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Pen Spinning - Terms and Basics.


You are going to know all the major terms which are used in pen spinning communities and which you need to understand what the hell I am saying in my videos.

There are a lot of terms and concepts in our underground hobby and most likely I wouldn’t be able to put them all in one video, though here you will find basic information, which would be OK to know at the beginning to make your studying easier.

So pen spinning consists of tricks, alright. All these moves you see – they are separate tricks connected with each other. When you connect one trick to another – you form a linkage. For example – this trick is called Sonic and if you don’t know it – you can find a tutorial in a playlist about tricks on my channel. And this trick is called ThumbAround, you can find the tutorial there as well. So when I combine these 2 tricks in one movement, it’s called a linkage.

From 2 to about 4 linkages connected with each other form a mini-combo. The first mini-combo in pen spinning, with which I suggest you to begin your study – is FingerPass. It’s a fundamental movement and my tutorial of this mini-combo is the first on this channel, if you don’t know it – check out the video, you need to know FingerPass. You see, some people call it a trick, while it’s not quiet correct, FingerPass consists of several simple tricks - passes combined in one movement.

More linkages than 4 or 5 or 2 and more linked mini-combos make a combo. Usually intermediate combos are about from 10 to 20 seconds long.

A lot of time any pen spinner spends doing freestyles – or FS. It’s when you combine linkages and mini-combos which you know really well into one never ending movement. Usually a pen spinner doesn’t use hard tricks in freestyle, hard tricks for him, I mean. They don’t give a lot to your progress, but freestyles are really fun to do and most spinners do them about 80% of time spent with a pen, sometimes 100% of all time, yeah. FS is really fun to do, you can do them mindlessly whenever you watch a video, speaking on the phone, listening to music or audiobook. Doing them helps you to develop your style as well, which is always good, too. But about style – not right now, I will speak about that later.

Any linkage or combo can be written down and can be read like music. To make that possible we break a combo down to separate tricks and call that – a breakdown – makes sense, right? In a breakdown one marks names and notes of the tricks and finger slots in which these tricks should be performed in a combo. And if you can read breakdowns – you will be able to repeat a combo which you like. So if we compare spinning with playing a musical instrument – you can know how to play violin, and knowing how to read breakdown – you will know what to play.

You can always make your own combos, of course, but hey, your imagination is limited, it’s never a shame to take some ideas from somebody else.

So now we get close to fingers and finger slots. What you need to know, we don’t really use actual names of fingers a lot as it takes much less time and space to write or say:

T – for Thumb. 1 – for Index, 2 – for Middle, 3 – for Ring finger and 4 – for pinky.

And when you hold a pen between 2 fingers – the place where it is held we call a fingerslot, or simply slot. So if it’s between Index and Middle finger, we say and write – 12.  This is Charge 23.

It is correct to write pen’s starting position and ending position, you see, this Sonic starts in slot 23 and ends in 12, so in a breakdown we would write Sonic 23-12. Though I guess all spinners will understand if you just write down Sonic 23, as it only can be finished in 12, lol.

OK, next one is notations – normal and reverse. There are several notations for tricks in Pen Spinning, but this one I consider the most important to know at the beginning. There is no point to overload your mind with all concepts and notations, let’s stick to basic ones. Normal and Reverse refer to tricks and mean direction of performing a trick.

In general Normal means clockwise motion of pen’s movement, it’s not a rule, but in most cases it is so. So if you ever doubt how to call a FingerPass – Normal or reverse, look – how the pen moves. If it makes clockwise circles – you make FingerPass Normal, if it moves counterclockwise – you make FingerPass Reverse. Each trick has these 2 variations – Normal and Reverse, so now you always can tell which one you make.

It works well if you spin with your right hand, if you spin with your left hand – directions would be respectively opposite.

Alright, these are the basic terms which you need to know at the beginning of your big journey in the world of Pen Spinning. So remember to show this video to newbies when you become an intermediate pen spinner, so they would understand what you mean.


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