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 →
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)!
Hey all! OceanJax here.
It's summer and when I think of summer, I think of... well, a lot of things. Hot dogs. Especially hot dogs... mmmmmmm, hot dogs....
But when it comes to summer and skill toys, I can't think of two concepts that go better together (except for maybe hot dogs and summer, but I think we've covered that). The days are warm. The nights are cool. The hot dogs are fresh (why are we still mentioning hot dogs...)
What that all means is: It's time to play!
You already know that USAstrojax is your head-quarters for a vast array of skill toy fun, and I'm sure you are more than familiar with your favorite daytime skill toy. But have you had a chance to light up the night? And I don't mean with the midnight grilling of hot dogs (DOH!).
What I am talking about are light-up skill toys. Yes, USAstrojax has those too! From Boing balls to Saturns to Aqua Glows, you are sure to find the perfect nighttime companion to your skill toy repertoire.
My favorite? The Saturn Astrojax. The beauty of the Saturn series is three-fold:
Believe me, you don't have to tell us because we already know what it means to have a respect for skill toys that is larger than life. But, now it's about to be taken to an entirely new level and a literal one at that!
Enter the world's largest paddleball. Courtesy of The Paddleball King, Steve Langley, he's about to set his 3rd Guinness world record. Having already set 2 records with his favorite skill toy, it was time for a new feat of skill-toy awesomeness. The first was done in Italy where Steve successfully controlled 7 paddleballs at the same time and the second was set after Steve painstakingly organized 356 people to control a paddleball simultaneously.
But now? Steve's about to smash another record using Paddlezilla, the 9-foot, custom monstrosity he'll use to snag the 'world's largest functioning paddleball' Guinness record. Go ahead and check Steve out here to see see it in action!
In addition to being The Paddleball King, Steve is also an accomplished juggler and professional entertainer with a deep love for skill toys and breaking records. His primary motivator? Making people smile and laugh.
Learn more about Steve's crazy skills and commitment to skill toys here at his personal page.
Welcome to our first ever Player Spotlight of Iriska! We may be US Astrojax, but that doesn't mean we don't have friends and pros all over the world, so we decided to showcase exactly that by asking Iriska to answer a few questions all the way from her home country of Russia. Read on to hear about her origins with Astrojax, tips for aspiring pros, and some of her favorite reactions from adoring fans!
PLAYER SINCE: 03/2011
US ASTROJAX: For someone who's completely unfamiliar with you, tell the world a little about who you are and how you first learned of Astrojax.
Iriska: Now I'm a sixteen years old girl who is jaxing for 1.5 years. At first I was beginning my skilltoy career with yo-yo but it has come to bad end. Maybe because I had no fervor or no inspiration or no uniqueness because a lot of teenagers plays with yo-yo and I could be inconspicuous among them. Further I tried penspinning and rubik's cube but it was boring. No activity at all as in yoing or jaxing. And then I've noticed a link "Astrojax" at the russian skilltoy shop [gyroscope.ru]. It was really big and bold and wery attractive so I wanted to play with it. I have felt that it was my way. But I haven't enough money for buying and that's why I've made my own astrojax from a yo-yo string and three very little balls. Now I can't imagine how I could play with them then, they're so little! Then I've bought aquas and pluses later and my skilltoy life has begun. Around the clock I watched ap-club tutorials and Cizrek's videos and it has worked out. Then I filmed my first jax video after two weeks jaxing, a month later I've come out on the scene and have come to light.
US ASTROJAX: How many sets do you personally own?
Iriska: Now I have 14 sets of astrojax, 3 T-shirts, 1 hoodie and a lot of stickers.
US ASTROJAX: What is your absolute favorite trick? The one that you could perform for hours without getting tired of it?
Iriska: When I jax I don't prefer any particular tricks, I love all tricks, all process of jaxing, that's why it's hard to choose one favourite trick. In a broader sense I like beautiful orbital tricks like turbine, hyper chimes and their variations.
US ASTROJAX: Where do you normally play?
Iriska: A lot of time I play at home and sometimes I jax outdoors when I'm hanging out with friends or walking around the city.
US ASTROJAX: When people see what you can do, what kind of reactions have you received?
Iriska: I have no negative reactions at all from people when I'm playing outdoors. They pass and look back at me, sometimes gawp and ask me about it. But recently I 've gotten into a nice situation; I was jaxing in the subway and a boy with biker helmet come to me with words "You're so beautiful, please show me more (tricks). Here's my phone number, let's walk together. I like you." It was very kindly :)
US ASTROJAX: How do you see the future of Astrojax evolving?
Iriska: It will be very cool if the amount of jaxers overtakes amount of yoers, if we have difficult competitions, battles for the first place and rank "Best Russian Jaxer", if we organize jax schools like yo-yo schools. I think I'll walk on air. But downing to earth there are few jaxers in Russia, so I can only build castles in the air.
US ASTROJAX: What advice would you give anyone who's trying to take their game to your level?
Iriska: First of all, you must believe you can play as well as I and overcome me. So many things is based on your faith in your strength. The second aspect is wish. You should really want it! Be zealous! "There's no happiness without desire." © Lope de Vega, "The dancing master". Then listen your favourite music which can inspire you. And just play!!!
US ASTROJAX: What do you like to do when you're not practicing with your Astrojax?
Iriska: My freinds marvel at my interests and call me all-rounder girl. I love to read books, especially West Europe playwrighters. Then I'm fond of drawing. I draw everything I am impressed by; Books' & films' characters, online-game scenes, my favors etc. A short time ago I started to learn modern teenager's dance - jumpstyle. And I'm a sporstman - I'm in Russian amateur baseball team. :) I sucsessfully combine all my interests and everything is coming up with roses.
US ASTROJAX: Any final words of wisdom?
Iriska: Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. - Norman Vincent Peale. Astrojax: once and for all. Now and forever!