Monday, June 10, 2013

Untradable Myachis

by Crazy Ivan

The other day I happened to be amid a crowd of Myachi Maniacs, as often I am, and before long, a trading frenzy broke out.  I'd brought a couple of semi-rares and semi-commons (mostly series 4.2 - 5.3x) and the dozen-plus collectors all had their Myachis so before long I was negotiating and brokering and answering familiar questions.  "Is this fair for that?", "How about this?", "What if I add that?", "What would you trade for this?", "What could I offer you for that?", "Which is my rarest?", and so on.

You have to understand that as a person who has (a) collected Myachis for a decade, (b) actually wrote the Sackthology and (c) has probably done twice as many Myachi trades as any three other people put together (and yes, that's counting Myachi Masters), most of the answers to these questions are second nature to me.  I hardly even have to think about most of them.  Sure, an odd small run Paki-Sack from a couple of years back might throw me off a bit, but generally I can rattle off answers to questions like this without even coming up for air.

Which is why I was so surprised when I found myself completely unable to answer a question.

One of the would-be traders held up a Myachi and said, "What would be fair for this one?"

In a sense, it wasn't a particularly rare Myachi.  It was the White Rabbit, the plain white micro-suede that comes with the blue paddle set.  And if that were all, I'd just say it was slightly rarer than a 5.4 (as you have to buy a $20 item to get it).  But this one had been personalized.  And it wasn't just any personalization, it was a work of art that Lucky had drawn on the Myachi for the Maniac in question.  It was not only one of a kind, but it was a really cool one of a kind.

"Nothing, bro," I said, after a long pause to think it over.  "There's no Myachi that would be a fair trade for that one."

"I know," he said proudly, "but if I was gonna trade it, what would it be worth?"

And here I was dumb-founded.  I mean, sure, if I offered him a Goldfish for it, he'd be crazy not to take it right?  There aren't more than three of those in the world and they're much older and more well-known than this particular White Rabbit, so as far as that goes, a personalized White Rabbit would be nowhere near the crown jewel of a collection that a Goldfish was.

This is an academic argument, of course, since there's no way anybody's ever going to offer a Goldfish for it, but it does beg the question, what would be a realistic trade for it.  If somebody really, really wanted it, what would they have to offer for it before it would be a fair trade?

I actually wrestled with this question for a while before I realized why it was so difficult to answer.  Sure, there are a ton of Myachis that I can name that one might trade for that White Rabbit and some of them would be "fair" by any reasonable standard, but there's no trade I can imagine where both people would truly get an even shake.  And eventually, I figured out why.  Some Myachis are just untradable.

Let me give you another example, but in this example, you have to pretend I'm not a Myachi Master.  Imagine that I'd turned Myachi Man down when he offered me a job, but I kept playing Myachi and collecting them.  But in this alternate universe I'm just "Aaron Davies", not "Crazy Ivan" and I don't write the Myachi Blog and I don't have a massive collection.  I just have a few Myachis from different points in history.

One of my most prized Myachis (now and in our theoretical example) is my first Myachi.  It's a Sour Apple Green that is so beat up and warn in that I might as well call it a Sour Apple Brown.  It's gone far beyond yummy and onto just plain falling apart.  I stopped jamming with it years ago and now it just sits on a tube on the shelf with my uber-rare sacks.  It's nowhere near as old or rare as the Goldfish, the Iridescent Rainbow or the Paper Tag Yellow Wetsuit that surround it, but in my mind it's just as valuable.  My personal connection to it gives it a value beyond it's official "Trade Value".

Now, the very fact that it's my first Myachi gives it a certain amount of value to the average collector.  Just the fact that it was the first Myachi in one of the world's largest Myachi collections gives it a value to anybody that a normal Sour Apple Green wouldn't have, but if I'd never become a Myachi Master, it would just be a Sour Apple Green and its Trade Value would be 68.  That would make it "officially" worth a Electric Orange Shag or maybe an Aqua Crush and a Fudge Stripe.  But would I make that trade?

The point is that a Myachi has a "Trade Value", but it also might have a "Personal Value" that tosses the Trade Value out the window.  See, the "Personal" value that I attach to a Myachi will never be the same to you as it is to me, so we're simply dealing with two different valuations.  You could offer me a trade with a total Trade Value that was twice what my Sour Apple was worth, but I wouldn't trade it to you because it I'm attached to it in a way that you're not.  Anything you could offer to get it would be WAY too much to give up.

In the same way, that White Rabbit will never be as valuable to someone else as it was to the original owner.  Sure, anybody would love to have a Myachi that was intricately detailed all the way around by one of the world's most famous Myachi Masters, but just having a Myachi detailed by Lucky is nowhere near as cool as having a Myachi that was detailed by Lucky for you.

