Brain twister: is using an unresponsive yo-yo cheating while learning?

I’m trying to learn some tricks in order but of course with all these cool yoyos I couldn’t resist getting a “few” unresponsive ones too. I can do brain twister on the YYF Whip pretty well, but on a lot of responsive yoyos the doubled up string in the gap tends to grab on the star response too early or slows the yoyo down too much. I can of course do it no problem on an unresponsive yoyo, but is that cheating? If I’m working my way through the YYE trick list at what point is it ok to start using an unresponsive yoyo? Is intermediate ok, or should I be holding off until I get to the advanced? Currently trying to learn double or nothing which is harder than I thought it would be considering how easy trapeze is once you get it.


A completed trick is a completed trick regardless if it’s done on a responsive or unresponsive. The Whip has a tiny gap and pads that stick out pretty far so if you can do BT on THAT…kudos!!!


The Whip is such a great yoyo! I can’t really get used to starburst yoyos even for looping, but the whip seems to handle all (maybe five - haha) tricks I know. I think I did wear out the response on it a bit because my forward throws tend to sleep a bit now which can be annoying, but I haven’t learned about changing pads yet. Soon hopefully.

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The bearing may just need a tiny, tiny, tiny drop of lube to make the response tight again. Thick lube for responsives, thin lube for unresponsives. I doubt you wore out the pads already. Pads are $2 per pair. The Whip takes larger pads. 21mm I think. Bottles of lube will last longer than a lifetime.

It’s not exactly cheating, but it’s not the same as learning it on a responsive yo-yo. Ideally you would want to learn both, but some people don’t have as much interest in the old tricks and responsive stuff.
Now if you want to talk about cheating, I think it’s cheating when Ed does Spirit Bomb on a fixed axle throw.


More like witchcraft!


There’s no cheating in yoyoing, just smiling! :wink:


Learning stuff on a responsive throw will enforce good technique; I’m of the opinion people should at least start out responsive even if they switch to unresponsive soon after (since there are tricks that just can’t be done on a tug responsive throw) because it will help with fundamentals. But you can always come back to responsive later I guess to smooth stuff out.

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Using an unresponsive yoyo is cheating.

And using a centering bearing is cheating.

And using custom made strings is cheating.

And using a V shaped yoyo is cheating.

And using a bi-metal yoyo is cheating.

And watching yoyo trick videos in slow motion or just over and over… is cheating.

Even coming into this forum and asking questions is cheating.

…If you are not standing in a dark room… by yourself… with a fixed axle yoyo… using no glove… and absolutely zero help from anyone within 21 miles… ‘You’ are CHEATING.

The good news is that every single person on this forum was cheating, long before you ever happened upon ‘us’.

Now… you are one of us. And if you don’t cheat now and then, we won’t like you.

Right now we like you because you were honest enough to be concerned about cheating.

…Welcome and learn some tricks…:nerd_face:


Haha…OK! Thank you!

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Thanks. I just heard a podcast interview with Andre and it sounded like he thought that learning tricks out of order can mess up progress.

Learning tricks early on in that list will probably make learning tricks later in the list easier in most cases. You can skip around and learn whatever you want in whatever order you want but I think learning all the tricks in the beginner and early intermediate at SOME point will definitely help you in the long run but don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself and ruin the fun.


I wrote at length about this years ago.
“Cheating” implies unfair advantage. Unfair advantage over… whom?

Anyone who tells you what you’ve “got” to do in yo-yoing is just imposing their own preconceptions upon your journey. The path is to find your path. If your intention is for a fixed axle or responsive yo-yo to feel like an extension of your arm, then using bearings isn’t cheating - it’s just not going to get you there. On the other hand, if you want learning tricks to be fun rather than excruciating, and you prefer some breadth to your learning curve as opposed to an inexorable vertical climb, unresponsive might be the vehicle which keeps you coming back.

The key to becoming a great yo-yo player is to fall in love with playing yo-yo. (Actually, maybe that’s all “becoming a great yo-yo player” IS.)

Play whatever lights you up.


Beautifully worded and exactly how I feel about yoyoing as well as art. I find joy in doing what I want, when I want and my only rules for these two things is that I am happy and enjoy what I am doing regardless of what anyone thinks or says. My yoyo path is frontstyle. This path may turn into a road but for now it’s a narrow path and I love the scenery.


Hey Lido
Your questions resonate with me. I tried to learn tricks from the Duncan packaging as a kid but didn’t get far. YouTube is such a game changer for learning anything these days.

I’ve just gotten a handle on Brain Twister myself, my first new trick since the Regan administration LOL. It occurred to me that different yo-yo designs can reduce or eliminate certain challenging elements of a trick.

Since I am still learning about staying ‘in-plane’, the relatively narrow gap (~2.2mm) of my No-Jive was unforgiving of my sloppy plane management. Part of the way through this process, I picked up and modded a Butterfly XT w/ the spacer kit incl. concave bearing. It’s still a little responsive but has a relatively massive gap at 4mm. I landed Brain Twister first try (albeit clunky as hell!). I knew then that plane management was my Achilles Heel.

I picked up a few bearing, adjustable gap Kuhns and sorting out desired response w/ a friction sticker, the now ~3.5mm gap ultimately unlocked the trick for me with greater forgiveness of plane issues. I can now hit it consistently and have gotten up to 4x loops pretty smoothly. Going back to the No-Jive, I’ve also now been able to land Brain Twister a few times when I can put together a perfectly straight sleeper and precise plane.

I think it’s akin to learning to drive with a manual transmission or riding a fixed gear bicycle. If you’re trying to learn to drive or ride in the first place with these machines, it’ll be slow going. It’s so much easier to learn them after you know how to do the activity more generally.

It’s appealing to me aesthetically that fixed and narrow-gap bearing yo-yos require more refined technique but that also reflects my goals with yo-yoing. If I was driven to learn more tricks, newer tricks, etc., I’d be less interested in equipment that pushes back so hard and seek gear that disappears. Kinda like playing a 24.75” scale Gibson vs. a 25.5” Fender. My Tele makes me work for chord voicing clarity far more than my 335; so much so that my playing on each is different. I guess that’s one reason (justification? LOL) why experienced Yo-ers have so many throws!


+100 Ed


Theodor, Thanks! And glad I’m not the only one here who started in the 80s with a No Jive.


Hi Ed,

Thank you for the reply. And I agree about it being for fun. Cheating just really means cheating myself out of a better learning experience. I’m looking forward to watching your tutorials. Your vids were the first I watched when I was reintroduced to yoyo late last year. Just need to find my No Jives that I packed away in the 90s.


I hear you. I think it’s kind of hard to cheat yourself, even if you’re consciously trying. Everything you can try in yoyoing inevitably informs everything else. And while you can shortcut this or that to get to this or that, those shortcuts are really just sacrifices - things you’re choosing to work on or ignore. You’ll arrive at different places, but in yoyo one place isn’t really better than another. Thanks a bunch for watching and beat wishes as you dig out those No Jives! :slight_smile:


100% to everything Ed has said. Not to ramble on myself too long but I have a weird disconnect with the hobby because I played years ago but been away for almost 20 years so I never “grew with the hobby” as many players my age so I often feel behind and disconnected. I’ve definitely let myself become too attached to certain ways of playing out of nostalgia but one day it finally hit me yes its all just yoyoing, all just fun. Theres no need to prove yourself just do things your way in whatever way you enjoy.