Reference to the "empty bell" was first found
in annals of the Ming Dynasty between 1386 and 1644 AD. The bamboo
or empty bell, commonly known today as the Chinese yo-yo, was
originally made of two round, wooden ends connected in the middle
by a horizontal piece of wood. This simple toy was nevertheless
an integral part of ancient Chinese culture. Performers of the
Chinese yo-yo could often be found in the ongoing street entertainment
of Chinese festivals. The yo-yo was also an especially popular
pastime in the northern parts of China during the springtime.
Since then, the yo-yo has survived hundreds of years with a few
minor changes in appearance; for example, the modern-day yo-yo
is now usually made of plastic, not wood. Despite these superficial
changes, the yo-yo remains a popular toy today, and has not only
evolved into a distinctive performance art but also serves as
a unique reminder of Chinese heritage.
How do you play Chinese yo-yo?
This ancient spinning game is simple to learn yet provides
endless levels of skill development, challenge and fun. The barbell-shaped,
hollow toy is manipulated on a string tied to two sticks, which
are held by the player. By spinning the Chinese yo-yo fast enough,
the player can elicit a humming sound from the yo-yo. Once the
beginner has learned to spin the Chinese yo-yo and maintain its
speed, he can then progress to learning how to do tricks with
the yo-yo, sticks, and string. From just a few simple tricks many
highly elaborate variations can be created, and several tricks
can be strung together to form routines. Unlike a regular yo-yo,
the Chinese yo-yo is not attached to the string, which allows
it to be tossed, resulting in a whole set of dazzling tricks.
The Chinese yo-yo can even be passed between people to develop
multi-player tricks and routines. This game can be enjoyed by
the young and the old alike, and can continue to challenge the
most advanced player as well as the novice. Its adaptability an
d broad appeal have kept it extremely popular over the millennia
and up to the present day.
Why do Chinese yo-yo?
The Chinese yo-yo is excellent for developing gross motor
skills in a non-competitive and rewarding way. Beyond developing
basic skills, playing Chinese yo-yo hones the ability to focus
on tasks and can improve learning outcomes in other fields. Practicing
yo-yo teaches physical and spiritual discipline, and can help
temper one's personality. The non-competitive nature of the Chinese
yo-yo creates a friendly social environment where skills are openly
shared between players and friendships are strengthened. It is
also a unique and visual way of making Chinese culture and heritage
accessible to a broad audience. Plus, it makes you look really
Did you know...
· The size of the Chinese yo-yo, as well as the
number of holes on its sides, creates the varying pitches of sound.
· The more well-known diablo is the European descendant
of the Chinese yo-yo. The diablo does not make sound, and is usually
made of rubber in its own distinct shape.
· The second oldest toy in the world is the yo-yo. The
first was the doll.
(Partial content courtesy of: http://184.108.40.206/yoho/main.htm)