I have a number of "untradable" sacks in my collection and you probably have a few in yours as well.  They don't need to be super-rare or mismade or even particularly valuable to other people, as long as they have a genuine connection for you, personally.  I can't tell you how many times I've been trying to work out a trade with somebody where I'm turned down by somebody telling me, "Well, that was actually my first Myachi."

And when I hear that, I don't pursue it.  I don't up my offer.  I recognize that we're dealing with a Myachi that will never be as valuable to me as it is to the person I'm trading.  And in my opinion, I think it's pretty cool that the only three Myachis I have that I would never trade are all sacks that nobody would be all that interested in trading for anyway.

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Series Teasers

by Crazy Ivan

I put up a post on Wednesday about a new series in the works.  And although I wrote a really long post about it, it's been pointed out to me that I actually give absolutely no details at all about what to expect from the new series.  I spend the whole post talking about how excited I am about it and why I'm excited about it, but I don't say anything at all about the series itself.

I'll admit that part of that was an accident.  I did mean to sneak a few teasers in there when I first set about writing that post, but I got so into recalling all the new series that have come and gone that I spent the whole post being nostalgic.  And when I look back over it, I kind of feel bad for anybody who read through the entire post looking for a few hints about what's coming.

So I decided to write a whole new post just to offer a few cryptic clues about some of the new colors and fabrics that are coming.  Keep in mind that we're still a ways off from the debut.  The Myachis are being manufactured now so unless we fly a few in, it could be months before any of these are available on the shelf.  But it's never too early to get excited, is it?

To be perfectly honest, I don't know 100% what will and won't be included in the series.  As far as I know, all the fabrics are settled and we're actually in the process of manufacturing them, but I've seen enough of these to know that it's never too late for something to change.  Heck, when the Red Line showed up, we didn't know about it until the Myachis hit store shelves!  So I preempt everything I say here with a warning that chaos is looming and anything can happen.

By far, the most buzz-worthy sack of the 5.4 series was the Starburst.  It had been a while since we'd done a good shag and this one was a lot more than just a "good shag".  It's a great jammer and has a really cool color, design, pattern... whatever.  It's been an incredibly strong seller with both the guys and the gals and it looks fantastic in a jam.  No wonder, then, that one of our first priorities in this new series was to find a legitimate "sister sack" for the Starburst.  And all I'll say is that we did.

Another them of the previous series was re-releases.  We brought back several incredibly popular patterns (like the Aztec Red and Blue Labyrinth) in this series and it was pretty well received.  With that in mind, if I'm recalling correctly (and nothing changes) there will be three re-releases in the new series.  One is a very recent sack, one is semi-recent and one is from way back.  I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that one of these re-releases is something I've been looking forward to for about 5 years.

The only other teaser I'm going to offer is that this will be a really fun series with a much more muted palette than the last one.  There are a few brightly colored sacks, but by and large it will be a slightly darker series.  Skull and crossbone patterns and camouflage are always really popular, so expect to see at least one of each.  Beyond that, I'm not saying a word.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A New Series Looming?

by Crazy Ivan

In the time I've been with Myachi, I've watched 29 new series arrive.  It works out to about 3 new series each year, though that's just an average.  Back in the early days it was only one new series a year and nowadays they come with much greater frequency.

Generally, when you've been through something 29 times over a 10 year period, it starts to lose its luster.  Doesn't matter much what it is, once you've done it that many times, it's just not as exciting as it was.  I'm sure going to the moon is really awesome, but if you did it 29 times in a ten year period, at a certain point, I'd have to imagine it would seem routine.  Sure, it would still be fun, sure it would still be exciting, but as fun and as exciting as the first time?  I doubt it.

So one would think that eventually a new series coming out would just be more of the same.  New fabrics?  New color?  Been there.  Done that.  But strangely enough, that hasn't happened at all.  If anything, I get more excited about new series as we make more and more of them.

There's a couple of reasons, I suppose.  One is that when I was new to the game and the company, every Myachi was new to me.  Sure, a new series was cool, but it wasn't any cooler than looking over Kid Myach's collection and finding old gems like the Yellow Cat and the Silver Surfer.  All Myachis were new to me at that point, so the new series wasn't any newer than the old series.

Another factor that staves off the monotony is the life-cycle of a Myachi.  I can't tell you how many times we make a new series, I get excited about it, the excitement fades and then I see a really broken in sack from that series and I get excited about it all over again.  When I first started with the company and I saw a new Myachi it was just, "Hey, a new Myachi!  I wonder how good it will jam."  But now, I have so many different questions.  Sure, I still wonder how it will jam, but I also wonder how it will jam when it's broken in.  How will it jam once it's been broken in for a year?  How popular will it be with collectors?  Will it be one of those inexplicable sacks that everybody wants two years from now?  Will it be one of those inexplicable sacks that everybody seems to forget about?  Will it be the first in a long line of similar sacks or will it stand alone as a family of one?  Will it wind up being my favorite from the series?  Will it wind up being my least favorite?  Most of these questions will take months or years to truly answer, so every time I see a new Myachi I know that it's opening up a corridor of mystery that I'll be wandering through for quite some time.

