We know, the abundance of resources we make available to you has you absolutely dizzy with excitement. But don't get *too* worked up, because we're about to take you back to the basics with a showcase on how to perform the Venus! Check it out below courtesy of TheFerrell!View full article →
Boing light balls are certainly magical. It's a personal favorite of mine as I love to throw one around when I'm trying to come up with new ideas for the blog or just to pretend I wield the power of plasmids from Bioshock. However, as much as I love tossing Boing around, there are plenty of jugglers out there that are far more adept at this than I am and have found an awesome companion with which to juggle in Boing.View full article →
We're most humbled to find out that Dad Does, critical overseer of fine toys the world over have taken Astrojax and given them a glowing review! Not to mention, there's a bonus kitten featured! Check it out below and make sure you spend some time checking out Dad Does; There's a lot of great content there and we couldn't be more thrilled that they took the time out to work on their Jaxing skills!
So you say you want to learn how to yoyo, eh? Splendid! I’m Theferrell and I’m here to help!
This post goes out to anyone who thinks yoyos look cool, but needs some info before throwing down their hard-earned cash on a yoyo that costs more than two bucks. This is also geared towards those who have a yoyo lying around the house but aren't sure what to do with it.
What should you look for in your beginner yoyo? Some think the more expensive the yoyo is, the better it is. While this is generally true, it may not be what you need in your first yoyo. Ease of use should be your top priority so don't feel compelled to buy the most expensive yoyo because it's likely not geared to your skill level.
We sell a variety of solid yoyos suitable for beginners. The following models will get you the most bang for your buck:
You are going to want a yoyo that has either a fixed axle or a plastic transaxle. A fixed axle is a simple metal rod that connects the two halves of yoyo together. The string goes around the rod and the yoyo is ready to go. Most wooden yoyos have a fixed axle system. A plastic transaxle is a plastic sleeve that goes over a fixed axle and acts like a bearing. The string connects to the plastic sleeve. This allows longer sleep time since plastic has lower friction than cotton string. Your string will also last a bit longer since friction is not wearing at it. Most Yomega yoyos and AP’s Triple Action/Moon has this system.
One last thing to consider is getting a yoyo with a clutch system. I actually was thinking of trying to write out and explain what a clutch system is….. and I bored myself to tears. So I got a clip for you from Yomega of their guy explaining what the Yomega Brain is.
This system is featured on Active People’s Triple Action, and Triple Moon. However, the Triple Action and Triple Moon step it up a notch. In addition to the fixed axle and auto return setting, the TA and TM also feature a free spin setting!
Don’t forget to get extra string when you buy a yoyo. It’s something most people don’t think of, but it saves frustration when your yoyo goes flying after the string breaks for the first time. (Remember- stay away from breakable objects until you know what you are doing :p)
Now, after you get your first yoyo, you need to know what to do with it! That’s where my fabulous video, Yoyo Boot Camp Vol.1 comes in!! I made this video a few years ago geared towards techniques such as putting the yoyo on your finger, basic throw technique and even starter tricks. Once you have mastered these techniques, the youtube-sphere is full of videos of tricks you can learn with a little practice.
If anyone reading has any questions, feel free to post in AP-Club’s forum under the “Yoyo” section. I visit the forums quite frequently and am happy to answer any and all questions. I am also known to film video responses from time to time detailing what I am trying to explain. USAstrojax.com’s Facebook page is also a great place to post questions.
Enjoy your new yoyo and this is Theferrell, signing off!
It's been a while since we've had a community interview but here and ready for your reading pleasure is a Q & A session we had recently with rising Astrojax star, KotL! Read on to see what KotL's experience with everyone's favorite skill toy has been like including his personal recipe for success with Astrojax!
PLAYER SINCE: 04/2011
US ASTROJAX: How do you feel Astrojax fits into the world of Skill Toys?
KotL: I like the movement of Astrojax. Having three items moving rather than one or two, just brings in so much energy to play. Moves can be slow and simple, smooth and choreographed, or they can be fast and even chaotic-feeling with more motion than the eyes can follow. There is so much that can be done with Astrojax, making it top of the list for me, even though I enjoy playing with other skill toys.
