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Monte -

Real or fake?
I'm currently using this pic as my avatar on a history/politics forum, is it real or fake? Looks real and bloody dangerous to me.Anyone seen it before?

Little Paul - - Parent

It's an act I've seen described many times, although how real the photo is im not sure (it rather depends on the date of the photo) and I don't see any reason to think people didn't juggle rifles in real life.

Mocking up photos of jugglers by suspending props on strings was common practice in the earlier days of photography, when film was slow and capturing motion was difficult (i.e. If the exposure time was longer than 1/100th sec etc)

So - possible staged photo of a real act

peterbone - - Parent

Weren't the rifles fired on each catch in some versions of the trick?

Monte - - Parent

If real I bet that sword gets in the way.
Got to be a really heavy, poorly balanced and dangerous object to juggle especially with bayonets fixed. Also I bet someone shouted ''can you do 4?''

The Void - - Parent

Thrown as flats.

Monte - - Parent

Makes sense, keep the sharp pointy bits away from you. I was imagining them spinning around. Duh

Monte - - Parent

Thanks David that's awesome. Joey Dillon is amazing. Almost makes me wish you could still own handguns in the UK.

Orinoco -

Perseverance pays off.

I found this film of a skater repeatedly failing to pull off a tough trick while talking about his journey very easy to relate to.

JonPeat - - Parent

I had seen this video before and I enjoyed it, I watched it again and I still enjoyed it. I think it is a good motivational story and I admire the guy’s determination.

But.., does anyone else wonder if that trick could have been broken down into more manageable steps (excuse the pun…) and practised better so that he could hit the trick in a shorter timeframe or with greater consistaency?
I know nothing about skateboarding and the relative difficulties of tricks but are there similar / easier variations which he could have learnt to train up for ‘the big trick’?

By his own admission he is ‘Not a consistent skateboarder, doesn’t land stuff every try at all. I fall most of the time.’
Could all that energy and determination been better directed at improving his consistency to better enable him to tackle that very hard trick?

It seems to me he threw himself at this trick, nearly every day, for two full years. Had about 100 attempts each time he tried it, 2000 attempts, and in all those attempts he nearly got the trick about 20 times.
He bled and hurt himself and had 2x trips to hospital, cracked ribs, he smacks his head on the tarmac (you can die from that!), not to mention the emotional upset he went through during the ordeal.
At the end of it, when he nails the trick, he is pleased. But he is more happy that he doesn’t have to try it any more than that he got the trick itself. It was an ordeal which is now over which is why he was happy.

I think that attitude of single bloodymindedness and determination is useful in the juggling world if there is a trick that you really want to get. But, I would argue that it is better to channel that energy through a targeted practise structure to build your consistency in order to nail that hard trick, rather than repeatedly hurling yourself at the trick in one go. I am personally motivated by the small gains you make along the way, little steps, than slogging your guts out for two years solid for that one moment when you get the trick. I think it builds a more consistent juggler.

Obviously different approaches work for different people.
This isn’t to say that during a practise session I do not try tricks that are above my technical level, I do, you should always test your limits. But I would never spend 2 years throwing myself up against a wall unless there were some hand holds in place to help me get over it.

This subject interested me enough to write a post about it, I would be interested to hear other people’s views and experiences of this.

Cheers, Jon

Orinoco - - Parent

Right from the beginning he is always close to getting it. Aside from a couple of attempts where he bails out of the run up, every jump in the video he makes the distance, the board goes through the correct rotation, most of the time both feet land back on the board. There is no obvious (to me) progression of improvement. He's just not landing the trick. This of course assumes that all attempts were similar to those shown in the video. I'm inclined to believe this is the case, but am probably allowing myself to be swayed by the sincerity of his narration.

Speaking as a non-skateboarder I'm probably talking out of my arse (this has never stopped me before, & is not going to stop me now) but I don't think it could be broken down. The height & distance of the jump, the surface of the run up & landing zone etc. are all going to be unique to those set of steps. So to do the trick there he has to practice it there. The landing of the jump depends on the flight, the flight depends on the take-off & the take-off depends on the run up so all of those things need to be practiced together. So the only other item that could logically be isolated from the trick is the rotation of the board, which given that from the start of the video he is managing to do he already has worked on that skill presumably elsewhere.