And, of course, the biggest factor that contributes to my ever-increasing excitement is my personal involvement with the series.  When series 1.0 came out, I was brand new to the company and I didn't even see the sacks until they were on the shelf.  I just came into the booth one day and "BAM", there's series 1.0. With 1.1 it wasn't much different.  In 1.2 Myachi Man showed me the prototypes before the sacks were released, but it wasn't until series 2.0 that I had a hand in helping choose the fabrics.

Once you've got a personal stake in it, that changes everything.  I see a fabric and I fight for it to be included in the new series and then I've got to take ownership of it.  If that Myachi turns out to be a bad jammer or an unpopular design, that's my fault.  But then again, if it becomes a legend that everybody is clambering over each other to get, I can take a little pride in it, knowing I helped to make that Myachi a reality.

So as I eagerly anticipate the new series I can't help but wonder if that excitement will ever start to fade.  And who know?  Ten years from now it might be a ho-hum nonevent for me, but considering how stoked I am right now, I find that hard to believe.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Myachi Baseball

by Crazy Ivan

We just wrapped up yet another awesome season of Myachi after-school programs here in the city.  On Wednesday we closed the last one out with a bang.  Normally Lucky hosts the school program and when the schedule will allow it, I'll put one other Myachi Master there with him for the sake of variety.  But on the final day we went all out.  Lucky, Kid, Maverick, Hops and myself all showed up for bit of a Myachi bonanza.

And yes, there were trades, there was Fu, there was MYACH and there were some new tricks to work on for everybody (including us masters), but the highlight of the day for me was the biggest game of Myachi Baseball ever played.

We only had time for three innings and my team got crushed (7 to 3), but we all had a blast doing it.  See, this wasn't the first time we've played Myachi baseball, but it's the first time that we ever had (a) enough people to field two legitimate teams and (b) paddles.

As you might have guessed, the paddles changed everything.  In the past, outfielding was all but impossible in Myachi baseball and passing quickly in the infield was so tough that you constantly gave up runs by lofting the Myachi too high as you moved it from 2nd base to 3rd.  Once you add paddles, you can outfield, you can turn double plays and you can scoop a Myachi off the ground quickly enough to keep it in play.

And with the weather getting warmer, I figured it would be a great time to highlight this particularly awesome Myachi game.


Basically, Myachi baseball is exactly what you think it is.  It's played essentially just like baseball so any rules I don't specifically mention here would just be the same as the rules in regular baseball.  There are only a few minor changes you need to make.

BATTING: When you're up to bat at Myachi baseball, you don't have a bat, but you do have two options.  One it to use your foot and kick the oncoming pitch into the outfield.  The other option is to catch the Myachi and throw it into the outfield.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but before I discuss those, let's look at a few options the batter doesn't have:

  • You cannot use your body to catch the Myachi.  If you opt to catch the pitch and toss it back out, you must make the catch with the back of your hand, not by cradling it between your arm and body.
  • Generally, batters don't use paddles.  Only outfielders use paddles.  But if you've got one or two players that are newer to Myachi, giving them a paddle when they're up to bat is a great way to handicap the game and keep it fair for everyone.
  • A drop is a strike, not a ball.  If you attempt a catch and miss it, it doesn't matter where the Myachi winds up, that's a strike.  It's not a bunt, it's not a foul.
The strategy of whether to catch or kick will change throughout the game and it might even change during a single at-bat.  Catching and throwing will allow you to be more accurate and exploit a hole in the opposing team's defense, but it also gives them more time to get ready.  A kick is less accurate, but it tends to leave the defense scrambling a bit more.

Kicks are also much harder, so often a batter will attempt kicks until they have a couple of strikes and then they'll play it safe and go for the catch.  This strategy can be effective, but it makes life easier on the pitcher, as he or she will then generally know what you're going to do and pitch accordingly.

PITCHING: The "Strike Zone" in Myachi Baseball is a bit lower than it is in traditional baseball.  Since the kick is a genuine option, a pitcher can toss a Myachi much lower than they could with a baseball and still have a hittable pitch.  When we played at the school, we used our "Myachi Golf" target to define the strike zone.  A trashcan lying on one side would be about the right size for a strike zone... a hula hoop could work. Basically, you just have to clearly define a circle that sits low to the ground behind the batter.

This is really important unless you want to spend half the game arguing about whether that pitch was high or outside or what.  If the batter doesn't swing (or touch the Myachi when he or she tries to catch), you can easily say if it was a ball or strike just based on whether it went through the hoop or landed in the trashcan or whatever.

