Is Bind Good ?

I’m probably going to get slammed…but here goes.

Is the predominance of ultra wide gap, unresponsive, bind-required yoyos in today’s retail market a good thing? Take our forum host’s retail site for example…I’m guessing that 99% of all yoyos offered by yoyoeXpert are unresponsive. That may be considered a wonderful thing by those who yo a lot, and have mastered the bind. But for the average Joe, is it a good thing, and does it further the expansion of our hobby?

I’m thinking that the answer is no. Don’t get me wrong…many of you on this site and elsewhere are absolute amazing yoyo artists, and outstanding performers. I congratulate you on your patients, skill and dedication. However, what I’d like to propose is that the vast majority of yoyodom is not that patient, skilled, or dedicated. They just want to do a few tricks and see a magical toy go up and down.

Back in the days of professional yoyoist traveling to small towns throughout the USA, demonstrating Duncan, Royal and Cheerio fixed axle wooden yoyos, any kid who saw one of these demos could buy an inexpensive yoyo, play around with it for 10 or 20 minutes and be a relative master. Now honestly, how long do you think it takes a non-yoyo-savvy want-a-be player to become proficient with a wide-gaper?

Your opinions on this are much appreciated.

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Yoyoing has evolved soo much in the past 20 years… Unresponsiveness is just one of the few things that came about… Yes, it takes time, that’s why yoyoing is an adventure. But, playing with a good ol’ fixed axle yoyo is really fun…

I think it is a good thing.

There are many tricks and styles that are simply nigh impossible with a responsive yoyo. Whips, slacks, lacerations, grinds, etc are all reliant on the user having an unresponsive throw. Also, a simple bind does not take much skill, you can bind at a decent level in half an hour at most. Also, a long spinning yoyo makes many simple tricks easier to learn. So once the average joe can bind, he can learn rock the baby far more easily with an unresponsive throw than a responsive one. Also, he doesn’t have to be scared of snags when he goes to learn tricks with multiple layers of string in the gap.

I’m very glad to have so many great options in an unresponsive yoyo, but do agree with you regarding the limited availability of responsive yoyos for new throwers.

Duncan and Yomega still make many basic yoyos sold in drugstores across the world, but they sometimes serve as poor examples of what a yoyo can do for those just dipping a toe in the hobby. Recently companies like TMBR have been making great strides in the fixed-axle spectrum and have received widespread praise as a result. Still, for a good example of a traditional fixed-axle yoyo, you have to go back in time a few years and get a nice 3-in-1.

Something I’m very fond of is YoYoJam’s policy of including a slim and large bearing in most of their low to mid-priced yoyos. That allows beginners to throw the yoyo and enjoy it without needing to understand binds and more experienced throwers can really push the yoyo in any direction they’d like when the large bearing is installed. Luckily, any yoyo can be fitted with a slim bearing to make it responsive. On top of that, any yoyo with a bearing can have thick lube added to it and will be fully responsive.

All-in-all, new throwers have more choices now than they ever have before and I can muster nothing but praise for the companies who have made that a fact. It does take some minimal effort to make most modern yoyos responsive, but it can be done and often happens without the thrower wanting it to.

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going to the beginner section of the store there is 72 yo-yos there only 7 of which don’t come responsive out of the box. seems pretty beginner friendly to me. Plus the learn button at the top should help.

That said I was at a yoyo meetup and saw a kid do a correct bind on his second try and he had only been using a responsive yoyo for a week.

I would say the number of unresponsive yoyos here is fairly indicative of the current rapidly growing yoyo market.

I’ve been making the argument for years that there is a place for responsive play. A large part of my reasoning on this is that I think people are missing learning the basics by going directly to unresponsive play. Knowing the basics provides a foundation for understanding how a move works and what can come next. Yes, play unresponsive if that’s your thing, but know what comes first.

I also think that the emphasis on unresponsive play and yoyos can discourage the casual player. They get an unresponsive yoyo and guess what… “It doesn’t come back up!” and they put it away, or will find going online for help can be frustrating as well, with the usual advice/retort “Learn to bind.”

I agree wholeheartedly w/this statement.

Thank you, YoYoSpin for bring this up.

I think new people should be exposed to both responsive and unresponsive. Whenever I teach people, I tell them to start off on a responsive yoyo because it helps you learn the correct mechanics and get a smoother throw, because generally responsive yoyos are less forgiving and punish you if you do something wrong. Once they have that down and some basic tricks, I move them on to an unresponsive yoyo.