Putting on some pads would have kept him in better shape & allowed him more attempts.

peterbone - - Parent

Sounds more like a mental block, not believing in it enough or fear of injury preventing him from landing it.

JonPeat - - Parent

I don’t believe that this guy has any fear of injury. He appears to be fully committed to each attempt. Orin’s point about the pads is a good one though!

JonPeat - - Parent

I do see what you mean about the correct board rotation and his landing on the board each time and also the need to practise the trick on those particular steps.
Are there simpler jumps that he could have performed off of those same steps in order to get that same landing sensation? As you say, it appears that the landing is the major problem.

I am not a skateboarder either, I am curious that if he practised the trick in a different (smarter..?) way he could have achieved better results, sooner.

Mike Moore -

9 ball preparation

I'm looking to direct my juggling into numbers for the next while, specifically working on 7b in a way that will make a somewhat sustained 9b more feasible in the future. I've been enjoying 5 and 7 ups (no 360s) and praciticing 7b at what I expect 9b height will be. Finding these really fun.

My siteswap abilities are a fair bit below my base-pattern abilities, so I'm working through some remedial siteswaps with 5 (771, 75751, and the very non-remedial 933).

What are some other things to work on? Unless it is absolutely necessary, I'd like to avoid 8b and 6b (except in cascade patterns).

Austin - - Parent

Personally I think just try and work on lots of tricks back to pattern with 7, as they are both more fun and more productive than slaving away at 9. Try the 5 and 7 ups with 360s, and try getting a few rounds of 966, 867 and b6666 back to pattern. I also like working on (8x,6)*. On top of that, although I can get 100 catches of 7 most attempts I think it needs to be a lot more solid to be working on 9. Why not try 8? It's a lot easier than 9 and helps with the speed and height.

Mike Moore - - Parent

Thanks for the response. I've worked a little on 966 and (8x,6)* and will continue doing so. I don't like 360s (aesthetically, conceptually, and physically - they're normally asymmetric and hurt my knees when I practice them too much)

Do you think that b6666 and 867 are really useful for 9? Perhaps as a general "it'll make you spend more time on 7b siteswaps", but they seem to be pretty unrelated to a 9b cascade. Which leads me to...

I don't do base patterns of even numbers. I don't like the feel of the scooping motion, and collision avoidance in fountain patterns is a skill of mine that lags behind (and I am fine with it doing so). I've certainly /tried/ 6 and 8b, and worked on 6 enough at least to know that I don't like it.

Current 7b status for me is breaking 100 catches about once/practice.

Austin - - Parent

Well b6666 certainly will be as it will help your ability to have enough control over 7 to get out high throws. If you can do it, 978 would be worth working on if you dont want to do fountains. Other than that I just think getting 7 both rock solid and correctable is the best way forward, and I do that by trying to get increasingly hard tricks back to pattern, preferably with a nice run afterwards to show control. What balls are you using for it?

Mike Moore - - Parent

The problem with things like b6666 is that I expect the bottleneck in skill will be the several consecutive 6s no colliding. I'd be spending a lot of time/effort dealing with an aspect of the pattern that I don't expect would help me with my goal.

I'm using Drop Props (100 g) for 7, and will probably do that for 9. If I'm feeling lame, I might use my underfilled 85 g Drop Props.

Austin - - Parent

Fair enough, maybe just practice doing 7, throwing 1 very high and collecting 6, then going back to 7 straight away. What I'm wondering is whether your goal is just to get some runs of 9, or whether you want a general improvment in numbers skill? Because I only really work on base patterns so they're solid enough to get some tricks in them, because I get bored just running patterns.

Mike Moore - - Parent

Right now, my goal is to build toward runs of 9. I tend to switch focii and dig pretty deep for longish periods of time (e.g. from Feb-July, I only juggled 3b) and 9 is my medium-term goal at the moment.

