the 2016 single grip open (updated)

the 2016 single grip open (updated)

Aroundsquare is in the planning stages for a new begleri contest... the first of its kinds.. the 2016 Single Grip Open. The idea for the contest is single-grip freestyles.. combinations of moves where the begleri does not change its grip position. This means no transitions to other grips, and no aerials. The jury is still out on whether gap transfers will be allowed. There will be different "events" for different grips. There will be some kind of time limits. And submissions will be limited to single continuous clips. 

There are two main reasons for starting out with a single grip contest. The first, is that single grip is accessible, and equalizing. If we were

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#ao2hydras

#ao2hydras

I've been lagging on getting blog content up, but there are definitely a number of things that have been going on at Aroundsquare that are worthy of a post or two. One of the big ones is the Hydra begleri. Like the Titans, these are available in both titanium and aluminum. The Hydra beads are actually just part of a bigger begleri project that we've been planning, but when we first got the prototype beads and started messing with them, we were super excited (and a little frustrated) with how fun they were just as they are. So we rolled with it and launched them as is, with more planned for the future.

 Here is the write-up from the product listing over at the shop. 

Aroundsquare's Hydra Begleri are a fun yet highly capable modern adaptation of the traditional Greek multi-bead begleri. All of the Hydra sets have multiple interchangeable beads, allowing for interesting colour combinations, and some customization of weight.

The titanium version comes with four beads, precision-machined from grade 5 titanium, weighing in at around 7g per bead, for a total of around 28g per set. The beads themselves are 16mm in diameter and 8mm thick, making for a 16x16mm stack at either end. While this dimension sounds small compared to the 19/20mm Titans, and the 22mm Wukongs, the more angular shape of the Hydras makes them feel and play larger than their measurement would suggest. 

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badass beadwork

badass beadwork

I'm very excited to share the latest video from Kuma Films.. an incredible begleri edit, featuring some of the top slingers in the world... who (ahem) just happen to be sponsored by Aroundsquare. Extraordinary video and editing work, matched with incredible talents, and (ahem) some dynamite beads. Please check it out, and show your support to Kuma Films for making this happen. This video also marks the debut of our new Hydra begleri, which will be available Friday, October 15th, at 7pm Pacific time in our store. 

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concept drop

concept drop

The Concept Deck is (finally) dropping on October 15th at 7pm Pacific time. The Concept Deck is a card deck designed purely for cardistry. The deck consists of 55 identical standard casino quality cards, with no faces, numbers, or pips. Instead, the deck is printed with a simple geometric pattern that produces interesting pattners when the deck is fanned, and striking contrast during cuts and other card flourishes. At least eight distinct single fans are possible with this deck design, and many more variations are possible. The cards have a linen finish and are well polished for easy fanning.

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Titan begleri

Titan begleri

One of the main goals I had when I first set out designing begleri was to establish some standard forms and models. There were already a lot of begleri out there, but they were mostly being developed as one-off or small batch works of art. When I started playing, I looked around online and didn't know what made a good set... what weight, what size, what materials, what shape. When I looked online for videos, I noticed that different players were all playing with different string lengths, and that added to my confusion. It seemed a bit like the wild west. I wanted a set and setup that I could be confident investing my time in, with the expectation of being able to do a good range of tricks. I did a bit of research and went straight to the foundations... I bought a bunch of sets of the standard issue Greek metal begleri, from different sellers. This seemed to be the best standard available to work from. After talking to a few of the best players I could find online, I got some solid tips for string length, and I was completely hooked on the toy. 

My first real begleri design was the set I called the Little Bosses. They were small, round, and stainless steel. I loved those heavy little monsters, and ended up doing a few different versions of them in small batches. After gaining some skills and some confidence, I felt like I was ready to design something a bit more bold.. a set of begleri optimized for the skill toy market. I wanted it to be bigger and brighter than what was

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the AO2 Crew

the AO2 Crew

The AO2 Crew is a Aroundsquare's official team. They're a ragtag bunch of insanely talented object manipulators, from the far corners of the internet. They are also, hands down, some of the most creative, skilled, and dedicated enthusiasts we've ever seen. They are all multi-talented individuals, and they bring together crazy skills with begleri slinging, balisong flipping, cardistry, magic, kendama, and more. With these skills in the mix, they are quite literally defining the world of modern begleri play. Check these guys out, give them some love, and follow our social media to check out the latest from the team.

