Spinning Tops – Where to Start?

The last 12 months in the skill toy world have seen an explosion in popularity in Spinning Tops, particularly in Europe. As with all great skill toys, the level of competition and sense of community has encouraged players to really push their props in to new, exciting, unexpected areas. At Oddballs we’ve stocked for many years the entry-level models from Duncan including the RipCord which completely removes the learning process of throwing a top – but just recently we were excited to get our hands on the Trompos Space range. These awesome Spinning Tops are manufactured in the EU by a mixed team of Pro Spinners and Designers to ensure each one is ready for complex tricks and sequences. Much like the ‘Fixed’ or ‘Bearing‘ decisions that exist in Diabolos, the Trompos Space models come loaded with either ‘Fixed’ or ‘Roller’ tips.

Fixed Tips lend themselves to more traditional tricks that involve having the Top shoot along the string when an appropriate string wrap is performed. These are sometimes referred to as ‘String Traveller’ Tricks. Learning this technique is only possible with a Fixed Tip Top – It could be a ‘Necklace’ Trick you want to learn or even the ‘Cable Car’. For the beginner Spinner we recommend the Saturno Xtreme. It’s a robust, aerodynamic shape that has great balance and will allow the thrower to develop their trick range. It includes everything you need to get started and the string and launcher can be easily stored inside the Top when not in use.

Roller Tip Models not only allow the Top to spin for significantly longer, allowing even longer, crazier tricks sequences – they also make lasso and palm catching tricks much easier. In fact, we’ve seen the Trompos Pros perform the yo-yo trick ‘Gyro Flop’ with a Roller Tip Spinning Top. Using this type of Top does mean that ‘String Traveller’ tricks are no longer possible however, so it is a trade-off and you may want to think carefully about what style of tricks you want to learn. An Oddballs favourite in the Roller Tip department is the Jupiter – it’s over-sized but has incredible balance and an internal weight mechanism which allows players to alter the centre of gravity – useful for certain tricks or playing styles!

The learning curve with Spinning Tops is straight forward – however, Players do need to learn how to launch their tops first! Initially, this can be a little tricky – but there loads of resources on YouTube and Juggling.tv that explain the correct string wrapping technique and throw – A little perseverance and you’ll have the world of Spinning Top Tricks at your finger tips!

Camvention

What a day!

Once oddballs had set up and the convention started, the large sports hall came alive with so much varied talent from tightrope walking to 7 club juggling. Gazing across the room to see so many props flying through the air and patterns was mesmerising. As always the reception we had was lovely and everyone was super friendly, collectively sharing the love of the world of circus. We had the opportunity to help teach people new tricks and be dazzled by others abilities throughout the day.

Wow, this show was definitely one of the best I’ve seen. The compère Maarten willy Wils from Belgium was brilliant, his humour was on point and had many engaging jokes and never a dull moment while he was on stage. We were treated to a beautifully elegant and athletic hoop performance by Elina from Finland which incorporated very controlled handstands and gymnastic moves with technical hooping tricks to amaze.
Ieuan evens performed his stunning ring act displaying some flowing balancing tricks and manipulations followed by a neat 7 ring flash to finish.
We had Lili and Kenny perform an amazing acro balance and gymnastic style routine which was very well choreographed and impressed with every leap, tumble and bound.
Ben and Fred brought a creative guitar and club juggling duet which not only demonstrated some highly skilled patterns by Frederike but also brought comedy with interaction from Ben while playing his guitar.

The Camvention organisers not only made this convention happen but found time to work on a mesmerising ball and club passing act which was very creative and thoroughly enjoyable to watch with the whole stage alive with some very talented jugglers.
To end this fabulous show of delightfulness we had an incredible diabolo routine which worked body popping and diabolo together to create an intense robotic creation that added isolation to make our minds play tricks. Guilluame karpowicz had us in awe and we found his skill and creations highly entertaining.

Overall this convention had us buzzing and wanting to share and explore everything that we saw. What a great bunch of incredible individuals ever pushing their skill levels in the props we all love.

Zak

Juggling clubs, meetings and jams

Juggling Clubs

All over the world, tucked away in village halls, bustled into squash courts and, weather permitting, on greens and parks, you might just find something very special. In venues with good ceiling height for the jugglers, good width for the hoopers and sometimes an outdoor safe space for the fire spinners you may be lucky enough to stumble across a weekly juggling club. Jugglers, spinners, unicyclists, hoopers and so on and so on all come together in towns, cities and villages to learn, practice, socialise and have an whole abundance of fun with like minded people.

 

So, who are juggling clubs for? Who can go?

 

EVERYONE!!!! From complete beginner to professional. From juggler to cigar box specialist. People who make a living from spinning poi and people to fancy trying diabolo for the first time.

 

Complete beginners can go?

 

Yes, most definitely. If you fancy learning a circus skill, going to your local circus club is probably the best way to learn. There is no replacement for learning from an other person.