I should note that in our game, we had Kid Myach pitching for both teams and if he'd wanted to, he could have pitched a no-hitter.  If he'd really been rifling the Myachis in, we'd have been helpless.  So to keep the game fun, you can add an "arc" rule (meaning the Myachi must travel in a curve rather than coming straight across) or you can back the pitcher way up so that they can't accurately pitch really fast shots.  As weird as it might seem, if we were playing among Myachi Masters, we'd probably have the pitcher standing on 2nd base.

OUTFIELD: Basically this works exactly like it does in regular baseball, but there are a couple of important things that I felt like I needed to address.  One is that outfielding in Myachi baseball is one of the very few times you can ever touch a Myachi with your palm during a Myachi game.  Obviously, you can't catch with your palm since that would just about defeat the purpose of the game.  If you're going after a fly ball, you still have to catch with the back of your hand or your paddle.  And if your throwing to the infield, you still have to throw from the back of your hand or your paddle.

But the palm is acceptable if you're picking up a Myachi that has landed in the outfield.  In fact, not only are you allowed to pick it up with your palm, but you can even toss it to a teammate from your palm in these instances if:
  • You throw immediately (if you take a step or pause before throwing, you must move the Myachi to the back of your hand or your paddle before passing it) and
  • You don't "set" the throw (meaning that your hand doesn't go back behind your shoulder to make the throw)
Palm throws are only allowed if you pick the Myachi up and throw it all in one motion and such throws should be arcing throws.  The only reason this is allowed is because moving the Myachi from your palm to the back of your hand before a throw makes fielding take too long and gives the offense a huge advantage in the game, leading to scores of 11 to 14 in the second inning.


Armed with just that info, a basic understanding of how to play baseball, a Myachi. a few paddles and a few friends, you're ready to play.  If you have questions that I didn't cover in this post, feel free to leave them in the comments section and we'll get you taken care of.

Monday, April 22, 2013

On Confidence

by Crazy Ivan

One of the hardest things to learn for new Myachi Masters is what tricks to teach to who.  It's a pretty delicate balance when you're introducing somebody to the game; It the tricks you give them are too easy, they won't be challenged and they won't have fun; If the tricks you give them are too hard, they won't be able to do them and they won't have fun.

Clearly, what you're looking for is a good middle ground where the tricks are challenging enough that they might not master it right away, but easy enough that they won't get frustrated.  Now this would be relatively easy if every person you met had the same skills going into it, but people don't come out of cookie cutters and no two are ever alike.

There are, of course, some basic cues you can look to.  Age is the biggest one, obviously.  If I'm teaching a six year old to play for the first time, I'm not gonna start off with foot tricks.  Similarly, if I'm teaching a 16 year old, I'm not gonna start off with a bunch of trap moves.

But even among the same age there's a lot of variance when it comes to skills.  I could teach two people and they could both be, say, 12 years old, guys, baseball players and the same basic height.  That doesn't mean that they'll have the same skill level.  Heck, they might not even be close.  One of them might be able to hit an Under the Leg 360 on the first try, while the other might struggle to do a Hulk.

There are a lot of clues that you learn to pick up on as a Myachi Master.  You can learn a lot just from the way a person catches.  You can learn a lot by whether they're paying close attention to what you're saying or just tackling the trick full-speed-ahead.  You can learn a lot by how they respond to the first trick.  But if you really want to know how good somebody's going to be at the game, there's one factor that tells you more than all the others combined: Confidence.

The thing about confidence is that if you have enough of that, the skill comes naturally.  If I'm teaching, say, a 13 year old girl to play and she has a "I'm going to get this" attitude, I know I can teach her some tougher tricks because even if she doesn't get them right away, she's not going to give up.  But if I'm teaching, say, a 21 year old man with a "This looks hard" attitude, it might not matter that he's actually naturally better at the game than the 13 year old.  He's going to give up the second time he drops it so I have to give him super-easy moves that I know he'll hit.

I only bring it up because I probably hear "I'll never be able to do that" fifty times for every time I hear "I'm going to get this".  I hate hearing the never and I love hearing the going because I know that both of these statements are true and the only thing you have to do to switch from "never" to "going" is changing what you say.

I know you've heard it before: "Whether you say you can or say you can't, you're right".  Far be it from me to drill an old cliche into your head, but honestly, it's the most important thing a person can learn in my opinion.  Confidence makes the difference no matter what you're trying to accomplish.  And if there's nothing you're confident about, odds are nothing is exactly what you'll accomplish.

And the coolest thing about confidence is that it's free.  It's the only thing I know of the you can get just by pretending that you have it.  One of the main reasons that I've been able to stay stoked about Myachi for the past ten years is that I know that every day I'm helping people, both young and old, to build confidence.  And it doesn't matter if it's confidence in their Myachi skills, their social skills or their ability to learn new stuff, because confidence is "fungible".  If you get confidence in one area, you automatically get it in the other.

