Contact Juggling Goal Setting

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.

Reminder
When your goal is written down, with your progress being charted, you will be sure to keep practicing.


How to use a Fushigi Ball Tutorial

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.


Fushigi Ball Magic Trick, Illusion or Contact Juggling?

August 2, 2010

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for a product called the Fushigi Ball that promises to be a magic gravity ball, but is it for real or is this just a scam?

The fushigi ball, it turns out, is only a ball produced by the ZoomTV productions, the makers of the fine singing Billy Bass. In the video above, you can see how it performs compared to an orange. In practice, it performs worse. This is due in large part to the amount of Vitamin C offered by the orange. Nutritional Facts are not supplied with the fushigi ball, and testing has proven unreliable, but it is safe to say that it is less.

In all honesty,  ZoomTV has seemingly gone out of their way to step on the toes of everybody who has learned and taught others how to Contact Juggle. That’s all it is folks. Contact Juggling. Not a mysterious floating ball. Just hours upon hours upon weeks of practice with a ball. Nothing more.

And the best part? They aren’t even offering that great of a bargain. You could buy a substantially higher quality contact juggling acrylic for the exact same price at Neon Husky with the added benefit that Neon Husky will NOT sell your personal information to competitors or try to call you back and sell you crap you don’t want/need.


Contact Juggling Games and Competitions

February 23, 2010

Each year hosts a new contact juggling competition and/or game at the contactjuggling.org forums, Follow the Leader! The competition was beginning week 5 when I decided to jump in, since it looked like a lot of fun.

The moves aren’t too bad, but I’ll try to break down what goes on the video a bit for anyone curious.

Windshield Wiper: This is standard fare, and most will attempt to learn this first. It progresses nicely into other moves with basic hand transfers. You want to focus on keeping the ball steady on either side of the hand before tossing it up and over. Try to remember to bring your hand down with the ball as well. You don’t want to smack your hand into an acrylic. Ouch!

Walking Half-Pipe: This is move is a series of simple palm transfers. I like to teach people this move first, since the Walking Half-Pipe is easier to get down first than a perfectly fluid Butterfly or a single ball palm spin isolation. Begin with the ball in your right hand, palm up. The ball will be resting on your finger tips. Roll the ball gently to palm, then to the back of the fingers (the cradle position) of the left hand. From there we transfer it to the back of the fingers (cradle again) of the right hand. This is the “back-to-back” transfer that is used in the beautiful move, The Circle. From the right cradle roll the ball gently to the left palm, and then to fingers. Easy! Most of your trouble will be with the back-to-back, but you’ll get it.

Prayer: You will want to have the Windshield Wiper down fairly solid with both hands before you’ll get this one. Effectively you are doing the same move, except instead of cradling between three fingers, you are only using your first and second fingers in a V shape, held together on both hands. Adding some lift to the elbows will help you stabilize the position.

Prayer Chest Roll: Same as a chest roll, but keeping your palms together. More difficult than it sounds, I promise you. You’ll want to move your arms out to catch the ball, don’t. If you let it drop it will reinforce itself in your mind that you must keep your hands together.

Inverted Arm Curls: I hope Lirnyk knows I am shaking my fist at him after bolding that name.  He gives a really solid tutorial here:

Grip Isolations: Try to focus on moving your wrist around the ball, not so much your hand. Staring at a point beyond the ball may also help. I was focusing on keeping the ball over the point I was focusing on.

Kick Up: I began with a kick up, after the all important stretching, and it’s not too difficult to do. In the very least, it will save your back a lot of trouble. Lift your toes, place a ball and hold it behind them. You want to lift your foot up and then behind and off to the side of you very quickly. There are several kick up tutorials available on YouTube if you need more help. It’s best to have someone show you in person though.

Remember to have fun when you practice, that’s what this is all really about. Everyone on .org, hanging out together and trying to create something beautiful and/or fun.


Beautiful Weather Contact Juggling in St Louis

February 12, 2010

Today I offer you my latest in Contact Juggling, a short narrative of man vs environment entitled, “Beautiful Weather.”

The weather was about 28-30 degrees Fahrenheit with 10 mph winds that cut the temperature down quite a bit further. I hope everyone enjoys. I’m getting more and more excited about the possibilities of short form narrative and juggling within the 10 minute time constriction of YouTube. Hopefully I’ll have better videos come from this.

The central idea, and featured meta-youtubing, comes from a video done by RollingPhysics last January. I remembered watching it, knowing it was posted during an extremely cold fit of weather here in St Louis. Ever since I’ve been wanting to do a video rebuttal, or at least tempt RollingPhysics from his beach, waves, sun, palm trees et cetera.

Here is his video, in its entirety for your viewing pleasure.


Contact Juggling Tutorial Videos and Books

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.