Topeka 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 www.kwos.ca, www.sector-y.com and yoyoexpert.com, 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.