Beginning Responsive vs. Unresponsive


I started playing yo-yo responsive. I’ve read that some people started playing unresponsive, and just learned to bind right at the start. I’m wondering how everyone started, and if they feel they have benefited, or created a disadvantage for themselves, as a result of how they began. Also, if they were to teach someone else yo-yoing, how they would start them…responsive or unresponsive.

For me, personally, I began responsive. I think I can better appreciate the evolution of yo-yo play, because I started out responsive and moved into unresponsive play. I consider that somewhat of a benefit, for me personally. I had to grow into the idea of a “bind” to make the yo-yo come back. I grew into the idea now, and enjoy unresponsive play the most.

But, I’m glad I learned the responsive tricks first, because they are a ton of fun. It’s nice to keep a responsive yo-yo around. I still do. Also, I’m curious if anyone went backward, from starting out unresponsive, to going back later and playing responsive.

Please vote in the poll too. Any thoughts?


As a kid when I started, there was only one option. :wink:

In adult life, when I RE-started (“for real”), there was only one option at the toy store. I just didn’t know any better, so it was responsive for me. Stuck with that for my first two yoyo purchases, which could be made unresponsive when I decided to learn to bind (New Velocity, Dark Magic 2).

And I continue to play responsive. Have several fixed-axle throws that are responsive, and a few bearing-axled throws that are also responsive.

I think the styles benefit each other. Playing longer string tricks on a responsive yoyo help me to understand how to hit them cleaner. Some responsive tricks can be translated to unresponsive play (sidewinder after a bind, UFO during fingerspin, picture tricks, etc). But I do like to embrace their differences as well.


I think it’s a disadvantage to start learn unresponsive from point 1. Because then they miss all The the basics they need to know. Now as for I started on a responsive and I don’t regret it because I didn’t know about unresponsive until I started looking stuff up on the Internet. (then again I taught myself so Of course I started on a responsive!) plus I think they miss the fun tricks like creeper and brain twister.


I started responsive. This is also the way I teach people, it helps their technique, and I’ve found that the bind is rather hard for beginners.


I started with a duncan imperial and learned a forward pass and sleeper in 1 day. It broke that night. Then I ordered a fast 201 an learned the some of beginner section here. Then I ordered a DM2 and learned beginner and some intermediate. I finished intermediate with a maverick, then used my DM unresponsive for advanced and my maverick unresponsive for master.


For me, I used a Raider for the beginner tricks up until Brain Twister. The I got a hyper warp heavy wing
for the intermediate tricks. The convenient thing was as the rubber response was wearing out, it slowly forced my to bind, but if i failed, i can still simply tug it back up.


For me I started using a duncan butterfly but I took the caps of thinking it would make it better but then it wouldn’t even sleep :frowning:

But then 2 days later I bought a Yomega HyperWarp Heavy wing from someone at my school you used to yoyo. And I soon to realize that it was unresponsive due to a clean bearing and silicone. I got so frustrated because I didn’t know why it wasn’t coming back up. Then I put the string into the gap and it came up :slight_smile: After I self taught myself to bind I discovered YYE and my skills took off. I finished all the intermediate tricks and some advanced part one in about 2 weeks and then I bought a Zen 4.(still one of my favorite yoyos) And today I’m having so much fun with yoyoing :slight_smile:



I started responsive, with a yomega (lets go YOMEGAAAA! Jk) xodus 2. I learned up to split the atom on it, then got a onestar(unresponsive). I think you should start out with a responsive because it can be very discouraging if you throw it down, and can’t bind. You will think “I want even bring the yoyo to my hand >:(”
Plus forward pass and pop the clutch are really fun!


I started out responsive, like gregp it was the only option. We are talking 1986 or 87’. I have been playing consistently ever since. Like most that played in the 90’s yoyo boom, I played some of my yoyo unresponsive because the response wore out or I just didn’t have lube on me too lube the bearing.
Then sometime around 2005 I got a wide bearing throw the yoyojam clesiah(spelling?). It was also responsive, but it didn’t take long before I broke in the bearing, and got my self some shims. From then till about a year and a half ago I played unresponsive totally. Now I am going back the other way. Most of my throws have lubed bearings. I’m looking into getting slimmer bearings for a lot of the wider gaped throws I have. I still do every single trick I did before that would be consider an “unresponsive trick”. Its a personal thing.
When I teach I consider where the person is before I decide what I would like to see them do.
Like if they have a decent throw, (a lot of people really do.) then getting them to buy a throw that is potentially unresponsive has always worked out well for me. If they have a hard time even getting the yoyo to go down and up then responsive seems to be the place to start them. On the flip side you have to consider the personality. Take me for example making something easier makes me like it less. So starting me with a wide gaped super unresponsive throw with crazy long spin times would have had me not throwing fast. I doubt I would have lasted a year. So when I run into people like me that are into this for the challenge I suggest a responsive throw. Normally the people I have taught wanted to learn the fancy looking tricks as fast as possible so they would impress people. This is the normal person I run into. (Also tend to be the shortest lived in the community people.) These people I suggest something that could be unresponsive or not. I almost never throw someone strait into a full gaped unresponsive yoyo though.
So basically I started fixed axle, then moved to responsive trans-axle, then to unresponsive trans axle, now I am back to fixed axle, and responsive trans-axle throws. Kinda’ the full swing in both directions.


When I re-started, I had a Dark Magic II, but I sucked so bad at throwing I would get like 10 seconds responsive. I popped in the other bearing and learned to bind, and I had much more spin time to do the basics still. So I guess I started unresponsive, but I still got most of the basics. Once my throw was noticeably better, I put the responsive bearing back in, mainly to learn stop and go, which was such a cool trick to me. I loved it for some reason.


