|Chinese YoYo - The Chinese Yo Yo Diabolo and More|
|The Chinese yoyo is also known as the empty bell, pulling bell, and wind bell. Some consider it the second oldest toy in the world. It has no known inventor. However, reference to the Chinese yoyo was found in Records of Scenes at the Capital, which was written during the Ming Dynasty (1386-1644 A.D.). The documentation described the yoyo as such: “The two ends are round saucer shapes. In the middle is a horizontal piece of wood. Mount it on a string and twirl with a vibrating motion. It emits a humming sound.” |
Because the Chinese yoyo is not attached to the string, it may be tossed and numerous tricks can be performed. This also allows the yoyo to be passed between multiple players, allowing for multi-players tricks and routines. The Chinese would incorporate the yoyo into their performances during festivals or as a part of street entertainment. It was popular in juggling acts and Chinese ethnic dance.
Although the materials used to construct the Chinese yoyo vary, the actual appearance of the yoyo has changed very little in the past hundreds of years. The original yoyos were composed entirely of wood or bamboo. However, wood or bamboo broke easily, preventing players from successfully carrying out higher level tricks. Today, the wheels are composed of plastic, and the axle is composed of steel. The sticks used with the yoyo, however, continue to be made of wood. It is critical that the yoyo’s weight be evenly distributed. Without even distribution, it is hard to execute higher level tricks, and the yoyo may break.
The wheels of some Chinese yoyos have grooves carved along the rims. These grooves cause the wheels to whistle when spinning at high speeds. Along with the size of the yoyo, the number of grooves determines the pitches of sound. The varying pitches indicate to the player the speed of the yoyo and allow the player to adjust the yoyo properly.
People of all ages can enjoy the yoyo, and it’s small and light enough to carry anywhere. Because many tricks can be performed using almost the entire body, some use the yoyo as a form of moderate exercise instead of merely a toy. Practicing with the yoyo for as little as 15 minutes a day can improve motor skills, timing, balance, coordination, flexibility, stamina, and strength. Others use it as a fun way to relieve stress.