Mike Moore - - Parent

Ooops, I forgot to say thanks for the idea of doing a collect to a restart. Thanks!

peterbone - - Parent

I personally don't think that any 7 ball siteswaps would be much help for 9 balls. I mean look at Gatto's 9 balls. 9 balls is all about throwing with a very consistent height and accuracy, which siteswaps won't help you with. You're already working on 7 balls high, which is one of the best exercises for 9. Get is as accurate as you can. I'd also recommend working on 7 low to get used to the speed. I'd also suggest to do these exercises with a range of different balls from small to large and light to somewhat heavy. Large balls with 7 will give you the pattern shape and arm position needed for 9. Other than that, just go for 9 with many short sessions.

Maybe these articles will help as well. The first I wrote mainly for flashing high numbers but a lot of the points may be helpful for running 9 as well.

Mike Moore - - Parent

When high 7 is working with good form, it gives me such a great feeling! 7 low is a bit frustrating right now, but frustrating in similar ways to 9b attempts, so seems like awfully good practice.

Very interesting advice about doing 7 with different types of balls. I'll be sure to do that, especially during club meetings when there are tons of different balls to go around.

Those articles are so nostalgic! Worth re-reading after such a long time, thanks.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

What do you consider sustained?

I took a look at the records database to see how good 9 ball jugglers are at 7 ball juggling. Link to graph showing relative difficulty of 9b and 7b.

Typically 7 ball jugglers are better 9 ball jugglers. Most jugglers who can sustain 9 balls longer than 20 catches can run 7 for more than two hundred.

Mike Moore - - Parent

I probably wouldn't practice 9b unless I thought I could break 20 catches of it at some point. So yes, I'm looking for >20 catch runs.

That's a cool comparison in your graph. I have no doubt that I'll run 7b for 200 catches before getting 20 catches (or maybe even a qualify) of 9b.

peterbone - - Parent

Nice plot. I can spot myself. The problem is though that a lot of 9 ball jugglers may not be interested in long runs of 7. It would be a bit like Usain Bolt running a marathon. Also some endurance jugglers may not be able to get decent runs of 9. That's why the data doesn't follow the linear regression very well at the higher catch counts.

Mike Moore - - Parent

I understand the idea of the comparison between Usain Bolt's best races (100 m, 200 m, maybe 400 m) and marathons against 9b and 7b seems hugely exaggerated. I expect it would be more like comparing 9b versus 3b (or 4b). Distance running and sprints are hugely different. It's not the case that sprinters are just "uninterested" in running distance: elite sprinters couldn't run distance at an elite level, nor could elite distance runners sprint at an elite level.

peterbone - - Parent

Yeah, I said a bit different. I think it would be more like comparing 9 balls to 5 balls. I know that it's not just a case of being uninterested in the other discipline. It's also about what people have trained for. 7 and 9 are still different enough that people could have specialised in one and not be anywhere near as good at the other.

Scott Seltzer -

What the heck is juggling anyway? Erik knows!

The Void - - Parent

I disagreed immediately. I mean, why would such a smart fellow choose to film in portrait?
— The Void (@TheVoidTLMB) July 14, 2017

I agreed with the preamble, but it got problematic when the actual definition started. But is such a long definition useful?

barnesy - - Parent

Yeah, TL;DW.

I followed a little of the Facebook discussion about how this definition had been whittled down to mere pages (or was it reams?). I'll have a look at that if it appears but I don't consider a 15 minute video to be information, especially one which didn't seem to yield a point when I skimmed through it

erik aberg - - Parent

Barnesy, here you go:
Juggling is a genre of activities related to the default form. The default form is the three ball cascade.

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

How far does the border have to be from the 3b cascade before it becomes 'not juggling'?

erik aberg - - Parent

It's not about distance. It is an on or off switch. Is there a relevant relation or not? Is there another genre that has a stronger connection to the subject than 3 ball cascade, or other established forms of juggling?
One thing to always remember, is that we are dealing with communication and the meaning of a word here. For an example, if I walk into a pizza place with another juggler and the pizza chef is throwing the dough around, I could easily start talking to my juggling friend about the pizza tricks as juggling, and he would know immediately what I was saying. If the person I was talking to was a non-juggler, it might be harder, since it is not as certain that he would see a connection to other already established forms of juggling.

