Art TEDTalks

6 great videos of yo-yo performer BLACK, perfect for Friday afternoon procrastination

BLACK now travels the world as a yo-yo champion. But when he was 14, he had low self-esteem. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

BLACK now travels the world as a yo-yo champion. But when he was 14, he had low self-esteem. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Yo-yo world champion BLACK admits that the first time he picked up his instrument of choice, at age 14, he couldn’t figure out the simplest of tricks. But after a week of practice, he started to understand its movement and dynamics.

BLACK: My journey to yo-yo mastery BLACK: My journey to yo-yo mastery In today’s talk, given at TED2013, BLACK remembers, “I thought, ‘The yo-yo is something for me to be good at. For the first time in my life, I found my passion.’”

BLACK practiced for hours a day and, four years later, won the World Yo-Yo Contest. But when fame and fortune failed to follow, he put the yo-yo aside and studied to be a systems engineer.

In the end, though, he says couldn’t stay away. He won the World Yo-Yo Contest for a second time in 2007 and, from there, he hasn’t looked back, taking his unusual performance art all around the world.

“I wanted to show on stage how spectacular the yo-yo could be, to change the public image of the yo-yo,” he says. “What I’ve learned with the yo-yo is that if I make enough efforts with huge passion, there’s no impossible.”

After you’ve watched today’s talk — yo-yos swirling masterfully along to dramatic music — watch more videos of this yo-yo superstar in action. Starting with an incredible six-minute act.

If you only have 40 seconds, here’s a supercut of some of his greatest tricks.

Here, BLACK uses a yo-yo to pull a tablecloth off a table — without spilling a drop of water.

The routine that won BLACK the World Yo-Yo Contest in 2007.

And BLACK performs to Christopher Hardy’s “Breathing Light.”

Check out some beautiful images of BLACK from the TED stage »