I started with a Reflex. My objective when getting into this was to have some near instant results and help gear things in the direction of success to build initial confidence. Of course, I was coming off a failure that was over 30 years ago with the yoyo. While that failure didn’t keep me away from yoyo for so long, the drive to finally be able to play one finally really surfaced.

After the Reflex, I was playing an Imperial bought at the same time, mostly to reinforce what the Reflex was teaching me. Just being able to throw and tug it back without a “safety net” was a huge source of satisfaction. I was playing the Imperial while I waited for my DM2 that I ordered to arrive. I played the DM2 responsive for about 3 months before swapping the bearing and learning to bind.

I started responsive. Not too bad for starting out without any real help except for internet videos. That’s really why I bought the Reflex to start with, because I felt I’d be alone in learning this. My first 10 months were pretty much me on my own.

My experience does color my thougthts. I feel that new players should start off with responsive play. I think there’s tremendous satisfaction from throwing the yoyo down, having it sleep at the bottom of the string, and then tugging it back up. Building from that as quickly as one can progress. Learning the simple beginner tricks with a responsive yoyo really helps build some good fundamentals. We have to lay down that foundation. I don’t care if it takes someone 4 months like it was for me to get from responsive to unresponsive or a couple of hours, I think responsive is the way to start.

Again, I started on my own. All I knew was responsive play because I am older and I was rather ignorant on yoyo as it had evolved a ton since 1977. You throw it down, you tug it back when you’re done.

Having someone around to show you how to do things is a big help. Having a responsive yoyo handy is a good thing. You can use it to refine what you’ve learned and help make you play better. Having a responsive yoyo around is easier to put into a beginner’s hand so they have that same sense of initial success and satisfaction. People don’t want to learn a “trick” just to bring the yoyo back to their hand. Not yet anyways. Now, if you can show a new person(and/or their parental unit) the difference between responsive play and unresponsive play, now things can start to make sense.

I don’t see any problem with learning unresponsive. I do feel that by not learning responsive play, people are missing out on what I feel is an essential part of yoyo play. I am friends with people who are doing a series of “beginner videos” that are based around beginners and unresponsive play. Their logic and reasoning is that “if you want to learn this responsive stuff, go somewhere else”, which actually, I do agree with. However, they aren’t starting with the bind either. Their videos are assuming you know how to bind.

Responsive play hasn’t gone away. The narrow gaps in off-strings can allow them to play responsive. 2A requires responsive performance. The new fixed axle and wood axle sub-set is based around the concept of having to play responsive. YYJ sells a good number of yoyos at various price points that ship with a slim bearing for responsive play pre-installed, and of course the wider bearing already in the box for changing to unresponsive play. YYJ ships the Classic responsive only, yet it can be upgraded to an unresponsive yoyo. YYF offers the ONE as initially responsive. Duncan still makes the Butterfly and Imperial, which are also responsive. YYF makes the Velocity with an adjustable gap for making it as responsive or unresponsive as you want.

I have a ONE I keep responsive and one unresponsive. Of my 7 Classics, two are kept responsive and one of those two are kept completely stock.

I prefer unresponsive play. I do appreciate my responsive play start.


I like to tug.


Like GregP and Schnayke, I started responsive because that’s all there was. I understand the argument behind starting on a responsive yoyo making you better and/or making you appreciate the roots of yoyoing. And with kids, especially younger kids, I’ve had most success teaching with super responsive yoyos so that they can just get the yoyo to go up and down. But what I mostly feel is that a person should start on whichever they think they will enjoy more. Also, bearings are cheating! CHEATING! :slight_smile:


My first yoyo was a Superstar 3 years ago. The bind is the first trick I learned, and it fascinated me then and still does. I’m an old guy and its harder for me to learn new tricks, and I have less time to practice. The incredible stability, sleep times, and forgiving nature of metals made it easier to learn due to less time wasted on the ‘nonsense’ and more time actually practicing the trick desired. Did it handicap me in any way? I have no clue. I also don’t care. I yoyo for fun, and only I can define that for myself.

3 years later, I’m now hooked on responsive/fixed axle, and it has made it so much easier, and it is actually fun. Until I had enough skill, unresponsive was just an irritant and impediment to my joy in yoyoing.


Started out responsive. Probably my whole first month was with a Dragonfly. In the long run, I think it helps to start responsive. Just best to start the original way it started being played in my opinion.


Like many in the thread, I started responsive back when that’s all there was. I had a Kuhn’s SB-2 almost 20 years ago. PLayed for a little while, didn’t get that good (could do most of the intermediate tricks on this site), then stopped playing for 15+ years.

When I restarted just 5 weeks ago, my first yoyo was a TP MaxBet, and my first trick was the bind. I am better now after 5 weeks than I was after a year with the SB-2, in part because of the easier to learn on throw, and in part because of all the training videos available.


Very interesting, as most of you started responsive as well, even if it was for a very short time. In the poll, the ratio of those who started responsive vs. unresponsive is 3 to 1 at this point. At least 10 people started unresponsive. Comments about how that came to be be, would be very interesting. Let’s see if any who started unresponsive will comment.


The way it should be done is to learn responsive. You can’t learn the physics behind yoyo with a yoyo that does all it can to counteract those forces.

If somebody can’t play responsive, I pretty much don’t want to watch them play. It doesn’t matter to me if you’ve been playing for a week and can hit Yuukis tricks on a YYR, its going to look bad. I’d rather watch a good yoyo player do zipper for three hours on an a Cherry Bomb.


I can’t believe I just noticed the typo in the title of this thread. ::slight_smile: I make enough of them, but usually would have noticed long before now.



I started responsive with a yomega maverick. I find this kind of strange but all of my friends who started yoyoing started with unresponsive, or atleast switched to unresponsive quickly lost interest easily and stopped yoyoing.