Thursday, December 13, 2012

Myachi Holiday Buying Guide

by Crazy Ivan

We're going to do something a little different on the blog today.  Normally, I reserve this space for people who are already pretty Myachi-savvy; we talk about new series, new tricks, strategy for various Myachi games, new developments in the Myachi Movement, etc.  But today I'm going to be writing for a different audience.  Today I'll be talking to those people who aren't familiar with the game and are, perhaps, hearing about it for the first time.

We've been getting a ton of calls recently at HQ from parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents who want to buy Myachis for their kids, nieces, nephews or grandchildren, but they aren't sure what to buy.  We figured we could help these enlightened shoppers quite a bit by addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we've been hearing on those calls.

If, after reading the buying guide below, you still have some unanswered questions, fear not.  We have Myachi experts waiting to help you at HQ from 9-5 est at (516) 801-4949 so feel free to call us or email us at orders@myachi.com and we'll help you pick out the perfect gift for the Myachi lover in your life.

So without further ado, here are the eight most frequently asked questions:

What is the right age for Myachi?

When you see someone throwing down with a Myachi, it's logical to wonder if the if it might be too advanced for the young athlete in your life.  But the beauty of Myachi is that there are challenges for all ages and all levels of coordination.  There are tricks that the younger kids can learn and have fun with, but there are also plenty of tricks to challenge a veteran juggler.


Obviously, there is a lower age limit on the game.  Children under the age of six generally lack the coordination to learn the tricks, but even an athletic five year old can have fun tossing and catching with an older sibling or mom and dad.

We recommend Myachi for anyone 6 and up.  There is no upper limit here, as the game is popular with a lot of college kids and makes a great office game (and stress reliever) as well.  It's a great gift for those hard to buy for ages that are too old for traditional toys but not too old to play.

Is it a game for boys and girls?

In a way, I hate this question, but I suppose I understand it.  Most games and toys do seem to break down on a gender basis and even within the industry toys are often referred to as "Boy's toys" and "Girl's toys".  I suppose this is appropriate for some toys, but I've always felt like fun is fun regardless of your gender.

That being said, Myachi is a great game for anyone who is active or in need of more coordination.  While the game tends to be more popular with boys, there are thousands of female Myachi Maniacs out there as well.  The best determination of whether someone will like Myachi is their existing hobbies.  If they're athletic or enjoy skill toys like yo-yo, Fushigi and frisbee, odds are that they will really enjoy a Myachi in their stocking.


What should I buy for someone new to the game?

Many people are looking for the perfect gift for a Myachi fanatic, and we'll talk about some great gift ideas for them, but what about the person who hasn't seen the game before?  Many a Myachi shopper is concerned that even if the game is awesomely fun (and it is), that doesn't matter if they don't know what it is. What if they open it and don't know how to have fun with it?

Luckily, between the Myachi website and the numerous instructional videos on You-Tube, it's remarkably easy to find good info on how to play the game.  That being said, the easiest way to get into the game is through our official Myachi instructional DVD.  It breaks the game down, shows you how to do dozens of tricks (starting easy and slowly upping the difficulty) and even shows a couple of the different Myachi "disciplines", ways to use the game to improve your sports-skills.

For people new to the game, we recommend the Myachi 2-pack, which includes the instructional DVD.  It gives you everything you need to get started and includes a second Myachi so that you can get a friend into the game, work on complex doubles tricks or have a spare in case the first one winds up on the roof somewhere.  The 2-pack retails for $9.99 and you can find them by clicking here.

What should I buy for someone who already has a Myachi?

The Myachi Movement has been going strong for over a decade now and many of the kids who got into the game early are now adults that are still into the game now.  The never-ending series of challenges that Myachi provides makes it a game that you don't discard after a few days.  Many Myachi Maniacs play for years.  So what if you're looking for a gift for somebody who loves Myachi, but you don't want to just buy them another Myachi?

Luckily, this year we have the answer for you.  Brand new in 2012, the Myachi Battle Paddles are the latest, greatest addition to the Myachi family.  They take the game to the next level by allowing you to do long distance and big air catches that turn the game into more of a team sport.  At the same time, they'll make some of the hardest tricks in the game far easier to master.

For people who are already fans of the game and already have one or more Myachis, we recommend the Myachi Battle Paddles.  They're super adjustable and designed to fit hand big and small so the same pair can be used by a 16 year old, a 10 year old or a 6 year old.  They come in packs of two so that two friends can play together and include an exclusive Myachi, available only in the Battle Paddle pack.  The Battle Paddle Set retails for $19.99 and you can find them by clicking here.

What should I buy for a Myachi collector?

In many ways, this is the most difficult question to answer.  Myachis make a great, inexpensive gift for anybody who doesn't have a Myachi, but what if you're buying for somebody who already has not just one Myachi, but a bunch of them?  How can you be sure that you aren't buying them something they already have?

Well, obviously one way is to get a list of the Myachis they have and comb through the "Retired Sacks" section of our online store (which you can reach by clicking here) until you find one that they don't have.  This is effective, but it's pretty time consuming and it requires an easily accessible list of all the Myachis in your collectors collection.

Another great option is to check out our new line of "Wacky Sacks".  These limited edition sacks are must-haves for collectors and since there were only 150 of each design made, there's a pretty strong chance that your favorite Myachi Maniac doesn't have them yet and won't have many more opportunities to pick them up.  So, for that reason, for Myachi collectors, we recommend the new Wacky Sack series.  You can find all the choices by clicking here, and you can pick one up for only $10.
One of the many cool designs of the
limited edition Myachi "Wacky Sacks"

Where can I find a particular Rare Myachi?

Many Myachi Maniacs have their eyes on a particular rare Myachi and they can drive their parents, grandparents and various loved ones crazy looking for some of them.  Unfortunately, many of the rare Myachis that every collector wants are all but impossible to buy at this point.  Many of them were retired as much as a decade ago and they have long since sold out.

I recently received a desperate email from the mother of a Myachi Maniac who presented me with a list of incredibly rare sacks that I don't even have in my personal collection and I had to tell her that there was no way I was aware of to find any of them.

Sometimes rare Myachis show up on E-Bay and sometimes you can find them at locally owned toy stores that have them from years ago, but if your favorite Myachi player is looking for a really rare Myachi, there may be no way to satisfy that request.  Feel free to contact Pinky at the Myachi home office at (516) 801-4949 to find out if the retired sack they want is still available for mail order, but be forewarned that of the several hundred Myachis that collectors are looking for at any time, only a handful will be available.

Can I get a discount if I buy several?

Myachis make great stocking stuffers and good office gifts for people trying to stretch their budget.  At just $5, a Myachi is a perfect gift for almost anyone on almost any budget.  But if you're trying to stretch those dollars a little further (and who isn't?), consider making a bulk purchase and crossing a bunch of names off the list at once.

Both the Myachi Original Handsack and the new Myachi Battle Paddles are available on the website with steep discounts for large orders.  You can check out some of our deals by clicking here and if you'd like to buy more, feel free to call our Headquarters at (516) 801-4949 for a quote.

Is Myachi a good gift for an adult?

In the interest of full disclosure, I should remind everyone that I'm a paid employee of Myachi and one of the company's founding members, so I'm not exactly going to recommend against getting a Myachi for anyone, but the fact that I am an adult and speak from experience should also count for something.

Everybody wants something to play with on Christmas morning.  When we outgrow toys, we start hoping for complex electronic gadgets or games.  Sure, we all appreciate a practical gift like a new hat or a warm pair of gloves, but once all the presents are opened, it's nice to have something fun to goof around with amidst the rising tides of spent wrapping paper.  And what better toy than something that the whole family can play together?

Remember, it's not the we quit playing with toys when we get old, it's that we get old when we quit playing with toys.

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Happy Holidays from the whole Myachi team.  May you find yourself warm and safe and surrounded by people that love you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Series 5.4X Review (Part Two)

by Crazy Ivan

Yesterday, we covered the first six sacks in this series and even though we already dealt with my personal favorite Myachi in the series, I still feel like I saved the best for last.  Today we'll cover the remaining three double packs, each of which has at least one Myachi that will have both collectors and enthusiasts all but drooling with anticipation.

