Dead Unresponsive: Freedom or Limitation?

You’ve cleaned that bearing, you’re running it dry, and you’ve even changed the response. Your yo is totally dead unresponsive. Congrats!

Now ask yourself, “Does this gain me freedom, open new doors or is it a limitation?” What if you had just enough response to throw in say a “shoot the moon” into your 1a play? You know maybe we are limiting ourselves a bit. Think about it, don’t react, think. What possibilities can you imagine with some degree of response? I know, I know, you would lose what you can do now. In reality, would you, or would you just learn to do what you already do, better?

I’m not presenting this thread to say we should play responsive or unresponsive. The purpose of this thread is to suggest that maybe we need to challenge what we accept as reality and how we think about the world of yoyoing.

Do you see any other possible limitations we as yoyoers may be placing on ourselves?


This is exactly why I love Freehands.

In between doing my regular 1A, I can throw in a Stop n Go, Walk the Dog, Flyaway Dismount or end a trick with a loop for added punch.

I appreciate how complex one can get with modern yoyos, but I would agree that we are missing out on a bunch of good looking fun tricks because of it.

Everything has its price, it seems.

This brings up a good point.

Take for example, the YYJ Lyn Fury. It seems to be in this universe of not quite dead unresponsive, yet not quite responsive either. It can get through a lot of tricks including whips and stuff like that, yet give it a tug and it will come back. Want dead unresponsive? Remove the rings and silicone it. It’s kind of nice to do a hard trick adn then tug it bag. I kind of like this for 5A right now as it’s one less thing to worry about.

I feel we should all start to learn using a responsive yoyo. Our next natural progression would therefore be into unresponsive yoyos, with no doubt many of us opting for dead unresponsive yoyos. After this, where do we go? Backwards? Forwards? What is backwards or forwards? Obviously it’s somewhere in between, maybe.

One of the things that are great is that we have the ability to customize many yoyos to play the way we want it to perform. No matter what, we have to compromise a little. We have to determine on an individual basis how we deal with the compromise and if it truly is a compromise.

For me right now, I’m not advanced enough for these issues to really be problems for me yet. I have yoyos that are super responsive, responsive, semi-responsive and dead unresponsive. Wing shapes in many different profiles, modified shapes, even 4A specific yoyos. I don’t think we can realistically expect everything from one yoyo all the time.

It’s a good time to yoyo!

I’ve seen classic 1A play from worlds thanks to Josh Yee’s youtube channel. Responsive 1A didn’t have all that tech back then but it allowed more possibility of risky visual appealing tricks. Lots of body wraps and unwrapping only to be followed up by a simple tug that got the yo-yo back. I love how unresponsive 1A play has given us the possibility of much more complicated formations, however it really limits what we can do with our body. Due to it, we can’t do tricks that might involve contact (risk slowing spin time) and just recover with a tug. Both have its advantages I guess.

you can get a yoyo to return even if it’s spinning pretty slowly. I will admit that unresponsive play does limit us in some ways, but the possibilities it allows outweigh the downsides if you ask me. You can still do crazy body wraps, neck wraps, all kinds of wraps. But unresponsive play also allows for more whips, slacks, grinds, and binds.
Modern play is moreso limited by people trying to do crazy technical tricks than it is by the capabilities of the yoyo itself. A master painter can make art with any brush.


I would guess that the whole reason unresponsive play was even created and continues to be the standard is that it allows more freedom. Players obviously felt that the tricks they could do with an unresponsive yoyo were either more numerous or more creative, or both.

The idea of having the best of both worlds sounds good in principle, but I’d say the reality of it is that you get the best of neither world. Some of my unresponsive throws that are a little bit responsive usually end up doing things I don’t expect or don’t want them to do. It would probably be very difficult to dial a throw in to do both reliably well since design elements geared toward each type of play will necessarily have to be compromised.

I’m not really included in this because I’m not an amazing player, but from what I see, it doesn’t look like unresponsive play is by any means exhausted. I see new stuff all the time, be it tricks or style or creative performances.

This is a thought that is like a quarter, you have one view point on one side and one view point on the other. I’ve seen this topic be totally blown up in the past by top pros when unresponsive play was being developed ala 2003.

To be honest, older generation yoyoers that are before 1999 are going to insist that unresponsive play is a form of cheating because that is what they were brought up with. Brought up with wooden axles and wooden play. People that do not know of yoyoing whatever will say the same thing, but everyone after 1999 that has grown upon throwing is going to say differently because…

Yoyoing overall has evolved.

Here is the issue though with unresponsiveness:
once we forget all the basics of back in the day, it can at times allow for sloppy play. Many of the great older sponsored players like say…Jason Lee, Miguel Corea, Yuuki Spencer…all of them started on responsive throws. Jason and Yuuki were throwing Duncan and Yoyojam while Miggy was hella modding Tigersharks like nuts. All of them dealt with the issue of responsive throws and thus forced them to be smoothed.

THAT is where it is limiting us, because if we can’t deal with responsive play with all of our technical abilities, how can we be smooth with all of technical play with a unresponsive yoyo?

But overall, it has improved the concept of 1a, 3a and 5a and Moebius to unbelievable heights that even I cannot believe it. Allowing the use of bigger gaps, schmoove rings, undercuts, pad recess, silicone and pad groove response, different types of bearings, it has opened up a world that no one from 1999 could of ever imagined as far as yoyo play go.

With responsive play, we were not able to do those crazy lacerations, suicides, close tech tricks, certain slacks,…5a ariels and swings, Moebicides…so many things.