Click to Enlarge
Kendama with colored ring,
97 TERUKI MARUISHI 6/20/05
Kendama collection of T. Maruishi, Managing
Director Japan Kendama Association
JKA. The rings on the balero are very important,
they allow the player to know the exact location of the hole when
the hole is out of site and while the drum is flipping. Rings are
not allowed in official kendama competition. Right, some baleros and
balero rack we sent to Maruishi for his collections,
Oak balero, small balero, mahogany balero,
sombrero balero, ringed balero from Michoacan.
featured in June
2005 issue of National Mexican
por el Balero por D.C.R.-
Gracias Mil a Luis Cuevas de Contenido
En 1987, cuando su padre le regaló un
balero, el neoyorquino, William "Bill" Tulinsky- hoy de 46
años de edad, ingeniero en electrónica - no imaginó que se
volvería fanático de aquel juguete, tanto como para
convertirse en fundador de la Asociación Internacional de
Jugadores de Balero.
-Cuando mi papá me dio ese obsequio, que compro en un viaje
a México, me aficioné a él de tal manera que en unas semanas
lo desgasté de tanto usarlo - refiere el hombre. A fuerza de
presumirlo, consiguió interesar a varios amigos con los
cuales, en 1999, fundó la asociación, con sede en Ann Arbor,
Las primeras noticias sobre la aparición del balero datan
del siglo XVI, cuando el monarca Enrique III (rey de Francia
de 1574 a 1589) paseaba por la vía pública acompañado de su
bufón Chicot, asombrando a los transeúntes con su pericia
para manipular el mango y la maza esférica que componen el
|Con el fin de atraer adeptos, Tulinsky
publicó una página en Internet para colocar videos y fotos
de las principales suertes de balero. La estrategia dio
resultado: acutalmente el organismo cuenta con 97 socios, la
mayoría mexicanos(23), aunque también hay argentinos,
brasileños, egipcios, griegos, indios e ingleses.
Uno de los mexicanos más vinculados con la asociación es
Joel Siliceo Pérez, un defeño de 24 años, licenciado en
Matemáticas Aplicadas y computación: -Mi padre me enseño a
jugar balero cuando yo cursaba la secundaria y volví a
retomarlo en la universidad. Un amigo encontró la asociación
en Internet y me comentó su existencia. Al poco tiempo me
afilié y comencé a intercambiar videos y fotos con Bill-
recuerda. Actualmente, el matemátiico está encargado de
comprar en México los juguetes para los integrantes de la
organización, revendidos por Tulinsky a los asociados a
razón de 10 dólares por pieza.
En 2003 Tulinsky viajó por primera vez a México para
reunirse son los miembros de su organización en el país: -
Nos reunimos para hacer suertes y comparar habilidades -
dice entusiasmado el estadunidense -. Una vez juamos en la
cima de la pirámide el Sol, en Teotihuacán, experiencia que
Muy enterado del tema, el neoyorquino explica que varias
culturas de distintos países tienen juegos similares al
balero: - El bilboquet de
Francia, el kendama de Japón y la lanza de pescado de
ciertos grupos indígenas estadounidenses son algunos. Mi
balero consentido es el mexicano gigante, al cual llamo "del
terror", entre otras cosas por que si llegas a golpear la
cabeza con él quedas como si te hubieran aporreado- dice
Todavía no hay un certamen internacional para elegir al
mejor jugador de balero del mundo, pero Joel Perez espera
que Tulinsky se encargue de organizarlo pronto: - Hay
cientos de suertes - se exalta -, algunas tan riesgosas como
la llamada "todo", donde el jugador lanza el balero al aire
para después sujetarlo y ensartarlo. Es mi preferida y la
tengo tan dominada que de seguro arrasaría en la competencia.
