber ring.

One major complaint people have with clutch yoyos is that the yoyo will not spin when thrown and immediately returns to your hand. 99.9999999999999999% of the time it is because the yoyo was simply not thrown hard enough. If this is your problem, view my Yoyo Bootcamp Vol. 1 video to get some tips on how to throw a yoyo properly. Once you get the technique down, you should never have that problem again. If you do, that will be a discussion for another time :P (Or simply message me via the AP-Club.net forum and I’ll help you out).

TC_Free

Now, finally, onto the final function of the Triple Clutch yoyo which is the “Free” function. This is where the yoyo becomes fun… Well, more fun than before. This function forces the actuators to separate from the rubber ring freeing up your yoyo’s plastic axle to spin until its heart’s content. (Don’t ask me where the heart is located. I’m an engineer dangit, not a doctor of yoyo-ology!). Now, to quote Spider-man, “With great power comes great responsibility”. You are now in charge of bringing your yoyo back. This is accomplished by flicking your wrist up to get the string to activate the starburst response system.

That just about wraps up the Triple Clutch system! The beauty of this system is the ability to have one yoyo at a reasonable price that takes a person from never touching a yoyo, to being able to sling many tricks and impressing friends and loved ones all over.

As usual with my other posts, I am always open to field questions and suggestions. Drop me a line!

Until next time, friends!

12
Dec 2012
POSTED BY spindoctor
POSTED IN

News

DISCUSSION No Comments
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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 Playpoi.com 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 AP-Club.net 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.

24
Aug 2012
POSTED BY USAstrojax
POSTED IN

Tricks

DISCUSSION No Comments
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Light Up the Night

Hey all! OceanJax here.

It’s summer and when I think of summer, I think of… well, a lot of things. Hot dogs. Especially hot dogs… mmmmmmm, hot dogs….

But when it comes to summer and skill toys, I can’t think of two concepts that go better together (except for maybe hot dogs and summer, but I think we’ve covered that). The days are warm. The nights are cool. The hot dogs are fresh (why are we still mentioning hot dogs…)

What that all means is: It’s time to play!

You already know that USAstrojax is your head-quarters for a vast array of skill toy fun, and I’m sure you are more than familiar with your favorite daytime skill toy. But have you had a chance to light up the night? And I don’t mean with the midnight grilling of hot dogs (DOH!).

What I am talking about are light-up skill toys. Yes, USAstrojax has those too! From Boing balls to Saturns to Aqua Glows, you are sure to find the perfect nighttime companion to your skill toy repertoire.

My favorite? The Saturn Astrojax. The beauty of the Saturn series is three-fold: 

  1. You get THREE balls that light up for you to orbit to your heart’s content.
  2. There is a vast array of Saturn options to choose from.
  3. You can purchase individual Saturn balls to customize your own individual set .
Yeah. That’s cool. Sorry though, no light-up hot dogs. Maybe we could work on that for the future. 
Hey, if you haven’t tried to light up the night yet, now is your chance. Head over to USAstrojax.com and find that perfect colored set of Saturns or look at the Boing balls if that’s your thing. But before you do, check out the photos below. We shot this past Father’s Day weekend. The photographers were my cousin, Myranda and my wife, Crystal. Yours Truly was spinning the Saturns on the dark canvas of the night. And if you’d like to know more about shooting nighttime light art photos, comment below or search the WWW for the “How to”. 
 
Enjoy!

 

10
Aug 2012
POSTED BY OceanJax
POSTED IN

Stories

DISCUSSION No Comments
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