This page lists some of the yo-yo styles you will come across. This list is not complete but covers all of the most common styles and a few of the more outrageous ones. This page should serve to give you ideas of new ways to play. It should be noted that some of these styles blur, and so some people would dispute as to whether they are a separate style (for example, some people consider sliding counterweight to be part of freehand).
What makes a style of play
A style of play should not be confused with a trick category, such as grinds. A style of play requires there to be something different about the equipment that allows new tricks to be performed. This is why we have classified sliding counterweight as different to freehand because the setup is different and so different tricks can be done.
Also known as 0A.
Loop-based tricks with a single yo-yo. Zero A play consists of continuous loops, hops, and shoot the moons. Zero A is where most people start when they begin the style AA, and although Zero A is a relatively simple style, most people decide to practice A. Looping yo-yos usually are a modified or classic shape, and are usually weighted in the center. Those yo-yos used among popular players consist of the Yomega Raider and Fireball (usually modified), the YoYoJam Sunset Trajectory, the Relic, the Duncan Speed Beetle and the Ballistic (first model), as well as many others from various other companies. No contest has been ever held for Zero A.
This is a style of play where only one half of the yo-yo is used. The yo-yo is slightly unscrewed, then one side is grabbed while the yo-yo sleeps. The other half stays spinning at the end of the string due to the gyroscopic forces. This only works with certain yo-yos. It was created by Joshua Yee in 1999, but other notable yo-yoers in this style are Ryan Lai and Dave Poyzer.
Also known as single A and 1A.
String tricks with a single yo-yo. The yo-yo tends to be unresponsive (at advanced levels of play) to allow complicated string tricks to be performed.
Single A is what most people think of when you talk about yo-yoing. This style is also almost always the first style yo-yoers learn, due to it being the most well known and the easiest to start.
Also known as: Dualstring, Single Fivepoint , Handicapped 3A
Known offshoot styles: Freestring
1.5A is a substyle where you have a string connected to your non-throwhand and not connected to a yoyo. This extra string can be utilized to have a sort-of fake 3A effect while doing 1A string, The non-throwhand string can be set-up to do other styles of your choosing. Examples would be 5A, Moebius, and Full Loop.
Tourniquet is a substyle of 1A and derives its name from the slipknot being wrapped around the upper arm of the player. The main idea behind Tourniquet style is to use a very long string which can be used to do unique, more technical body based wraps and much larger slack formations.
The creator of this substyle of yoyoing is none other than Jensen Kimmitt, who debuted this style during the 2010 yo-yo season. During this time, he has modded two strings together in order to form one and not long after YoYoFactory had released custom "super long" string at a length of 72 inches long.
Also known as Double A, 2A and Two-handed yo-yoing
A style based on the use of two looping yo-yos, one in each hand. High-level AA play consists of various series of continuous regenerations, such as loops, hops, moons, punches, stalls, etc. Also performed are hundreds of different forms of around-the-worlds and other circular motions with the yo-yo. While combining loops and continuous circles, wraps can be done. Another growing part of AA (also possible in AAA) is based on the tangler trick, where the strings of the yo-yo cross, spin around the "knot", and are then uncrossed.
Generally the yo-yos used for AA are based on either a modified or a classic shape. Those yo-yos used among popular players consist of the Yomega Raider and Fireball (usually modified), the YoYoJam Sunset Trajectory, the Relic, the Duncan Speed Beetle, the Ballistic (first model) and the Team Losi Da Bomb, as well as many others from various other companies.
Also known as Triple A and 3A.
String tricks with two yo-yos. Popularized and pioneered by Mark McBride, the first modern Triple A trick appeared in Fiend Magazine and was called the Velvet Rolls. The different mounts in this style are referred to as houses (e.g. "Kink House").
Photos from as early as the late 1950's show early yo-yo demonstrators performing very basic Triple A tricks, such as a Sleeper with one hand, and a Trapeze with the other. While Triple A as a concept has existed for many years, it was not until the debut of Velvet Rolls that development began on what is currently considered Triple A.