Madmen for the Balero
In 1987, when his father gave him a
balero, the New Yorker, William " Bill " Tulinsky - today of
46 years of age, engineer in electronics - did not imagine
that he would become fanatical of that toy, so much like to
turn in to the founder of the International Association of
Players of Balero. - when my dad gave me this
obsequiousness, which he bought on a trip to Mexico, it made
me fond in such a way that in a few weeks I wore it out
using it so much. By force of presuming it, it managed to be
interested in to several friends with whom, in 1999, it
founded the affiliation, with head office in Ann Arbor,
The first news on the appearance of the balero dates of the
XVIth century, when the monarch Enrique III (king of France
from 1574 to 1589) would walk through public accompanied by
his buffoon Chicot, amazing the passers-by with his skill to
manipulate the handle and the spherical ball that compose
In order to attract followers, Tulinsky published a
page in Internet to place videos and photos of the principal
tricks of balero. The strategy gave result: acutalmente the
organism is provided with 97 associates, the majority
Mexicans (23), although also there is Argentine, Brazilian,
Egyptian, Greek, Indian and English. One of the Mexicans
most linked with the affiliation is Joel Siliceo Pérez, a
defeño of 24 years, graduated in Applied Mathematics and
computation: - my father taught me to play balero when I was
studying the secondary one and I recaptured it again in the
university. A friend found the affiliation in Internet and
commented to me on it's existence. Soon I affiliated and
began to exchanging videos and photos with Bill - he
remembers. At present, the matemátiico is entrusted to buy
in Mexico the toys for the members of the organization,
resold by Tulinsky to the associates at about 10 dollars a
In 2003 Tulinsky traveled to Mexico to meet for the
first time the members of his organization in the
country: - We met to do tricks and to compare skills - he
says filled with enthusiasm the American-. We played on the top of the pyramid the Sun, in Teotihuacán,
an experience that I will never forget.
Much informed about the topic, the New Yorker tells that
several cultures of different countries have games similar
to the balero: - The bilboquet of France, the kendama of
Japan and the spear of fish of certain indigenous American
groups are some. My most dangerous balero is the giant Mexican,
whom I call " of the terror ", between other things
when the terror is coming at you it scares the hell out of
you - he says laughing.
There is no international contest yet to choose the
best player of balero of the world, but Joel Perez hopes
that Tulinsky should take charge organizing it soon: - There
Are hundreds of tricks - he gets excited-, some so risky as
the one called "todo", where the player throws the entire
balero, the drum, stick and cord to the air later to hold it
all together. She is my darling and I have so dominated that
it is a matter of insurance that I will triumph in the
Douglas La Farge -
Mountain Climber, Balero Player
Thanks to Doug for sending
us this picture playing balero while mountain climbing.
The balero goes up the mountain
too, for a few throws at the top!
Initial testing has been completed. The results
are amazing. The bead works very well to remove and prevent winding
of the cord. The hole in the top of the drum must be very loose
around the cord and the bead must be free in the drum.
Top, flat washer larger than cord pulled up
tight inside the balero. Bottom, 2 beads. Both have well used cotton
cords. The bead will tend to stick in some baleros because it gets
wedged in the point from the drill bit and the small hole. A washer
can be used for to prevent this.
Results of Cord Modification
Tests using Beads and Braided Cord 5/26/05
This modification is recommended on all baleros,
it improves performance for all circumstances. For beginners the
string seems automatically unwound, making it easier for initial
success. For professionals it greatly reduces the effect of the wind
on long combinations and consecutive throws records. It is effective
with the cotton cord or the braided cord.
Results Summary: The affect of the bead is
different for different throws. The bead does not fully
prevent winding for consecutive throws like capirucho or tre down,
after 20 reps the cord winds up even with the bead. However with
some tricks and combinations the bead is near 100% effective. In
TORNADOS TODO FREESTYLE Video 1Mb you can see the first 4
tornados are all the same direction, same in
TORNADO CAPIRUCHO TODO Video 685kb. This could not be done with
a cord fixed to the drum. With the drop off recto tornado the bead
was most effective, the wind fully corrected on every or every other
throw. In this
TORNADOS - WINDMILL HUGO + OVER Y BACK Video 1.1Mb
kendama video in the beginning shows a twisted beaded cord from the
windmill hugo sanchez tornado. This happens because the tension on
the cord from the windmill pulls the bead up into the whole causing
friction and cord twisting. So, the method is not 100% effective but
is a great improvement and is highly recommended, give it a try.
