We’re continuing our interview segment and this time i spoke to one of the most original and individual players out there. His name is Ky Zizian and he’s responsible for a massive number of things. First of all he created Double Dragon, a style where you have two strings attached to one yoyo. Not only that he done that, he’s actually investing his precious time into popularising his creation by doing tutorials, documents and stubbornly competing with this “grey area” style in 1A division. Ky is also responsible for one of the best performed freestyle of the 2014. The show he put up in Las Vegas was very close to perfect. It had a story, it had jokes and it also included a massive amount of skill. But the #1 reason i chose to talk to Ky is his personality which is incomparable to anyone else in the community. And it shows in his answers. It’s also worth mentioning that we’re throwing in #HOOPZ stickers into first ten orders we receive after publishing this interview. Go read it. Now!
What do you think about the current situation in competitive yoyoing?
I think it’s really cool right now. Probably the best it has ever been due to how anyone can win/do well with their own style if they have proper presnetation, audience engagement and composition.
Do you think the old concept of USA x Japan still exist or are other countries getting into the top league?
Sort of. Japan and USA still have the highest concentration of high tier players but with the way yoyo is growing now there is a great player in virtually any pocket of the earth.
If you had to chose three milestones in yoyo and trick development, what would they be?
Hmmm its gonna be a little more than 3. Paul Esclolar creating GT, Yuuki Spencer with finger posturing and john ando with stage use. As well as Steve Brown, Mark Mcbride, Rei Iwakura and Jon Gates creating Freehand, 3a, Rei dragon and offstring respectively.
Do you think that the rivalry between yoyo companies and stores is created by the community rather than the businesses themselves?
Yoyo rivalries are usually over something dumb that can be overcome. When one of us is on point we are all on point. When one of us falls off we all fall off.
Where do you look for inspiration for your new tricks? Is it other yoyo players, other skill activities or somewhere completely different?
Everywhere. I get as much inspiration watching Takeshi, Ando or Shinji as i do from music, art, flowers etc.
What was your first yoyo and why did you decided to get one?
My first yoyo was a green proyo and i have been very fortunate in that i am immediately able to know if something is what i want to do for the rest of my life. When i saw that green proyo i just knew that it was for me. I didnt choose the thug life, the thug life chose me.
How long before a contest you start preparing your freestyle? And what would be your advice for players who are struggling with theirs?
Hmm well i think the most important part of a freestyle is music use. I usually have my idea of what I’m using done at least two months ahead of time. Then for trick compostion, I like to have 70% done before that two month period and then the rest i let sit. I never think it is a good idea to have your fs done wayyyyy ahead completely it gives your brain no room to create. My advice to players struggling is more of a question. What kind of story do you want to tell? What do you want to let the world know? As well as practice on stages in environments such as open mics at least once a week if you can. Also yoga.
Are you trying to understand the judging rules and build your freestyle around them or you just go for it?
For me its half and half. I know how to score points and i know what makes a dunk score well but i also want to put on a true show. While i am in it to win it, what is most important for me is to create a masterpiece.
What else, apart from yoyoing, do you enjoy doing?
I also enjoy producing Music, Turntablism and any Fire emblem or atlus game
We all know your double dragon style and we’re excited for the documentary to come out – how is that looking? And whats up with DD right now?
Very good right now Ben and i are just about done with vol 2. The rest of my dd plans i cant talk about right now you will have to wait and see :). Also big shout out to Gabor Kocsis, David Stejskal and every other dragon on his or her grind
Our slogan is “There’s no drama like a yoyo drama” – what do you think about these batrachomyomachias that we often see in a yoyo community?
I feel drama is silly and i try to do everything to make yoyo drama free by being as real as i can be with everyone and to give everyone a chance.
Are you following the current political and cultural affairs?
Unfortunetly no i have been so busy i don’t have much time for anything else.
What are your top 3 yoyos if you exclude the ones from your sponsor?
diffusion, palpitation and a split between the tiger shark and the renegade
What do you like to do apart from yoyoing?
Making SPACEJAMZ and practicing my jump shot.