 

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    the Titans are coming

    the Titans are coming

    If you're looking for the forthcoming Titan begleri, you've come to the right place. If you're following Aroundsquare on Instagram, you have probably seen glimpses of the Titans--a titanium begleri set with a completely new bead design that has been refined based on all the experience and feedback since the Wukongs. They are extremely durable and very well weighted, and the bead design plays, feels, and looks amazing. 

    When Aroundsquare launched with Wukongs in collaboration with MonkeyfingeR, we presented something quite unique--an over-sized round begleri bead, unlike anything else on the market. The Wukongs quickly set a new standard for playability, and the design has inspired many of the

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    concept deck - proof of concept

    concept deck - proof of concept

    A good while back, Aroundsquare started to take an interest in the art of cardistry. We observed, we dabbled a little, and mostly we wondered.. We wondered about the potential for new visual elements that could be incorporated into cardistry work if we threw out a lot of the assumptions that go into conventional card design. The result is The Concept. It's a deck of cards designed only for card flourishing, and nothing else. There are no numbers, no suits, no faces. The entire visual field is designed around possible visual effects. 

    These aren't for sale quite yet, but we've done up a test run of them, and we feel pretty good about how they turned out. Let's call it a "proof of concept". We've added a little write-up to our Goods page, but to save you clicking over, here it is below..

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    Wukong Begleri Pre-Orders

    Wukong Begleri Pre-Orders

    If you're following Aroundsquare on Facebook or Instagram, you probably already know about the Wukong Begleri project.. If you don't, check out the video below to see what it's all about. 

    This is a collaboration with MonkeyfingeR Design, which is known for their high end custom anodized yo-yo. During the early stages of development, we had a lot of people come to us interested in picking up the Wukongs, and we finally decided to run a small, unannounced pre-release offer for those early supporters. It sold out. Quickly. And when other

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    begleri - worlds on a string

    begleri - worlds on a string

    Aroundsquare has been working on a little project behind the scenes for a few months, and it's time to post a little teaser. I've got okay focus when I need it, but I've never been a fan of just sitting still, and I've always liked having something to fidget with, and better still if there are tricks to learn. I grew up on yo-yos, but I would get in trouble for playing them in class. I spun pens, I doodled, I kept busy however I could. I wish I had known about begleri back in my school days.

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    abstract order and the tyranny of structurelessness

    abstract order and the tyranny of structurelessness

    I've received a few inquiries recently regarding the artwork seen around this website and Aroundsquare's social media. Although it might look like a completely independent line of activity, it's actually closely related to the other works and ramblings of Aroundsquare. Basically it involves the idea of using simple structures to support a creative or constructive process. 

    In this case, the structure is a simple rule--vertical lines of even width. While one could make the argument that this structure constrains the work, the opposite proved true in my case. While I abide by the structure, and

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    deconstructing school choice

    deconstructing school choice

    The principle of school choice is not as simple as upholding the rights of autonomy of families to make decisions about the education of their children. There are important considerations related to social justice, social cohesion, and so on. Private schools which are permitted to charge tuition are often able to generate large operating budgets, which can enable them to create better educational opportunities for the students there. This effectively allows wealthy parents to give their children an advantage over children from poor families, which undermines the principles of social justice. Charter schools with voucher systems, which allow families to effectively transfer their child's portion of public education funding from one school to the next, attempt to circumvent this issue by providing full public funding without any allowance for additional tuition fees. However, even in these cases, although financial inputs may be equal, there is still a social justice issue, because only the most active and engaged families (often those with the most educated parents) will do the research and leg work to make the best choices for their child's education