So without further ado, here are the final six Myachis in series 5.4X:

 THE PUNK PINK CAMMO & 
 THE SHADOW BOX GRAY 



This is one of those two packs where one Myachi clearly outshines the other.  As excited as we all were about seeing the sister sack to the Shadow Box (Series 5.1X), we'd only been looking forward to that for a couple of series.  We've been looking forward to a good Pink Cammo for years.

The Punk Pink Cammo does not disappoint.  It's a solid jammer a la the Agent Orange or Hunter Cammo.  For those that never jammed with these classics, I'll simply say that it breaks in quickly but it keeps breaking in for a long time afterwards as well.  It's one of those Myachis you fall in love with when you think you've got it all the way broken in.

The Shadow Box Gray is no slouch in the series, either.  A solid jammer that looks great in motion, this is a superb understated sack for a hobbyist jammer.  It's got an eye-catching pattern and is an obvious double to any two sack routine using it's much heralded sister sack, but it's also a great solo jammer if you're not putting on a show for a big audience.

As a double pack, this has already been favored by the holiday shoppers as a brother/sister pack; a double pack you buy for a boy and a girl to share.  While I think it's a great fit for that need, I think it's a mistake to consider the Punk Pink Cammo as a "girl's" Myachi.  It's an eye-catcher and looks great in a shred regardless of who's shredding.

 THE HEART-BREAKER & 
 THE RED LEOPARD 



This is a different two-pack depending on whose looking at it.  For people who aren't already immersed in Myachi Mania and historical Myachi lore, the Heart-Breaker is the real eye-catcher in this two pack.  But for those of us that have been in the game for a while, this set is all about the return of the leopard.

Leopard print sacks have been a part of the game since its earliest days.  Myachi Man had an affinity for the pattern early on and it shows when you look at the first several series.  Leopards showed up again and again in the old paper-tag days and continued to be staples through the first run China sacks (the Old School Leopard and Leopard Shag), the early Blister-Card days (The Leopard Lime and Punk Pink Leopard) and even in to the 6 Master Series (The Blueberry Leopard).

But then the Leopards seemed to disappear.  The last time we saw a leopard-print Myachi was in the 5B series (Blueberry Leopard re-release) and the last time we saw an original leopard was the same Myachi's first appearance in the 2.2!  That marks a full 20 series between Leopard releases.  What's more is that this marks the first ever corduroy leopard, making it a must own for any serious collector.

And let's not forget that it's also paired up with a black Myachi with a skull & crossbone pattern.  This makes this one of the clear favorites in-stores from what we've seen so far.  The fabric contrast between these two is phenomenal (a short shag versus a vertical corduroy) so for any new jammer who hasn't experimented with enough fabrics to pick a favorite, this is the logical 5.4X pick up.

 THE DANGER ZONE & 
 THE ARTFUL DODGER 



There was never any question that this would be the top-selling two pack in the series.  It was as much a no-brainer as any call we've ever made.  Either of these two sacks could easily carry a double pack with a more mundane second Myachi, but by pairing them together, we've created what I consider to be the coolest looking two pack of all time.  But this double isn't all about looks.

The Danger Zone has a unique fabric that I can't readily compare to anything else we've done before.  It's similar in look to the 5.4 Checkerboard (and indeed that is considered its sister-sack), but the feel is completely different.  It has a much better grip right off the bat and though it doesn't wideboard quite like the Checkerboard, it really rewards you for breaking it in.

The Artful Dodger is nearly a duplicate of the Jolly Rodger from series 5.4.  The fabric and pattern is identical, though the Artful Dodger is a noticeably darker color.  Like the Jolly Rodger, it's a spectacular denim and the two easily tie for the easiest to break-in denims of all time.  That's not a hard title to take, of course, as denims in the past have been notoriously hard to break in all the way.  Calvins, Deisels, Denim N Dymonds, Zoot Suit, Chili Pepper... all known as great jammers when (and if) you ever get them broken in.

The Artful Dodger is a different animal altogether.  Though it "beards" in the same manner that the traditional denims did, it does so much faster and has a lot more give right away.  It's a thinner denim fabric so in the long run that might cost it some durability, but even a sack half as durable as a Calvin will last you for years.

Both sacks are non-traditional fabrics with designs that are proven winners.  It is already on pace to be the fastest selling double pack of all time and is the obvious first choice for anyone getting into the game for the first time.  Of course, it's also an obvious choice for every veteran as well, so basically, if you're reading this, you should probably go ahead and place an order for one.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Series 5.4X Review (Part One)

by Crazy Ivan

Let me begin with a quick apology.  I said this would be out last week, but as be batten down the hatches in preparation for the holiday season, I found myself pushing it back more and more.  It did give me another week to jam with all the Myachis in question, so my hope is that what I sacrificed in punctuality, I'll make up for in specificity.

Because this series is offered in sets of two, I'll be reviewing them in pairs.  I think it's important for people deciding which ones to pick up, it's best to look at how each set compliments one another rather than reviewing them individually.

And like the 5.4 review, I'll be splitting this one into a two day thing.  Below are the reviews of the first six Myachis offered in the 5.4X:

 THE BAGPIPE RED &  
 THE HODGEPODGE PLAID 


Most Myachi collectors will look at this pairing of sacks and see two re-releases.  The Bag Pipe Red, one of the best sellers from the previous series sits above what most people would think at a glance is a welcome re-release of the Patchwork Black.

While I can say with certainty that the HodgePodge Plaid is a unique Myachi, the differences between it and the Patchwork Black (series 4.2), the differences are subtle.  It would take a trained eye to distinguish them without taking a quick look at the series number on the tag.

Those differences are all in the look, however, as the HodgePodge is every bit the jammer that the Patchwork Black was (and still is).  Interestingly enough, the real jammability differences come from the direct re-release of the Bag Pipe Red.  While this is the same Myachi that was offered in the 5.3 series, a subtle manufacturing change has made it a far superior jammer.

This pairing offers the best color contrast in the series, so it makes for a spectacular doubles routine.  This is the pairing I would suggest for somebody who was a jammer and looking for two new Myachis to be their dominant jam-sacks.  This would also be a great pick-up for somebody who was once a heavy jammer and is looking to get back in the game.

 THE BLUE CAMMO &  
 THE GREEN LABYRINTH  


Two much awaited sister sacks are paired up in this phenomenal double pack.  I've long believed that every good series should have at least one cammo sack (and sales seem to back me up on that).  This will be only the second Blue camouflage and by an unfortunate error by as we went to press, they share a name.  The "Blue Cammo" from series 4.4 was a significantly different sack with a shag fabric and a far darker set of tones.

Setting aside the name duplication, this sack is the latest in a long series of popular cammo cords that include the legendary Hunter Cammo and the Agent Orange.  It's a phenomenal jammer with a quick break in time and the soft blue is easy to pick out in a quick jam in almost any environment.

Coupling a vertical corduroy like the Blue Cammo with a classic horizontal is something that Maverick has been pushing for more and more in the double packs and we wisely went his way this time.  The Green Labyrinth is a great contrast to the Blue Cammo, but not just in terms of fabric orientation.  A dark color contrasting with a light color, a loud pattern contrasting with a muted one and a flowing design contrasting with an angular one.

This pairing probably offers the best balance between the jammer and the collector.  Both sacks are legit shred bags but their connection to such storied classic Myachi families make them must-owns for collectors.

 THE BLUE HORIZON & 
 THE COLD HEARTED 



This double pack may be the victim of an incredibly stunning series.  In most two-pack series, this pairing would probably jump right off the shelf.  The combination of the skull & crossbone design with a classic multi-colored horizontal cord would be a winner in 9 series out of 10.  But in this series, this two pack looks almost bland in comparison to it's edgier cousins.

The Blue Horizon has already earned a valued spot in my collection of jammers.  It's become my go-to sack from the 5.4X series and despite a relatively dull look, the horizontal contrast looks great mid-shred.  Sistering with the Black Hole Sun from series 5.4, the Blue Horizon promises to be a long-term favorite among serious jammers.

