Archive for Saturday, November 12, 2011

State yo-yo master shares story, advice

November 12, 2011


— Yo-yo champion Jacob Deffenbaugh puts a little bit of martial arts and soccer into his tricks.

Deffenbaugh, 23, is the 2011 Kansas yo-yo champion in the freehand division.

Deffenbaugh started yo-yoing as a fifth-grade student at Jay Shidler Elementary School in 1999.

“Yo-yos were the cool thing to do,” he said. “I always had a yo-yo in my pocket at all times. Whenever I found a bit of quiet time, I would practice.”

To start out, Deffenbaugh bought a red yo-yo and a copy of “The Klutz Yo-Yo Book.”

“When I started, I practiced or trained to complete a scripted set of motions,” he said. “Now, I don’t practice, I play. I learned more advanced tricks from a DVD called ‘Cosmic Yo.’ There were tricks in it I didn’t think possible. I was dumbfounded.”

Today, Deffenbaugh said he has personalized his yo-yo style by incorporating techniques in martial arts and soccer.

“My equipment and skills are at the point I don’t have to stick to a scripted set of motions,” he said. “I’m able to express myself with what I do and how I do it.”

Deffenbaugh points to several books and sources on the Internet, such as, and, for those wanting to enhance their skills.

Deffenbaugh began competing in 2007 in Indianapolis. Each year since, he has competed in a number of contests. His first win was on May 7 of this year at the first Kansas State Yo-Yo Contest in Bonner Springs.

When he isn’t yo-yoing, Deffenbaugh is attending classes at Washburn University, where he is studying biology.

He offers the following advice for those who might want to learn or get better.

“Play a lot, make mistakes, compete with yourself and watch videos from around 2000 to 2001 on Duncan freehand,” Deffenbaugh said.


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