How to Do the Chinese Yo-Yo (aka Diabolo)

The crowd favorite of my show is the Chinese Yo-Yo.  Quite honestly, there are a lot of people out there that are way more skilled than I am at the Chinese Yo-Yo (also known as the Diabolo).  But my intermediate skills at it still cast a spell over any crowd.  Why?  Because the object itself is so mesmerizing.  With a little practice and patience, you can have some basic tricks down on the Diabolo that will wow all your friends.

First of all, go get a diabolo.  Read my recent post about juggling equipment vendors to find places to buy one.

Step 1: Hold the two sticks straight out in front of you, about shoulder length apart and about elbow height.  Make sure you are holding each stick at the same spot with each hand.  Place the Yo-Yo on the string and let it sit on the ground in the middle of the string as you get ready to start.

Step 2: At the same time, lift the Yo-Yo off the ground as you start to spin it by making a drumming action with your right hand.  Keep your left hand steady.  The Yo-Yo should be spinning in a counter-clockwise direction.

Step 3: To keep the Yo-Yo spinning, continue the drumming action with your right hand.  The faster it spins, the less it will “tilt.”  If it tilts, you can straighten it out by drumming your right hand away from your body or towards your body, depending on which way the Yo-Yo is tilting.  Keep your left hand still, straight, and steady the entire time.

Step 4: Now you’re ready for some tricks!  Here is a website that will help guide you through some tricks, from beginner to advanced:


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Dr. Jesse Joyner travels nationwide as a speaker and entertainer. His primary role is that of a performing juggler spreading joy and the love of learning to family and kids events. H earned his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their three kids - the perfect number for juggling children.

2 thoughts on “How to Do the Chinese Yo-Yo (aka Diabolo)”

  1. I’ve observed in the world today, video games are definitely the latest fad with children of all ages. There are times when it may be extremely hard to drag your son or daughter away from the activities. If you want the best of both worlds, there are many educational games for kids. Great post.

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