US ASTROJAX: When you first began, what did you see as some of your biggest hurdles to proficiency?
KotL: In the beginning, working on timing and keeping rhythm with music was my biggest hurdle, but I'm glad I took the time and effort to develop that. I have a pretty good sense of rhythm so I could start my moves to the rhythm but when something went wrong it was hard to get back on track. It just took practice switching moves smoothly while staying with the music. It makes daily jaxing much more fun to be able to incorporate music into my play style, plus people say that it's very interesting to watch, especially with music.
US ASTROJAX: Are you an Astrojax collector? If so, what's in your arsenal and which Astrojax do you use the most?
KotL: I buy Astrojax for play, not for display. Collecting is a cool idea though. For play, I have quite an assortment, but my favorites include two Blue Diamond EB with an Orange MX FLO, a set of Orange MX Pop, and the one I use the most, my Aqua Shiva with the middle ball replaced with an Aqua Blue.
Editor's note for newbies: EB = end ball. Flo = flowing middle ball.
US ASTROJAX: As you continue on your road to pro, what have been some of your most memorable moments?
KotL: Well, there are many memorable moments. I remember on my very first day of Astrojaxing, my family and I were in a bookstore and I was practicing my switches in the sitting area. I overheard my dad comment to my mom that I would ?be a pro in no time.? I began carrying my Astrojax around my neck just about everywhere I went and practicing whenever I could...every day, sometimes for hours. It was another great boost the first time I had people stopping in front of a store to watch me and ask me about Astrojax and how to get started. I proudly told them to check out usastrojax.com. Now, I entertain everywhere I go and pass out information to help get others involved in jaxing. It is a fantastic art/sport/development tool. I like to share the fun of Astrojaxing with others since It's helped me in so many areas of my life: self confidence, mental focus, and making new friends! I love jaxing!
US ASTROJAX: If you had the ability to design your own set of Astrojax from the ground up, what would they look like?
KotL: Glad you asked this question! I'd like to see a blue Aqua-type material shaped into a cube with the sides indented and the cubes filled with water/glycerin, like the Aquas. It would be a faint blue, almost white color that would glow in the dark and under a black light. It's a little far out, I know, but I think it would be cool. I'm especially fond of things that are lit, glow, or work well with black lights.
US ASTROJAX: What do you feel makes Astrojax important in the skill toy arena?
KotL: I feel that Astrojax is a good way to get people into skill toys of all kinds. Astrojax really stands out from any other skill toy and people see it as fun and new, whereas everybody already knows about yo-yos, or at least they think they do. There are so many kinds of yo-yos, but people aren't as surprised by them as they are when you pull out a set of Astrojax. Astrojax really gets people's attention because they haven't seen anything like it before.
US ASTROJAX: Besides Astrojax, what other skill toys have your attention?
KotL: In addition to Astrojax, I enjoy poi and many categories of yo-yo. I'd really like to get into fire poi.
US ASTROJAX: What other interests do you have besides Astrojax?
KotL: Well, in addition to skill toys, I like writing, photography, video gaming, and creating web designs and 3D animations and models. I've developed some animations for a published author. All of my interests seem to have something to do with light. In addition to this, I'm a volunteer fire fighter. I'm pretty interested in hanging out with my friends and eating pizza, french fries and ice cream, too!
US ASTROJAX: Do you have any final pieces of advice you'd care to offer our readers?
KotL: Astrojaxing may not be easy at first, but don't give up! A trick may seem really hard, and you may not get it right away, but keep trying. And if you get stuck and find yourself repeatedly doing the same few moves over and over, go check out some videos of the pros. A lot of inspiration can even come from watching videos of other skill toys, such as yo-yo and poi. Above all, be creative and imaginative. Don't be afraid to try new things, and make sure you have fun jaxing!
Some clichés are absolutely true, so forgive me for saying this...but, we would not be here without you! In fact, US Astrojax was born out of the needs of a few Astrojax fanatics... Our humble beginnings have helped shape us into who we are today.
I fell in love with Astrojax in early 2003, opening a set of Saturn light-up Astrojax for the first time. Like many of you, I've always been a big kid at heart. I had never seen a toy like this and knew others needed to see it! In June of the same year, I opened an Astrojax kiosk at our local mall and introduced thousands of newbies to this cool, new orbiting skill toy. The distributor at that time used photos of my store to recruit other would-be Astrojax retailers. I didn't realize it at the time, but we were the "flagship" Astrojax store in America. It was a fun eight month ride until a distribution snafu left us high and dry, with no supply of Astrojax. Regretfully, I closed our store. Astrojax was suddenly hard to find.
In addition to my own personal sets, I had a very small supply of Astrojax left. I was always very active in the Astrojax forums and continued to stay in touch with the community, so word spread that "some guy in Ohio" still had Astrojax. They say love is blind, at least it will certainly make you do silly things. I loved Astrojax and didn't want anyone to go without, so I sent them free of charge to players I met in the forums. Needless to say, I learned quickly that buying something and then giving it away for free will cause you to go broke! After about six months of fielding emails and shipping Astrojax to new friends, I decided to create an Astrojax web store. US Astrojax opened for business in the fall of 2004!
I enlisted the help of my ever-cautious and slightly-skeptical wife. Being the supportive person that she is, she got behind her man-child husband and his crazy ambition. I'll spare you the Behind The Music stories of our difficulties, but I assure you we were a tiny "nobody" of a company trying to earn your loyalty and respect. So how does a penniless and struggling mom-and-pop online store bring something valuable to its customers? Our various cookie-cutter website designs were embarrassingly pathetic for years...so a cool web presence wasn't the answer. How about selection? Hmmm...all we had in our bag of tricks was three Astrojax versions and a few accessories. Well then, maybe advertising is the answer! Nope, we still don't have a budget for advertising! The answer? Treat people the way you want to be treated, always, every time. Our intentions have always been genuine, and you've reciprocated by supporting us and spreading the word, and we've grown to a small team of dedicated people. We're still struggling at times, but thanks to you we are growing.
If I could, I would reach my hand through cyberspace and shake your hand in gratitude. I know the US Astrojax staff shares this passion for our customers. You deserve our appreciation and to that end we strive to show it by serving you. Over the years we've answered tens of thousands of emails and we know many of you by first name, as friends in different locations around the world. We've increased our Astrojax selection with new versions and by offering a wide array of parts and even custom tuned Astrojax. Exclusive US Astrojax-only sets are available, and more will come. In recent years we expanded our skill toy offering to include yo-yo, juggling balls, poi and more. We go to great lengths to make sure orders are shipped the same day they are received, whenever possible (we need weekends too!). We've implemented a new program called Random Act of Kindness, and many of you receive something extra in your order at no charge...hopefully putting a smile on your face and making the world brighter for a few moments. Corny? Maybe. Sincere? Absolutely. All efforts to show our appreciation.
We've made improvements to US Astrojax, expanded the selection, and your positive word-of-mouth has helped us grow. But our best attribute should always be service. We'll continue to focus on this and I hope you will come along for the ride as we grow.
As we move closer to a decade of service, I would like to sincerely say thank you for your loyalty over the years. On behalf of my family and the US Astrojax Team, you have my word that we will continue to work hard to earn your support and serve you to the best of our combined abilities.
US Astrojax Team
Wow...you made it this far! Now that you've persevered through my story, how about a nice little reward to go hand-in-hand with my Thank You thoughts? I can't reach through my screen and shake your hand as I'd like to, but I can give something away for free. Place an order of $20 or more between now and October 5 and enter the code word ajcol as a coupon code. I'll make sure you get an Astrojax V-Max tossed in your order (I get to choose the color)!
So you’ve gotten down with the Astrojax PLUS and learned ‘em front to back on account of our in-depth breakdown. But now? What about V-Max? What makes them so grand amongst the vast sea that is Astrojax? Read on.