The Cold Hearted is definitely more of a collector than a jammer.  While the short-shag does break in with relative ease, most jammers shy away from white Myachis because of their propensity to show wear in a negative way.  The pattern diffuses it somewhat (when compared to sacks like the White Belt or the CMC), but it's still far easier to imagine this Myachi earning a spot in a collection than it is to see it earning a spot in a 3 Myachi juggle.

As a pair, this is a great split for someone on the fence between being a jammer and a collector.  Rather than a double pack like the Green Labyrinth and the Blue Cammo where both sacks are hybrids of jamming and collectability, this two pack offers a clear choice of one of each.

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Check back with us tomorrow for the breakdown on the remaining 6 sacks from series 5.4X!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Games Myachi Masters Play

by Crazy Ivan

The other day, Lucky and I were playing a little Myachi in the living room at the House of Skills and, as often happens in such situations, a new Myachi game emerged.  We started off just tossing back and forth and, because Lucky is still recovering from a broken leg, we had to do it seated.  Before long we started playing a variation of a game Butter and I used to play.  It's a simple back and forth game where I'm trying to land a Myachi on your seat and you're trying to land it on mine.  A lot of fakes, high tosses and crazy spins.

Of course, when Myachi Masters play, games evolve pretty quickly and before long we were playing an entirely different game.  We were having so much fun with it that I immediately thought "I should write about this on the blog".  After all, that's what I usually do when a new game emerges.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if the game was really worth sharing.  It's a game that Lucky and I had a bunch of fun with and Monk, Kid and I had a bunch of fun with it later in the evening, but it occurs to me that this game really might only be fun for a Myachi Master.

I debated with myself for a bit on whether the game was blog-worthy, and obviously I eventually decided that it was.  It's a pretty simple game that requires two or more people and at least three Myachis.  I should note that in our limited experience, the more Myachis you use, the better... though I have to assume that at a certain point you pass the optimum number.

Here's how the game works:

Each player stands in a circle (or across from one another in a two player game).  One player starts with all 3 (or 4 or 5 or 6) Myachis.  You select one of the Myachis to be the "Target Sack".  It should be one that is brightly colored or at least one that looks a lot different than the others.  You'll see why in the next paragraph.

The first player now throws all the Myachis to the next player.  They can all be thrown at once or they can be thrown one at a time or they can be thrown in groups of two.  The thrower can throw however they want.  Now here's the twist: The player they're being thrown to doesn't have to catch all the Myachis.  They only have to catch the target sack.  In fact, they're only allowed to catch the Target Sack.  If you catch any Myachi other than the Target Sack, your opponent gets a point.  If you fail to catch the Target sack, the opponent gets a point.

Now this player gathers up the Myachis and tosses them back (or to the next player in the circle) and the game keeps going until one player has 7 points.

You can probably see how this gets challenging right away.  If the Myachis are thrown in a cluster, it's often very difficult to catch one without accidentally catching another.  We were allowing for a single strike before the catch to break up tightly clustered throws, but even then it can be really tough to pick out just the one we were supposed to catch.

But I had to wonder if this would be anywhere near as fun to the average Myachi player.  It's not that the game is too difficult, but rather, it might be too easy.  As a Myachi Master, you catch Myachis for at least 40 hours a week, but more often 50, 60 or more.  It gets to the point where anything someone tosses to you winds up on the back of your hand.  So for a Myachi Master, you have to really work not to catch all the Myachis that are coming your way.  You have to consciously tell yourself that they all have to land on the ground.  Even if you could make a really cool foot save that would allow you to catch all 3 (of 4 or 5 or 6).  When Lucky and I played, I won because he eventually just accidentally caught one that was near his left hand (he was catching the Target Sack with his right).  It's an instinct and it's tough to suppress.

So my hope is that a few Myachi Maniacs will read this, try the game out and report back to me.  If you decide to help me in this experiment, please leave your results in the comment section below.  Also, we're trying to think of a name for this one, so if you have any thoughts there, you can leave them in the comments section as well.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Series 5.4 Review, Part Two

by Crazy Ivan

Yesterday, I broke down the first six sacks in the 5.4 series.  We saw some old favorites, some new takes on some old designs and some classic fabrics popping back up after long hiatuses.  Today we're going to take all those themes to a higher level as we break down the remaining Myachis in the series.  And, no offense to the Aztec Red, the Checkerboard, the Shadow Box Red, the Blackhole Sun, the Python Blue and the Bagpipe Blue, I think I saved the best for last.

 BLUE LABYRINTH 


We started with a rerelease yesterday, so I figured we'd do the same today.  The most popular sack from the 4.5 series makes a triumphant return in the 5.4, reminding us all that nothing beats a brightly colored corduroy.  Now complimenting the Labyrinth Green in the 5.4x series (see review coming next week), the understated pattern on this classic manages to hold its own even alongside the cornucopia of visual awesomeness that is the 5.4 series.

For those of you who never jammed with a broken in Labyrinth Blue, I feel confident in saying that I can't oversell it.  In terms of jammability I would likely rank it as my all time favorite horizontal corduroy.  But don't just take my word for it.  The original release of this sack was recent enough that there are plenty of Manias that would be happy to back me up on that.

 JOLLY ROGER 


When the time comes to select the new series, Myachi Man sends up hundreds of fabric samples and everybody at the House of Skills looks over them, each of us selecting our favorites.  In every batch, there are always a few patterns that we all agree on and a few that we debate.  I'm sure it will come as no surprise that there was no debate when it came to the Jolly Roger.

You can already see that it's awesome so I don't have to tell you that.  It's probably the coolest looking sack since the Hard Core Cammo.  But what you can't see on the picture is what an incredible jammer it is as well.  The fabric has no real parallel in the Myachi world, so the best I can do to describe it is to say that it's somewhere between a Boneyard Red and a Calvin.  It's a denim, but a thin denim that breaks in like a late stage denim way quicker.

Like all denims (including the vaunted Calvin), it starts out a bit slick so it's probably not the best Myachi for a beginner.  It's definitely more of a veteran Myachi, though I'm sure every collector will be rushing to add this one, regardless of their level of skill.

 BRAVEHEART ORANGE 


People often ask me why there aren't more orange Myachis.  Sure, there's the Highlander Orange and the Juice and a few others (mostly promos and special event sacks), but most series come and go without any orange at all.  Is it that Myachi Man doesn't like the color?  Is it that Myachi Masters have a problem with colors that nothing rhymes with?

The sad truth is that we all dig orange as much as the next guy (or gal), but historically, orange Myachis don't sell very well.  They tend to be the last ones lingering on the shelf after all the other Myachis sell out.  The Wavy Gravy Orange, the Juice, the Candy Corn and even the Electric Orange Shag were the slowest sellers in their respective series.

That being said, we're confident in the Braveheart Orange for two reasons.  First is that plaids are always winners (even the Highlander Orange and the Tartan Orange were strong sellers) and second is that the unique type of corduroy employed for this sack is going to intrigue jammers.  It jams more like a shag when it's new and more like a suede when it's broken in so it's certainly not the same old corduroy experience.  It certainly takes a bit more effort to break in than more traditional corduroys, but it's also far more jam-worthy before it's all the way broken in, so it makes for a pretty even trade off.

 JUNGLE CAMMO 


When we set out to make a great series, there are three pattern types we're always looking for; a good plaid, a good skull & crossbones variation and a good cammo.  Considering that, I'd say we did a pretty solid job in series 5.4.

The Jungle Cammo is reminiscent (in both design and jammability) of the Agent Orange and the Hunter Cammo.  It's a classic corduroy, which means that it breaks in easily and is jam-worthy right away.  It's a bit more brightly colored than most green cammos (and actually a bit more brightly colored than it looks in the picture above) so it's actually a pretty good outdoor jammer, which is usually a huge drawback for camouflage patterns.

I must admit that of all the sacks in the 5.4 series, this is the one I've spent the least time with and thus I'm not 100% qualified to review it's jammability once broken in.  I can say that it jams like you'd expect a solid vertical corduroy to jam and I'm quite sure that it's a good sack for both beginners and veterans, but I'm still not prepared to say that it breaks in to the legendary level that it's sister sacks (the aforementioned Hunter Cammo and Agent Orange) achieved.  I do have my fingers crossed, though...