Perhaps a ball bearing in the top of the balero will be the best.
For now the BPA will begin incorporating the beaded cord into it's
balero designs. Gracias Mil to BPA 97 T. Maruishi of
Japan and the
Japan Kendama Association
this grande contribution to balero. We continue to
recommend the cotton cord (now with bead) for most applications, it
is more flexible and has less influence on the drum. However, the
stiffness of the braided cord does cause the bead to break free and
unwind more readily and is very good for tornado trucos.
3 more modified cords, 2 with braided cord, 1
with cotton cord. The top knots prevent the cord from slipping
through the hole while playing. Under most circumstances you don't
need these top knots. The small holes had to be enlarged a tiny bit
on these baleros to loosen the fit around the cord.
The balero in
the videos is on the right, it has braided cord and 2 beads, WT
STILL #1 is carved in the top. The green balero has one of the first
ever palo doble (bottom), made from 2 palo and taped to make it
wider for more grip.
Spanish Teachers - Use Baleros
to Teach Verbs 4/30/05
Cathy Padilla, a Spanish Teacher at Assumption
High School in Napoleonville, Louisiana recently purchased 16 balero
copa and 16 stick and drum balero for her class, to use teaching
verbs. The method was recommended to Cathy by a language teacher
from Mexico. Ms Padilla writes - "For example, after the students
have practiced with the baleros and copas, they compete with each
other. The winner is the student who successfully sets the balero on
the stick while they recite verbs. There is a time limit and each
student recites the six conjugated verb forms of a given set of
verbs. This is a tremendous tool to motivate students to learn
irregular verbs or a new tense."
Here Maruishi has modified the
balero with a braided cord and some plastic beads that allow the
string to unwind when it becomes twisted. A similar modification has
been done with kendama for some time and is tried and tested. The
BPA has an experimental balero that was made about a year ago with 2
fishing swivels tied on the cord, one near the drum and one near the
handle. When we experimented with it, there seemed to be some
problems, we will have to try it again and it will be interesting to
try this method when the cord and beads arrive that Maruishi has so
generously sent to me. The jury is not yet out on this modification,
it is under evaluation. Many thanks to T. Maruishi for presenting
Japanese Bilboquet, cup / point and cup /
cup type, made of deer antler. Both these types of bilboquet
first appeared in Japan around 1777. Collection of T. Maruishi,
modern replicas made with historical imagination. 3/21/05
Painted Bilboquet, Japanese imports made in
France, collection of T. Maruishi. 3/21/05
Tuxpam Veracruz, Mexico a beautiful small coast town, just north
of Veracruz, Balero Sculpture. Foto from BPA Player Tin Tan.
Capital Children's Museum Commemorative Report 2004 featured
this picture of a very happy visitor with a sombrero balero made by Los Hermanos Castro of Mexico City
and donated by the BPA. The museum also purchased several balero copa. The museum is located in
Washington DC and is known as the world's best children's museum. 8/26/04
Click to enlarge and see the full page.
Playing Balero will
improve coordination, concentration, balance, motion memory, persistence, response time
and it feels good when you make one!
seem difficult at first but then you make one, then you know you can do it again, then all
of sudden you are making almost every one.
Balero's New Start - The Sport
Here in the USA it really seems like balero
is a brand new sport because most people don't even know what a balero is, yet it is right
here on the soil of the Americas where the game has been conserved for tens of thousands
of years. All the Indian tribes from every corner of the Americas had their own variations
of balero. Fortunately the game has not been extinct in the countries South of our border
like it has been here.
Most Native Americans have no idea of the
balero games that used to exist. I have shown the game to many Native Americans and when I
tell them it's an Indian game, they are not surprised but still have never seen anything
like it. The rest of the US population is less informed. If someone has seen balero, it's
because someone had one from Mexico, Central or South America. Now, the BPA and FIBA
are a new start for balero in USA.