This set was designed by Alex Hochstrasser. Introduced in 2003, the V-Max moniker is used as short-hand to indicate ‘maximum velocity’. Initially V-Max was released in Ruby Red, Ice Blue, and Citrus Yellow in 2002. In '03, however, Emerald Green appeared briefly among a limited number of retailers. USAstrojax was the only source that carried them after 2004 and remaining supplies were depleted in 2010. A virtually impossible-to-find clear pink V-Max appeared in Japan in 2004.
Aside from its colorful origins, V-Max Astrojax stand apart from their orbiting brethren in a variety of ways.
For starters, V-Max is constructed of the same polycarbonate material you find in bulletproof glass. Also, it features a machined metal weight. V-Max carries similar dimensions to the Plus and Saturn versions, however, with a height of 27.5mm and a diameter of 33mm while weighing in at an acceptable 17g. The reduced friction makes V-Max ideal for faster moves.
Attached via pins to the string ends, V-Max are available with a Docking Station or within a Jewel Box. While the stock colors (Ruby Red, Ice Blue, and Citrus Yellow) are widely available with a silver string, a series of individual V-Max balls were created in 2004 called Imagine, granting half of each ball a chrome finish versus a clear colored finish on the other half. These sets appeared for a limited time and now are so rare they can only be found exclusively at USAstrojax either individually or as a full set of 6! These collectors’ editions are:
Also, it's worth mentioning that many players began 'frosting' the V-Max shells! At some point we'll likely give a how-to guide that outlines this process, but basically it involves gently sanding the surface of the shells with a fine grit sandpaper to grant a frosted appearance. Eventually players even began adding half V-Max shells to the clear shells of the Saturn edition! Regardless of your tastes, it's clear the V-Max lent itself quite well to customization. So much so that some players go absolutely berserk to tune V-Max balls with Plus or Saturn balls, even using string buds with standard Astrojax sets!
Now that you’ve got a better idea of where V-Max shines, check out this handy chart that outlines its strengths in the trick arena!
With Halloween fast approaching we thought it was time to unleash the ghoulishly good looks of our latest Frankenstein-esque creation, Jax-o-Lantern! Constructed of one pumpkin-perfect orange MX Pop and flanked by two mythical white MX Pops that you can't get standalone in any set, we specifically engineered this dastardly (but no less delectable) Astrojax limited edition for the discerning monster who might need to pacify a pitchfork and torch-wielding villager uprising quick, fast, and in a hurry! Get 'em while we got 'em before they are forever locked away in The Vault.
Of course, if you're more the type to retaliate against a village uprising, we've also got you covered. In celebration of a not-so-little-known shooter that's coming out soon that we're fond of around the office, we present to you Black Op Jax. Fast. Efficient. A deadly combination of stealthy sophistication on one half with our cool, sapphire light-up, no-prisoner action on the opposite half, Black Op Jax are the perfect companion Astrojax set for the grizzled veteran of the skill toy underworld. So don't get caught unawares as you venture out to your local game shops for the latest Call of Duty outing at midnight, let 'em know you're coming and let your Black Op Jax pride shine bright!
Remember, these are limited edition sets which will only be available until the end of October, so get on it now before they're locked away for good!
(disclaimer: no dolphins were hurt in the making of this blog post).
We've all done it. Got excited about Astrojax, wanted to share it with someone in the world. You've practiced your wording (see: orbit skill toy), how to describe them. And then, the moment of truth. The moment that decides your fate, whether you live or die;
You hand over your set of Astrojax to the noob!
This is a critical moment. This is where the words start flying. This is life or death. Why? You're about to teach a fresh face how to vertical orbit and you already know the ten ways it can go wrong.
You've done everything to prepare them (and yourself). You've shown them what a vertical orbit looks like. You've exaggerated the orbiting motion your hand does but that you don't see. You've used very precise and exaggerated words that "when you do it, you are NOT gonna rotate your hand this big. It doesn't take very much energy. Your hand orbits need to be so small I cannot see them. DO NOT DO BIG HAND ORBITS!!!"
