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  #1  
Old 14 March 2008, 04:24 AM
Bee
 
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Default Yo-yos originally designed as weapons?

I searched this message board and the ULRP and didn't find anything on this. There is a current Diet Mountain Dew commercial that claims yo-yos were originally designed to be weapons and shows a convenience store clerk and a would-be robber whacking each other with yo-yos.

Not that I get my history from commercials, but I was curious about whether they had just made it up or might actually believe it to be true. (Or I suppose, though I doubted it, whether it actually was true.)

Wikipedia says... not so much, but also acknowledges this as a common legend.

I had never heard this one before. Funny premise for a commercial, though.
Bee
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  #2  
Old 14 March 2008, 04:39 AM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is online now
 
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The way I got it was that in the island areas between Asia and Australia, a throwing rock would have a very long twine on it. It would either have appropriate bulges or a hole drilled through it, so the twine would not slip off. The hunter would be in a tree and wait for prey and then throw the stone - if it hits, great! If it doesn't, he can just pull the rock back up for the next victim, without having to climb down the tree to fetch the rock. And somehow that gave rise to the yo-yo.
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  #3  
Old 14 March 2008, 08:18 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Wasn't one used as a weapon in Octopussy? (sorry, no octupus slap icon)
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  #4  
Old 14 March 2008, 11:54 AM
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The Phillippine myth is that "around 1500" the islanders used a stone attached to a twine as Mack says, but it's pretty widely disputed and in any case a 4 lb. rock on a string probably wouldn't return to the user under it's own power like a yo-yo does. In my book that means it isn't a yo-yo.
Still, according toThis Site the toy was brought to America in the 1920's by a Filipino named Pedro Flores. (Other information indicates that the toy was already in use in America, but he was the first to commercially produce them there).
Anyway, the toy version apparently dates back at least as far as 500 B.C. in Greece, prior to Filipinos tossing rocks on strings out of the trees.
HistoryOfYoYo
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  #5  
Old 14 March 2008, 12:55 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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I failt to see why it would be useful to put a rock on a string in order to retrieve it. A rock hardly represents the pinnacle of technical sofistication nor a huge investment in work. Throw it, if you find it, pick it up again, if not pick up another one.

Add to that that such a string, especially in a forest, would seriously mess up the ballistics of this primitive missile.

The only reason I can think of to tie a string to it is to put a tail on it to give it a better trajectory and make sure it hits with the right side first, but that would be a shorter string.

Quote:
Anyway, the toy version apparently dates back at least as far as 500 B.C. in Greece, prior to Filipinos tossing rocks on strings out of the trees.
I would say that it's probably also related to the diabolo ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabolo ).
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  #6  
Old 14 March 2008, 06:29 PM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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There is (supposedly?) an improvised weapon called "The Sheriff's Punch," which consists of a weight on a thong. You throw the weight, and, if you miss, or if you want to repeat the attack, you pull it right back to your fist and throw again.

Also, the bola comes to mind. A weight on a string is difficult to learn to use -- but once you get good at it, you can be a deadly opponent.

Just ask the Balearic slingers.

Silas (or Thor's hammer from the Marvel comic books...)
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  #7  
Old 14 March 2008, 10:15 PM
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Well, if yo yos were once used as weapons, they'd be about as useful as a feather to me in a fight. I'm absolutely hopeless when it comes to working one of those things properly...
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  #8  
Old 15 March 2008, 02:17 AM
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I have nothing to add, except to say that I've heard of this 'yo-yos were initially intended as weapons' rumor prior to the Mountain Dew commercial. So they're not just making it up, at least.
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  #9  
Old 15 March 2008, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
I failt to see why it would be useful to put a rock on a string in order to retrieve it.).
Because if you were in a tree as he said each time you threw it you would have to get out of the tree, get another rock, and then climb back up.
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  #10  
Old 15 March 2008, 01:44 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
There is (supposedly?) an improvised weapon called "The Sheriff's Punch," which consists of a weight on a thong. You throw the weight, and, if you miss, or if you want to repeat the attack, you pull it right back to your fist and throw again.
Why throw it, why not swing it? That would give it more speed and impact.
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  #11  
Old 15 March 2008, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
I failt to see why it would be useful to put a rock on a string in order to retrieve it. A rock hardly represents the pinnacle of technical sofistication nor a huge investment in work. Throw it, if you find it, pick it up again, if not pick up another one.

Add to that that such a string, especially in a forest, would seriously mess up the ballistics of this primitive missile.

The only reason I can think of to tie a string to it is to put a tail on it to give it a better trajectory and make sure it hits with the right side first, but that would be a shorter string.



I would say that it's probably also related to the diabolo ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabolo ).

The idea is that you climb a tree near a trail used by game (boars?). If you miss, you can pull up the rock and try again. This eliminates the need to climb a tree with multiple rocks or to climb down to retrieve the rock while the (now angrey) boar may still be nearby.

Whether or not it was actually use, the principle makes sense, if you hunted by throwing rocks from a tree.

Personally, I think that using a spear may get better results.
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  #12  
Old 15 March 2008, 05:50 PM
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I get this mental picture of some guy spending days drilling a hole in a rock so he can tie a string on it so he dosen't have to climb down out of the tree after he misses the pig that he just tried to drop it on.
Meanwhile, the rest of the folks in his village are laughing their butts off while feasting on the pig they caught with a snare or shot with those newgangled arrows.
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  #13  
Old 15 March 2008, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie23 View Post
I get this mental picture of some guy spending days drilling a hole in a rock so he can tie a string on it so he dosen't have to climb down out of the tree after he misses the pig that he just tried to drop it on.
Meanwhile, the rest of the folks in his village are laughing their butts off while feasting on the pig they caught with a snare or shot with those newgangled arrows.
Personally, I'd just pick a rock with a shape that allow me to just tie the damned string without much alteration to the stone.
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  #14  
Old 15 March 2008, 07:19 PM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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Whalephant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
Why throw it, why not swing it? That would give it more speed and impact.
Well, here is how it was described: say a policeman is questioning you....or a robber is demanding money from you. He's standing in front of you, face-to-face with you. He hasn't drawn his gun. And he's just too far away for you to hit him. The "sheriff's punch" (in theory; I sure don't want to try this!) let's you "shove" the weight forward, much as if you were making a straight jab in boxing. The weight leaves your hand and goes forward those extra few inches beyond your reach, hitting the guy in the chest and stunning him for a moment. The thong lets you yank the weight back and repeat the procedure, or you can now swing it, or try to entangle his gun-arm or a leg, or -- well, at this point there is no "scientific" martial art to cover your options!

Or...maybe it's like a brass-catcher bag over the ejection port of an automatic pistol: it's there to prevent one from littering!

Silas
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