 STONE AGE 


Finally, we get to my personal favorite in the series.  Of course, anybody who knows my taste in Myachis will not be at all surprised that my favorite sack in the series is the denim one.  I've long admitted that I can't really be trusted when it comes to reviewing denim sacks since I think all of them are incredible (with the possible exception of the Chili Pepper, which was way too hard to break in).  So keep all that in mind as you read the next two paragraphs where I slobber on endlessly about my unabashed love for this Myachi.

This might be the best denim Myachi of all time.  Obviously it's pretty early to say that and since I've had almost a decade to fall in love with the Calvin, it's going to take more than a couple weeks of jamming with one of these suckers to make that assessment.  But as for "fresh from the package" jamming, I don't think any denim was ever so friendly.  It's a thick, durable denim like a Calvin or a Diesel, but it gives much easier right away and is far less frustrating to break in than most denims.

Of course, the big question is whether it breaks in like a Calvin.  After all, being the easiest denim to jam with new is like being the tallest person in an empty room.  Not much competition.  I can say that it breaks in quickly compared to many denims, and I can say that it is my go-to jammer from series 5.4, but it might take years before a realistic comparison can be made between this one and the consensus best jammer of all time.  Still, the fact that I'm even suggesting that such a comparison might one day be made is a pretty good indicator of how awesome a Myachi this thing really is.

 STARBURST 


And now to the one that everybody is talking about.  It's like the Iridescent rainbow meets the Cotton Candy.  It's vivid, kaleidoscopic design is so eye-catching that many people look at pictures of the whole series and see nothing but the Starburst.  The mottled design looks like the kind of Myachi that would give Mario superpowers and it gets even cooler once you start jamming with it.

There's not much to say about this Myachi except that (a) it is a classic shag with a feel similar to a Blueberry Leopard or a Cotton Candy and (b) just look at it.

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That concludes my review of the 5.4 series, but, of course, that means that my job is only halfway done.  There was another double pack release that went with this one, so be on the look out for my review of the Myachis in series 5.4x (which will also be a two-parter) coming next week.




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Series 5.4 Review, Part One

by Crazy Ivan

With a cool mix of old and new, a welcomed return to several classic fabrics and a few new takes on the most beloved designs, the 5.4 series offers a unique array of Myachis that should excite the collectors, the jammers and the newbs.  Within days of its release it was already being heralded as the most buzz-worthy series in the past 2 years.  The series is marked by bright colors, variegated fabrics and bold, striking patterns.  It seems almost like a throwback that would have nestled comfortably between series 2.1 and the 2.2; a series that mixes all the fabric variety of series 3.2x with the bold patterns of the 4.1.

The series was a response to much of the criticism of the 5.3/5.3x release.  While those sacks were beloved for their jammability and the originality of their patterns, they were seen as "predictable" compared to the sacks from the last couple of series.  They were 100% corduroy which made them great jammers, but got kind of dull for collectors and even people who want a bit of variety in their shred.

So without further ado, I present you our answer to the call for more variety; a series that reaches both forward and backward in time to show you what was, what is and what will be...

 AZTEC RED 


 We'll begin with a long-beloved classic.  The Aztec Red is one of two re-releases in the series, a move that shocked many collectors who got into the game over the last two years.  We haven't done many re-releases in that time period and we haven't done any for a sack as iconic as the Aztec Red.

The popularity of this Myachi has spawned a whole family of similar designs.  The Aztec Blue, the Aztec Black and the Aztec Orange all owe their inclusion in previous series to the overwhelming popularity of this simple sack.  This actually marks the 3rd rerelease of the Aztec Red, tying it for the third most rereleased sack of all time (tied with the Red Line, behind the Slater and, of course, the Black Butter).  However, this time we've returned the orientation the classic horizontal pattern (all the previous rereleases were vertical), a move that anyone who ever broke in an original 4.0 Aztec Red is excited to see.

Long considered a quintessential corduroy in the same class as the Beards and Lines, the Aztec Red is a must have for anybody who follows the evolution of the series.  And for those that have been in the game since the original release, I assure you, it has aged well.

 CHECKERBOARD 



Here we see a strange hybrid of the old and the new.  Everyone who was in the game when the 3.2 series came out fondly remembers the Finish Line, the Starting Line and the Red Line.  They were some of the earliest corduroy sacks and their pattern was popular across the board.  They were remembered as spectacular wide-boarders and staple jammers.

Well, here we see the same pattern in a new color arrangement with a whole new fabric.  Instead of the classic corduroy, the Checkerboard offers a short shag reminiscent of the Tainted Love.  What's more, the fabric actually has a different feel between the black and red squares, making for an awesome contrast in grip during a shred.

But the most exciting aspect of this Myachi is that it had already proven to be a notorious wide-boarder; perhaps even more than the original Lines.  I've seen one stretched out to the point that it was almost a square, though that may have been an anomaly, as I haven't been able to widen one out quite that much on my own.

Suffice to say it's a unique jamming experience, but in a very good way.  Anyone who is a bit standoffish about committing to a shag might consider the Checkerboard as a good introduction to the fabric.  The short shag makes it really easy to get used to and the contrasting feels of the fabric give it a very microsuede-like grip.

 SHADOW BOX RED 


Sitting next to the vibrant colors and striking designs of the series, one could be forgiven for dismissing the Shadow Box Red as 'boring'.  Admittedly, it is an understated sack that lacks the flashiness of the Python Blue, the Starburst and the the Braveheart Orange.  But in a series so marked by bright colors, Myachi Man was careful to include something for everyone.  We know from experience that many gamers prefer a darker, less showy Myachi that allows the jammer to be the star of the shred.

The Shadow Box Red is a phenomenal jammer that breaks in quickly.  It is a typical corduroy that would have been at home in any of the last three series, so in a series that reaches so far into Myachi antiquity, this one is a bit of a stalwart, reminding us of the continuing evolution of our game.

 BLACKHOLE SUN 



Building upon the popularity of sacks line the Dreamcoat, the Night Rider and the Drag Strip, this horizontal corduroy is at once both over and understated.  It is as brightly colored as any sack in the series (with the possible exception of the Starburst), but it doesn't have the gripping designs that so many of the 5.4s contain.  Instead, it is a simple randomly colored pinstripe design.

These designs have long been popular with serious jammers, as the pattern really comes to life once the Myachi starts spinning and flipping its way through a standard popcorn shred.  This should make it significantly more popular with jammers than collectors, as the beauty of this Myachi can't really be seen if it is sitting on a shelf amid a large collection.  To see the Blackhole Sun is to see it in action.

Oh, and if you're curious about the name, you're clearly not getting enough 90s screech-metal in your diet.

 PYTHON BLUE 


Perhaps the boldest design in the series, the Python Blue is a also one of only 2 true shags in the series.  This was one of the fabrics we all looked to immediately when it came time to pick the new series.  The combination of pattern and color is irresistible and the temptation of resurrecting the Shag was too great.  The Python Blue was, in many ways, the sack that inspired the whole series.

Like all classic shags, this one will take some effort to break in.  This fabric doesn't offer the instant gratification that corduroy, soft suede and microsuede do.  Many people find shags a bit frustrating over the first couple of days of jamming.  But anyone who ever had the chance to shred with a well broken in Black Bear Shag or a Cotton Candy will assure you that it is well worth taking the time to break one in right.

I've had a chance to break a Python Blue in almost all the way and already I love it as both a solo jammer and as a complimentary sack in a two Myachi shred.  The eyes of your audience can't help but follow along with this Myachi so it is downright hypnotic when used correctly.

 BAGPIPE BLUE 


Alright, so let me get the obvious part out of the way first.  This sack is almost indistinguishable from the Bagpipe Green in series 5.2.  The pattern is actually almost identical, though it is a slightly smaller version of the same pattern.  Without the series numbers on the back of the tag, it would be quite difficult for the average Myachi Maniac to tell the two apart.  With the two sacks having such similar names, it seems almost like an intentional invitation to confusion.  And for that, I apologize.

But sweeping all the to one side, we're still left with a great jammer in an epic pattern.  Since the first plaid Myachis were introduced in the 3.0/3.1 co-release, they have remained among the most popular patterns in the game.  Nearly every series since then has included at least one (and usually two) new varieties on the plaid patterns.  The very fact that we've used Highlanders, Bravehearts, Bagpipes and Lumberjacks should be all the evidence you need that it's been a pretty popular pattern.