Yeah, you yelled at them.
Because you know.
We all know.
Once they drop the ball from their non-dominant hand, all... chaos breaks loose.
Because what they did was get excited. What they heard was pieces of what you said ("...do... big... hand... orbits!")
And what they do next is... well, I think you know. And there's no stopping them (it's easier to punch a dolphin in the nose than try to stop them). They're gonna huge-hand-orbit regardless of their IQ level and how much you explained not to. They're gonna rubber-neck so as to avoid a small dent in their cranium (see: Astrojax Plus). You're gonna dive behind the nearest sofa or bush or ottoman because you were standing too close even though you knew better! You too want to live and not become another victim of the mistress we call Chaos. But alas.
Your fate is sealed.
Teaching a noob, any noob means abandoning all safety because in Astrojax, there are no guarantees. Especially when it comes to noobs. I have yet to meet the noob that can accurately vertical orbit on their first try. Show me a noob that can orbit like that and I'll show you a man with a furrowed eyebrow of distrust. Because I don't believe they exist. I think it's the natural evolution of anyone who has ever picked up a set of Astrojax.
But alas, you were brave. You sacrificed your well-being for a greater cause. You taught someone new how to start playing Astrojax. You laughed with them as a smile spread across their face at the sheer craziness of their first chaotic orbit. And who knows? This sacrifice may lead to something grand. Sure, they may never buy or play with a set again. On the other hand, your commitment and sacrifice to that one individual may bring forth destiny. Destiny of a person who, after they take their first vertical orbit, becomes addicted and an avid Astrojax player and contributor to our community.
Worth it? You bet it is.
Just remember, once they release that first ball, run!
So you've been breaking it down with the Astrojax Plus for a while now, but have you ever considered fully the complete breakdown of the Astrojax Plus? Well congratulations because we're about to hit you with a little AJ Plus 101.
For starters? Let's take a look at the history-
Invented by Larry Shaw in 1994, the Astrojax Plus stand apart from the rest of their tri-bally brethren thanks to the distinguishing fact that they were the first set ever invented. That's right- when you're slinging your Astrojax Plus around what you're actually doing is engaging in a bit of history as the original vision for Astrojax literally swings manifested in the palm of your hand. Exciting stuff huh?
Well, if you think that's exciting, you can imagine our elation (we being fine purveyors of all things skill toy and awesome) when we learned that NASA (yes, the same NASA that recently made headlines sending their little rock 'em sock 'em robot to freakin' Mars) took our baby along with them to the International Space Station as part of their 'Toys in Space' program. Which, to be fair has to have the most boring name ever. But I digress- please, allow me to continue my 'Putting Words On Your Computer Screen' program.
Now that we've gotten a bit of history, let's look at some of the features that make Plus unique compared to the rest of its tri-spherical family.
For starters, much like our earlier feature on the Breakdown of Astrojax MX, the Plus also are comprised of Polyurethane and feature a precision, metal weight. However, the weight in the Plus is different on account of being made of brass and also because it is machined rather than die-cast, allowing for smoother string flow. Attached using pins, the Plus are 27.5mm in height, weigh 18g, and have a total diameter of 33mm and are stowed away comfortably in a jewel case or dock. While currently available in red and blue, other colors may one day be a possibility as we're always looking for your feedback on the products you'd like to see made available in Astrojax land.
Now, the soft cushy material in Plus makes them positively ideal for beginners or those who favor bounce tricks. In fact, this was the set that I personally began with and they remain a personal favorite. Granted, it's a matter of personal taste, but the softer texture always seemed to give me an advantage, largely because I'm fairly clumsy, but hey, to each his (or her) own. Speaking of personal tastes, here's a handy breakdown of the tricks to which Plus is best suited:
So there you have it- a succinct breakdown of the Plus's majesty with a side of printable awesomeness if you so choose.
What's your experience with the Plus been like?