I've talked a lot about confidence before on this blog and, word of warning, I'm quite confident that I'll talk about it again.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finding Your Signature Trick

by Crazy Ivan

It obviously takes a certain type of person to be a Myachi Master.  Like any job, there are certain personality characteristics that you kind of have to have if you want to be good at this job; you need to be outgoing, you have to be a good teacher, you have to have mad skills, you have to be talkative, you have to be patient...

As a consequence of all that, when we bring on a new Myachi Master in training, there are a few things you can count on.  Sure, not everyone will react the same way when they start doing this job, but most of the people who have that "Myachi Master Personality Type" will.  In fact, we can usually get a pretty good idea how effective somebody is going to be at the job based entirely on how they act when they get there the second day.

If a second day Myachi Master Trainee comes in and shows you all the new tricks he or she is working on and how close they got to (insert awesome trick here), odds are good that they're going to work out well for us.  If they show up on the second day and they tell us stories about when they were teaching their friends to play last night, odds are they're going to work out well for us.  If they come in showing us how broken in they got their demo sacks and asking us about a rare one they saw referenced on some video or another, odds are that they're going to work out well for us.  And if they're already thinking about their signature trick on day two, odds are really good that they're going to work out well for us.

As I mentioned yesterday, we have exactly such a trainee working with us now.  He's been with us for over a month, but he hurt his hand pretty bad a week after he started (he slipped coming up his stairs.  It was completely unrelated to Myachi) so he's only had a few weeks of practice.  And he's doing all the things a really promising new Myachi Master should be doing.  He's working on tough foot tricks, locking down his Matrix, asking a lot of questions, tweaking his coaching style, taking bits and pieces from all the guys and working hard at coming up with his signature trick.

Of course, everything I just said about a Myachi Master is equally true of a Myachi Maniac.  The only real difference between the two is that we pay the Masters.  If I meet somebody and teach them the game and they come back the next day showing me all the cool stuff they worked on and trying to come up with a nickname and a signature trick, I know I'm dealing with a serious Myachi Maniac.  Heck, I probably know it better than the Maniac I'm talking to.

So as I watch Genaro (still haven't given him a nickname) struggle for something original for his signature trick, I think about all the Myachi Masters I've watched evolve over the years.  I think back on some of the different signature tricks and I couldn't help but think about how they were all similar and how they were, at the same time, all unique.

My signature trick just sort of happened.  The Crazy Ivan was a trick I learned while I was still Hackey-Sacking, so it was only natural that I used it when I started with Myachi.  For the first week or so, it was the only impressive thing I could really do with the thing, so I did it a lot.  Once I was named after it, I figured I was stuck with it as a signature trick from then on.

The same was true of Maverick.  I don't think he ever set out to make the "Maverick" his signature trick.  It was just a really impressive trick that he was really good at.  Heck, I don't even think he was the one that started calling it the Maverick.  That might have been Animal or Monk... heck, it might even have been me.

Speaking of Monk, his signature trick was also settled quick.  In fact, we knew what his signature trick was before we hired him.  When we first met him, he'd already come up with the Flying Fish and we were all so enamored with that move that he had no choice in the matter either.  It was awesome, it was original and it was a perfect signature trick, especially since he was crazy good at it.

But I shouldn't give the impression that coming up with your signature trick is always easy.  For most people it's a bit of a struggle.  Animal spent years waffling between a couple different tricks.  For the first several years he was with the company he seemed to have a new "signature trick" every week.  And if you have a lot of signature tricks, that means you really don't have any.

After a while he settled on the "Smooth Criminal" and that was his signature trick for a couple of years, but then as he perfected the Matrix Unleashed, his signature move evolved to one of the quintessential Myachi tricks and even though it took him a long time to settle on it, he probably ended up with the coolest signature move in the game because of it.

In some ways, Lucky is still in the middle of that struggle.  He has a signature move, but I'm not going to name it here, because if I do, he'll change it in a few months and I'll have out-of-date information on the blog.  I think that he's on the verge of something amazing, so I don't want to paint him into a corner with what he's doing now.

Bones was a particularly creative guy and he had so many awesome creations that it was hard to say anything was ever his "signature trick".  If pressed, I'd say his was the Stop Watch and I would imagine he'd tell you the same, but he's known for so many moves it's hard to pick a single one.

Bamboo, on the other hand, is every bit as creative and skilled, but there's no question in anyone's mind that the Armageddon is his signature move.  He came up with several more afterward, but his affinity (and ability) with that trick made it clear that it was his move.

I could keep going, of course, but what I'm trying to illustrate with this list is how intensely personal choosing a signature trick is.  There's no right way or wrong way to do it.  Some people pick a signature trick and stick with it for a decade (guilty) and some people let their signature move evolve as they get better and better at the game.  Some people create whole new tricks for their signature move while others just get really, really good at a trick somebody else invented.  Or others, like Kid Myach, just find a really cool new way of fitting some existing tricks together and create a signature combo like the Wavy Gravy.