Fixed that for you, also you can’t really blame sites for having so many unresponsive throws. There is a limited amount of what you can do with a responsive throw. Anyways most serious yoyoers, the ones who buy from these sites, want unresponsive throws(for the most part).

Also, is it common for a new yoyoer to get a unresponsive yoyo? I mean there are pretty hard to find offline and Usually, if they do, its through a friend who can tell them why it doesn’t come back.

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I agree. I got up to Kwijibo on a responsive one. It helped me out a lot in the long run.

“beginner” companies like Duncan and Yomega offer a wide variety of quality responsive plastics, and those are the companies generally sold in places like Toys R Us that is aiming to sell yoyos as something from the fun toy to beginner to sorta advanced range. I’ve never played the ProZ or Flipside (though I would like to pick up a Flipside soon) but from what I’ve read about them they do a good job bridging the gap from responsive to unresponsive. Stuff like the new FH2/FHZ come responsive out of the box and can be made semi-responsive simply by taking out 1 response pad and totally unresponsive by cleaning the bearing. I think YYF offers one or two yoyos that can go from responsive to unresponsive too?

It’s hard for me to say how the market shifting from responsive to unresponsive has an impact because I started with responsive in 1998 and was relatively competent when I quit. When I got bored and bought my first unresponsive in 2008 I already knew how to do the old “advanced” tricks from my day, and I can say that doing those tricks on an unresponsive is trivially easy once you have a solid foundation of breakaway/trapeze/double or nothing, since you can’t really screw up and smash your hands like you can with a responsive and you can even adjust poor throws easily. I also knew that I would have to learn how to bind so “it doesn’t come back up” wasn’t a surprise

I do agree that responsive is still an important part of yoyoing (and I enjoy picking up my old plastics as well as new ones on a pretty regular basis)

I, personally really like both types of play. When I’m stressed or bored, it’s nice to just throw a responsive yoyo and pull it back up. However, due to today’s harder tricks and such, I enjoy unresponsive yoyos more, I think. They’re just easier to pull off harder tricks with and, in my opinion, have more possibilities and open a door to endless inventions and learning. But for early beginners, I think it’s better to learn on a responsive.
But now companies make beginner unreponsives such as the yoyojam classic, the yoyofactory one and the YYF whip. These are just a few, but nowadays it doesn’t really matter what style you learn on, you’ll probably move onto unresponsive soon enough :).
So, to conclude, I DO think it’s a good thing that nowadays most companies make solely unresponsive throws. In the future, when it’s ALL unresponsive, there’ll probably still be a Velocity type throw for those who still like responsive play.
Now, don’t go thinking I’m hating on responsive yoyos. I’m not. It’s like a plastic vs. metal argument. There are two sides, and both have valid points, upsides, downsides and arguments. I like responsive yoyos, I just don’t have as much use for them nowadays. :slight_smile:

Just because a ‘modern’ yoyo comes with a non-responsive bearing, does not mean that you are required to play said yoyo using a bind. Changing the string, response, or bearing (or a combination of these) can allow the same yoyo to be played responsively.

Maybe that isn’t the ‘popular’ thing to do these days, but it is possible and very practical.

Using a modern metal yoyo has basically two advantages- wider gap for easier string hits and better weight distribution for maximum spin time and stability. I have found that beginners often enjoy having the ease of playability that these metal yoyos provide. Throw a bunch of lube in that bearing and you’ve got a responsive modern yoyo!

I thinks that we just need to look at ed haponik and realize that binds are good but at the same time…responsive play is still there and still capable of being relevant and fun!

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I have been yoyoing for about 3 years now. Unresponsive play, and specifically binding is THE reason I picked up a yoyo in the first place. Binding is really the first trick I learned.

Thats cool and all that you want people to learn the basics, but this simply is just not the way it works out, and IMO doesn’t need to. I went straight to unresponsive play with my first purchase being a YYF Superstar. So what if I didn’t learn the basics the way that some think I should. I don’t yoyo for any other reason than to have fun. Yoyos are toys. I have watched many of Ed’s vids over the last 3 years, but there are many that I just didn’t even finish. Its not that he doesn’t have mad skills, I just don’t find it at all that interesting or inspiring because its not a style I enjoy to play or watch in general. If I were forced down a path of unresponsive play first, I never would have stuck with it. I learned to loop a yoyo because I wanted to learn regens. To me, all that really matters is that the person is having fun with said toy. What keeps me going is that I will see a trick I want to learn, and then I learn whatever is necessary to accomplish said trick. That’s my 2 pesos, anyway.

