Pen Spinning Website
Pen Spinning Tips & Pen Spin Info
What is Pen Spinning?
Pen Spinning is a hand sport in which the pen in moved aesthetically pleasing ways. Pen Spinning is popular among young people all over the world because it's minimalist and because pens are readily available. Some beginners' tricks can be learned in a matter of hours, while advanced tricks can take months to master. There are at least several hundred tricks and variations in existence. Pen Spinnning Combos can be made by linking individual tricks in a sequence.
Pen: Zebra 3000*F
Pen Spinning can be done with any pen. I use a pen that requires no modification (i.e. "pen mods" or "pen modding"). Pen Spinning is a beautiful hand sport because it can be done anywhere pens are found.
Photo for your Enjoyment: Uji, Japan
Pen Spinning Tips & Pen Spin FAQ
Q: Which Pen Spinning trick(s) should a beginner learn first?
A: There are four fundamental tricks that a beginner should learn. These four tricks are the Charge, the Sonic, the Thumbaround, and the Fingerpass. You could start with any one of the four at your discretion, but I advise you learn the tricks in the order stated above. For more information, you can consult the Pen Spinning Wiki.
Q: How much time would I need until I am competent at a trick?
A: This varies from person to person. For the four Fundamental Tricks, normally 1-2 weeks are needed for the Sonic and Charge. The ThumbAround can take up to a month to learn. The FingerPass may require up to a couple of months for the months to become smooth.
Q: How can I keep down the noise created when the pen hits the floor?
A: Try to practice newly-learned tricks at home, perhaps somewhere above a bed or a carpet. If you have neither, try spinning on a jacket instead.
Q: What pen should I choose?
A: Some pens are better for spinning and some are not. Please refer to the Pens section. Try to choose a pen that does not easily break when dropped. Mechanical pencils are not recommended for beginners, as the lead inside the pencils may easily break when the pen is droped.
Q: What is the next step after I have become competent at a trick?
A: Since Pen Spinning is a performance art, the Pen Spinning community encourages that you demonstrate your newly learned trick to your friends and relatives. However, please try not to excessively brag about your newly learned trick, as this type of behaviour will give non-Pen Spinners a false image that most Pen Spinners are superficial and immature individuals. Of course, this will not be true if we avoid this type of unnecessary behaviour.
Q: How does the Pen Spinning nomenclature work?
A: There are two major nomenclature systems. The first system a frequently used, informal system that many Pen Spinners prefer. The second system is a formal system in which systemized names are utilized to differentiate Pen Spinning tricks and variations. The Troposphere will host a page in the future that will precisely explain how the formal system works.
Q: Who should spin pens?
A: Pen Spinning is recommended for any individual who does not have RSI, or Repetitive Strain Injury. To avoid Repetitive Strain Injury, warm-up exercises are necessary. Pen Spinning warm-up exercises are generally the same as the warm-up exercises for keyboarding.
Q: Are there any safety issues regarding Pen Spinning?
A: There are a few safety issues aside from RSI: 1) When practicing an air trick, please make sure you wear eye protection; 2) When choosing a pen for practice purposes, please make sure the sharp tip is removed or reversed.
Q: Why should I spin a pen?
A: Pen Spinning is a form of art that does not fail in the entertainment of the Spinner and audiences. Furthermore, you could be spinning a pen virtually anywhere, since pens are everywhere. Pen Spinning also promotes the use of the brain, unlike some other activities, like TV-watching, which promote brain-stalling, in my opinion.
Q: Who are the people that spin pens?
A: Pen Spinners range from age 10 to age 70. Pen Spinners are located all around the world. Currently, Pen Spinning is very popular in Far East countries, hence, many Pen Spinning experts have their origins in countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. After the implementation of the UPSB, the Pen Spinning fever has now been extended to Western Europe countries such as Sweden, France, and Great Britain.