 

So how does it work?

 

It’s quite simple really. You turn up. There is normally some equipment you can use. See someone doing something you find impressive? Ask them to teach you! In the end, they got to where their high standard because someone taught them.

 

But I can learn so much from youtube at home. Why should I go out of my way when I have the whole of the internet to teach me?

 

Good question. I guess the only truthful way to answer is to try to explain what juggling clubs have meant to me.

 

 

 

Many moons ago, (year 2002 or so), I tiptoed nervously into my first juggling club as a then young tween. From that very instant I was greeted with love and encouragement. Large plastic clubs were thrust into my small hands which swiftly clattered to the ground. Diabolos made their first tentative spins. “Throw throw-catch catch” was said again, and again, and again………….

 

Before I knew it, I belonged. We were going out for chips, doing small performances around town, even making the pilgrimage to the famous London Oddballs! We were a band of miss matched men and women of all ages and ability that shared a simple joy. We believed that circus was a very good thing.

 

Once, a social was thrown for this university juggling club. (my very first time seeing what a convention could be like). The late great Ben Beever came down to perform, in the most “juggler” of ways, a list like demonstration of very difficult tricks. He then took the time to teach me to pass.

 

With this merry few, I traveled all over The UK and Europe. We taught and performed. There was always room for one more.

 

In every juggling club, convention and get together of jugglers that I’ve been to over the years, I’ve found this same beating heart. This urgency to pass our skills on. This free and loving sence of “one of us”. I’ve walked into a squash court or on a village green and found people like me. Restless souls like I. Brothers that say “I KNOW I could get just a few more throws….”, sisters that say “I’m getting this trick really clean now! Now how can I make it harder…..”.

 

Friends that will drop everything to teach you.

 

Nothing can ever replace the magic of circus people coming together.

 

Now go find your local club!

http://www.jugglingedge.com/clublistings.php

 

See you there,
Jimi

So. I had a Yoyo back in the 1990’s. What’s changed?

So. I had a Yoyo back in the 1990’s. What’s changed? Can I still “walk the dog”?

 

Oh, the 90’s. A time of pokemon cards, pogs, cereal chosen primarily based on the free toy, Art Attack, and yoyos. Yes, the yoyo craze. Playgrounds full of kids violently swinging “around the world”, getting all digits involved in an unforgiving tangle in a “rock the baby” and ever escalating arguments on who can throw the longest sleeper. An adolescence brought to you by Duncan, Yomega and Henry’s.

 

So, What’s changed?

 

Everything.

 

The leap in technology in creating yoyo has been vast. In the 90’s we were playing with a pedal go cart, in the mid 2000’s we were playing with f1 cars, today we are playing with space rockets, so to speak. World record sleepers went from a few mins to nearly half an hour.

 

And fancy yoyos means fancy tricks. The new common style among pros and hobbyist alike is “unresponsive” yoyoing. Which means that you have to do a special trick to make it return to your hand, opening up fleets of new tricks and styles.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8pmieoAi4I

But that all still the same principle of finger-attached-to-string-attached to-yoyo. Nothing else has changed, right?

 

Like I said, everything changed.

 

Over the last 2 decades, new bewildering and mystifying styles of play have come about.

 

Think 1 “unresponsive” is just on challenging enough for you? Try 2 unresponsive yoyos, one in each hand. Also known as 3A.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRLXwPeA9W4

 

Think having the yoyo attached to your finger is soooooooooo 90’s? 5A is for you! Instead of the string attached to your finger, it is attached to a counterweight, allowing for it to easily be released and swung/thrown.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg17FtXw8Q0

 

Do you feel that having the yoyo attached to the end of the string is just too restrictive? 4A is just what you need! In a similar style to diabolo, the yoyo is not attached to the string at all, allowing it to be thrown and caught again on the sting.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy8BDmCUmX8

 

Now that your mind is well and truly blown, I can hear you ask, “how do I get back into it?”

 

Well, first you’re gonna need a yoyo.

If you’re fingers still remember how to throw a sleeper, I suggest the Infinity Blaze.

http://www.oddballs.co.uk/infinity-blaze-yoyo-p-3951.html

 

Out of the box, you’ll be able to throw a good long sleeper and do all those awesome tricks you remember. Flags, stars, cat’s cradle, rock the baby etc. But here’s the jazz: this one comes with a 2nd wider bearing. So you can modify this yoyo to become Unresponsive and learn all these swanky new fangled modern tricks like slacks, whips and rejections.

 

You’ll need to learn to “bind” the yoyo (the mentioned special trick.) Good news! Youtube was invented since the 90’s. Youtube will be your friend and mentor as you progress.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0wnN4blxII

 

“But, Can I still still walk the dog!!??” I hear you ask.

 

Yes. And do it with a titanium yoyo, it will spark.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GLfNBkkmTc

Enjoy.

Jimi