The Bagpipe Blue is definitely doing its part to keep plaids in the good graces of Myachi Maniacs the world over.  It is a vertical corduroy, and most of the ones I've jammed with seem to stay tight (small) even once they're broken in (soft).  That makes it a great Myachi for the younger jammers that are getting serious about their game.  It's also a good number two in a doubles shred with virtually any brightly colored sack.

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There are still 6 more sacks in the series, but I didn't want to overload anybody just yet.  Be sure to check back in tomorrow for the second part in the review where we'll get to the ones you've all been waiting for (the Jolly Roger and the Starburst).
  



Friday, August 31, 2012

Having a Job You Love

by Crazy Ivan

If there's a secret to happiness, it must be that.  You have to either have (a) a whole bunch of money or (b) a job that you really love.  If you don't have one or both of those things, odds are that you're gonna spend a lot of your life doing something that you don't really want to be doing.

Of course, no matter what your job is, you'll have to spend time doing stuff you don't want to do.  No amount of awesomeness in your job is going to make going to the dentist fun.  So there's a base rate of boring and/or painful stuff you'll find yourself committed to one way of the other.  But if you play your cards right, you might avoid making one of those boring/painful commitments a 40+ hour a week one.

I remind myself constantly that I'm really lucky to have the job that I have.  Not many people get to spend their days doing something that they're truly passionate about and not many people get to spend their days having fun and helping others have fun.  To be sure, there are plenty of people out there that spend their days hanging out with their best friends, playing games and having fun... there just aren't that many that get paid for it.

I try to keep all of this in mind day to day.  As I fight my way through the crowded subway commute each morning, I try to remember how much I enjoy my job.  Over the summers and the holidays when the hours get really long and the mornings get really early, I try to recall how much less fun pretty much any other job I'm qualified for would be (I'm not qualified to be a Mythbuster, unfortunately).  When I have the occasional bad day that everyone has even if they have the best job in the world (again; Mythbuster), I try to remind myself that ultimately, the good eclipses any minor bad thing that might have happened that one day.

But even though I try to keep this at the forefront of my mind all the time, I'm still occasionally taken aback by it.  Yesterday provides a perfect example.  I was at the House of Skills most of the day yesterday which meant that I spent quite a bit of time hanging out with Lucky.  As you know if you read yesterday's post, Lucky suffered a broken leg and hasn't been getting out much.

And as we were talking, he was admitting how frustrated he was by the broken leg.  But what was amazing was what was frustrating him.  It wasn't that he couldn't go out and play soccer or that he couldn't ride his longboard or go up a flight of stairs with ease or scratch an inch on his calf or go out with his girlfriend or join in any reindeer games.  What frustrates him the most is that he can't work.

To put this in perspective, for a lot of people with broken legs, the part where you take 6 to 8 weeks off of work is the one small silver lining around the whole ordeal.  Sure, there's plenty of bad to outweigh it, but most people have jobs that they'd be perfectly happy to not do for 6 to 8 weeks while they recover.  But my job is so fun that if you can't do it, you're frustrated.

And I can't blame Lucky at all for that.  I know that if I broke my leg and couldn't work I'd probably spend 8 hours a day blogging or checking in on the forum or making Trick of the Day videos under the theme of "Tricks you can do with a broken leg".  I couldn't stop doing it altogether.  But even then I'd be frustrated because I couldn't go out and be a Myachi Master.  I would be missing all the smiles.  I'd be missing all the fist pumps of victory from new players that just hit their first Under the Leg-360.  I'd be missing all the maniacs who have come to challenge me.  I'd be missing all the new tricks that were being invented, perfected, morphed and reinvented.  I'd be missing out on all the screaming, applauding crowds at the schools and the camps.  I'd be missing out on the vindicating feeling of proving somebody wrong about what they "can't" do.  I'd be missing out on all the Myachi Mania.

So on behalf of the Myachi movement, we all wish Lucky well.  Because not only his missing all the Myachi Mania, but all the Myachi Mania is missing him.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

An Update on Lucky

by Crazy Ivan

Many of you have already heard about Lucky's misfortune, but for those who haven't let me spend a few sentences getting you up to date.

Several weeks ago, Lucky was longboarding in the city.  It was late and dark and as he slid to a stop near a subway station, he failed to see a pothole in front of him.  His foot slipped into it while he was still moving pretty quickly and before he knew it, he was wiped out on the road with a broken leg.

Despite stereotypes to the contrary, New Yorkers are great people and several bystanders took action to help him out.  They called an ambulance and stayed with him until the paramedics arrived.  Before long, he was in a hospital, shot up with pain medicine and slowly realizing that he was not going to be able to open FAO on the following morning.

He called me at almost one in the morning to tell me what had happened.  I was still down in Tennessee overseeing the final week of Dollywood, but from there I was able to rearrange his schedule and cover all his upcoming shifts.  He wasn't sure the extent of the injury at that point, though he was certain something was broken.  I wished him well and passed back out.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to today.  Turns out that he broke his leg a bout a foot above the ankle and the break was severe enough to require surgery.  He now has a plate in his leg, which makes him .09% cyborg (which is pretty cool), but the important thing is that he's recovering nicely.  He's got his sense of humor back, he's getting pretty adept on his crutches and he's even keeping his skills up.  One of the great things about Myachi is that you can play even when you're bed-ridden.

So, as awkward as it is to keep calling the guy in the cast "Lucky", he seems to be pretty lucky indeed.  He is expected to make a full recovery without losing any of the strength or flexibility in his leg.  He's healing nicely and so far all the news from the doctors has been positive.

I've been getting a lot of questions on the forum, at the store and on Facebook about him, so I'll keep everyone posted here if anything changes.  We don't have an estimates time of return just yet, but when he's ready to make his triumphant return to Myachi Mastery, our loyal readers will be the first to know.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Rise of Grind Tricks


by Crazy Ivan

There was a time when Grinds were a technicality.  When we tried to categorize all the tricks together, we noticed that there was no category where the Dark Slide really fit.  We could have just modified the definition of Centrifugals (and to a large extent, that's exactly what we did), but this trick certainly didn't belong with moves like the Snake, the Crane, the Roller Coaster, the Vert... these moves were all about the Myachi being stationary.  The Dark Slide starts on the Elbow and ends on the back of the hand.  That's hardly stationary.  What's more is that there's no use of centrifugal force in the Dark Slide, so it's pretty inaccurate to lump it in with a category with that name.

So we created a new category and called it "Grinds".  That made sense from a skateboarding/tech-deck perspective and it sounded like a cool addition to our list of categories.  But the solution created a problem of it's own, obviously.  You can't have a "category" that only has one trick in it.  So we set about coming up with a couple more grind tricks.

The first several were pretty easy.  We reversed the Dark Slide (which is easy to come up with but pretty hard to accomplish) and we use the other obvious elbow to hand and hand to elbow slides.  We ended up with about a dozen tricks that we could call "Grinds" and we were satisfied with the idea that we were done there.

Over the intervening years, Grinds was the one category of tricks that I would constantly forget when I was trying to list all of them.  I hardly ever used any of them in my shreds (except the Dark Slide) and virtually never taught any of them.  On rare occasion, a new one would be invented.  Off the top of my head, the only ones I can think of that were created during this period were the "Wrist Twist" and the "Mind Grind", though there were probably a couple of others.

The slow pace of this categories growth really ended when Monk came into the game.  He started using a few of these moves and shortly after that Mav showed up and rolled with it as well.  These two guys (along with Animal) were really defining what was "cutting edge" in Myachi at the time so their interest in Grind tricks quickly transferred to a movement-wide resurgence.

But I don't want to overstate this renaissance.  It was still a pretty minor category and the "re-opening" of that box was so subtle and small that it went unnoticed.  Mav would come up with a new trick and I would say, "Cool, now there 26 grind tricks".  Monk would come up with two variations and not to be outdone, Animal would come up with 2 more and suddenly we're over 30.  But that still leaves it the second smallest category with only basic flips and spins behind it.