Tips for Spinning a Pen
Spinning a pen is one matter, and Spinning a pen well is another matter. What makes a distinguishable Pen Spinner is the knowledge of the finer details. I have met a few respectable Pen Spinners who have been able to learn tricks very fast, yet still be able to perform the tricks under pressure. I think some of the characteristics and actions of these good Pen Spinners are the following:
Tip 1: Relax the hand - putting much tension to your hand will cause the pen motion to become jerky looking. The problem of too much tension is especially apparent in the FingerPass tricks. Normally one would not have to make his/her fingers really straight to perform any trick. Trying to straighten the fingers too much will only make the hand tire quickly.
Tip 2: Watch the pen throughout all times - Although it is said that mastery of the trick is reached when the trick can be performed without looking, when starting to learn a trick, it is essential to pay an eye to the hand and the pen. This is because by watching pen with concentration, one can be more ready to identify errors. So, trying to learn a new trick by repeatedly executing the trick many times while doing some other things, such as studying, or watching tv is not recommended.
Tip 3: Choose an appropriate pen - Some pens are typically better suited for some tricks. For example, when learning the FingerPass, a longer pen is better than a shorter pen. Realizing which pen is more advantageous to learning which trick will shorten learning time. If you are not too sure which pens to use, by all means ask any Pen Spinners, or browse the Pen section of this website.
Tip 4: Spin with a warm hand - A warmer hand allowed greater flexibility, which in turns translates to better pen movement in between the fingers. Relaxing the hand can allow more blood to flow into your hands' vessels, thereby warming the hand. If the hands stay cold for a long time, consider soaking them in hot water, or take a hot water bath to make them warm again.
Tip 5: Pay attention to the finer micro techniques, such as movement of the entire arm, or rolling the pen.
Tip 6: Put in a break in between practice - Long duration of Pen can be hazardous to the hand's health, not to mention that the hand would tire quickly. Of course, when the hand is tired, the tricks performed would not appear as well as the tricks performed with an energetic hand.
Tips for Choosing a Pen
Tips for Choosing a Pen
A good tip for choosing a pen for Pen Spinning newcomers is to find something long, because longer pens tend to spin slower. The above is just a brief explanation on why longer pens move slower.
Consider the formula for "Moments of Inertia" (I = MR^2, in which the symbol I denotes Moments of Inertia, M denotes Mass, and R denotes Radius. Also, please consider the formula for Angular Momentum (Angular Momentum= Iw, where the symbol I denotes Moments of Inertia, and w denotes angular velocity).
A long pen spins slower due to the conservation of Angular momentum. First, let us see what Translation (a.k.a. Linear) Momentum is defined as:
p = Mv where p denotes Momentum, M the mass, and v the velocity.
An analogous equation for Angular Momentum is the following:
Angular Momentum = Iw where I is Moment of Inertia, and w (greek letter omega) is the angular velocity.
Having said that Angular Momentum is "Conserved," we could look at the variables that are involved. For a ring-shaped figure (When pen spins, we can consider that its motion is ring-shaped), the equation for AngularMomentum is:
Angular Momentum = Iw = (MR^2)w --> Angular Momentum = MwR^2
Substituting the letter I with the equation for Moments of Inertia reveals the direct relation between the angular momentum (the momentum of the pen in a circular motion) and the radius of the pen, R. Angular Momentum is proportional to twice the radius.
Holding Angular Momentum constant, an increase in R (longer pencils) will result in a decrease in w (its angular velocity). Note that this assumption holds if we hold the mass of the pen, M, constant.
The decrease in w, the angular velocity, is the reason why long pencils spin slower for pens of different lengths but similar mass.
As for the "force applied," the initial force can be considered as irrelevant. This is because angular velocity will become constant when the pen reaches its terminal velocity. (Otherwise, you would expect pens to accelerate throughout the course of, say a ThumbAround, something which is not true.)
Anyway, since longer pens spin slower, the movement of the pen is much more manageable with longer pens. Thus, using long penmods can avoid allow a beginner to avoid the typical problem of pen constantly flying away from the hand.
Tips for Choosing a Trick to Start With
Choosing which trick to try out first, or choosing which trick to try next after your have learned a trick is never easy. Although I would prefer that there be a definite answer to questions such as "which trick would be easiest to learn", such questions are, nonetheless, still very difficult to answer. This is because different spinners have their own pace of learning, not to mention that some spinners would learn a particular trick faster than the others.
Because of the difficulty in choosing a particular trick to start, the Pen Spinning community has developed a short list of tricks and other techniques for beginners.
Beginners are recommended to try the following set of tricks, called the "Fundamental Tricks". The Fundamental Tricks group contains 4 unique tricks, namely the ThumbAround, Sonic, Charge, and FingerPass. These tricks are named as such because it is believed that in the process of learning these tricks, a Pen Spinner could learn and practice the most important techniques in Pen Spinning. It is also believed that full understanding of the Fundamental Tricks will benefit a Pen Spinner's Learning of the more advanced tricks in Pen Spinning.
In a recent poll held at the Universal Pen Spinning Board which asks for members' opinions about the hardest trick of the Fundamental Tricks, the charge came out on top. The results are as shown (as of time of the writing)
22% [ 49 ]
24% [ 54 ]
12% [ 27 ]
41% [ 92 ]
Total Votes: 222
This result is somewhat surprising, because on the surface, the Charge looks easier to perform than a Sonic (since the pen doesn't move from fingers to fingers in a Charge), yet, the this trick is considered the hardest by far. Several years ago, many considered the ThumbAround Normal to be the toughest of the tricks; however, with the emergence of detailed internet tutorials/sites on tricks such as ThumbAround, and Sonic, what used to take several weeks to learn could now, in some cases, be learned in a matter of days.
In the past, I would have suggested others to learn the ThumbAround last, since I had regarded this trick to be the most difficult to perform properly. However, now, I would probably suggest that one should try in the following sequence:
ThumbAround --> (Sonic or Charge) --> FingerPass.
Assuming that the new Pen Spinner have access to ThumbAround tutorials, this trick should take the least amount of time to learn. As for Sonics and Charges, I personally believe that learning whichever first would not affect the learning of the other, since the underlying techniques are similar. For the Fingerpass, although I think the techniques in the FingerPass is more visible than any other three Fundamentals, this trick is harder to create smoothness, and could become a source of frustration of new Pen Spinners.
All in all, the learning sequence as stated above should allow one to learn Pen Spinning in a quick, and enjoyable way, with less chance of getting stuck learning a new trick.
Tips for Becoming an ethical Pen Spinner!
Since the purpose of this site is to introduce everyone about this artistic sport of Pen Spinning, I hope those who have decided to take up this sport can further introduce it to others who might not be aware of it yet. One way of obtaining the interests of others is to become a wiser Pen Spinning promoter that can probably be described by the following qualities:
Being able to abstain from practicing new trick in public setting - During the course of practicing a new trick, the pen may fall onto the floor or table many times. When practicing in a public setting, the noise from falling of the pen may be very irritating to the surrounding people. Unfortunately it seems like that the very few people who make lots of noises (from the drop of pen) are giving Pen Spinner a bad image to the non-Pen Spinning public.
Be able to abstain from spinning when the motion of pen might distract others - This is exceptionally important to keep in mind during exam times.
Being able to abstain from spinning when others request to stop - Being able to do this would get yourself out of many potential conflicts. Sometimes, inability to do this may lead to the banning of Pen Spinning in classrooms, or schools.
Being able to abstain from boasting about "How good I am etc." but instead introducing the artistic values of Pen Spinning - The people who boast about their self-acclaimed Pen Spinning skills are not really Pen Spinners. Rather, these people are probably just another example of minds conquered by self-arrogance. In my opinion, true Pen Spinners are those who perform Pen Spinning with the primary purpose of conveying it as an artistic sport.
Being able to realize when is the time to spin and when is the time not to spin
Being able to recognize who will not become an ethical spinner - This is perhaps the most important, yet hardest quality to possess. It is not very advisable to introduce Pen Spinning to those who would spin without considerating others beside them. Some of these people might choose to spin at will, and force annoying noises upon others. I suspect that these people would only be detrimental to the growth of Pen Spinning as a whole, and subsequently give Pen Spinning a bad reputation.