In Mexico the game has flourished and been
very popular for the last several hundred years. Here balero evolved into this ultimate
stick and drum form we play with today. In recent years (only the last 15 years or so)
balero has been on a sharp decline in Mexico due to a kids' preference for electronic
toys. Now, in Mexico kids can learn balero like never before, instead of 3 or 4 tricks to
master there are hundreds of new tricks available to all. The formation of FIBA in Mexico City by UNAM students
shows balero in Mexico is rebounding in popularity, the FIBA and BPA
are a new start for balero in Mexico.
In Japan, kendama is a sport, in France,
bilboquet, in the Americas, balero! A new international sport. Kendama is well organized
in Japan and Bilboquet has an even longer history in France and Europe, it has been a
royal sport in France for 500 years with annual international tournaments. The BPA and FIBA
are a new start for balero in all the Americas, it is our game, still!
Balero has never been organized at this
level, now through the video documentation of all the tricks for the first time ever, the
knowledge is easily displayed for players to learn from. Everything has begun
increasing exponentially. Consecutive throws records are being permanently recorded for
the first time ever. We have gone from 10 tricks to over 220 tricks, we have our first
prize money competition going on and we're just barely getting started. Imagine things
with a few more players. The BPA and FIBA are a new start for balero in all
With balero the game is old but the sport
is new. It's so new it's going to be new for a long time.
The extinction of the game in the USA is a
perfect example of how prejudice against a People, (Native Americans in this case),
through hatred, causes cultural destruction that results in a loss of knowledge to all
mankind. This kind of knowledge should not be dismissed as unnecessary, at one time the
survival of humans depended on having these mad skills, they need to be preserved, shared
and enjoyed by all, like any other sport, if you like it, go for it! it's great! BPA
1 WT 7/31/04
Balero vs Other Sports
Balero is just beginning to take shape as a sport. For the first
year we have a balero video competition going on.
Here, to document the game we take advantage of the ease of making videos with a computer
and a webcam and have $8,500 in cash to be awarded at the end of this year. The money is
divided between a points competition and the $500 money throws.
In Mexico City
the FIBA is in their 4th year and
has had several tournament competitions involving more than 50 players at one time.
Currently they are reorganizing and planning, working closely with the BPA as we adapt to
changes and plan for the future. Here in the USA more and more people are introduced to
balero every day, kids are taking interest and starting to learn some of the tricks in
this cool sport. The future looks good as the new sport continues to grow and evolve.
It is interesting to
compare balero to other sports as it begins to take shape. The most similar game is golf,
where the players objectives are to beat the par ratings of the course and also to achieve
a better score than opponents, matched on the same course. The balero itself and the trick
being performed is like a hole on the course. In fact we may one day have ratings for
balero tricks similar to golf's par ratings but for now it seems a point system of scores
for each trick fits balero best. Another similarity is that the tournament structure for
golf and tennis is well suited to balero and makes an excellent model for balero in the
future where we will have a US Open, Mexico Open and tournaments in other countries as
they join in.
interesting observation I made recently is how balero is different from other sports.
Balero contains some nearly lost elements of the very first human skills competitions
(sports). Aside from horseshoes, archery, shooting sports, sword fighting, knife throwing,
boxing and martial arts there really aren't any sports that utilize similar skills as the
skills used in balero. This is because most sports are extensions of the cup and ball game
where balero is an extension of the ring and pin game. The cup and ball, which is much
easier, also has been more easily adapted into all the modern sports of today. The balero
remains close to the original ring and pin forms, who knows if other new sports might even
yet evolve from the balero... - WT BPA 1 - 7/6/04
A Method of Training - Throwing for Records -
The Road to Freestyle
Throwing for consecutive throws records is evolving as
much more than just a competition for the top world record. It is emerging as an important
method of training. Players are encouraged to go for there own personal best records and
compete with friends or even themselves to improve their game, even if they can't reach
the top world records.
The records we have posted (over 50 currently) are for
the most repeatable throws and most natural feeling repeatable combinations of throws.
Imagine, if you know all these throws and combination throws, the number of possibilities
for composing a freestyle sequence.