It's also not something that you have to have to be a Myachi Master.  In a lot of ways, Myachi Man doesn't have a signature trick and I can't imagine anybody would deny that he's a Myachi Master.  Sure, you could call the Flow or the Fist of Lightening his signature trick, but he's also fond of pointing out that in a sense, all the tricks are his signature trick.

Since it's such a personal choice, it's hard for me to offer any advice on choosing your signature trick, but there are a few things that I can say that might help:

  • The trick doesn't have to be ridiculously hard.  In fact, it shouldn't be because it should be something you can hit 100% of the time.  It should be something that you can toss out in any situation, ideally.
  • It doesn't have to be something nobody's ever done before.  There are way too many Myachi Maniacs for everyone to have a brand new signature trick.
  • It isn't set in stone when you choose it so if you get way better, don't hesitate to revamp your signature move.  Just because I've never done it doesn't mean that you shouldn't.
  • Your signature trick should be a reflection of your style of Myachi.  My style is super-energetic so I chose a physically demanding trick.  Mav's style is flashy and really difficult so he chose a big, tough, impressive trick.  Monk's style was light-hearted, precise and strike heavy so he had a silly, difficult strike trick.
  • It shouldn't be too common.  Don't select a move that everyone does all the time or it can't really be your 'signature'.  You don't want the 360 or the Wolverine as a signature trick, although if you really like those moves, you can use them in a combo to devise your signature trick.
If you have any additional advice, feel free to leave a comment below.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Shout Out to a STWAKOJeer

by Crazy Ivan

It's always nice to meet a Myachi Maniac.  It's even nicer to meet a Myachi Maniac who has been doing such a good job spreading the word that we've already noticed a huge spike in online orders from his hometown.  It's even nicer when that Maniac has ridiculous skills.  And it's even nicer when he shows up to throw down some of those skills at the perfect moment.

So first, the story:

We have a new Myachi Master in Training, Genaro, at FAO (more details when we come up with a nickname for the dude).  He and I were at the store together Saturday morning rocking it out.  He's got a big family of people playing and the two brothers, two sisters and two cousins are all loving it.  They're pretty athletic so he was able to teach them some tougher stuff right away and the oldest of them was working on the Wolverine after only a couple of minutes.

But dad was skeptical.  After all, he says, "You do this for a living though!  These kids are never gonna get as good as you."

Of course, I could have stepped in and pointed out that Genaro had only been doing it for a living for a few weeks.  I could have pointed out that I know at least 200 kids younger than his kids that are better at the game than a brand new Myachi Master.  And that's not a knock on Genaro's skills.  He's really good.  But I know some 10 year olds that have been in this game for 3 years and have the skills to show it.

But I didn't need to say anything.  Because literally seconds after dad says this, a cat walks up that I've never met before.  And he throws down a picture-perfect Matrix.  Keep in mind that Genaro still doesn't have that move.  He's maybe 1 out of 8 on it.  But this kid who's about the same age as the skeptical dad's kids, just wanders up and throws it down like it's nothing.

Turns out he'd learned the game from Lucky a few weeks earlier and somehow he managed to get his hands on a 3.2 Finish Line (and had no idea how rare or awesome that was).  He's infected his whole school with Myachi Mania, so much so that when I started to tell Kid Myach this story he was able to tell me what town the dude lived in just based on where our website orders have been going.

So to Irish in Connecticut, thanks for your spectacular timing this weekend.  And thanks for helping us spread the word out there.  It's because of people like you that this game has grown from an idea to a multinational corporation.  Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

JOTYA History: The STWAKOJ Award

by Crazy Ivan

I know, I know... you know.  But I still have to say it.  There are a few people reading this that might be really, really new to Myachi so I have to say it.

STWAKOJ is a Myachi acronym that means "Spread the Word and Keep On Jammin'".  It's been a part of the movement since at least 2005 when Myachi Man shortened the usual closing line of his email and we've used it internally ever since.  I guess it was late 06 when the phrase made it's way out into the Myachi community and it's been synonymous with Myachi ever since.

In 2008, it also became one of the categories we decided to honor each year in our Jammer of the Year Awards.  In fact, when we originally started kicking around the idea of a Jammer of the Year Award, we only planned on giving out one award each year and the criterion for that winner would have been the criterion that we use now to judge the STWAKOJ Award winner.

Ultimately, of course, we decided that there were too many factors involved in being a Myachi Maniac for any one award to properly weigh all of them so we split it into a few different categories.  Now, I've already explained how, in a sense, the Trickster Award is the most important in all of Myachi and how, in a sense, the Forum award is the most important in Myachi, but in truth, the STWAKOJ Award really is the most important.  Or at least, it awards the most important trait.

