August 4, 2010
Today I decided to set some goals for my contact juggling and it seemed like reasonable advice for just about anyone. Goals not only give a target to aim for in our practice sessions, but also allow us to see how far we’ve come. Here’s how I set my own personal goals.
Determine an Objective
This may seem a tad obvious at first, but if you aren’t sure whether or not you want to learn head balance or foot catches first you may end up wasting a lot of time through inefficiency. That’s not to say you can’t have two objectives and follow them accordingly.
Set up Milestones
One of my personal goals is to be able to balance a stage ball on the very top of head and roll to it from other stall points and walk around. Examples milestones would be:
- balancing the ball on my head for 5 seconds, then 10, then 20, then 30, then a minute…
- walking 5 paces with the ball balanced, then 10, then 20….
- Rolling the ball to the top of my head and nearly getting it for a second, then maybe twice in a row.
As you can probably tell, I have less faith in my ability to eventually roll the ball to the stall point.
Keeping a Record
One of the best pieces of advice ever given to me was to keep track of my abilities. Being able to look back even a week or two and see how many milestones you’ve hit is a great way to regain confidence during slumps.
When your goal is written down, with your progress being charted, you will be sure to keep practicing.
August 2, 2010
An advertising blitz for the fushigi ball has caused a huge surge in interest for the contact juggling community, so where can you purchase one online?
The fushigi ball itself is actually a very low quality acrylic, sold with sub par instructional material with the hope that you’ll give up before you realize there are better balls on the market. The best news is that once you purchase through their company, they will sell your information to advertisers, who will call incessantly trying to sell you more crap.
However, their is an upside! Contact jugglers have been able to purchase high quality acrylic balls from a number of companies for years now! This isn’t much of a secret, as juggling suppliers want to sell their equipment. But due to the way ZoomTV marketed their ball, they don’t exactly make it clear that it’s a piece of juggling equipment sold to contact juggle with. In fact, you could probably go so far as to say that they were intentionally deceptive and harmed the juggling community more than anyone could have imagined.
Here are some of the best suppliers in North America and Europe.
But what about the Fushigi Instructional DVD that comes with the ball? Well, contact juggling tutorials can be found throughout contactjuggling.org and through various YouTube videos. Just don’t refer to them as fushigi tutorials. :)
August 2, 2010
With all the hubbub over the fushigi ball I’m sure there are a ton of new contact jugglers wondering just how to use a fushigi ball properly and looking for tutorials!
The good news is that although Fushigi is a company trying to rip off of a public that loves contact juggling, there is still a wonderful contact juggling community that thrives on it’s Pay It Forward mentality! Learn something and then teach it to someone else, all for the benefit of the community.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Brine has been the introduction lesson to CJ for nearly everyone I’ve met:
Dawn has always provided stunning contributions to the art:
Of course, I have my own videos as well. Don’t be afraid to visit contactjuggling.org and ask questions.
December 10, 2009
I was asked via comments what are some good videos and books to grab for picking up Contact Juggling.
First up is Drew Batchelor’s book Multiball Contact. Thanks to Hurricane Ike I’ve actually purchased two of these. I would gladly purchase a third copy if something were to happen again.
The book is phenomenal for a number of reasons, the most important of which is it’s organization. Multiball Contact is arranged as such to introduce a beginner to multiball contact juggling to the fine details of motion control and visual appeal. There are plenty of incredible pictures and useful appendices filled with useful information.
Secondly we have the two DVD set, Contact Juggling parts 1 and 2. In general, it’s easier to learn object manipulation by seeing someone perform. Subtle nuances can be easily lost in translation when it comes to the written word.
All three of these items can be picked up at Neon Husky, a great supplier for CJ equipment.
Not in the mood for purchasing videos/books? Well then head over to ContactJuggling.org! The main wiki page has links to plenty of move tutorials, which themselves have plenty of links to video tutorials. On top of all this, the community there is really swell, and can answer any questions you might have.
March 16, 2009
Nearly every Contact Juggling video I see on YouTube, the question of “What type of ball is that?” or “Which type of ball to start with” is asked. I went ahead and put together a video showcasing the different types you can find, and the easiest to start with.
August 8, 2008
It’s a two-video bonanza for today’s post, you get not only a tutorial video, but a second video to illustrate the importance of practice.
Finger Roll and Squeeze Ups
Two things to note before watching the video. One is to never actually squeeze the ball into the up position. It’s too difficult with sticky balls, like Stage Balls, and it looks terrible. A real squeeze-up is a progression of a finger roll, with you placing your fingers below the ball. In the video, I use the word, “Squeezeup” as a verb a lot, which can be confusing, since I’m telling you not to squeeze the ball. Sorry about that. I’m American. I verb everything.
Getting the most out of your practice sessions is essential to making any substantial progress. Be sure to stretch your muscles before begin to prevent strain and injury. Also, try warming up with moves you know fairly well before progressing into more difficult territory. I like to warm up with juggling balls, but anything will work.
Another key to a good practice session is to know how much you are progressing. You can do this by keeping a mental note, such as “I couldn’t do a butterfly on the 18th, but it’s the 25th and now I only drop half the time” or by recording a video. I like video, because it lets me see myself progress throughout several clips. I can also see if I’m doing anything terribly wrong, or if an audience would have trouble seeing the move.
That’s all for now, but remember to keep praticing and you’ll make substantial progress in no time.
May 21, 2008
The 1morechapter blog has posted the titles from 1001 Books to Read before You Die, an intimidating list of material for any literature fan. I’d like to consider myself well read, but if I’ve only read 40 books from the 1001, a mere 3.996%, do I really have an opinion that could be considered valuable?
To be honest, I haven’t even finished all of the 40 books on that list. Anne Proulx The Shipping News? Any brave soul that ventures to the end of that novel deserves a Congressional Medal of Honor, or in the very least a peaceful escape into the afterlife. The book was terrible, but it made the list.
I believe John August agrees with me on this point, arbitrary lists spanning hundreds of years of literature may not be everybody’s cup of tea. I was worried I wouldn’t break 10 until I hit books from the 1900s and onward. My saving grace, as far as the list goes, were William Faulkner and Hemingway.
On top of all fo this, a good amount of the list reaks of elitist lit-critic trash. Anne Proulx’s stinker was mentioned prior, but look who else makes the list, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott and everything written by Charles Dickens! Surely, they are all great writers, but do they really warrant required reading before you die? I mean, I’m in absolute love with Italo Calvino, but I really wouldn’t push If on a winter’s night a traveler… to every reader.
Read for the sake of reading, and read what you enjoy. Don’t bother with lists that claim you’ve missed all the important facets.