So, up to this point, the timeline of Grind tricks looks something like this:

July 2004 - Butter comes up with the "Dark Slide".
Sept 2004 - We realize we need to add "Grinds" as a new Trick Category.
Sept 2004 - Kid, Big Dog and I come up with half a dozen or so basic Grinds.
All of 2005 - Nothing happens
All of 2006 - Nothing happens
All of 2007 - Nothing happens
March 2008 - Monk and Mav get into forearm Grinds.

And over the next few years, not much more happened.  The category swelled a bit more, but even today there are fewer than 100 Grind tricks that have actually been mastered by anyone I'm aware of.  It's still a small part of a large game and I'm not aware of anyone who is really focused on that element of the game right now.

But a second renaissance might be occurring right now.  I've actually only noticed it over the last couple of months, so it could well be an anomaly.  Perhaps there are just a few new Grind tricks out there that people are excited about and maybe a month from now they will start to drop off the radar again.  Perhaps some new breakthrough in Portals or Splits will distract everyone and the cutting edge Grind tricks will be pushed aside, left unmastered for a few more years.

The fact that I'm writing this blog belies the fact that I don't believe that to be the case.  I don't think we're seeing an anomaly, but rather the beginnings of a major shift.  It's probably no coincidence that I'm seeing a rise in Myachi Masters (and a few really skilled Maniacs) doing Grind tricks at the same time that the whole world is seeing a surge in the popularity of Contact Juggling.  Contact Juggling is nothing new at the house of skills (I've been doing CJ longer than I've been playing Myachi, after all) but the reaction that people have to the grind tricks might be changing as they grow more familiar with CJ as an art form.

Whatever the reason, it feels like Grind tricks are reaching something of a critical mass.  I've seen this happen in the past with Splits, Portals, Merges, Matrices and High Body Strikes.  Once there is a sufficient repertoire of tricks in any category, everyone starts to gravitate towards it.  It becomes a fundamental part of being a well rounded Myachi player and then, as all the many talented people who play this game start focusing on their deficiencies in that one category... BOOM.  Suddenly the tricks grow so quickly that we can't even name them all.  Hundreds of extraordinarily skilled people are all adding their own flavor and what was once an afterthought is soon a major player.

But, of course, I could also be misreading the tea-leaves.  But I'm sure that even if this second renaissance isn't happening now, it will happen in the future.  This is just too broad a category of tricks to be left so unexplored.  The fact that they're all insanely difficult has been a barrier to pushing the envelope when it comes to Grind tricks, but I remember a time when the same was said of Portals and Matrix variations.  And in today's world I've met at least 3 people who could pull of a legitimate Matrix at age 7.

I guess the take-away here is that whatever the future holds, you probably need to get to work on your reverse Dark Slide...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Next Series Teasers

by Crazy Ivan

First things first.  We aren't even close to the next series.  Series 5.4 is in the works (along with what I would assume will be 5.4x), but the process is a maddeningly slow one and we're not on the verge of having these things on store shelves by any measure.  The whole process takes months and months to complete and the largest portion of it (the part where they stick the Myachis on a boat and send them across the ocean) takes the longest by a big chunk.  We haven't even gotten to that part yet.

So consider this to be the first "teaser trailer" for a Summer Blockbuster.  You know, the one that comes out in October of the year before and shows you just the tiniest clip and a little snippet of dialogue and frustrates the heck out of you because it's reminding you that you still have to wait another 9 months to see the movie in question.

This method seems to work really well for the Hollywood studios, so I figured we'd give it a try.  I've been observing the formula for decades now, so I think I've pretty much figured it out.  You start with some little tidbit of info that doesn't answer any questions, but instead it raises a bunch of new ones.  It's like when we found out that Bane was going to be the bad guy in Dark Knight Rises.  Did that mean that Batman would get killed in this one?  Did that mean they were going into the whole Future Batman thing?  Did that mean Batman would spend half the movie recovering from a broken back?  (Sorry, I'm a Batman geek)

So in the interest of raising a few questions without answering any of them, here is my "Teaser" for the new series:

Responding to calls from the Maniacs, this series will have a lot more diversity in the fabric department.

And that's all I'm giving you.  That's it.  Just a little tease.  And see how that raises questions that it doesn't answer?  As any Myachi Maniac knows, the last few series have been all (or nearly all) corduroy so when I say "diversity in the fabric department", obviously that means a few non-corduroy sacks.  But how many?  I did use the words "a lot more" rather than "a bit more" or even simply an unmodified "more".  So how many is a lot?

And while we're on the subject, notice how this is all completely ambiguous anyway?  All I said was that there would be more fabric diversity, but I didn't even hint at what fabrics.  There are, of course, dozens of non-corduroy fabrics that we've used in the past, so I could be referring to any of those, but there's no guarantee that I'm even talking about fabrics we've used historically.  It could be that we're using some totally new fabrics.  There's just no way to tell with nothing but that brief, non-specific statement.

This is, of course, only the "Teaser Trailer".  Like any good marketing campaign, I'll be following this up with a slightly longer version that gives a bit more detail while still raising even more questions.  So be sure to keep checking back with us...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Paddle Grips

by Crazy Ivan

I've written remarkably little about the Battle Paddles on this blog up to this point.  One of the shameful reasons is that I simply haven't been blogging all that often in the time since they came out, but there's far more to it than that.  The real reason I haven't written about them more is that they're hard to write about.

Up to this point, there isn't really any commonly accepted lingo with regards to the Battle Paddles and before we can really start talking about them, we have to define our terms.  Now, I don't want to write a 5,000 word diatribe where I name all the tricks, parts, holds, traps, etc. for the Paddles.  That would be overwhelming and thus useless.  Instead, I think the right approach is to parcel things out and define them as we go.

I figured the best place to start would be the same place you start if you get a new set of Paddles: Putting them on.

There are four distinct fasteners on the Paddles and a total of six individual loops.  As you get more and more comfortable, you'll find that you're not always using all 6 loops or all 4 fasteners.  Instead, you come to find that some tricks are possible only if you use a certain combination of these loops.

These various ways of wearing your paddle are referred to as "Paddle Grips"; as in, what particular way are you gripping your paddle.  There are 15 possible combinations that you might use and while some of them would very rarely be used, it's best to be thorough.  If there's one thing I've learned in my time as a Myachi Master is that you should never set limits on creativity.

Below I'm going to breakdown all 15 possible Paddle Grips, but before I do, we need to define our terms a bit.  The photo below should help.


Here you see what we call a "Full Grip".  All four grips are being used.  The hand is fully bound up in the Paddle in every way we intended to be possibly.  This is the type of grip that you would normally start with so this is where we'll start.

You'll notice too that I've added a number to each strap or loop.  The 1 refers to the wriststrap, the 2 to the thumb loop and so on.  Below, I'll be referring to each grip by a number.  A 134, for example, would be a grip that uses 1 (The Wriststrap), 3 (The Pinky Loop) and 4 (The Finger Strap).  So this would refer to a grip where the thumb is left loose.

This might seem confusing at first, but as we go, you'll see that it's much easier than referring back to the individual straps over and over again.

1234 - The Full Grip

This is, at least at this point, the "standard" paddle grip.  It's the best one to use if you're playing a sport that requires running up and down a field or a court, as it's the strap that leaves the paddle least likely to slip as you move.  The drawback to this grip is that it doesn't offer much wrist movement and thus isn't the best for freestyle or net sports.

123 - The Trapper

This is a grip where the wrist, the thumb and the pinky are strapped in but the fingers are left loose.  This is not used very often, but it does allow for some really cool traps between the backhand and the paddle and thus may eventually become a common grip for table games.

124 - The Sentinel

This is the grip that I use most often and is the best grip if you'll be wearing your paddle for a long period of time.  In this one, everything is strapped in except the pinky.  It's basically a small trade off where you lose a bit of control and gain a bit of comfort.  It's definitely recommended if you plan on wearing your paddle for eight or nine hours a day.

134 - The Hitchhiker

In this grip, you use everything except the thumb loop.  This allows for some spectacular pinches, but it leaves the paddle pretty loose on the hand.  It's much harder to catch long distance and high speed passes so it is mostly used in freestyle, but could also be useful in some court games or Fu related games.