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    another award for GWDB

    another award for GWDB

    Aroundsquare is pleased to announce that Mulch L, from our popular Goodwood Deconstruction Blocks series has just received a new honour. We were contacted in the summer by the Family Review Board, and invited to submit Mulch L for review, and to our delight, the design was honoured with the Family Review Board Seal of Approval, and with a very nice little write-up to boot. Below is a small snippet from the review, and please visit their site for the full write-up

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    deconstructing classroom management

    deconstructing classroom management

    Classroom management refers to the way in which the classroom is structured, managed, and maintained by or with the teacher. It is often understood more narrowly in terms of the management and regulation of student behaviour, but optimally goes beyond this to include other aspects of classroom life, such as the organization and maintenance of the physical environment. Operationally, classroom management is usually carried out through a combination of the following elements: social norms; rules, and consequences for breaking rules; positive expectations; role modelling; good pedagogical relationships; positive peer pressure; routines and procedures for doing things; well designed learning activities that interest and engage students, and so on.

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    kuma films X monkey knuckles

    kuma films X monkey knuckles

    I've been a fan of Kuma Films for quite a while. I'm involved with a couple of skill toys communities online, and a year or two ago, I started to see these awesome videos circulating through the social media, with amazing shots, great editing, sick music, and more fundamentally, some really incredible skills from fantastic performers. After seeing their funky little bear logo a couple of times, I followed it to the Kuma Films channel on YouTube, and was blown away. I thought, "Maybe one day I could convince these guys to do a Monkey Knuckles video--I wonder how much I would have to pay them."

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    aroundsquare X yomega

    aroundsquare X yomega

    Aroundsquare is freaking excited to announce a new partnership with Yomega for the production and worldwide distribution of Monkey Knuckles. For those of you who have been following Aroundsqare, you'll know that this is a project that's been in the making for over a decade. Monkey Knuckles was first developed back in 2003, and at that time, it was a crude handmade item, with a player community of one. 

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    democracy and play

    democracy and play

    At Aroundsquare, we believe in play, and we believe in democracy. Until the end of December 2014, all proceeds from the purchase of Aroundsquare's toys will be donated to support the work of the civil society Council for a Community of Democracies. Learn more about their excellent work here. And read on to understand a little bit more about the connection between creative play and democratic participation. 

    One of the cornerstones of democracy is a citizenry that is ready to take on the responsibilities that democratic participation demands. This requires quite a lot of things, including a sense of interest and engagement in the world around us, and a feeling of self-efficacy, like we are capable of making a difference. We need

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    the 3 C's of democratizing culture

    the 3 C's of democratizing culture

    Aroundsquare's activities are diverse, but they have a single centre of gravity. They all have to do with helping to build a better world by supporting healthy learning and development. So we make toys that spark creativity and encourage active play. And we support educational initiatives all over the world, and especially those that are focused on empowering young people to help transform their communities, to make them more peaceful, more sustainable, and more just. 

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    monkey knuckles trick book

    monkey knuckles trick book

    One of the challenges of introducing a new skill toy is establishing a base of ideas so that people have some idea about the potential for what the toy can do. In the case of Monkey Knuckles, it's compounded a bit because the play is continuous. It's not like a yo-yo where there is a beginning and end to each "trick". With MK, there is a continuous flow and progression from one technique to the next. And there is no "reset" like in juggling or other skill toys where you make drop and start over... MK allows you to flow from one style to the next, and if you mess up one technique and miss a catch or something, there is almost always a way to recover and go on to a new trick without stopping. When introducing MK, I usually talk about styles of play, or ways of holding the toy, rather than

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    ehroundsquare!

    ehroundsquare!

    Aroundsquare is a Canadian company, and we've had great support from a handful of independent toy stores up here since the beginning. We got our start in Calgary, and the Calgary community has been awesome actually, with great thanks to longtime friends, Livingstone and Cavell Extraordinary Toys, Monkey Shines Children's Books, and Riva's Eco Store. Our first real exposure to the rest of Canada came this year at the Canadian Toy and Hobby Fair this pas January. We connected up with a bunch of cool independent stores east and west of crude country. And we also met, for the first time, a very cool Canadian distributor specializing in eco-friendly and socially responsible toys. They represent very cool and unique brands across Canada, and Aroundsquare is proud to

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