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

Perhaps dance is the default form? I think there's an 'outside' and 'inside' of what juggling is. The inside is - feeling a motion.. a dance. The feeling is the same as dancing, you're using an object/s (balls, poi, pizza etc) to feel the dance instead of your body. Skateboarding is using your body and an object to feel it. The playing of a musical instrument isn't related because of the lack of motion.. you're feeling rhythms & melodies.. but not motion. Does that make any sense? Not sure myself.

Little Paul - - Parent

Far TL; Can't be bothered to W - but:

Is a definition even useful?

Definitions usually only serve so you can point at things which don't fit the definition and exclude them. Something I haven't been interested in doing with "juggling" for a while

lukeburrage - - Parent

I like the idea of exploring the boundaries of a concept, as it lets you find areas that haven't been explored yet. However, defining what the word juggling means is a different exercise of defining what "juggling is", or can be. Completing the first step is probably useful before beginning the second step.

However, if I'm to watch a long video, it has to be more interesting than that in the first minute for me to continue on with it.

erik aberg - - Parent

Luke, if you want to claim that the word juggling represents something different than "what juggling is" you will have to explain that difference. The word juggling is only a representative for a concept. I does not matter if you try to leave the area of language and the meaning of words, when you still use language and words. Using words in communication confines you to their meanings, unless you explain how they would differ.

erik aberg - - Parent

Little Paul,
We use the word juggling, and we mean something when we do. Therefore, I did not make a definition. Its already there, I have no say in the matter. I can only describe what the word means already.

Q: Is a definition even useful?
A: Yes, because when we understand deeper what it is that we are doing, we can reach further, and be more effective. We can communicate better. Removing confusion is both pleasant and aesthetical.

"Definitions usually only serve so you can point at things which don't fit the definition and exclude them."
For sure you can come up with more uses to understanding language and the meaning of words, than that one.

erik aberg - - Parent

What is problematic about it? if you let me know I can explain.

erik aberg - - Parent

Void, I was rushed and time was limited. The purpose of the video is to reveal the general thoughts. I am not great at explaining, and I am afraid those who wants to understand might have to get involved in the discussion. What is unclear? please tell me, and I will do my best to explain. Not only has the definition of juggling been an area of much disagreement, it also seems as the approach to it differs greatly, from person to person.

Mike Moore - - Parent

For those who find this video too long to be palatable, start here:

Ameron Rosvall - - Parent

And here is a summary of the definition, which may or may not make sense unless you watch the whole thing.

"Juggling is a genre of activities which are related to the default form. The default form of juggling is the 3 ball cascade."

Topic of discussion: is the default form really the 3 ball cascade?

Orinoco - - Parent

I am now tempted to watch the whole thing because that is not something I'd expect from Erik. There must be a lot more to it than that.

I always use the definition: "Doing what doesn't need to be done in the most difficult way possible."

I've tried to find the source of this definition a few times. Earliest reference I can find is from Jerry Carson in 2001, which is almost certainly where I picked it up from originally. However, Jerry's message suggests it comes from further back.

peterbone - - Parent

Wouldn't that definition include many other activities such as skateboarding, rock climbing and base jumping?

ChrisD - - Parent

Yep, and Brexit.

Orinoco - - Parent

...& 'defining juggling'.

erik aberg - - Parent

If someone is interested to read more about the definition of juggling, there is some discussion about it in this thread:

Scott Seltzer - - Parent

That link didn't work for me but does.

pumpkineater23 - - Parent

Interesting. Thanks for the link. Objectepisodes looks great!

Mike Moore - - Parent

The Kingston Jugglers have, "Doing the unnecessary the hard way" on their t-shirts and they've been around a while. Greg Phillips would probably know when they started using it.

Scott Seltzer - - Parent

Slightly different wording from 1993:,p28.htm 2nd paragraph.

Orinoco - - Parent

Longtime friends David Cain and Jay Gilligan won the Fargo Intermediate and Juniors Championships

David, are you younger than I think, or is that sentence missing a 'respectively'!

