Balancing and juggling (and juggling and balancing)
I wrote up a little tutorial on learning to juggle with a balance (or... is it learning to balance with a juggle?..!)
Thought some of you might get a kick out of it! Curious to hear if my experiences are parallel with any of your own.
That was an excellent read, thank you. Please show it to /r/juggling as well if you haven't already.
I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with so much of it. But that's a reflection of my understanding of the trick, which has changed considerably over time. I used to think that it should be regarded as a single trick rather than a combination of two, but I eventually realised that it's better if you let the balance come first. I'm still not sure it isn't actually a single trick, but nowadays I very much agree with the importance of focusing on the balance.
But since I learned the trick before I learned to focus completely on the balance it seems evident that one can divide one's attention somewhat, and still succeed. It's hard to remember but I think back then I tried not to look at any one thing at all, just see the whole picture.
Thanks, Cedric! Just posted it over on Reddit. (Feel free to give an upvote! ha!)
I'm still not sure it's a single trick, either, haha. I think that three with a balance is certainly "canon" enough that can stand on its own as a trick, but find that learning different tricks while maintaining the balance makes that perspective lacking... (would you agree?)
Your comment about dividing attention definitely corresponds with my experience with headbounce... if you focus on any one thing too much, it all falls apart. You've got to see the whole thing all at once!
Just got around to reading it, and I think that you've covered everything I either picked up from other people or intuitively tried in the "conscious incompetence" phase.
I like the way you've written it up and illustrated it though - and I think you actually managed to describe why I've never found the forehead balance as comfortable as everyone seems to have told me it is - it's because I have to flip my perception.
You might even have inspired me to have another crack at getting it solid.
Awesome! I'm really excited that there wasn't much new info in there for you, actually... Doing my best to be comprehensive with these posts, and if I've covered everything that's occurred to you, I must be doing something right!
Good stuff. When learning the Bungay trick, I remembered Haggis McLeod's exhortation from his Club Juggling instructional video: DON'T DROP THE BALANCE. (Which pretty much summarises your article in a sentence.) It's really hard to keep doing that when you're first trying to add some throws under the balance, but it pays dividends in the end.
I never did work hard enough on just a club balance with a cascade. Maybe I should try again....
I think I made a VHS rip of it and still have it on my PC somewhere, but I didn't put it online because oddballs were selling it on DVD at the time.
It makes for wonderful "omg the hair! The clothes! The sheer bloody 1990s of it all"
Good stuff, Thom. A few thoughts:
I think I remember hearing that Gatto recommended the forehead balance since it gives the audience a better view of your face. That insight is presumably from Nick, actually. So, forehead might be better for performer-types.
The Reading Test is my favorite drill before you put it all together. Work on it a lot after your balance is solid and before you work on adding the juggling. Try to get your head back as far as you can, even looking up somewhat behind straight up so you rely on minimal peripheral vision of the clubs.
Placing into a Balance - the trick here is to catch the club you're going to put into a balance up high and as close to the balance point as possible so there's not a lot of movement (and time) to get it into the balance. Watch people doing constant balances on one side and you'll see very high catches and minimal movement to actually put the clubs into the balance/roll).
One thing you didn't mention is clubs vs balls. Learning with 3 clubs is much easier than with 3 balls since you will see the clubs easier with your peripheral vision than balls which are generally thrown lower (throwing them high enough for suitable juggling with a balance is an unnatural slow rhythm). 4 balls is similarish height to 3 clubs so a reasonable start for those who prefer sphericals. I think it was "The Complete Juggler" that suggested that even numbers might actually be easier for juggling with a balance.
I'm guessing that even numbers would only be easier for the nose or chin balance since the club would obscure the crossing point of the cascade.
Funny that you say up high when referring to what I would call the bottom of the handle. Perhaps your mental model of a club is the other way round to mine. The disadvantage of catching near the knob for placing into a balance is that it's harder to get it to the right angle, but you're right that it can be quicker and easier to position it accurately.
By "up high" I meant with your arm raised up high, right near your forehead. Another thing about this is that the throw should be one and a quarter spin so instead of catching the club perpendicular to your body line like normal, you catching it more vertically, oriented and ready for quick placement on your face.
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