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 a
1A is a style where a player performs 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 yo-yoing 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, AA 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 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 element of AA 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 AAA.
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. The concept of naming it 3A was considered an extension on the joke that since competition divisions back in the late 90's only consisted of A and AA being the only two styles discovered at the time, the creating of two handed string tricks was joked to make it an extension of this naming convention AAA and ended up sticking.
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.
Doc-Pop style is a 4A variation invented by Doctor Popular, identical to normal 4A except using using a paper-clip on the yo-yo end of the string while playing off-string. Using this light counterweight allows the player to return the yo-yo one-handed using a whip bind. This is the same as a Offstring Whip except using the weight. This is Discussed on Radio Kwyjibo.
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 due to the need of a weight in his style of Slippery Eel, using the Team Losi Cherry Bomb. Usually people prefer the counterweight size to be around a 6:1 to 6.5:1 weight ratio. Since most yoyo's are in the 60-70 gram range, people tend to use 10-11 gram weights.
Free throwing is form of 5A style created by Chris Neff. Identical to traditional Freehand except the yo-yo and counter-weight are moved in order to interact with your environment. This style is featured in the Duncan How to be a Player Vol. 1 video. Free Throwing is featured by the Pretty Boy Spinners.
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.
(Not to be confused with the Asia Pacific YoYo contest also abbreviated as AP. Asia Pacific is a yoyo contest, while Artistic performance is a Division within a yoyo contest.)
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.
Astro is a substyle of 5A that uses two weights instead of one. One of these weights, usually a smaller one, is tethered to the end of the string and the other weight, which is usually larger, slides freely along the string. When the two weights are kept together, players can use them to perform normal 5A tricks. The style was created by Doctor Popular and was named by Seth Peterson.
The style was originally called "Astro Crap", in a joking reference to another skill toy called Astrojax, but was later shortened to Astro.
Astro is very similar to Double Dice in that both styles have a sliding weight. A set of Astro weights usually has two different size pieces and weighs about as much as a normal freehand counterweight in total, but Double Dice consists of two equally sized pieces and weighs twice as heavy as normal freehand counterweight does.
Similar to Astro and Double Dice, but without an additional weight tethered to the end of the string.
Sliding Counterweight is a substyle of freehand, but the counterweight is free to slide along the length of the string. A thick knot at the end of the string is the only thing keeping the counterweight from sliding off.
One of the first Sliding Counterweight tricks may have been The Martini by Doctor Popular. A picture trick that resembles a martini glass, which was created by grabbing the end of the string and letting the counterweight slide to the bottom of the "glass" like an olive.
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.
Soloham is two offstring yoyos held in doubles style in the same hand, the fundamental trick of the style has a similar look and feel as to running 2 Diablos. Not to be confused with having a single offstring yoyo on each hand that some might call 11A (4A+4A+3A). Soloham was credited to being first done in yoyos to Takahiko Hasegawa(Taka) in the late 90s and first publicly shown in 1998. In the 1999 VHS video video Kickin' Tricks, the basic trick was featured in the video by Taka and was named Ferris Wheel. However given the precedence of the Ferris Wheel Dismount as an already common name in yoyo lore, the trick would be renamed.
Taka has said that Soloham was meant to be called Solo Hamster, to represent a hamster wheel. Other rumors were that it was meant to be named Han Solo but was misspelled to Ham Solo, and since Japan culture usually states the surname first, it was then seen as Solo Ham.
In terms of yoyo competition Soloham style tricks are considered scorable within the 4a division and have been more prominently shown in more recent 4a routines. In the early 2000s there would be a few Soloham players and the style was being developed. The first time a full 3 minute freestyle was done in Soloham at the World yoyo contest was by Atsushi Sakata in 2004. For the late 2000's the style would not have much popularity until it came back the mid to late 2010's. In fact the next time a full 3 minute Soloham routine was performed since was by Hajima Miura at 2019 Worlds. In that the usual catch and bind technique was revamped to be easier by Rei Iwakura. Instead of landing one of the yoyos on the other string first and catching both individually, you would pop off the yoyo into a hooked mount to isolate one yoyo and then pop the other string off the shoulder to the leg and perform a leg bridge bind. With these new techniques the style became more accessible and since skill levels of players were higher than in the previous decade, the style shoot up in popularity in recent years like it never had before.
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 and sometimes called Rei-Dragon for that reason).
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.
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 resides on your throwhand pointer and middle fingers. By keeping the loop on these two fingers, players can quickly open up the slipknot for Möbius play. The style is named after the physics concept/mathematical object known as a Moebius strip. It was created and named by Doctor Popular in 2000.
It is believed that yo-yo pros in the 60s and 70s explored sliding slipknot tricks, such as a Rock the Baby variation that was done inside the finger loop. These ideas paved the way for Möbius, but didn't involve the two finger method for which the style is known today.
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. It was popular among members of Team High Performance in 1998, and led Steve Brown to develop Freehand, due to his inability to successfully perform the tricks he was conceptualizing.
This style was recently rejuvenated by Kerzic (popularly known as "CizreK"), with his 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 D
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. Usually done with a small die and large die since two full size dice would deviate away from the typical Created by Dave Poyzer and Doctor Popular.
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 finger loop 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.