234 - The Free Flow

Here, you're using everything except the wrist strap.  This is a very common grip for freestyle, as the wrist strap can impede the flexibility you often need for swaps, body crosses and centrifugals.  It's also more comfortable over a long period, so for many Paddle sports, you'll find yourself using this grip.  The major exception is something like Myachi football where you're running down field a lot.

12 - The Ebert

This is a rarely used grip where only your wrist and thumb would be strapped in.  I can't think of many advantages to using this grip, but I'm not prepared to say that there aren't any yet.  It just means we need to explore a bit more.

13 - The Dr. Evil

This is even more unconventional than the Ebert.  Here you would forego the finger straps and the thumb loop and use only the wrist strap and pinky loop.  It's hard to imagine a grip that would leave you with less control (except the single strap grips below), so I feel common in saying that this will remain the least used double strap grip.

14 - The Talon

Although I haven't used it much myself, I can immediately see the utility in using only the wrist strap and the finger straps.  You won't have as much control as you would with your thumb in, but it allows for a lot of quick tilt on the paddle, which could come in handy when playing table games.  It could also make for some cool freestyle capabilities, though they seem like they'd be pretty tough to pull off.

23 - The Surfer

Another option I'm just throwing in to be thorough.  Here you would be using only your pinky and thumb and you'd probably only be doing it because you hadn't tried it before.  I can't imagine what advantage it would give you, but it would be really hard to control and the paddle would be really likely to slip off your hand.  Oh yeah, and it would probably get uncomfortable pretty quick.

24 - The Free Form

This is one of my favorite grips.  I probably use it third most often after the Sentinel and the Full Grip.  Here, only your fingers and thumb are strapped in and the wrist and pinky are left free.  It is the single best grip for freestyle, as it allows for a full range of motion and all but the most specialized centrifugal moves.  It isn't a very good grip for sports, though, as it doesn't offer you enough control for passing.

34 - The Scout

Another grip used strictly when freestyling, this one uses the finger strap and the pinky loop while leaving the wrist and thumb free.  It is certainly not as common as the Free Form, but it does have advantages in certain paddle-trap moves and thus I use it occasionally in the course of a day of jamming.  It is difficult to control and becomes a bit of a strain pretty quickly, so I wouldn't recommend it for long periods.

1 - The Free Hand

There's really only one reason to use this, but the reason is awesome enough to justify its inclusion.  You have almost no control of the paddle here, as only the wrist is strapped in.  In fact, normally when you use the Free Hand grip, you don't even strap the wrist down very tight.  This allows the paddle to swing pretty much freely, rotating around your wrist.  This allows you to toss the Myachi up, swing the paddle out of the way and then free style on your bare hands for a minute.  A quick throw and a difficult twist later and it can be back on the paddle.

2 - The Slap Stick

There isn't much of a reason to include this one (or the next one for that matter) as you will probably never use them of see anyone else using them.  This is a grip where only the thumb is strapped in and isn't recommended for freestyle, traps, field sports, table sports, net sports, fu, or any other possible Myachi endeavor I can think of.  Again, only adding it to be thorough.

3 - The Renegade

See above, except instead of just using your thumb, you're just using your pinky so you have even less control of the paddle.  Again, this one isn't really recommended for anything and is just being included to be thorough.

4 - The Python

Ah, finally we get to the reason why I bothered to include single strap grips on this list in the first place.  You'll likely never use the three grips listed above, but this one comes in really handy for a lot of freestyle tricks.  In fact, this is the only grip with the paddles that will allow you to do a Snake or Crane.  This would, of course, be strapping in only the fingers and leaving the wrist, thumb and pinky free.  It's certainly the grip that offers the most range of motion and thus some of the coolest freestyle possibilities, but it is useless for sporting and traps.

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Alright, so now that we have the basics out of the way, I'll be able to easily refer to various Paddle grips as we talk about the different games and tricks we've developed with them.  I'll probably throw down at least two more blogs about the nomenclature along the way, but with this primer I'll feel comfortable launching into some of the more complex stuff without needing illustrations.

Oh, and get to work trying out all those grips you hadn't considered yet...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ultimate Myachi: The Ultimate in Myachi

by Crazy Ivan

Bones brings a lot to the table when it comes to Myachi Mastery.  He's got sick foot skills, amazing creativity, solid grinds, great multi-Myachi work, the kind of personality that forces people to have fun against their will, a passion to learn new stuff, an insatiable appetite for perfection, a sophisticated sense of humor, an eclectic interest in skill toys, a really cool mop and some of the best portal tricks in the game.  But if I had to choose one attribute that was his most valuable from a Myachi perspective, it would be his initiative.  He's not just an ideas guy, he's also a guy who gets it done.

A perfect example of this took place a bit more than a week ago.  I logged onto Facebook and saw that I'd been invited to a new FB group; Ultimate Myachi.  I was immediately intrigued and checked out the page.  It was something that Bones had dreamed up and done.  The idea was to play a version of Ultimate Frisbee (which is technically just called Ultimate and the people who play it aren't shy about reminding you of that) using Myachis and Battle Paddles.


The first game ever took place on Monday in Central Park.  Unfortunately, the scheduling did not allow me to make the first game so I can't give you the play by play that the game deserves, but from all accounts it was crazy fun.  Bones, Kid Myach and Mav were all present and several local maniacs showed up for it, including one we hadn't seen for years (shout out to Caffeine).  They all gave the game hugely positive reviews.

From what I understand, there was a huge learning curve involved in the first game so it took a minute for everyone to get the hang of the rules, the strategies and the fast paced catches on the paddle.  But by the second half there were some highlight goals, steals and passes that everybody was talking about the next day.

We'll be playing again next week and anyone who is within driving/walking/subwaying distance of Central Park is invited.  We'll be bringing plenty of Battle Paddles so don't worry if you don't have a set.  We're already expecting a much bigger turn out for the second go-round so it's entirely possible that we'll have two games going side by side next week.

Bones hasn't set the date next week (he's probably waiting for me to write the schedule for next week, which I'll be doing tonight), but when I have the date it'll be posted here.  Or you could just join the Ultimate Myachi page on Facebook.  Then you'll know as soon as I do.

Consider this blog to be a bit of a preview for the game.  I hope to post a more detailed breakdown next week that will include the rules of play, some pics and some video of a game in action.

And if you have a fun idea for a Myachi game or a Myachi sport, let me know.  While we've got a group of maniacs together who are looking for a workout, we'd love a chance to try something new.  If you have any ideas, leave them in the comments section below.  Or go all Bones with it and just make a FB page, announce the game and do all the leg work to make it happen.  That's even better.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Wild Eagle Myachi: A Pakisack First

by Crazy Ivan


We knew they were coming and we knew that they'd be pretty sweet, but even our most optimistic hopes underestimated the new customs we got in for Dollywood this summer.

As our regular readers know, Dollywood opened a sick new winged coaster this year called the "Wild Eagle".  It's all the buzz among the roller coaster enthusiasts, so Dollywood came to us to see if we could help them out with some exclusive branded merch for the new ride.  We were happy to oblige for several reasons.

So we ended up making 12 new sacks altogether.  We did 3 "Dollywood" branded sacks in Pink, Blue and White.  That's something we've been wanting to do for a while anyway as a way of commemorating all of our history with Dollywood and the Dollywood brand.  It's been a big part of Myachi history and it seems only right to have their logo emblazoned on a sick Pakisack.

But the Wild Eagle ones dwarf the Dollywood sacks in sheer awesomeness.  We did them in 9 color combos including 3 different camouflage sacks, a White, a Black, two Blues, a Pink and an Orange.  All of them our proudly decorated with the "Wild Eagle" logo and all of them are sick jammers immediately.  Two of the cammos are a fabric type we've never used from Pakistan and though it doesn't have the quintessential grip of the traditional soft suedes, it does have the characteristic instant yumminess that we've come to expect out of Pakisacks.

But there's also something we don't usually expect out of Pakisacks: Keychain loops.

That's right, for the first time in the history of Pakisacks, the Keychain Loop is making a comeback.  This will probably be a temporary thing (don't expect all Pakisacks to have KCLs all of a sudden), but it certainly makes a cool addition to this summer's exclusive offerings.  Not only are these sacks all 1 of 100, but their value goes through the roof by adding something never seen before in that type of sack.

