The Weapon Myth

Recently I’ve been struggling to deal with the Yo-Yo weapon myth in Down-Up.


A fake ‘replica’ of a Philippine Yo-Yo weapon

I know I need to address the lie of the Yo-Yo originating as a weapon as it’s such a predictable thing to be told by those who think they know more about Yo-Yo than I do (hard not to feel sorry for the poor saps). It’s a topic I’ve approached before, here’s a short video I made with Sam Veale back in 2009 on the subject.

The notion originates from early Yo-Yo salesmen from the Philippines who needed a line to capture the imagination of the public. It is possible that their story was formulated on the idea that the Yo-Yo started out as a hunting weapon (similar to a traditional Hawaiian weapon pictured below) but there is no evidence to lead to this conclusion. The oldest Yo-Yos have been found in China and Greece, not in the Philippines as the myth would predict. mahi2 The manufactured myth worked, a little too well. It’s still being retold to this day, in Podcasts, celebrity appearances, Movies, TV adverts and by profesional performers who should conduct their research more thoroughly.

I’m finding it hard to have a take on the weapon myth that isn’t too predictable. It seems an obvious approach to say Yo-Yo is not a weapon but if it were it would be like this: [Then bursting a balloon with a weaponised, sharp Yo-Yo etc.] A year ago I contacted the V&A Museum of Childhood to inform them of their incorrect signage, I need to go back for a visit and see if they’ve done anything about it. I suspect not, they didn’t seem very happy with my well intentioned help. VandA_YoYo So from that notion I have this little bit of text in the show. I know there’s more to be had from this but I’m not there yet…

Many people think the Yo-Yo originated as a weapon, well  it didn’t. And despite my authorititve view on the subject, the Victoria & Albert Mesume of Childhood still refuse to take down their deceiving plaque. -Suprisingly sloppy work from an institue whose patrons claimed to be ordained by god.

More work to be done…


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