Disclaimer: I am not at Kouta's level. He did comment "cool" on one of my videos, though, so that's something.
I do this kind of style of juggling, and I see it largely as a combination of two things: coordination in weak positions and tempo variation.
The first category, one can practise by learning all the basic body throws, and then trying to do things in between. For example, there's a lot of places you can throw from in between a throw from a neutral position and an overhead. I've found that disregarding the pattern, and exploring throw/catch locations has been useful to improving coordination within each arm's reach.
Tempo variation is, IMO, more mental. I practise this by crunching as many throws into as tight a time as I can, then throwing a ball a little higher to relieve the mental tension. Catching lower than usual is another way to give you brain a break, and either way, the delay is visually obvious. An example is at 55 seconds, where the juggling is fairly actiony until a 4 gives us (and him) a little break.
In combination, these two will also allow you to learn how to get a ball out of your hand very quickly, with little movement. The 1 (or 2x) throw at 58 seconds is a good example of this: even from a full arm extension, he throws with power and control.
Indeed. Some great observations Mike.
I think there's also a real attention to the shape of the juggling - not once does it lose the beauty. Like calligraphy, the shapes are balanced by the following shapes. Sometimes his juggling reminds me of Diabolo (as does Etienne Chauzy's juggling).. not sure why exactly, something about the style. Also, I like that it's not 'just' a demonstration of difficult stuff - it's alive, playful, and full of surprises.
Perfect balance of visually fascinating aesthetics and technical difficulty, everything looks so smooth and effortless yet the inherent complexity is very clear. I think this video will inspire a lot of jugglers (myself included) to attempt to emulate his style. Very few will be able to (I know I've got a lot to work on).
Thanks Mike! After 3 years on the edge, I just bookmarked a post for the first time (yours)
My personal journey has been something like: learn the basic pattern families, try to stretch them creatively, find inspiration on youtube and at festivals, develop keen awareness of ball paths and body positioning (particularly arm and hand rotations, also throwing and catching positions), identify what's uncomfortable and keep practicing until it's not, work on hand speed and proper elbow angles, visualize patterns and understand the underlying mathematics. That said I'm nowhere near Kouta level.
One thing I like about the video is the setting, it is stark yet beautiful. It is large, open & peaceful. The video gives the impression that it is his personal practice space & that he has spent many hours of dedicated practice there to perfect his style.
I have no idea whether any of that is true or not. It might have been a studio he just hired for an afternoon to shoot the film.
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