Bryan Jardin is truly a master of the yo-yo: he’s one of the top five yo-yo players in the world, he’s been the Philippines national champion three times and the continental champion six times, and he has no intention of slowing down. Thirteen years after he got his first yo-yo, Bryan came to Wonderama to show us his creativity, skill, and dexterity with a yo-yo in hand. His favorite place to compete? Tokyo, because it’s a kind of hometown for yo-yo– a lot of people participate in the sport– and also because the food is amazing. Hey, we don’t blame you, Bryan: food is of the utmost importance.
There’s something rather magical about a yo-yo’s movement, don’t you think? The constant spinning, the hops and jumps at the hands of a professional like Bryan– it’s quite mesmerizing. But it’s really all about physics. A property called rotational inertia states that a spinning object will resist moving from the axis on which it spins. This is why a yo-yo remains on the straight path up and down rather than twisting on the edge of the string. The other phenomenon at work is friction: without the friction between the axle of the yo-yo and the string, the yo-yo would continue to spin ad infinitum. It’s friction that eventually counteracts the rotational inertia and stops the yo-yo’s movement.
The origins of the yo-yo date back to ancient times, and different historians have placed the very first one in different places: China, the Philippines, and Greece are the most commonly cited; yo-yos have been hand-made in those places for thousands of years. Western Europeans came late to the yo-yo craze; the toy was introduced to elite circles of French society in the eighteenth century. Louis XVII was painted at age four with a yo-yo in his tiny royal hand! It wasn’t until 1927 when a Filipino busboy named Pedro Flores started carving and selling yo-yos like the ones he had played with as a child to guests in the California hotel where he worked. Soon after, Flores launched his own yo-yo company and was leading a yo-yo craze across the United States (Encyclopedia.com).
Now manufactured with plastic, yo-yos, remain incredibly popular objects for kids and kids at heart. You’re going to be dying to get yourself a yo-yo after watching Bryan Jardin’s performance below.
For more information on the physics and history behind yo-yos, click the following citation: