A few words on the Fundamentals
In the penspinning community, many claim that one must first master the ” 4 fundamentals”, aka. the sonic, thumbaround, charge and fingerpass, as well as their reverse versions, before moving on to other tricks. I don’t think this is a must. The concept of “4 fundamentals” was created in an ancient era of penspinning, where there was very little variety in tricks compared to today. Because of the invention of huge numbers of new tricks, and due to rapid changes in penspinning styles over the years, maintaining a set or order of must-know tricks is not a trivial task. This is why lists shouldn’t be set in stone and one should always take them with a grain of salt. I do not argue that the “fundamentals” are not a good starting point for beginners, but I would like to challenge the common mentality that they are all equally important and that it’s a mistake to learn tricks in a different order. They aren’t a holy list of 4 irreplaceable milestones. They are merely 4 basic tricks which were popular around the year 2000.
I think the charge is very important, because it is the basis of many tricks which are actually used often, such as the twisted sonic – a popular “spam trick” used for freestyle spinning or linking with more difficult tricks.
The thumbaround is probably the easiest manouver out of one of the most popular and useful trick groups, the “arounds”. It is a great way for grasping the mechanics of this heavily used trick family and therefore learning it is a great start for new spinners.
However, the sonic is used less often than the twisted sonic in combos nowadays. The twisted sonic is just more versatile.
Fingerpasses are heavily substituted by powerpasses and other tricks. One does not need to be able to do a smooth fingerpass/fingerpass reverse in order to be a great penspinner. What you really need to be able to do to make progress are single passes in all finger slots and link them with other tricks.
In other words, penspinning is evolving at an extremely fast rate, yet no one is changing the “rules”. Don’t take advice too seriously – just don’t stop spinning.