Take Myachi Man as your example.  If he exemplified the things that would win the Trickster Award, he would be phenomenal at the game (he is), he would have created hundreds of tricks (he has) and he would be a legend in the movement (he is).  But, of course, if he didn't also exemplify the things that would win the STWAKOJ Award, there wouldn't be any movement to be a legend of.

Myachi is built on STWAKOJ.  The whole empire is built on the idea that one fan of the game teaches his or her friends, they teach their friends, they teach their friends and so on.  It would take a long time for Maverick, Lucky, Bones, Hard Kore and I to teach the whole world to play, but if we spread the game like a (good version of a) virus, we can eventually conquer the whole world.

And of course, given the nature of the award, the voters have often favored people who spread the word across the US border.  In fact, only once in it's 5 year history did the prize go to somebody who lived in the US during the year of the award.  Once it went to an American who was living in China, twice it went to different Maniacs in the UK and last year it went to Switzerland.

Anybody's guess where it will land this year...

Monday, February 4, 2013

JOTYA History: The FORUM Award

by Crazy Ivan

You could make an argument that any of the 4 JOTYAs is the most coveted prize in all of Myachi, but the Forum award always seems to be the tightest race.  It often has the most heated battle for nominations and it almost always has the narrowest margin of victory.

It's not hard to see why.  Until 2 years ago, this ceremony was entirely conducted through the forum.  And even now that I've opened it up to the blog, the FB page, etc., the bulk of the discussion and voting goes on there.  Because of that, everyone has a horse in this race.

Keep in mind that not every Myachi Maniac is a cutting-edge freestyler or an international traveler.  A lot of the people on the forum probably don't feel like they're qualified to win the Trickster or STWAKOJ awards, but everyone is a contender for the Forum award.  This one is just about who does the most to make the forum a fun place to hang out.

And there are always a great pool of candidates.  Myachi has one of the oldest company-sponsored skill toy forums on the internet and we're pretty proud of the community that it has created over the years.  Sure, there have been some peaks and valleys, some slow times and some busy times, but in all we've created a community that has sparked at least several dozen lifelong friendships.

But forums are forums so once in a while interpersonal conflict arises and, like you find on any online forum, there are occasional spats, disagreements and downright fights.  That means that when STWAKOJ time comes around, a lot of people that might have partially burned bridges in the past suddenly get a little more political and try to smooth out old differences with potential voters.

The Forum Award is my personal favorite because I've seen the kind of community that it helps to foster.  The past winners are exemplars of the kind of people we want populating our forum, the kind of voices we want representing our movement online.  It's ultimately an award about friendship, and what could be more meaningful than that?

Thursday, January 31, 2013


by Crazy Ivan

Some people would argue that the Trickster Award is the most coveted award in all of Myachi.  After all, it's primarily a game of skill and this is the only one of the Jammer of the Year prizes that recognizes somebody for their Myachi skills.

A quick perusal of the past winners will show that only top echelon jammers have won it before.  Mantis has taken the prize twice, Kickstand, Dragon and A-Train once.  All four of them true masters of freestyle Myachi.

But all that being said, the Trickster Award is not necessarily about who has the best skills.  Mantis won in 2008 and 2010, but Dragon won in 2009.  Does that mean that Dragon got better at Myachi that year and Mantis caught back up in the following year?  Of course not.  Because the Trickster Award is about something more than that.

Of course, I don't get to vote in the awards so I can't say exactly what people take into consideration when they're choosing the winner, but after watching the process go down for 5 years in a row, I can say with certainty that there are certain commonalities in the people that have won.

The most important factor, as near as I can tell, is INNOVATION.  That's the one thing that all the winners have had in common over the years.  Each one of them helped to take the game to the next level by creating new tricks, new combos and new ways of executing the classics.  They took the next logical step in the game and created two Myachi versions of one Myachi tricks or three Myachi versions of two Myachi tricks (and in Mantis' case, four Myachi version of three Myachi tricks).  They pushed the envelope.  They test the boundaries.

Not only does this make them great Myachi players, but it also helps others to become better.  The true Trickster is the one who brings everyone's game to a higher level.  Our past winners have certainly personified that trait and I'm sure whoever takes the award this year will continue that proud tradition.

Good Luck to all the hopefuls!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The 500th Post on the Myachi Blog

by Crazy Ivan

This will mark the 500th post on the Myachi Blog.  It's been around since February of 2011 so we're about to celebrate our 2nd anniversary as a blog.  That means that on average, we're updating the blog about once every 1.4 days or so.  That's a pretty good average if you just look at that number, but if we really break it down, it's not as good as it should be.

In 2011, the year I first started this blog, there were 444 posts.  I only did it for eleven months, so that was an average of about 9 new entries a week.  At that rate, I should have posted the 500th entry sometime in April of last year.  But in 2012, there were only 54 updates to the blog in the whole year.  That's only a little more than 1 a week.