When throwing for records there is a small element of
luck involved. For example, your skill level may be around 10 consecutive recto but you
could get lucky and all of a sudden make a 25. However if your skill level is around 100,
it would be much less likely you would get lucky and make a 250.
However regardless of the level of play, each time you
set a new personal best record for a throw, you increase the level of control you have
over the throw. As you do this for several throws it will then become easy to compose and
perform your own freestyle combination sequences made up of these throws. If there is ever
a throw that is giving you a problem just practice it and establish a good enough personal
best record so that it is no longer a problem.
With all the records we have been establishing, we are
about to see a gigantic increase in the length and quality of freestyle combinations being
performed in balero videos. We have barely scratched the surface here and it will be
interesting and impressive to see "Balero Freestyle" as it emerges as a new
is one of the first sports ever to exist, it dates back more than 10,000 years. It is the
most pure form of the original sport from which almost all sports have evolved. Preserved
from ancient times by the Inuit and American Indians, balero has evolved in Mexico into
this ultimate stick and drum form. In France and Europe it has evolved into the bilboquet,
in Japan, the kendama. This is an ancient Indian game, evolved from hunting simulation
games to enhance response time and accuracy while having fun. Balero is for fun, skill and
competitions. It's on it's way to the top of the charts again, enjoy the knowledge. -
WT BPA 1 - 2004
BALERO RACK - PORTABALEROS
Holds 11 baleros, all sizes and balero copa. Mount on hooks or anchor to
wall with screws. Hang baleros on cup hooks on the balero rack. Extra cup hooks can be
added for additional capacity.
1 - BILL'S BALEROS as of
70 Baleros to date and growing... I will need more. My
very first balero on the left, a gift from my Dad on returning from Mexico City in 1987.
The first Michigan made baleros around the center, grandes, gigante and "el
terror" on the right.
Below in the 2nd picture, 2nd from left - kendama from Japan, the blue
1950's American Bob-a-Loop and a Chelgwegoooot - a version of the "catch the
fish" balero from the Pima Indians of the SW USA/ N. Mexico. This one is a hardwood
model made by a German American wood turner - the game was widespread among American
Indians from the Arctic to Mexico and possibly beyond, now it is all but extinct. We will
make some soon.
(click pictures to enlarge and see detail)
Oye! 97.5 LA baleros on the left, copa from Puerta Rico center,
Capirucho from El Savador 4th from the right.
"The Bomb" Baleros
Pen Balero Copa and Balero Micro. To the left are my Optimos, Extras y
Palo Doble Optimos, all currently in use for videos and competition.
Our Balero Player Friends from New Zealand
Hi Wild Balero Bill, I received
the 3 baleros, thanks. We have decided to strip Wild Tom of his Wild status
until he can achieve 1000 points in a tournament expression session (this is a
variety of tournament in which each participant has 1 minute to score as many points as
they can). He is currently only Moderately insane with a record of 450
while I am a mere Somewhat unhinged on a record of 220. My colleague
Pretty crazy Mark was wondering if you have an official scoring sheet that you
could send us. Also, we think that the Inverta is overvalued at 50 points. It is
ruining our tournaments somewhat as nobody bothers trying any moves other than the Inverta
because they just arent worth it. Regards, Derek
50 Baleros sent to Texas! The Student Spanish Honor
Society at Woodville Independent School District High School in Woodville, TX has
purchased 50 baleros to sell as a fundraiser for the group. We have given them a very
special price for the baleros because it helps us too. Brandi, the group's President say's
they are really excited and with blessings they will be ordering more soon. Thanks Brandi!
If your group is interested in buying promotional baleros for a fundraiser or to promote
your business or product,
Primero Doble el Palo para FIBA en Xochimilco, Mexico - 10/5/03
Antonio carves names in 20 baleros for FIBA players.doble.