Pens on this Website!
Advantage: uniform weight distribution; thin; long
Disadvantage: hexagonally shaped
Comments: This pen is my favourite pen. I use this pen to write as well to pen spin. If you ever see me around a lecture hall, the chances are that I am either writing with the pen, or spinning it. I use this pen for almost any trick, with a few exceptions.
Where could I get it: Your best bet to find this pen is in a local Chinatown grocery. As Zebra is a little-known Chinese brand-name, many major stationary suppliers may not carry this brand.
Standard HB Pencil
Advantage: round shaped; long
Disadvantage: uneven weight distribution; must not be sharpened.
Comments: To compensate for the uneven weight distribution, one could add tape or rubber bands onto the lighter side to relocate the center of mass to the center of the pen. Try to find an eraser-less pencil. Eraser-less pencils are not sold in many places, but you should be able to find them at some stationary specialty stores.
Where could I get it: Almost anywhere. Pencils without the eraser are preferrable, but those are slightly harder to find.
Advantage: thick; room for modification; moderate weight
Disadvantage: uneven surface; sharp pointer (which is harmful if pen landed on body)
Comments: I use this pen exclusively for Sonics and Sonic related combos. I do not use this pen for any other tricks, due to its uneven surface. This is one of the more popular pens among pen spinning beginners and novice. Some advance pen spinners choose to use this pen as their main arsenal because the pen is modifiable. Modification enhances the aesthetics of the pen, and in some cases could also enhance the weight distribution of the pen.
Where could I get it: At any local major stationary retail chains, if you live in Canada or the U.S.A.
Pentel R.S.V.P. MX (modified version of Pentel R.S.V.P.)
Advantage: moderate thickness suitable for Sonics, uniform weight distribution; aesthetically appealing.
Disadvantage: chances of plastic breaking or cracking after a drop is relatively high, due to its hollow surface.
Comments: The MX virtually eliminated most of the short-comings of the original R.S.V.P.. The uneven surface problem of the original is eliminated, since the Pen’s clip is clipped off and sanded away. Moreover, the pen is lengthened by approximately 25%. The longer length allows for easier balancing during stall tricks and increases the execution success rate of “around” tricks (tricks that contain pen movement around certain object, usually a finger). I use this pen not only for Sonics and Sonic variations (as I would with the original R.S.V.P.), but also for other tricks such as the more advanced Backaround and Shadow.
Where could I get it: This is a modified pen, so you can’t buy them at any retail store. I got mine from my generous friend Kam.
PaperMate Flexigrip ultra MED.
Advantage: Flexigrip (gel-like grip)
Disadvantage: short; uneven surface; clip attached.
Comments: This is the pen which I use for the practice of self-rotational tricks. asically, the Self-Rotational Spin comprises of tricks that require self-rotations. Examples of such tricks would be: the Triangle Pass, the Wiper, the Backhand Tracer, and the Backaround. If you put your pen down on a slanted surface and it starts to roll, you already have an example of the self-rotational spin. This type of spin is usually found mixed together with other spins, but it's an important spin nonetheless. Understanding of the pen's self-rotation during the learning stages of the Backaround dramatically reduces the amount of time needed to successfully learn the trick.
Where could I get it: At any local major stationary retail chains. I think this pen is sold all around the world.
The Troposphere Tricks Evaluations
Most Valuable Trick To a Pen Spinner:
Thumbaround Harmonic is a must for any pen spinner. Knowledge of this is a sign of dedication to Pen Spinning.
Most Under-rated Trick:
Not very difficult yet handsomely looking. Combined with fingerpasses, and pen rolls, special Pen Spinning visual effects can be generated.
Most Over-rated Trick:
This trick leaves a weird feel on the hand. I prefer using the Twisted Sonic over the Sonic for any combination linkages.
