06 May

BLACK: My journey to yo-yo mastery

I had originally intended this evening to be about Google Glass.  Last week Google Glass released it’s handling video online and it made me realize some remarkable possibilities about the future with it. 

The video, can be seen here.

However, when scouring through the TED talks, I stumbled upon something that I really found mesmerizing.  BLACK’s yo yo performance at the TED Talks!  And as fascinating Google Glass is, this guy is performing feats of eye burning awesome that it’s worth putting initial reactions down.

Speaker: BLACK (aka Tomonari Ishiguro)

Length: 10 minutes, 28 seconds

Date Filmed: Feb 13, 2013

Watch the performance here:

Ever watch something so bloody complicated that you have no idea what in the world is going on but you know something good is happening?  It’s like watching Curiousity land on Mars or a group of chefs working diligently and each contributing towards a single dish, or watching Yoda fight with a lightsaber for the first time.  It is beautiful chaos. I can’t remark on what I saw, nor can I even remember it it is the equivalent of The Matrix Mom.  (Note: The below video is only amusing if you HAVE seen the Matrix)

Ok, enough distractions.  It’s about the YO YOs.

3 Things that make BLACK’s journey to yo-yo mastery absolutely amazing.

1. BLACK tells a story we all can immediately relate to

For one, we all have or have had an interest that was a bloody waste of time.  There are countless options for time wasting, be it from collecting something or playing a game or trading stocks with no net gain in return. 

However, BLACK did the amazing and turned his interest into something he can stand on.

All the prerequisites to be on TED are there ten fold: World Champion?  Check.  Twice?  Check.  Inventor of the trick “Black Hops”, which became a compulsory at the World Yo Yo Contest?  Check.  The guy knows his stuff.

2. Bringing a yo-yo to the TED Talks is good for the yo-yo industry.

Being able to perform at TED Talks and being given a chance to perform for an audience that the TED Talks generates gives him a recognized legitimacy.  One of the more basic psychological needs that people have is to be given recognition for things they have worked at and BLACK acknowledges this need in his speech. 

By sharing his performance, other yo-yo enthusiasts might be more willing to bring their skills to the forefront to associate with that feeling of glory.  Even better, it might inspire some people to take up the craft.

3. Did you see the part where he just goes totally crazy with the two yo-yos like they’re a pair of ball paddles?!?!

The modern yo-yo as it’s design is known today, was from the Philippines.  The name ‘yo-yo’ is Tagalog (Filipino native language) for come-come.  Pedro Flores started the Flores Yo-Yo Company in 1928 (later selling it to Donald Duncan from Duncan Toys Company).  The yo-yo would become a recognized toy around the world quickly, marking the first World Yo-Yo Contest in London, England in 1932.

The World Yo-Yo contest is broken up into nine divisions (from 1A to CB)  BLACK’s performance appears to be classified as a 1A – The player uses a long sleeping yo-yo to perform string tricks which usually require manipulation of the string and 2A – The player uses two yo-yos simultaneously to perform reciprocating or looping ticks. 

BLACK’s 2007 performance (where he attained 1st) is viewable here:

Now as much as I commend BLACK for taking his interest and making it into a viable career, it is with warning I would advise others.  It’s quite possible I have become bitter with the universe but I get the feeling that it requires a great deal of luck to get there.

Is it worth trying?  BLACK shows that it is. 

Yo yo you yo-yo! (Actual saying I used as a kid)


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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in Uncategorized


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