Yes, but that is not the popular culture or how they are marketed. Those things are not readily obvious to the casual player.

Ed and the few he has inspired are a bit of an anomaly. It may catch on but it’s primarily a novelty -

I haven’t been throwing very long, but I really believe that those few months I threw responsive/semi-responsive in middle school really helped me out when I picked up throwing again in October. I feel like it gave me the foundation I needed to get into “modern” play. I still throw semi-responsive every once in a while to smooth out my tricks, something I think everybody should do.

I really like how people like Drew Tetz are bringing about a resurgence in fixed axle play, I think it’s great.

i remember someone asked Jensen Kimmett, on instagram, what yoyo they should get next. He named a few, but he then said “If you really want to get good, buy a fixed axel yoyo and get good at that”… or something along those lines.

I think responsive play allows for greater development of unresponsive play and visa versa. You can do either or… but they work best together. I wish there were a wider variety in responsive yoyos… but like someone said, theres more responsive yoyos now than there ever has been. In contrast to the amount of unresponsive yoyos, responsive yoyos seem so insignificant.

I may be wrong but I thought most of the new yoyojams come with the lubed slim bearing now

To answer your last question I started yoyoing only 4-5 months ago and I can expert 2-master tricks. And people that just want to see " a magical toy go up and down" will not spend $100 or even $10 on a yoyo. They might pick up a 75¢ yoyo from the dollar store or a looping Duncan or Yomega. The few that stick to that and stay interested might progress to a tug responsive 1a yoyo. So I don’t think that binding yoyos are “bad” so to say, just not for beginners.

i think binds are great.

i teach a lot of kids how to yo-yo, and though i recommend they learn gravity pull and sleeper on something they can pull back, almost all the ones who come back want to switch to unresponsive. i encourage that. my #1 priority is to help a kid have a good time with a yo-yo. all the meaning and significance and art and competition comes in WAY later. kids come back to yo-yoing if they think it looks cool and if they can do it easily. my daughter is 10. all of her favorite throws are about twice as wide as mine. and i’m totally cool with that, because it’s keeping her coming back.

i learned trapeze on a midnight special. i probably landed it two times in a month, and besides eiffel and baby, it was about the only trick i knew. i don’t mean to be a curmudgeon, but kids aren’t wired like they were 20 years ago… or maybe, they’re literally wired in a way we weren’t. yo-yo’s are competing with other means of distraction and amusement that have 10 year-olds going from 0-captivated in the time it takes an app to download. you’re not going to get one to spend the time it takes to learn split the atom on a proyo. the yield just isn’t apparent.

yeah, i prefer old school yo-yo’s. fixed axle yo-yo’s. thin, responsive yo-yo’s. and it’s awesome to see a lot of younger people giving that stuff a shot. but while it was once necessary to develop the skills ON those tools, nowadays only those who have already reached a certain standard of skill see the value in trying it (and some never do, which is fine). if we maintain the idea that the “fundamentals of yo-yoing” are locked within a few classic maneuvers that are forever enshrined, then yeah, maybe it’s a little sad that kids don’t see the value in the persistence old school play requires. really though, they aren’t enshrined. the classics move. yo-yoing is constantly evolving, and the kids today are literally developing and redeveloping the lexicon of our art in real time. they’re inventing the NEXT classic tricks. i’m not gonna raise a fuss if they don’t want to hold their horses and make sure they learn ‘pop the clutch’ like i had to.

one of the things i love most about where we’re going is that the people who are trying out responsive play are doing it creatively. they aren’t just saying “well, i’ve been yo-yoing for a year, i should learn ‘shoot the moon’”. they’re saying "how can i take this old style and do something NEW with it. i DO think you should learn ‘shoot the moon’. i DESPERATELY want kids to seek out where yo-yoing comes from… but they have to do that on their own terms and for their own reasons. and if they don’t even give a crap about it, that’s their prerogative.

i agree that playing with aggressive response teaches you some wonderful things. after playing wood for a year straight, i think about tricks in a completely different way (and i was into old school before). but it’s not for everyone. it doesn’t have to be, and that’s one of the things that makes yo-yoing so radical.