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.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Collector's Dilemma

by Crazy Ivan

I've written about this phenomenon before and I've gone through it plenty in my near-decade as a Myachi Master, but that doesn't make it any easier.  The question that I'm asking myself now is one that many a Myachi collector has asked themselves over and over again.  To jam or not to jam?

The subjects of this question right now are two brand new belts, one black and one green.  One of the advantages to being married to the woman who controls the Myachi vault is that I get all the newest releases on the day of their release.  I should mention here that as awesome a person as Pinky is, this is only one of an unfathomably large number of advantages to being married to her.  But that's kind of off subject...

So back to these two pristine Belts that are sitting on my coffee table.  They're in little plastic baggies that protect them from all the harmful elements in the room (mostly my cats) and have been for about a couple of weeks.  I've taken them out a couple of times to get a feel for the fabric and I jammed with the green belt for a few seconds to get a taste of the fabric, but with those exceptions, they haven't been outside their baggies.

In a sense, that seems criminal.  By now I could have both of them nice and yummy and well on their way to SUMPOY.  I've jammed with two of the new Black Belts that were completely broken in and they were as delicious as any Pakisack I've ever jammed with, so I know what the potential is here.  But despite that, I still haven't jammed with them.

The reason is obvious to any collector.  These Myachis are mad rare.  We made fewer than 100 of each so I'm not going to get a chance to get any more.  I still have mint condition samples of all three of the old Belts in my collection (along with a mint Golden Nugget) and when I add in these two, I will probably have the only collection of all 5 Belts in mint condition anywhere in the world.  So how could I jam with them?

I should admit that for me, this question isn't as pressing as it is for some.  I've got hundreds and hundreds of Myachis in my collection so I've got plenty of other really broken-in sacks to jam with whenever I want.  I even have a second old-school Black Belt that is yummy beyond belief.  So there's no real need to break these in, despite the temptations to the contrary.  But I know that many others with smaller but still respectable collections are currently dealing with this same issue.  And for them there isn't an option to just jam with their other broken in Black Belt.

To a certain degree, every Myachi collector deals with this every time they add a new Myachi to their collection.  Ideally, my collection would consist of two of everything so I could keep one in mint condition and have another one that was insanely yummy.  But even a Myachi Master can't realistically pull that off.

In the end, I'll be keeping my Belts in their bags and as criminal as it seems to keep such incredible potential locked up, it's easy for me to justify.  I remember when the old Belts were the new Belts.  Back then I was faced with this same dilemma and I chose not to break in my set.  I did get a hold of another Black Belt along the way, but even if I hadn't, I wouldn't regret the decision.  Not many people in the game today have ever seen a mint condition White Belt unless they've seen mine.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Belts are Back!

by Crazy Ivan

They arrived late on Tuesday to much fanfare and excitement.  The longest awaited rerelease in Myachi history has finally come to pass.

There have been rampant rumors leading up to this, so let me confirm some and dispel some others.  There are two colors available, Black and Green.  They are differentiated enough from the originals that old Black Belts will not lose any trade value.  The new belts have the Myachi title printed below the logo and have glow stick loops so they will be immediately distinguishable from the old ones.

They will not be available in stores or on the website.  You'll only be able to get them by picking them up at Myachi HQ or by calling HQ and placing a credit card order with Pinky.  They were made in a very small run (fewer than 100 of each) and are available only while supplies last.  We will not be able to "hold" any belts under any circumstances (sorry).

I've had the chance to jam with one, but not enough time to break one in so I can't say how they jam compared to the old ones, but I can say that they were produced by the same manufacturer with the same specifications.  So my fingers are certainly crossed that they'll live up to the legendary status set by their predecessors.

Keep up with our Facebook page.  We'll be putting up an announcement once they're sold out.  Not sure which color will sell out first, but we'll announce that as well once we know.  And we expect these will sell out in days if not hours, so get your order in quickly if you want one.

And for all of you who have been emailing and messaging me about this for the last month, you can finally exhale.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


by Crazy Ivan

Sometimes it's a real struggle to come up with the right analogies for this blog.  I know that our loyal readers range in age from as young as 9 to as old as 50+, so occasionally it can be tough to think of an analogy that will be meaningful to people of such vastly different ages.  But on this occasion, I think I've got one that people can look at from either side of and relate to.

For my older readers, think of a niece, nephew or the child of an old friend that you only see once in a while.  You might only see them once every few years so when you do, it's always amazing how much they've grown.  Their parents don't see it the way you do because they see them growing gradually every day, but for you it seems to happen all at once.

And for my younger readers, think about it from the other side.  Consider an aunt, uncle or old friend of your mom's who you only see once every few years.  What's the first thing they say when they see you?  They're shocked at how big you are, as though growing were unexpected behavior from a child.  You know that they know kids get bigger over the years, but they still seem surprised because it seems to them to have happened all at once.

So with that in mind, let's turn back to Myachi.

As many of you know, Pinky and I spent a week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (my second favorite place on earth) a couple of weeks back.  We were touring around to all the Kitty Hawk Kites locations, promoting Myachi and teaching their employees how to play the game.  It was an awesome week and I wish we could've stayed for a month, but that's beside the point.

While we were there, I got a chance to see an old friend I hadn't seen in several years.  He's a Myachi fan from way back and knew the game even before I did.  He's been working with KHK for years now and first came to the game when Kid Myach was demoing in the store back in 2001.  Over the years Kid and I have dropped in on the area about once a year, but there was a period for about 3 years when neither of us made it our there and there was no real Myachi mania in the area.

Now fast forward to this year and an evening last week when Doug, Pinky and I all got a chance to hang out and have a cookout.  We reminisced over old times, drowned a few overcooked burgers in ketchup, drooled over his incredible collection of paper tags and caught up on all the intervening years.  At a certain point, of course, we started jamming.

And here's where we reach that analogy.  Doug was like the uncle who was seeing his suddenly much larger nephew.  The game had grown so much in the few years since I'd seen him that he hardly recognized any of the moves in my jam.  So much had changed that what used to be a master level move was now simply the opening salvo in an endless array of combos.

He had never seen a split trick, a merge, a splurge or a portal.  He'd never seen a variation on the Daredevil or a multi Myachi duck trick.  He'd never seen any juggling trick beyond a three Myachi cascade.  He'd never seen a variation on the Matrix.  He'd never seen the Jedi, the Pteradon, the Flying Fish, the Psycho, the Maverick, the Houdini, the Tripod, the Do-What, the Armageddon or the Stopwatch.  He'd never seen a three Myachi routine that incorporated simultaneous foot and hand tricks.  He'd never even seen the Matrix Reloaded.

And this is a guy who used to really know the game.  He just stared in amazement, flabergasted by how big the game had gotten in his absence.  And I felt like the kid seeing his uncle again.  Didn't he expect the game to grow?  Didn't he know that new tricks, variations and games would appear?  Well of course he did.  I see the slow growth that happens every day and even I am shocked when I look back at how much has changed.  But to be presented with it all at once would shock anyone, I suppose.

And of course, when you look at the past, you can't help but eventually glance over your shoulder at the future and wonder what new level of tricks we'll be showing Doug in 2015.