What does yo-yoing mean to you?
Yoyo is everything to me. It has taught me how to learn any skill i want far quicker than the average person. It has given me a platform to speak my mind. Most importantly it has shown me that i can be what i want to be which is something anyone can do if they put in work.
How long did you practice before your Las Vegas routine? Because it looked well prepared from where i was sitting.
Hmmm probably 3 or 4 months. I had the idea before worlds and just kept grinding at it.
Are you sometimes fed up or not in the mood to yoyo?
Yes that is when i make music or scratch or do something else relevant to my hustle. From doing those i get yoyo ideas and vice versa. If you want to be the man at multiple things you must have a work cycle where everything is connected and is the same pursuit.
What would be your advice to a player who learned the basics but is struggling to come up with his own stuff?
Figure out what you enjoy in life that isnt yoyo and try to figure out how it applies. Also practice, practice, practice. Just keep at it the muscle memory comes with consistency but the real challenge is the idea.
What keeps you motivated?
Loving what i do and the people i choose to surrond myself with. Mostly it’s the people who keep me motivated though.
What title / success do you cherish the most and why?
There are a few.
ECC 2008. First time i ever planned a freestyle and felt good about what i brought and knew what i needed to improve.
Indy states 2013. First time i ever did Double Dragon on stage. Also Prince.
Ma states 2013. The whip i hit towards the end is one of the hardest tricks i have ever hit on stage. Still can’t believe i hit it. Also Howard Johnson.
Worlds 2013. That was when i knew i could do whatever i wanted as long as i put my mind to it. Also R. Kelly, LTJ Bukem and Biggie.
Nationals 2013. The first full 3 minute Double Dragon routine. Also Kendrick.
BAC 2014. The introduction of #HOOPZ as well as one of my SPACEJAMZ. Also you try doing a freestyle in Golden Gate park with 5 foot (1m) string ;P. Also T.I.
IYYC 2014. Brandy is the realest
Worlds 2014 Dragons unleashed. One of the strangest moments in my yoyo career. I think that was one of my best performances but not alot of poeple were there to see it. Shoutout to everyone who stayed for it.
SFC 2014. I had so much fun in Berlin it was crazy how we got to that contest in the first place. Also i got to use a song i could never, ever use in the states. Ever. Dope. Hope i can come out again sometime soon.
IL states 2014 (1a and Double Dragon). After that freestyle i knew i could go and crush Vegas. Also KeysnKrates.
LVO2014/5. My magnum opus so far in terms of freestyles. This freestyle presents my 11 years in the game. That contest is when my life started.
VA states 2015. Dedicated to the one and only space cowboy. A very important freestyle to me.
And i havent even started yet.
One of the most asked questions that we get is “how do i get sponsored” (i bet you get these as well) so what would be your advice for players who desperately want to get sponsorship and how did you get into your current team?
The best piece of advice i can give is play it cool. Don’t be a dick. That’s Isaac Asimov’s First rule of robotics. Thats really the biggest part. Be welcoming to others and give everyone a chance. As well as don’t be a jockstrap. I got on Werrd around ohio states 2013 i believe. I got on by being me.
Do you think that the current competition system (one minute prelims, 3 minute finals) is the best one can come up with or would you rather do it differently?
Yeah i think it’s a really good format because of how dramatic the presentation is. 3 minutes i think is perfect too.
Do you enjoy shooting yoyo videos?
Yes but only with homies. Really what makes yoyo fun at all is homies. This is one of my favorite videos Isaac Sams and i made together for im. This is a video my friend Matt Vituccio made before worlds 2006. It also has my first real trick i ever made up, the slack tower.
What social network do you use the most and why?
Instagram. It is the perfect platform for yoyoers to share and for non yoyoers to not only see the tricks but also the culture.
Are you a Mac or a PC guy?
Either/or but i use a mac.
What do your classmates think about you and yo-yos in general?
They don’t think, they know i ball hard.
What would be your message to yoyo players everywhere?
Stay on your grind and always be true to yourself.
Any last words?