4A / Offstring
Also known as OS and 4A.
Where the yo-yo is not attached to the string, but the string is tied to the finger. See the offstring article for more information.
5A / Freehand
Also known as Counterweight and FH.
Where a weight (typically a casino die or a small ball) is attached to the end of the yo-yo string that would otherwise be attached to the finger. The yo-yo itself is attached to the string in the normal manner. Developed in 1999 by Steve Brown, freehand is considered to be the fastest-growing style of yo-yo play, as well as one of the most exciting to watch, due mainly to the wide diversity of styles from one 5A player to the next.
Manufacturing of a yo-yo with a fixed or sliding counterweight is covered under United States Patent #6,371,824.
Also known as AP for short
Artistic Performance is a style of yo-yoing that uses any type of yo-yo or other prop in order to perform an artistic freestyle. This style is based mostly on performance of the player over the sheer number or complexity of tricks that they execute. Choreography, use of music, creative usage of the stage, movement and performance is among the important aspects of this style of play. However, yo-yo incorporation into said routines is a primary source of the performance.
Also known as 9A (5A + 4A),
A counterweight is attached to the string, but the yo-yo is left unattached. This allows for a fusion of 5A concepts with 4A concepts into one trick, into one unique style. Notable players of this style include Ryan Lai.
Also known as Astro due to its similarity with the Astrojax skill toy.
Originally called Astro Crap by its key innovator Seth Peterson due to the fact that few yo-yoers particularly like Astrojax, but the name was later shorted to Astro.
It is similar to freehand, but the counterweight is free to slide along the length of the string.
Conceived in 1999 by Chris Neff, Sliding Counterweight has gained popularity among Freehand players in recent years, due to the development of additional tricks and its mysterious "re-naming", largely attributed to Seth Peterson and Doctor Popular. Both players are considered the pioneers of this style, as it was their tricks that have popularized it.
Invented by Steve Brown in early 1999, but also developed and popularized by Tommy Gun, this involves putting two yo-yos on one hand. Typically one goes on your ring finger, and the other on your pointer finger. This is to keep the yo-yos from hitting each other too much.
Tricks were shown in YoYoWorld Magazine issue #3, which was released in the Winter of 1999. Tricks also appeared as single videos on his old site, as well as in Chicago Crew clip videos. Some tricks include Teamwork, Yellow Pages, Double Boing, Trapeze Entanglement, and Trapeze Traverser. In 2013, Tommy released a "megamix" of all of his Doubles tricks.
While it has potential, this style had really never caught on possibly because of the difficulty and aggravation of having less control over each yo-yo. AAA is quite similar, so most players do that instead.
A style of yo-yoing involving a single yo-yo with two strings looped on the bearing. The strings are attached one to each hand. Presented to the world by Ky Zizan in 2013 at the World Yo-Yo Contest. Variations of Double Dragon with counterweights on the ends of the string have also been attempted for ease of throwing and catching (Rei Iwakura's AP at the 2008 Worlds is the earliest major example).
Known offshoot styles: Cherry and Asquared
The concept of Hydra is that two yo-yos are connected to just one particular string. This is done by setting up the string where it is two separate strings tied together via a knot while the ends of the string where the yo-yo goes is still intact.
This style had a adaptation in Japan where instead of a knot to tie the two strings together, they used a counterweight and identified it as "Cherry". Asquared is the next generation of Hydra where, instead of using regular yo-yos, you use hubstack-based yo-yos such as the YoYoFactory G5, which allows for more freedom and 5A-like maneuvers via holding the sides of one yo-yo.
Doc Pop Style
Discussed on Radio Kwyjibo. Doctor Popular has developed many novel techniques, including using a paper-clip on the yo-yo end of the string while playing off-string. Using this light counterweight allowed him to return the yo-yo one-handed. This was done before the 1 handed whip-like regenerations developed by the Japanese offstring champion (Eiji?).
Developed by John-Bot. It's a style of one-handed yo-yoing mostly inside a gunslinger (split bottom) mount. It can best be described as one-handed tiny yo-yo tricks. The Boingy Boingy is a probably the most well known trick from this style.
