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Rant!

This section will be dedicated to those infamous and often extremely informational rants we see see on the board.  I will also use this section to spout off every now and then when something urkes me and I don't want to clutter up the board. : -)

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The Poles Don't Get Enough Love

I am sitting here, it's late at night and I am practicing.  I like to watch a few videos of my favorite players to give me a little bit of inspiration before I go into long practice sessions.  Kind of like visualizing the win before I take action.

I have 31.7 gigs of yo-yo videos on my hard drive, so it's not that hard to find something for any yo-yo mood I happen to be in.  I can find something smooth for my smooth moods, some fast stuff, frontstyle, sidestyle combos, freestyles, etc.  I have all these videos of some of the absolute best and most popular yo-yo players currently alive, yet I find myself attracted to videos of some of the lesser known players lately.  These specific guys are some of the best I have seen in a long time.  They are insanely smooth, and can push a yo-yo further then I have ever seen.  They take the idea of slack to a level that I didn't know was possible.  They make me feel like a 5 year old with a Duncan Imperial.

These guys have emerged from a region that was once known for a single yo-yo player, and they are still in the process of distinguishing themselves from him.  These guys are the Poles, the players of the tiny country of Eastern Europe , Poland .  I have seen some of the most amazing videos come out if these guys.  The 2 players that amaze me the most have to be Yodek and Plamek.  When I first saw these guys yo, my jaw dropped, and it remains in that position every time they release a new video.

It peeves me though, that these guys, making some of the best videos I have seen, with original, intensely difficult tricks are relatively unknown in the yo-yo world.  Their stuff is unappreciated to an extent that I was actually compelled to take the time to write this, and to anyone that knows how lazy I am, that is really saying something.  I am personally tired of seeing these guys remain ignored.  How can you see their stuff and not be amazed?  How can you watch these guys take concepts that American players barely have touched on and take it so far?

The yo-yo community is an extremely loving one; I can't name many people in it that I wouldn't welcome into my own home.  As close knit and loving as it is, I think it is only appropriate that the players of the world take the time to sit down, watch these guys do their thing, and be absolutely amazed.

I wish I could provide you guys with the vids, but my site is currently using up something like half of all skilltoys.com/org/net's monthly bandwidth, and I don't want to push it, but if I receive enough emails wanting the vids, I will upload some of them.  So if you are interested, email me.

Nothing but love from the Mid-west,

-Houdini

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Smoothness

Okay, this has been bugging me for a while. 

As some of you know, I really value smoothness.  The ability for a trick to flow and not be choppy is a beautiful thing.  I strive for smoothness, even though I know it will take hours upon hours of practice, I think it will be worth it when I look at a trick and it flows and just rocks.  I don't spend a lot of time watching other people's vids and trying to learn their tricks because I find that it is really hard for me to get a trick down smooth if I didn't create it from scratch.  If I don't know how the trick developed, I can't get it as smooth as I want. 

At Iowa States 2004 we were doing peer judging, and the only requirement was just to judge someway, leaving it open for us to judge it anyway we wanted.  I went by smoothness.  Eric (Afyo) was freestyling and I just was amazed at how smooth he was.  He wasn't busting out the most complex tricks, but what he was doing was damn smooth, and he had it solid.  After his Freestyle I went up to talk to him and told him that he was unbelievably smooth, and he deserved major props.

These days I am seeing more and more unsmooth yo-yoing.  People learn a trick and then move on, they never get it smooth.  And there are also styles of tricks evolving that just look unsmooth to the eye.  I hate to name names, but when I look at players like Peter Stevens and Yuuki Spencer, I am slightly turned off by their tricks.  It's not that they haven't practiced to the point of where they would have the trick smooth, but the tricks just aren't built to be smooth.  Constant mounting and dismounting.  It looks unclean.  There is something just fantastic that I know we all admire in seeing a player do some long thirty second combo and have it flow.  I love watching some of Johnnie's older videos, like Remnant and Grindslave because the tricks are just so flowing and smooth.

But the thing that is bothering me is not so much the unsmooth tricks, but the misconception of what smoothness is.  I see people complimenting clips for smoothness and I look it over and it's not smooth (to my definition) at all.  Some people seem to think that a trick completed with out messing up is smooth.  My definition is way, way different then this.  I guess it's just a dumb little thing to be thinking about as much as I do, but I just wish that even if people don't have the urge to smooth out their tricks, or create smooth tricks, they would at least realize what is smooth and what is not.  [Warning, the person who takes this as to me saying that Yuuki or Pete do not know what a smooth trick is shall be beheaded.]

If you guys have no idea what I am trying to say, or what I am talking about, check this clip out.  THIS is what I consider smooth.  He not only has the tricks down, but has them smooth.  Look at 1:06 to 1:18 or so.  Crazy.  Much respect goes out to Fiend X for his dedication and skill.

http://es.spindox.org/vids/clip-videos/Mikhail%20Tulabut%20-%20eXordium.avi

If any of you guys have any comments to this I might open up a thread on Skilltoys about smoothness, or you could email me your thoughts and I will post them here.

Thanks for reading,

-Houdini