10 years ago, I had a cool idea. It was NOT actually radical - quite the opposite. For a yo-yo player, I thought it was the simplest, most natural idea imaginable. Just play a single wooden fixed-axle yo-yo (and nothing else) for a year.
Big whoop. I’d already been playing at least as much fixed-axle as transaxle or unresponsive for the previous 5+ years. It didn’t feel like a huge deal - just an efficient way to connect with the most primitive, primordial core of throwing. Perhaps it was a bigger deal for Steve Buffel of SPYY, who’d been sponsoring me to throw his precision metal yo-yo’s, but he’s awesome and supported me 100%. That oath was a way to force myself to commit to something which I thought I understood about yo-yoing philosophically, but needed to know viscerally. That year, and in the years since, fixed axle has become the standard for me, and every other style the curious novelty. I enjoy throwing unresponsive. It’s just not where my heart is.
So this year, a decade down the road, I’m gonna walk that 1 yo-yo/1 year path again. New Years Day through the next New Years Eve. Partly it’s to reconnect with the feelings of that previous journey, but it’s also gravitation to something deeper and more massive. As a 44 year-old who still plays with a yo-yo every day, there is a satisfying appeal to the idea of regression (or maybe “return”); of using a single, old-fashioned tool.
When I was a young kid, and “Rock the Baby” represented the height of my powers, I only played one kind of yo-yo: a Duncan Midnight Special. I probably bought 5 or so in years before the 90’s boom. That was my yo-yo, and I delighted in its simplicity (and my own). There’s a maxim of Dogen’s which states: “Before study, mountains are mountains and waters are waters. After a glimpse of the truth, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are no longer waters. After enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters.” While I promise I DON’T claim enlightenment, the saying resonates with me. When you’re just starting out, you’re a kid throwing a yo-yo. Later on as you “get good”, you hang stuff on it - it means something or it gets you something. It’s a challenge, a badge, an identity… (In fact, to “get good” IS, itself, to hang something on it.) BUT, if you stick around long enough to gradually recognize and release that stuff, you find that you are, once again, just a kid throwing a yo-yo.
So I’m not going into this year with the intention of “gaining” something. I’m going into it to shed something, and maybe (if I’m lucky), to remember something.
Want to come along? It’s not complicated! One fixie for a year - doesn’t matter what yo-yo (I recommend replaceable axles or else stock reinforcements). Anyone is welcome. Declare your intentions below. If you stick with it, awesome. If you find it’s not for you, that’s cool too. Just remember it’s a commitment you’re making to yourself. Only you will know what that’s worth and what you give to it, and no one else will walk the same path as you.
I made this thread to post in periodically leading up to & throughout the next year. Anecdotes, tricks, epiphanies, probably the odd rant. If you decide to commit to this, feel free to post your own journey as you walk it.
99 days until New Years. Get your affairs in order.