Never seen before the Palo Doble is
a new addition in the world of Balero. It was first suggested by Tre David BPA #21. We
followed through and had some made to try them out, after tweaking the dimensions a little
we have now officially introduced the Palo Doble, simultaneously here in the USA and in
Kaufmann writes from New Braunfels, TX to let us know: "Over 40 years
ago the "craze" at our schools was balero playing, (St. Joseph's Academy,
Brownsville TX and Sacred Heart Parochial School - closed down in the 80's). A few
students had ebony or black walnut custom made baleros. The kids with the good ones got
them from a shop in Matamoros, Mexico. I am searching for several of these types of more
expensive baleros for gifts for several of my brothers to remember the good old days.
I also hope to find matching sticks. On the sticks...we used to take and heat it up
with matches until it just started to turn black at the end of it to make it hardened and
slick....it worked great."
"We had competitions on a regular basis much like today's video competitions
up until about our sophomore year. We competed by identifying the individual who got the
highest points without missing and that individual held the "highest score" on
campus. We did not perform the fancy stuff I have seen on the web sites. The basic
throws were what we worked with. We did have bragging rights if we had gotten the
most consecutive throws in a row of a specific throw but the emphasis was on points.
We would mix up the "flip" with straight throws to relax our concentration and
better our scores. I have not seen one of the throws we used to perform on any
website yet but will look a little more to see if it is listed anywhere. The competitions
stopped because we got to be too macho to be playing with Baleros...girls came on the
Well now, some 40 years later we have girls playing balero so
there is no reason to stop! You will only impress the girls more with your balero skills,
that is if you don't get your butt kicked by a female balero player, like I did in Mexico
City... jajaja... good job Eva, BPA#58.
Students, Members, I know some of you have made baleros or have
thought about making baleros in your wood shop classes. Here is your opportunity to make
and sell a few baleros. If you can make a few baleros of black walnut or other hardwood
with matching handles, please contact me, Bill T. "mail to: e l b a l e r o at t h e u n i t dot c o m ( spaces added to stop spammers)">e l b a l e r o at t h e u n i t dot c o m ( spaces added to stop spammers)
and I will give you specifications and details for making the baleros. Many Thanks to Al
for sending us this history of baleros from South Texas.
9/26/03 - Wild Bill - BPA #1
Bill is sending this one out, with a shout out, ¡Viva Cumbia! a
dedication to the folks at ¡Oye! 97.5 La Cumbia Caliente, Los Angeles, CA. who bought ¡500 Baleros! and gave them away around Southern California, US
Customs came seized the Baleros (for some unknown reason) but the baleros were so popular
they had already been given away! All they got was a big empty box with a few baleros in
the bottom. They reinspected the baleros and found them to be ok and returned them to
¡Oye! 97.5. To top it off the boxes already had the red and white, opened for inspection
by US Customs tape on them when customs cane and confiscated them. If I could sing it as
in this song ¡Mucho Gusto!
¡Oye! La Cumbia Caliente
|5/21/03 - ¡500 Baleros! - Entravision Radio Station ¡Oye! 97.5 La Cumbia
Caliente, Los Angeles, CA. will be giving away the baleros as prizes in contests and at
events. This marks a significant step for expansion of balero in the USA. Introducing them
in Southern California will help the sport get started there and elsewhere - YES!
The radio station's promotional coordinator says that if people like the baleros and the
response is good they will be buying more. We are confident the people will love the
baleros and introducing them will help trigger a start for Balero in Los Angeles / S.
8/26/03 - Don Joel writes that an old man who used to play balero told
him that Capirucho no sosteniendo la cuerda, Capirucho without holding the string has been
known as Capirucho Volado in Mexico. Volado means something like flying or levitate, or
floating. As before it shall be known as Capirucho Volado now and in the future, thanks to
Joel. the old man, and the BPA.
Mohawk HS Warriors - Victor Parlier BPA#35 - Spanish Teacher / Soccer
Coach / Balero Coach
Parlier y Los Warriors
5/3/03 Cultural Fair at Mohawk HS, Sycamore, Ohio
The Mohawk Warriors playing balero at their first annual cultural
fair. Everyone played lots of balero. Victor holds an annual balero tournament for student
players. Several matches were played to demonstrate the Mohawk HS and the Mexican
(FIBA/BPA) rules of competition play. Victor won 1 match and I, well BPA #1 didn't lose