Most Fatiguing Trick:
This is a trick that will potentially hurt your hand(s). I suspect that the repetitive motion of this trick may be a trigger to RSI.
Most Misunderstood Trick(s):
There is always confusion between these two, as the Internet contains a great number of posts in beginner's forum asking about the difference between the two.
Best-feel For Hand Trick:
This trick is one of the smoothest trickss in Pen Spinning. It feels great whenever you perform or practice it.
Most Difficult Trick:
There are so many aspects to cover for the Backaround 1.5; namely, the release, the roll on index, the catch etc. Took me more than half a year to figure this out. I guess I am just not a fast learner.
Most Painful Trick:
Leaves pain on thumb after every practice.
Most Versatile Trick:
Infinity and its variants
Combined with Wiper, Figure 8, Twisted Pass and Fingerpasses, one could create a combo that could rival critically respected combos such as Kam's Four Loop Combo and Reverse to Backaround.
Manifesto: The basics of Pen Spinning Nomenclature (2003)
The article below only applies to the naming of Pen Spinning tricks in English. Pen Spinning nomenclature other languages maybe significantly different from the method for English, so please be aware of this difference.
The English names given to various tricks in Pen Spinning can be quite confusing to new comers to the sport. Sometimes, even Pen Spinners with years of experience may also fall into naming traps.
Before we see what the general format of Pen Spinning tricks names are like, let’s first define a few terms:*
- Trick: The subsequent movement of the pen through space, generated by a one-time external force, with this external force originating usually from parts of the hand, such as the fingers.
- Combination: The action of performing two or more “Tricks” in succession
- Family: A name given to tricks that categorized together in Pen Spinning nomenclature
- Normal (trick): The variation of trick in a given family of tricks that is considered to be the easiest variation to learn. When learned, it serves as a solid foundation for learning other tricks within the same family. The Normal variation of tricks has the same name as its family name.
- Default trick: A normal trick that has a special fingering designation. The default is the easiest to learn among the normals
- Optional: words that describe how the trick deviates from the standard
- Family Name: the name of the family of tricks in which a particular trick is categorized into
- Numbers: numbers used to denote the fingers involved, and/or the number of spins the trick would contain
In Pen Spinning, both words and numbers are used in combination to describe a trick. Words or combination of words are generally used to describe the category in which a particular trick would fall under, or how that particular trick deviates from the “standard” of the category. On the other hand, numbers are usually added to the name to indicate which fingers should be used and how they would be used.
The formats of naming can be summarized with the following:
Pattern of Name
Less General Format
(Optional Term(s))(Family Name)(Optional Term(s))(Number of spin)(Finger position)
Note: The number of spin can be inserted before an optional term, provided that the optional term is after the family name. (i.e. Fingerless Thumbspin 1.5 Reverse is valid)
Optional Terms Categorization
Optional terms are usually adjectives used to describe a particular trick inside a large “trick” family. Some examples include “twisted” “inverse” “double” “fake” “fingerless” and “normal”. While most of optional terms are required to be inserted only before or after the family name (due to traditional convention), some terms (such as “double” or “triple”) may be inserted either at the front or back of the family name freely.
With regard to the definitions of terms, the adjectives can be divided into three categories.
- The first category of adjectives includes adjectives that have standard definitions, and can be inserted in front of many family names. (ex. Normal, reverse, inverse) For example, the word “reverse” simply means that the pen would reverse the path of that of the “normal” trick.
- The second category contains adjectives that may not have definitions on its own, but when attached with a family name, the resulting compound noun would be associated with a certain physical appearance. (e.g. twisted, fingerless)
- The third and final category comprises of adjectives that have several loose usages and thus no standard definition (fake, double)
Optional Terms Usage
Optional terms may be used in combination to modify the family name; however, sometimes the order in which the terms are inserted can also become significant. For instance, by traditional convention, “Inverse Twisted Sonic” may not be referred by “Twisted Inverse Sonic”, since these two may be considered as different tricks. In the former case, the trick would be considered as the “inverse” of a “Twisted Sonic”, whereas in the latter case, pen spinners would think more of it as a “twisted” version of the “Inverse Sonic”.**
Optional Terms Special Cases
In special cases, the usage of adjectives can be entirely omitted. In such cases, the name would refer to the default “Normal” trick within that particular family. For example, using the word “Sonic” in the context of a trick would imply that the trick is “Sonic Normal 23-12” (more on the numbers later), and not any other trick.