Daniel Simu - - Parent

The pictures in the article clear that up, respectively indeed

Monte - - Parent

Why is it important to define juggling? Is it just so you can deny it includes poi?

peterbone -

Tendonitis solutions? So having moved to a house with a high ceiling, the inevitable has happened. I've over done the numbers juggling and now have elbow pain in my right arm (inner elbow). Especially bad since the BJC. I've not work on anything over 7 balls since the BJC. Lately I've not been doing much juggling at all but it doesn't seem to be getting better. I've not seen anyone about it yet, but thinking I probably should. Would a GP actually be of any use for this? Are my numbers juggling days over?

barnesy - - Parent

I went to my GP when I was in need of physiotherapy (and still in the UK). I didn't have high hopes. But she took the problem seriously and referred me to a physiotherapist without fuss.

That's my anecdata, and unrelated to your problem, but I'd definitely seek help. I think perhaps you can refer yourself too, but I don't know how that works in the UK. Maybe Alby will be along soon...

barnesy - - Parent

Of course I've just mentioned physiotherapy and I don't know what a proper treatment might be in this case, but yeah: Go ask.

peterbone - - Parent

Thanks. I'm not sure what your physiotherapy was relating to. One of the problems I foresee is that my issue is not debilitating at all for normal everyday activities. It's a sports injury that only hinders my juggling. That's why I'd be concerned that a GP would not take it seriously or would simply tell me to stop. Probably means that I'm unlikely to get any help on the NHS.

barnesy - - Parent

Well that's why I was surprised. I was suffering from shoulder problems caused by bad posture and made worse by bad juggling form. My worries were similar to yours but turned out to be unfounded. Your mileage may vary etc.

peterbone - - Parent

OK, but did it cause problems with other tasks? The last few days I was moving furniture around, removing doors and carrying them around with no problems. Then I did a bit of 5 clubs and 7 balls and got pain afterwards and the next day.

barnesy - - Parent

Yes, it was causing occasional problems with general movement. But my GP, who I saw when the problem wasnt causing pain, wanted to refer me because I had said it was keeping me from juggling. Of course I went in there talking about sometimes not being able to stand up, but then the conversation moved into talk of my doubts about wanting to talk to a Dr about juggling.

And yeah, I waited months for an NHS physio. Was pleased with the treatment I got in the end.

peterbone - - Parent

Thanks, I've just emailed my local NHS physiotherapist about self referral.

Al_Bee - - Parent

Hi. I'm sure I'll add to this later but if GP doesn't take it seriously then ask them directly for physio referral. Round my way people are self referring to NHS physio. There's a wait but you'd still get seen. Failing that get an appt at a sports physio - local costs here are between £35 and £50 for an initial assessment. Quicker and easier and no Dr referral needed.

peterbone - - Parent

Thanks. I think a sports physio is the way to go. Sounds like it could get expensive though.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

I don't know how these things work in the UK, but I indeed never get any good advice from "normal" doctors and physio therapists. They tell me to stop, or they tell me it's not a big deal, even though it's my job to perform.
For anything I'll go to my sports physiotherapist, which is the one every circus artist goes to in Rotterdam. He has so many clients from the circus school that I always meet friends when I'm there... But any sports physio might be able to take your request seriously?

Austin - - Parent

That sucks so bad :( I find it strange you got it in the elbow- all other jugglers I know incuding myself have only ever got it in the wrist. My only real suggestion is to perhaps find the lightest versions of all the props you can get- for instance I know of several people who never got problems again after switching to Norwiks.

peterbone - - Parent

I think the damage was done with 11 ball training. It's the speed and sudden change in direction of the upper arm, not the weight of the props.

peterbone - - Parent

* lower arm

Austin - - Parent

Oh ok that makes sense... I don't practice numbers because I find they are very straining. Maybe let it recover and the only work on 5-7 ball patterns?

Alice - - Parent

Yes you can go to your GP about this ( speaking as one), worth asking about physio first, if your GP has this( quite new cross the country) you may be able to book in directly.
It sounds like you may have golfers' elbow, (without seeing you.) if so there are good excerises on The Summit Medical Group website

peterbone - - Parent

Thanks. The web page looks useful. If it helps diagnosis, pain usually happens when I face my palm upwards and tense my bicep.

Little Paul - - Parent

Peter, what is it going to cost you to see a GP in person?


