Orin learns a two diabolo trick


The Blurb

On new years eve Carolyn decided to give up chocolate. I on the other hand was much more sensible when I decided that this year I am going to get good with two diabolos. I learnt the basic two diabolo shuffle in 1994 & I also taught myself how to do three different tricks (around the world, suicide & a simple stick grind) at around the same time. I never had any motivation to go any further as at the time no one at TWJC did two diabolos much & the only person who I'd seen do two really well was Donald Grant who I considered more than mortal.

The other factor was that I found two diabolos really frustrating. The basic shuffle is very relaxing because once it is set up it almost performs itself. However, I found tricks with two really annoying, mainly because if it went wrong it took such a long time to get both diabolos spinning again, especially with enough spin to do a trick. Most of my practise sessions were spent untangling my sticks & getting the shuffle started again.

Since then two diabolos has really risen in popularity & I have really enjoyed watching a handful of the many very good two diaboloists around: Donald Grant, Errol Richardson, Guy Heathcote & Dave Barnes (who also maintains the rather useful 2diabolo.net).

I am going to learn ten completely different tricks with two diabolos by the end of the year.

Because I still find the time it takes to get spin going frustrating the first trick I am going to learn is the backwrap, the two diabolo equivalent of Chinese Whipping. I am also going to attempt to document how I go about learning something new. What follows is a sort of 'stream of consciousnous' showing how I spent this Sunday evening.


First step - download the backwrap every other pass video from 2diabolo.net. I know what to do, wrap the string round the axle of a diabolo as it hits the string, then flick it back over the wrist to unwrap the string & feed it back into the shuffle. I'd just like to see it done.

Download complete & I've got the clip playing on loop. It's difficult to see what is going on as the video appears to jump. One moment the diabolo is in the air, the next the diabolo has the string wrapped round it. This is not a fault with the video clip, it is simply that the backwrap is a fast move. To be honest I can't get all that much info from the video, what someone needs to do is a really long & verbose text description of the trick.

Let's give it a go then.

The main bit of the story

Got two going, picked the yellow diabolo & managed to loop the string round the axle, the purple diabolo landed on the string before I could unwrap & the yellow one then rolled down the string into it. Nowhere near quick enough.

Wrapping the diabolo so that it is as close to the handstick as possible, this means that with less movement of the handstick I can tighten the string so that the diabolo doesn't fall down the string so fast. Still can't get the thing wrapped & unwrapped quickly enough.

Still not working, I only just get the string wrapped around the diabolo before the next one crashes into it or lands somewhere else on the string.

Now I am just trying to go through the motions rather than trying to actually get the diabolos spinning faster. By that I mean I am simply trying to get the string around the axle & unwrap it again before the other diabolo hits the string.

First success! WOOHOO! Not really sure what I did.

I definitely don't know what I did.

Aha! It's like the 423 Orbit pattern! Start the carry early, or in the case of diaboloing, start the wrap early. I am now trying to wrap the string around the axle before it lands on the string. Going back to the video clip, Dave moves his handstick in before the diabolo leaves the string too, why didn't I notice that before? I am now successfully doing a couple of wraps every three or four goes.

Another major observation - you don't unwrap the diabolo when you flick up, or when you flick down. The sequence is: wrap, flick up, flick down then unwrap while the diabolo is on its way down. Because of the speed of the move the flicking downwards & unwrapping appear as one movement, but are definitely separate events.

Got the first diabolo going then threw the second in. I failed to make the first catch, it hit the floor bounced up & knocked the first diabolo off of the string. It's going to be a long night.

Yep, starting early is the key. It feels a little bit like I am plucking the diabolo off of the string. I start moving my wrapping handstick inwards while the diabolo is starting to climb up the other side. Having trouble on the other side though, as I whip one diabolo down the other diabolo tends to shoot up off the string away from me.

Starting the wrap while the diabolo is rolling down the string after being caught is too early. Mustn't get ahead of myself.

Managed to wrap the diabolo okay but when I flicked my wrist back the handstick caught on the string - big crash.

Still really inconsistent. Sometimes during the move the diabolo that I am not wrapping up knocks against the other handstick & either flies off somewhere else or tilts & turns beyond my control. Sometimes I'm scraping the wrapped diabolo with the wrapping stick with the same result. The non wrapped diabolo is also still shooting off beyond my reach or forward too far out of line with the other diabolo.

Pulling the non wrapping handstick up just as I start to wrap the string with the other hand seems to stop the other diabolo bashing into it.

I have no idea what to do about the diabolo jumping forward.

Whipping straight down as I unwrap the diabolo (as opposed to diagonally down & inwards) the other diabolo tends to jump off the string straighter & higher. It still moves forward a bit but it is more manageable.

Success, my first roll up with two diabolos due to too much spin!

Having to do handstick grinds on each diabolo to slow them down in between every half a dozen backwraps to slow them back down again. The non wrapped diabolo is still popping forward.

Looking at the problem logically the reason why the non wrapped diabolo is popping forward must be because one handstick is in front of the other while the diabolo is tilting forward slightly.

Yep, after several consecutive backwraps the diabolos are tilting forward. So if I purposefully tilt the diabolos towards me the non wrapped diabolo should jump at me...

No it doesn't, there goes that theory.

I'm really whipping the diabolo now rather than just getting the string wrapped round the axle. Because the wrapped diabolo is wrapped up for a fractionally longer period of time the non wrapped diabolo has climbed as far as it can on the other side & is coming back down at the point it is thrown from the string. For some reason this seems to curb the throwing forward problem.


It is now time to call it a night. I am not sure about the throwing forward problem, although I seem to have fixed whatever it was I was doing wrong I would still like to know exactly what the problem was. But I am happy to say that I can consistently do single backwraps with two diabolos on every other pass. Maybe tomorrow I'll try backwrapping on every single pass.

& they lived happily ever after.