Right now these Myachis are exclusively available at our booth in Dollywood and many of the most popular colors will no doubt sell out there.  At only $8, it's a spectacular way to own a piece of Myachi history at a fantastic price.  Of course, this also assumes that you're near enough to Dollywood to make that happen.  If you have to buy a plane ticket from Switzerland to pick one up, the price doesn't seem as affordable I'll admit.

But if you miss out on them this summer, keep a close eye on this blog.  We may have a few leftovers after the summer ends that will wind up as prizes for a few of the "Back to School" contests we've got in mind for Fall 2012.

Oh, and sorry that I didn't include pictures.  They'll be up on our FB page soon.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dollywood 2012

by Crazy Ivan


Sorry it's been so long since I updated this thing.  I've been out in Pigeon Forge with Bones orchestrating Myachi's triumphant return to Dollywood.  They've added a new (and extremely awesome) roller coaster, given us a better set up and invited us back to rock it once more.

I know there are quite a few or our regular readers who are in driving distance of Dollywood so I hope to see all (or at least most) of them at one of our upcoming contests.  If nothing else, you have to stop by and meet Digit, Myth, Sticks and Beast, the new Myachi Masters in Training that are accompanying us on this little adventure.

Not enough to entice you?  Keep in mind that Lucky will be showing up in a couple of weeks and we hope to have Hard Kore back and rocking it out shortly after the Fourth of July.  And if that's not enough to get you out to see us, perhaps this POV video of Dollywood's new coaster will do the trick:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back to Dollywood Once More!

by Crazy Ivan


Things can change pretty quickly for you when you're a Myachi Master.  A week and a half ago I thought I'd be spending the summer in New York and as it turns out, I'll have to spend it hanging out at an amusement park in the mountains.  I guess I'll just have to adjust.

It's no surprise to me at all that Myachi is going to have some presence at Dollywood this summer.  We have a really good friend and longtime maniac/parttime Myachi Master that lives down there.  His name is Digit and he's been in the game as long as I have.  He has sick skills, he's been a performer since he was 12 years old (magician) and he lives really close to Dollywood.  So he got a bunch of his buddies into the game and we were planning on letting them handle Kidsfest for us this year.  They're more than qualified and we have so much going on in the city this year that there was no way we could spare 6 Myachi Masters for 7 weeks like we did last year.

But then we moved a few things around, got a sick deal on a nice place to stay and started rethinking things. With a team in place there, we wouldn't exactly have to sacrifice half a dozen Myachi Masters on the event.  We could just send a couple to help get things going.

Well, long story short, we'll be sending a couple of different teams of Myachi Masters.  Each team will be staying for a couple of weeks and then coming back home to help us with the stores, summer camps, boot camps, birthday parties, events, team building workshops, street fairs, trade shows and tournaments that we have scheduled up here over the next 7 weeks.

The first Myachi Master duo heading down will include Bones and me*, and when we leave, Lucky and Bamboo will be replacing us.  I'll keep things up to date on the blog once we know exact dates.  Bones and I are flying down early Thursday morning to get things set up for Kidsfest's start this Friday.  I think we'll be there for three weekends, so if you're anywhere near Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the next 3 weeks, be sure to swing out and see us.

And if you need more motivation than the Myachi stand, I should remind you that Dollywood opened it's new winged coaster this year and it looks awesome:

Sure, it looks awesome, but I think I might have to ride it
17 times before I'll be able to say for sure.
Any of you who were reading this blog at about this time last year probably know how much I love this place.  It's smack in the middle of one of my favorite places on the part of earth I've explored and it's also the place where my life as a Myachi Master began.  So not only will I get to revisit the roots of the life I take for granted now, but I'll be able to do that with the backdrop of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.

It's gonna be a good summer.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Myachi Master Origin Stories

by Crazy Ivan


Possibly the single greatest thing about Myachi is the fact that it is so adaptable.  There are so few limitations to the game that basically, whatever your skill set is when you get into the game, it can immediately be applied to your unique style in the game.  Baseball players will immediately start throwing big airs, behind the backs, heavy rotations and fast swaps.  Gymnasts will throw down sick under the leg and reverse BtB combos.  Musicians will tend toward rhythmic swaps and shreds with wavering cadence.  I could keep offering examples for another twelve paragraphs, but I think you get the point.

As a company and as a movement, we recognize this fact and try to bring people into the game from a lot of different backgrounds.  This fact is pretty easy to see when you look at our street team.  Every Myachi Master in the game comes from a different background and this allows the game itself to constantly evolve in several directions at once.  There was a time when the new tricks in the game were successive; each one building upon the limitations of the last.  But today that evolution is more like a tree that branches off and bifurcates over and over again, with dozens and dozens of branches reaching ever higher.  The reason for that change is simply the addition of Myachi Masters with ever more diverse backgrounds.

If there was a reality show about the Myachi Masters (and there really should be), you would probably see all of it in the opening credits.  I can see the images now.  You would see Myachi Man and he'd probably be on the phone with somebody in China while texting someone in Germany while rushing through an airport terminal on his way from Miami to New York or something.  And then the shot would freeze frame and it would say "Myachi Man" at the top.  On the bottom, it would have say "the Entrepreneur".

Next we'd see Kid and he'd probably be at a trade show with a crowd of businessmen and women in expensive suits all trying to pull of Under the Leg 360s.  The shot would freeze there and the words "Kid Myach" would appear at the top with "the Salesman" underneath.  I guess it could just say "the laid-back surfer dude", so I'll have to get with Kid and see what he'd prefer.

I'd come next (it's chronological here) and I'd probably be shown juggling torches while riding a unicycle or something like that.  Maybe I'd be doing fire poi while on stilts or throwing down diabolo tricks on a slackline, but whatever it was, the screen would freeze in the middle of the chaos and it would say "Crazy Ivan" with the tagline "The Juggler".

Next we'd see Maverick and there's no question that he'd be long-boarding when we got our first glimpse of him.  He'd probably be throwing down some footbag tricks in the middle of some crazy cross step thing and then it would freeze right when people were starting to wonder if his skills had been enhanced with CGI and it would say "Maverick" and while I will always think of him first and foremost as the hacky-sacker, I suppose it would be just as appropriate at this point to call him the "Longboarder".  That being said, pretty much all of the Myachi Masters longboard at this point, so we'll stick with "The Footbagger" for him.

As the credits went on we'd meet (in no particular order) "Monk; the Flair Bartender", "Noodles, the Dancer", "Lucky; the Singer", "Chill; the Athlete", and "Hops; the Free-Runner".  Each one of them, of course brings a different background to the game that shows up in the tricks that they create, the combos they put together and the very style they bring to the game.

Of course, our astute readers will have noticed that several names were missing from that list.  Pinky, Bones and Bamboo simply aren't as pigeonhole-able as the rest of the team, but that's not to say that their contribution is any less important.  When Bones joined the team, he wasn't a juggler or a footbagger or a flair bartender or a singer or an athlete or a free-runner... he was a Myachi Maniac.  His first serious foray into skill toys was with a Myachi and thus his style is completely internal to the game.  And I can assure you, this hasn't slowed him down a lick in the "creating tricks, putting together combos and having unique style" department.

Bamboo is in the same boat, of course, and while Pinky was a juggler long before she learned Myachi, she is far more dedicated to Myachi than she ever was to traditional toss juggling.  I also think that Pinky should get the coveted "and featuring" spot at the very end of the opening credits, but perhaps that's just my pro-the-woman-that-I-love prejudice shining through.

The point is that everybody brings something different to the game and that's what makes it so great.  Right now I'm trying to learn tricks that Mav created and a few that Animal created.  And a few that Bones created.  And one that Bamboo came up with.  And some combos Lucky's been putting together.  And some stuff Hops is working on.  Oh yeah, and a few tricks I came up with.

I'll be celebrating my eighth anniversary as a Myachi Master later on this month.  When I look back at my early days I remember how it all seemed so overwhelming.  There were so many challenges to master and so many tricks to learn.  I'm really happy that after eight years and after all I've learned, there are still every bit as many challenges to best.