So what have you got to lose by trying. Give the NHS a chance, you live in a first world country with a health service that is free at the point of use - so why are you messing about with text based remote diagnosis over the internet?

peterbone - - Parent

I wouldn't rely on text based diagnosis exclusively. I've already contacted an NHS physio as I said. My local GP is very busy and I don't want to take up their time if I can go straight to a physio. Normally if I want to see the GP I call as soon as the phone lines open, wait 10 minutes to reach the front of the queue and then get told that there are no appointments left for today and to try again tomorrow, unless it's a serious problem, which this isn't. It may take several weeks to get to see a physio, so any exercises that may help in the meantime are helpful.

Little Paul - - Parent

Your GP doesn't offer non-emergency appointments? You can't book an appointment for 2 weeks time?

Sounds a bit unusual for a GP

Stephen Meschke -

Juggling Data Set.

I have created a juggling data set. It consists of several videos of different juggling patterns, graphs, and .csv (spreadsheet) files. Some of the data is visualized in this Youtube video: Juggling Pattern Waveforms.

To create the dataset, I first took video of myself juggling. Next, using computer vision, I recorded the locations of the juggling balls in a spreadsheet. Once the data is captured in a spreadsheet, it can be easily analyzed. For example, this is the data for the pattern 423:

Collecting the data (the positions of the balls) from the video and recording it in a spreadsheet requires specialization in computer vision, particularly object recognition and tracking. Now that the data has been taken from the video and put in a spreadsheet, it is much easier to analyze!

The data can also be analyzed using Python (with the help of packages Pandas and Matplotlib). This short Python script shows how to load and graph the data.

One of the applications of this dataset is to compare two different jugglers who are juggling the same pattern. But, for this, I need your help! I would like to include juggling from other jugglers in this data set. If you could supply me with a high-quality short video clip of juggling, I could track the locations of the balls and add it to the data set.

Nikita - - Parent

Hey, Stephen.
I don't quite see what result you trying to achieve here, but I'd really like to help.
I'll try to record something tomorrow.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

I have several goals for the juggling data set:

  • Provide a repository of high quality juggling data for others to study.
  • Compare actual juggling patterns to idealized juggling patterns.
  • Compare one juggler to another.
  • Create a system of juggling notation that describes actual juggling.
  • Provide a ground truth for others to measure ball tracking algorithms.
  • Aid in the programming of juggling robots.

"If you build it, they will come."

I don't know what people will do with this data set! Hopefully, this data will have some really cool applications in the field of machine learning.

Nikita - - Parent

I gave it another thought. You probably can find as many juggling videos as you want on you tube.
If you have any specific requirement for you soft to work, than you better list them.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

I considered using videos from Youtube (This is the data from an 11 ball flash.).

There are a couple problems with using videos from Youtube:

  • I don't have the rights to the source video.
  • Most of the juggling on Youtube is filmed so that it is aesthetically pleasing, rather than optimized for object tracking.

The two methods that I am using to track balls are optical flow and colorspaces.

Here are a few things that can be done to optimize a video for object tracking:

  • Use juggling props that have as much contrast as possible, like green props on a tan and white background.
  • Juggle in a space with even lighting.
  • Capture the video in the highest resolution and frame rate possible, for tall patterns like 97531 it is best to turn the camera sideways and film with vertical video.

7b_wizard - - Parent

I guess it's also obvious that the props should be visible all the time, so that for example claws hiding a ball are unapt for tracking  ( or will the software just go on tracking where the ball appears again with data just not for only that hidden part of the balls trajectory, a hole in the rendered curve then ) ?

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Yes, it is helpful if the props are visible. Sometimes the tracker will get lost if the ball is obscured, enters a different lighting condition, or changes direction rapidly. If the tracker gets lost, I can pause the program and reset the tracker to the appropriate position.

I can implement optical flow in Python, but I don't really understand it. Explaining how it works is way beyond me.

