4A rules need to be clarified or changed


First of all, what exactly are the rules for 4A? I did several google searches but couldn’t find anything definitive. All I can gather is 4A is a style of yoyo play using a yoyo not attached to the string.

In particular it’s not clear whether you can use more than one yoyo. I would assume you can’t, since I’ve never seen, for instance, somebody pull out a second 5a yoyo and start doing tricks with both.

BUT as we all know Rei Iwakura uses two yoyos as a matter of course. I think this has been detrimental to the 4A style. If you look at 4A contest scores where Iwakura participates and does his double yoyo tricks, he basically autowins unless he messes up.

At JN2013, Iwakura got 93.31 points, ahead of 2nd place Okada with 86.58 points. Without deductions he would have had 96.31 points.

At JN2014, Iwakura got 96.2 points, ahead of 2nd place Sugimura with 81.5 points. Without deductions he would have had 97.2 points.

Look at how large the score gaps are. Is Iwakura really that much better? How would he score if he didn’t use two yoyos? My point is that the only way other top 4A players can win is if Iwakura has a lot of deducts (like at Worlds 2013), or if they resort themselves to using two yoyos. So far I haven’t seen anyone do this. If they did, they would probably be labeled as copying Iwakura.

I think we could wind up with a situation where either noone can beat Iwakura on a good day because he alone uses two yoyos, or other top players start using two yoyos and the entire style is transformed into something else.

Why was it even allowed for him to use two yoyos in the first place? They don’t allow deviations like that in other categories. For instance in 5A, Iskandar Shah invented double dice play, but he isn’t allowed to use that in 5A competitions, as far as I know.

Don’t get me wrong. Rei Iwakura is tremendously talented, easily one of the best 4A players in the world even if he stuck to one yoyo. Possibly even the best. It just seems like he’s getting an unfair advantage by using tricks noone else does.

I think the rules should limit 4A to one yoyo. Either way they should have been clarified from the beginning, as should the rules for all styles.

What do you think?


the official rules are…

1a can only use one yoyo.
2a and 3a will only score points when both yoyos are in play
4a and 5a have no limit to how many yoyos (or counterweights) can be used.

Iskanda Shah uses double dice in contests, as does well. He did not invent double dice play, however. I believe Doc Pop was the first to do astro play (essentially double dice with the non sliding counterweight being a bead, rather than a full weight), though I may be wrong.

Rei scores well because soloham (2+ offstring yoyos) tricks are really hard. Harder tricks = more points. Whether or not other 4a players need to do soloham tricks to beat Rei is debatable.

Rei has put considerable time and effort into inventing tremendously difficult tricks. This has given him a scoring advantage in contests, just as how any other player would have an advantage if they came up with similarly difficult tricks.

It’s a fair system. Put the work in, and you’ll do well.


Rei wins contests because he is ridiculously good, not because using soloham gives him an automatic points advantage. Takahiko Hasegawa has been doing soloham in his offstring freestyles for years, for example, but he is not really competitive at the elite level in today’s offstring.

There were other players at Japan Nats this year who had technical scores similar to Rei’s. For example, Rei had a 59.7, while Futoshi Maruyama had a 59.0, so their tricks scored pretty similarly. The reason Rei wins by as much as he does is not so much that his tricks by themselves score that much higher, but that that he has extremely consistent and clean freestyles and the best showmanship/performance elements of any competitor, all while still performing extremely technical/difficult tricks.

With the current judging system devoting a significant portion of scores to the quality of performance and presentation in addition to just the tricks performed, someone like Rei who excels at both areas is really hard to beat. I don’t think that is really unfair, because that is just a matter of Rei really being that good. Most of the other players who can keep up with his technical score can’t match his performance evaluation scores, or lose more points from mistakes. Most of the players who perform as cleanly as Rei or who can come close to his polished performance aspects don’t do the same level of tricks Rei does. It is just ridiculously hard to be doing the tricks he is doing with the mastery to have that level of polish and cleanliness and attention to performance while doing them.


Why don’t any of the other top players do these Soloham tricks? Are they not good enough or do they not want to be seen as imitators?

I think Iwakura’s performance at JN2014 was phenomenal and he deserved 1st. I just wonder if 4A will head to a point where a person can only win using multiple yoyos.


I would imagine other players are capable of doing it, but it probably isn’t worth the risk to most competitors.

It takes more time to set up tricks for two yoyos than one. There are more potential deductions with two yoyos in play. It’s harder and takes more time to throw and return both yoyos while keeping control of the other. You have to constantly keep both yoyos moving to keep control of them, but a lot of what people do with soloham involves just keeping the two yoyos orbiting each other in the same basic pattern, which adds difficulty but not that many points because it is the same element being repeated over and over (repeated elements score less or possibly not at all). Most players probably feel they can get more points without as much risk by filling their freestyles with high-quality single-yoyo tricks than by doing soloham.

Basically, I don’t think most players see it as a very good scoring strategy compared to what else they could be doing with that time. Which is probably why until Rei, I don’t think any of the top competitors really tried to work it into their freestyles. Taka has always been more of a performer and would do it to show the crowd something interesting and different, so it worked well for his performances even though it didn’t make him a title contender.

Rei is also very performance-oriented and has experimented with different styles in Artistic Performance routines, so that probably has something to do with him getting so familiar with soloham. Eventually he got good enough with it and started developing the style further with competition-oriented tricks, so he began using them in his 4A freestyles as well. It may be that more players will start using the style now that Rei has developed it to this point and shown players how to do it in a way that scores well, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most top competitors continue to stick with one yoyo.


I was going to mention, there have been a few other offstring players who have done soloham play competitively. Offhand, I recall these two examples:


What everyone said


[Le]terally this


I fail. :frowning:

Thanks for enlightening me anyway.

(Cerulean) #10

So you’re telling me that I could enter a contest and do 5a with multiple yoyo sand look like a ninja? Sign me up for next contest jimmy.


If people can do it with 3A I don’t see why you couldn’t with 5A. It would open up more trick possibilities but be stupidly hard.

I think I’ll try to get better with one yoyo first before taking on two personally :slight_smile:


Rei is also a very accomplished diabolo player and there’s some similarity between soloham tricks and two diabolo tricks.


I don’t pay a ton of attention to 4a, but I just watched his 2014 Japan Nationals performance… it’s 90% diabolo tricks, 10% yo-yo blended in beautifully.

Which is funny, because his diabolo routines use a lot of yo-yo tricks.

All the body stuff especially is a direct translation of diabolo moves. This doesn’t make them less crazy hard with a small object and a much shorter string, but that’s where it’s coming from.

He is a master at both, so blending them is a natural choice for him. The stuff he’s doing is fairly advanced diabolo tricks, making them crazy hard yo-yo tricks. It’s the same the other way when he does diabolo.

Don’t be horribly shocked if he gets 3 yo-yos to work offstring, I know he can do it with diabolos.

As others have stated… it isn’t just that he’s using 2 yo-yos that pushes his scores up. He does hard stuff, while performing well, and makes very few mistakes… that’s going to win any division.


(DOGS) #14

Except for the part where you started a topic where we can have an educated conversation about a topic that hardly gets any attention. This is General we’re talking about.


Thanks, it just felt like absolutely nobody agreed with me so I gave up pushing the argument.