Now obviously I have nobody to blame for this but myself.  As the company has gotten bigger, it's also gotten busier and while I once had a great deal of time to dedicate to the blog, the forum, the FaceBook page, the Twitter account and the You Tube Channel, recently I'm lucky if I can find enough to time to eat lunch and breath regularly.

So if it's gotten a little bit dusty in here, blame me.  I'm the janitor, after all.  I'll be checking in as often as possible in 2013 and I hope that I can make that a lot more often than it was in 2012.  With a little bit of luck, we can celebrate the 1000th post this time next year.

Friday, January 25, 2013

2012's Jammer Of The Year

by Crazy Ivan

It's been a tradition in Myachi now for 6 years.  Every year in January and February we undertake a small process designed to recognize the contribution that Myachi Maniacs all over the country and the world make to our movement.  Obviously Myachi Man, Kid, Maverick and the other Myachi Masters (including me) work pretty hard every day to spread the word of Myachi and keep the game going strong, but if it wasn't for the contributions of the Myachi Maniacs, we never would have gotten this thing off the ground.

That's why, way back in 2007, we decided to start this little annual celebration and in the intervening years it's kind of taken on a life of its own.  I know that a lot of our long-time maniacs look forward to it all year and as the arbitrator of the whole ordeal, I can say honestly that it's one of my favorite responsibilities as a Myachi Master.

The coolest thing about the awards is that they're all decided on by the Myachi Maniacs themselves.  It's up to you to pick the nominees and once the nominees are in, it's up to you to vote for the winner.  And as MMFL has pointed out in the past, if you want to win one of these awards, it's up to you to earn it all year long.

The nominating process began yesterday on the Myachi Forum and is only open to members there.  Of course, if you're not a member of the forum and want to nominate someone, it's not too late to sign up and send me a nomination via private message.  Just sign up, go to "General Discussion" and look for the JOTYA 2013 post toward the top of the page.

Keep in mind, it's only the nominations that are restricted to forum members.  Voting will be open to anyone who wants in on it.  The more votes the merrier.  I'll be putting plenty of info here on the blog as well so that even if you're new to Myachi you might be able to make an informed vote.

There are three award categories this year:

  • The STWAKOJ Award: This award goes to the Myachi Maniac who has done the most to help spread the word of Myachi over the country and over the world in the previous year.  Past winners include Halestorm (China), A Guy Called Will (England), Mach 3 (England), DGH (USA) and Myachi Max (Switzerland).  So as you can tell, this is a pretty international award.
  • The TRICKSTER Award: This award goes to the Myachi Maniac who has done the most to help expand the game itself by inventing new tricks, games and styles in the past year.  Past winners include A-Train, Dragon, Kickstand and the only two time winner, Mantis.
  • The FORUM Award: This one goes to the member of our online forum who has done the most to help make it an inviting and hospitable place for veterans and people new to the game.  Past winners include Jedi, Champ, Downtown and MMFL (The latter two shared the award once and won it solo as well)
Twice in the past we've also included a "Lifetime Achievement" Award, but this award is so coveted that we've decided only to give it out once every 5 years.  The next time it will be awarded will be in 2017 (for the calendar year of 2016).  Past winners include MMFL (2007) and Downtown (2012).

I'll be posting a lot more about the JOTYAs over the next couple of weeks, so be sure to check in regularly and get your fix.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Year, New Location

by Crazy Ivan

As many of you have already learned, Myachi headquarters has moved.  As much as we loved our location out in Long Island, it had become increasingly impractical to have such a big HQ in a place that the majority of Maniacs couldn't reach.  With so much of our business going on in and around the city, it made less and less sense for our HQ to be so far from the center of action.

While we'll certainly miss the location out in Glenwood Landing, the new spot is much more convenient for purposes of making deliveries, receiving deliveries, commuting back and forth from the House of Skills and getting back and forth from our two biggest retail locations.

Unfortunately, the new location does not include a retail spot.  In our old HQ, of course, we had a little Myachi store and a big Myachi play area, but it wouldn't make much sense to do that with a new HQ in the city.  After all, we already have two of the best retail locations a toy company could possibly want in NYC.  So as much as we're all digging the new spot, it's not exactly a place where maniacs can drop by to visit.  And even if you did, there wouldn't be much to see except piles and piles of Myachis.

So to all of you who got used to coming to see us out at the old HQ, we're sorry and we'll miss you.  You made our time out there awesome and you're the reason we're sorry to leave the old spot behind.  Unfortunately, these decisions often have to be made from a purely business perspective and it makes better business sense at this point for our HQ to be inside the five boroughs.

Of course, the new location is only one of many new things happening in the world of Myachi in 2013.  Stay tuned to the blog to keep up to date on all the new, exciting changes awaiting us in the new year.