Also known as Moebius.
Known offshoot styles: Dualbius (2A), Triobius (3A), Offbius (4A), Astrobius (5A)
This substyle of yo-yoing consists of string tricks done inside, outside, on, or throughout the opened-up slipknot that usually resides on your throwhand finger. The style is named after the physics concept/mathematical object known as a Moebius strip. It reaches as far back as 1997, but the original creator of Moebius remains unknown. However, it was repopularized by Doctor Popular in 2000.
A style featured by the Pretty Boy Spinners (PBS). Similar to Freehand play, except that you throw the yo-yo and counter-weight in order to interact with your environment. Not recommended around living things or breakable objects.
Also known as Flying Eel or Offhand.
This style is similar to Freehand, but without the counterweight. Technique mostly involves using the weight of the yo-yo to bring the string around. Rarely done nowadays.
It was popular among members of Team High Performance in 1998, and inadvertently led to the development of Freehand by Steve Brown, due to his inability to successfully perform the Flying Eel tricks he was creating. The complicated nature of his creations necessitated some kind of stopper on the end of the string, and it was through experimentation with different beads and attachments that Freehand was created.
This style was recently rejuvenated by Kerzic (popularly known as "CizreK"), with his new video Free Floating. This video has developed quite a bit of controversy, because Kerzic referred to it solely as "Free Floating," as if it were a new style, even though the concept of the "Flying Eel" has been around longer than 5A. Although viewers of the video may be right, Kerzic is one of the first players who has created useful and noteworthy "Flying Eel" tricks.
Tricks performed by throwing the yo-yo as you would in A, but then unwinding the string and popping the yo-yo out of the loop. You then perform one or more offstring tricks before putting the yo-yo back in the loop and returning it. Invented by Doctor Popular.
Also known as DD or Double Dice.
Double D is a combination of normal freehand and sliding counterweight, where you have two counterweights. One counterweight is tied to the string, the other is free to move. This style is quite similar to sliding counterweight, except the increased weight of the DD counterweight allows different maneuvers not possible with the typically light Astro counterweights.
Also known as 13A (5A + 5A + 3A).
Double Freehand is similar to AAA, but each yo-yo has a counterweight attached. It is a difficult style to do due to the fact there are four moving objects to worry about (two yo-yos and two counterweights). It was created by Steve Brown and was originally named 13A, but it is sometimes referred to as 10A (5A + 5A). Notable players of this style include Rafael Matsunaga.
5A + 2A
A counterweight is attached to the end of one or both strings of a pair of looping yoyos. This style was explored during the beginnings of counterweight play, but due to its difficulty, it never gained much popularity.
This is a style of play involves the use of a fully untwisted string loop that is still connected to your finger via the slipknot. This is basically an extention of Doctor Populars Washing Machine style, except this is fully untwisted. Tricks are done by maneuvering the yo-yo both while inside the string loop, and outside the string loop.
This style incorporates 1a string tricks with a fusion of 4a string tricks. Go-west is also often double wrapped around the bearing of the yoyo as a means of controlling the throw/spin power. Innovators of this style include people like Takahiko Hasegawa, Hironori Mii, and Kenji Nishi.
Known offshoot style: full loop yoyoing.
Invented by Doctor Popular in 2001 around the same time the Japanese were innovating "Go West" style. Sumo is a shortening for Super-Moebius and differs only in that you are playing with a regular yo-yo string that has just been completely untwisted. It differs from its Japanese counterpart, due to there being no fingerhole but one whole loop of string that has been tied together in a knot.
Full loop yo-yoing is an offshoot from Sumo in where you take a regular full string, cut it and tie it together so you have a much more shorter loop to use. This still allows exactly the same tricks as Sumo, however the user has far more control with the loop/yoyo. To throw it, you snap start it in the loop and bind it like a 4a stop and go. You throw it down like a regular sleeper thus making the yo-yo spin inside the loop while it being "offstring"
A style involving a sliding die as in Double D but the string is attached to the yo-yoer's finger.