Advanced Chinese Yo-Yo Trick: The Elevator

DSC_ 070Years ago, I learned a trick with the Chinese Yo-Yo (aka Diabolo) that is known as “the elevator” or “the climb.” Since I use it in my ministry show to illustrate the resurrection of Christ (thanks for the idea, David Cain), kids who see my show call it the “rise-from-the-dead” trick.

Whatever you call it, it is a very impressive looking trick that is relatively simply to pull off (shhh, just don’t tell anyone that). The yo-yo seems to completely defy gravity for a moment as it rises up the string.

And when kids buy the Chinese Yo-Yo at camp or after one of my shows, they all want to learn the “rise-from-the-dead” trick. And though I say it is relatively easy, let me explain what I mean by “relatively.” You see, it is still an advanced trick. You need to learn all the other fundamentals of manipulating a Chinese Yo-Yo before you can pull off this “simple” advanced trick. One must learn to spin the yo-yo, keep it straight, accelerate it to a very high speed, and some basic stick maneuvers before working on “the elevator.”

So when I teach workshops on the basics of the Chinese Yo-Yo, most of my time is spent on the fundamentals that I listed above. I usually don’t have time to get to the elevator trick because most kids aren’t ready yet. A few have been able to pull it off with a little practice at camp over the years. But most will have to go home and work on the basics and then this trick.

So here’s how you do it:

1. Accelerate the yo-yo to the fastest speed you can do. My method is the whip (most other diabolists use other acceleration methods). I whip my right stick back and forth, causing the yo-yo to bounce back and forth in front of me. When the yo-yo gets to the rightmost point on the back-and-forth motion, I quickly whip it to the left. Sometimes I whip my right hand over top of my left, other times I whip underneath my left hand. It all depends on which angle the yo-yo feels like it is moving when you are whipping it.

2. Once you have it spinning fast, raise your left stick and lower your right.

3. Now quickly take your right stick and wrap it around the yo-yo once (I wrap around the outer side of the yo-yo – the side facing away from me).


4, Once you wrap, then choke the yo-yo by tugging the sticks apart and keeping the string taut.


5. Watch in amazement as the yo-yo climbs the string.

6. Get out of it by letting the yo-yo keep climbing over the peak you’re making with your left hand stick. You’ll wrap your left stick over top of the yo-yo as it climbs around. Then you’ll find yourself in the home position.




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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.