However, for any other trick that is not the default trick in a particular family, adjectives must be included so to indicate the trick’s variance from the default trick. Using the phrase “Inverse Sonic” would signify to others that you are going to talk about the “Inverse Sonic Normal 23-12” (which has the easiest fingerings for all Inverse Sonic Normal), and not other variations such as “Inverse Sonic Reverse” or “Inverse Sonic 34-23”. Similarly, if one wants to talk raise a discussion on the “Shadow Reverse”, others would see that as a discussion on “Shadow Reverse 12-12” (which is considered to be the easiest of the Shadow Reverse variations)
Optional Terms Examples*
- Normal: default direction and method of a trick (usually the easiest method)
- Reverse: performed with opposite direction of that of normal
- Inverse: performed with opposite side of the same hand
- Fingerless: performed without push by any of the fingers or thumb
- Double: trick with two rotations, or 720 degrees, in a 2-dimensional plane
Family names are either a single word or combination of words that represents a group of tricks that either share similar appearances or similar concepts. They could eitherbe :
- created by combining smaller words into one word to describe the appearance or movement of the tricks within the family
- created arbitrarily, with names often having some association with the appearance of the tricks within the family
Examples of the 1st case are “Indexaround” and “Backtap”. The name Indexaround would intuity suggest that pen is going “around the index finger” and the name Backtap may mean “tapping the pen with something to do with the back of the hand” (whether or not the pen is tapped with the back of the hand, or whether it is spun on the tap of the hand is something we are not sure just by looking at the name, but nonetheless we would have an idea of what the trick is about with the words “back” and “tap”)
While words such as Indexaround give us clues on what the trick is about, arbitrary names such as “Sonic” and “Spider Spin” would hint little at what the trick would look like. From what I have heard, the Pen Spinner that gave Sonic its name, Hideaki Kondoh, did so because the pen seems to move very fast in between the fingers. The creator of the Spider Spin, Kam, named his trick this way because the hand creates a posture that reminds one of Spider Man shooting his web, and obviously not because the pen spins around a spider.
It seems like tricks that are of higher originality are usually named arbitrarily. However, exceptions to this observation do exist, such as the case for the original “Backaround” and “Triangle Pass”.
Numbers are used in two primary ways when naming. The first way designates the starting/ending finger positions, and the second way signifies the number of rotations caused by a single push (please see note on number of rotations).
In Pen Spinning nomenclature, numbers are assigned to individual fingers. The numbers “1”, “2”, “3”, “4” represent the index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers respectively. This is coincidentally how one would read fingerings in a strings (violin/cello etc.) composition. Furthermore, the letter “t” denotes the thumb.
The space in between two fingers is represented by putting two finger-numbers together. In other words, “34” would represent the space between ring and pinky fingers while “t1” would correspond to space between thumb and index. When we start a Pen Spinning trick by holding the pen with our ring and pinky fingers, we say that it starts at “34”.
Two of these number pairings, and a hyphen in between, would tell us where the finger positions are, before and after the trick. The notation “34-12” would intuitively mean holding the pen with ring and pinky fingers before the trick and catching the pen with the index and middle fingers. This notation would always be placed in the back of a trick’s name.
Number of Spins
Generally speaking, a number to indicate the number of rotations by a trick is inserted when the trick has more rotations than the default normal trick. Sometimes, adjectives like “double” and “triple” are added in place of a number. Of course, these words cannot be used together with a number due to redundancy problems (ie. One would not say “Thumbspin 1.5 Double”). It must be noted that “double” does not exactly mean “2.0”. This is because they are not always interchangeable.
Technically, for family names that are formed by two smaller words, capital letters should be used for the two initial words (e.g. ThumbSpin vs. Thumbspin). However, the latter is more convenient and is now widely accepted as valid.
So far, the finger positions of trick naming does not include distinction between left and right hand. So, a Pen Spinner faces the problem of naming precisely a trick that sees the pen go from 34 of one hand to 34 of another hand (such as Sonic transfer that goes from one hand to the other). Here’s what I see coming in the future:
- “l34-r34” to denote left hand’s 34 to right hand’s 34
- “34-elbow” to denote an ending position formed by things other than fingers, in this case, the elbow
- “23-” to denote a trick that has no special ending position, such as an air trick that is not catched by any part of the body.
Special combos have unique names, and sometimes these unique names can be mistakenly interpreted to be a trick. Combos names such as “Fake Triple” can be deceiving, since it has the adjectives used most commonly by tricks. With one more glance though, one could easily realize that it has no family name. This fact would signify that it’s probably not a trick. Because of situations like this, always look for any unusual properties when trying to identify the “trick or combo”.
* The definitions given in this site are what we essentially need to know for the purpose of explaining the information in this article. The Universal Pen Spinning Board contains precise and rigorous definitions for the terms below.The Troposphere recommends persons with interest in Pen Spinning refer to the UPSB definitions, and recognize the fact that any definitions of terms within this article are only approximates of the UPSB definitions.
**As a side note, there are arguments on whether Twisted Sonic should be categorized as a trick, or as a combo. More on this later). Since currently, there are no standard rules for knowing which adjective should be placed in front of which, so the only method for now is to remember by heart, unfortunately.
Visions of a major scale Pen Spinning Tournament (2003)
(Author's Note: The first Online Pen Spinning World Championship was held several years after this was written)
1) Candidates write a knowledge test on Pen Spinning.
2) Candidates participate in an interview in which he/she must execute several basic combos with smoothness and confidence.
Early rounds in championship:
1) Two Pen Spinners engage in a battle to qualify for the next round. In the first part of the battle is a technical portion. This portion includes battles in categories like "the most number of sonic harmonics within tenseconds" or "the least amount of time to perform 5 straight successful Backarounds". The winner of each category receives one point toward their aggregate score. Early rounds should contain five technical battles.
2) Two Pen Spinners battle head-to-head in short programs that feature 5-move combos and 10-move combos. The winner of each battle will have to exemplify artistic, original, and creative qualities. During this part of the early rounds, the level of difficulty of the combos is not a major concern. Some theme examples are "infinity and variants" and "Hyper-Sonic and variants". The winner of each category receives one point toward their aggregate score. Early rounds should contain five artistic battles.
3) If both Pen Spinners are tied in points after the first two parts, a sudden death playoff kicks in. In the playoff, Pen Spinner A gets to perform any 5-move freestyle combo he/she wishes and Pen Spinner B must try to duplicate Pen Spinner A's combo within 30 seconds after the end of Pen Spinner A's performance. Similar, Pen Spinner A must duplicate Pen Spinner B's unique combo. Whoever is the first to fail in duplicating a combo loses. The order of performance is determined by coin-toss.
Quarterfinals and Semifinals:
Each Pen Spinner must perform a 20-move combo that addresses a certain theme within a specific timespan. The theme is pre-determined by competition officials through a random draw. The theme can be composed of several families and/or combos. Each Pen Spinner is expected to create a combo within the 1 hour after theme determination. An example of a theme is "infinity, sonic, ts, k4lc, backaround". The freestyle combo may include any other tricks and combos, but the themed tricks/combos must be performed with relatively greater frequency and importance. Namely, each Pen Spinner must make the 'illuminate' his/her theme. The winner will be selected based on the combo's originality, creativity, level of difficulty, and artistic qualities.
Each Pen Spinner who enters this round gets a chance to demonstrate any 50-move freestyle combo that he/she wishes. The Pen Spinners may want to consider a theme for their combos, but themes are not necessary. The winner will be selected based on the combo's originality, creativity, level of difficulty, and artistic qualities.