Bringing yo-yoing to another level
Ryan Han, competitive yo-yo playerBy Jude Toyat @judetbpseeds
ALTHOUGH THE YO-YO is one of the oldest toys in the world, it has a huge following of enthusiasts all around the world, even here in our humble little town, Kuching.
Ryan Han, the 26-year-old leader behind the homegrown club for yo-yo enthusiasts, Team Yo-Blitz, hopes to bring yo-yoing to a new level in Sarawak. Since he began yo-yoing at 16, he has earned top spots in various national and regional yo-yo contests, showing how spirit and determination can conquer all barriers.
Ryan studied primary school at SJK Stampin before moving on to SMK Kuching High for his secondary schooling. He later graduated with a Diploma in Assistant Computer Engineer from ICATS/PPKS in Kuching, Sarawak.
I would describe him as someone who likes to be different from others, always finding his own path and destiny. He believes that regardless of what people may think, it’s up to him to make sure he succeeds at what he puts his hand to, especially when it comes to changing the views and perspective of others.
In his case, he’s determined to prove to Sarawak that mastering the yoyo is anything but child’s play.
When did you first start being interested in yo-yoing?
I got interested in yo-yoing at the age of 16, in the year 2004. At first, I didn’t quite like it since at that time, I still saw it as a kid’s game. Later on, I wondered how my friends could be so happy playing the yoyo? Out of curiosity, I went and bought myself one an secretly played at home for weeks.
After quite some time later, I watched a yo-yo performance by a Yo-yo Master from Kuala Lumpur in Kuching. Since that moment, with that shocking performance, it had given me whole new perspective about yo-yoing. I went back home and finally decided to become a professional yoyo player.
Tell us about what Yo-Blitz is all about.
Our team, the Yo-Blitz which was established in 27th November 2007, is a yoyo club which had been formed after I realised that in order for me to popularize yo-yoing, I needed a team.
So, I gathered a few friends who were still playing yoyo at the time and started to form one team. Initially, there were only three members in the club back in 2007, which is me and two of my best friends. Today, there are more than 60 yoyo players in Yo-Blitz.
The Yo-Blitz Club seeks out youth who may have the passion to get involved in yo-yoing. Regardless of gender, we invite them to join in the club, we will get them a yoyo, and then start to teach them the basics which will later progress into a more strenuous part of the sport.
The aim of the Yo-Blitz Club is to strive on bringing yo-yoing to a higher level recognised in Sarawak, besides introducing it as one of the sports suitable for today’s youths.
Our members vary from the ages of 5 to 20 years old and above, and mostly comprises Malay, Chinese, Bidayuh and Iban youths.
The Yo-Blitz Club organizes at least 3 competitions per year. One of the biggest would be the Sarawak Regional YoYo Contest and Kuching Sentral YoYo Contest.
What are the awards and achievements that you have received since you’ve started yo-yoing?
• Sarawak Regional YoYo Contest 2011
o 1A Single Handed String Trick Div, Champ
o 4A Off String Division, Champ
o 5A Freehand Division, Champ
• Malaysia National Yoyo Contest 2010
o 5A Freehand Division, 3rd
• Malaysia National Yoyo Contest 2013
o 4A Offstring Division, 3rd
• Sarawak Regional Yoyo Contest 2013
o 4A Division, Champion
• Brunei National YoYo Contest 2013
o International X Division, 3rd
• Central Regional YoYo Contest Putra Jaya 2010
o 4A Division, 3rd
• Kuching Sentral YoYo Contest 2013
o Classic Challenge, 6th
Looking at what we had achieved until today, I am pretty sure that my goals and aims towards the activity of yo-yoing have been really successful.
What have you learned from yo-yoing and what are some of your proudest and greatest moments?
I learned a lot since the beginning of Yo-Blitz in 2007, which includes learning ways to provide proper guidance, teaching the members, and always look out for ways on how to impact them with proper social skills and morale.
I also learnt how to organise events and performances, besides learning how to treat members of the club better and more as a family.
Some of my greatest moments would include appearing in various newspaper and magazine articles, appeared in radio broadcasting programme from Sarawak FM, appeared in ASTRO Channel 180 for the Sitok Kamek TV programme, and winning the Sarawak Regional YoYo Contest 2011 and 2013, 3rd place in the Malaysian National YoYo Contest 2013 Off Spring Division. I also competed in My Gempak Mimpi Ke Bintang TV1 in 2013, and became a judge for the Terengganu Regional YoYo Contest 2013, and last but not least organised yoyo contests around Kuching.
I also own a shop now at Summer Shopping Mall, Kota Samarahan, selling specialty toys such as the yoyo.
As for the members of the club, some of their parents had come to me saying that their children had become more independent and had better hands-on skills after joining my training with the club. Yo-yoing proves to actually improve their IQ while making their hands more flexible.
What do you think about the participation of youths in sports such as yoyo nowadays?
Yo-yoing has always been a healthy sport whereby it challenges the player’s mind, especially during the process of creating and adapting new styles, skills and tricks. Yo-yo is a unique sport where I encourage the youths out there to come and try out yo-yoing as part of their sports activities.
Malaysian youths need to get involved more in yo-yoing since itis not merely about the skill, it improves hand-eye coordination and can also foster friendships while picking up good social skills, teach you to be creative and also improves your IQ.
I just wanted to say to all those who have the passion for yo-yoing, the same thing I always remind myself is to keep on doing what I have been doing for the past few years, never stop and keep persisting until it shows more positive results later on.
How can youths participate in the Yo-Blitz Club?
The Yo-Blitz Club organise weekly meetings every Saturday and Sunday. For Saturdays, it will be held at the Level 1 of Summer Shopping Mall from 2pm to 5pm. On Sundays, it will be held at top floor of Kuching Sentral stage area from 2pm to 5pm.
The meetings are to show club members what yo-yoing is about now, giving them the chance to try it out for themselves.
I engage with the youths through my yoyo performances and through several Yo-yo contests being held around Malaysia. Besides that, for those who are interested to get involved in yo-yoing and wish to become members of the Yo-Blitz club, do not hesitate to call us for any inquiries at 016-8845244.
Any words of advice for the youths out there?
I would like to remind the youths out there that playing yoyo does not mean you are a kid, and yo-yoing is no longer just a child’s game. Yo-yoing is an art form, combined with sports and creativity skills.