This video shows how optical flow works:

Notice what happens when the ball passes in front of my face. The tracker is most likely to get lost there because the ball appears to be a blur on those frames.

peterbone - - Parent

What steps follow optical flow? I assume you're first segmenting the flow vectors to find the balls? Are you then using a predictive tracker that can predict the object's position when not detected, such as a Kalman filter? It must be possible for the tracker to know that the balls travel in parabolas when in the air, which would help tracking a lot.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

The tracking program that I wrote is quite simple. It relies on the user to click on an object to be tracked, and then uses optical flow to track the object. There is no detection, that is done by the user. Segmenting flow vectors is not something that I had considered, but I will try to implement that.

I have considered using a Kalman filter, OpenCV has a Kalman filter class, and I am currently researching this. The use of a Kalman filter is probably the best tool to make juggling ball tracking software more robust.

Optical flow is more than adequate for tracking the balls when they are in the air. Most of the tracking problems I encounter are when the ball has a sudden change in velocity as it is caught or thrown.

Tracking juggling balls in highly optimized video is a fairly easy computer vision task, a heuristic approach to solving my tracking problems is to collect video in higher resolution. I am currently working with 1080p30fps video.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Any particular patterns you'd like me to film? I'll try and do this next week.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Yes, can you film 15 catches of 5 ball cascade (from launch to collect)? I have noticed that good jugglers tend to throw the first ball (or maybe two or three balls) a little higher than the average pattern height. Jugglers that are just learning the 5 ball cascade tend to throw the first few balls a little low and then struggle into the pattern.

I want to get video from several jugglers, all juggling the same pattern for the same amount of catches, so that I can compare things like average pattern height, dwell time, height of the first throw vs. the average height of the pattern, syncopation, etc...

Thank you for you interest in the juggling data set.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Sorry for the delay. I was going to film outside just now and then realized my balls are in the gym. Just letting you know I still plan on doing it :)

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

No rush! The juggling data set is a long term project for me.

A couple notes about uploading video:

  • I prefer that you upload the file directly as it comes from the camera to avoid loss of resolution. Don't worry about editing (splicing, cropping, or rotating).
  • Please upload the video to a location where it can be downloaded directly (not Youtube, there is no way to download Youtube videos in full quality).
  • Mention that you allow me to use your video in my juggling data set.
  • You can also email your video to me directly (probably the easiest thing to do) at 'stephen meschke @ gmail . com.' With the spaces removed.

Thank you!

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Of course I read this post while it was already uploading to youtube >.<, so I'll post it here anyway for those interested. It's also on it's way to your email inbox. You can use this video in any way you like, including but not limited to using it in your data set.

Sorry for the terrible terrible quality! I hadn't tried 60fps mode before, at least now I know it is completely useless. If you prefer I can film it again in 30fps, which should be sharp 1080p.
I have a super wide lens and the camera allows me to zoom, probably some kind of digital zoom which made the sharpness even worse, but the lines of the building still don't seem exactly straight. I hope this doesn't skew the data too much.

Anyway, if you have wishes, let me know and I'll film it and send the raw stuff straight to you.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Thank you for sending me your video! Even though the resolution was not great, the contrast between the balls and the rest of the frame was amazing! The balls were very easy to track.

I have used my tracking software to extract the data, here are the results:

Now that I have data from another juggler, I can work on methods to compare your juggling to mine.

Orinoco - - Parent

I'm watching this project with interest.

I'm wondering if professionals working on a synchronised routine would be interested in your software to analyse a video of their routine to easily identify areas where they are out of synch?

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Most of the time it is easy to see for the professionals themselves when they are out of synch, no software needed. Perhaps for really precise things, such as isolations, this could be an application. But this software is not for that..

david - - Parent

Excellent, both the juggling and the tracking. I particularly value seeing the start which inspires me to clean up my start to include the whole trough of the curves before the first releases.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Thank you.

I was surprised to find that the act of juggling started quite a while before the first ball was thrown. I'd like to collect data from multiple jugglers to see if everyone does two fake throws before launching the first ball.

Kelhoon - - Parent

I often do several (more than 2) fake throws when starting 5, but launch in to a lot of patterns with 3 straight away.

I tend to do the fake throws for 5 until I "feel" like I have the right rhythm and spacing.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Now for the stuff I'd be curious about:
In long runs, how stable are my throws? Like could you give my pattern a score based on how much the throws diverge from the average of all throws?
In what way do my L and R hand differ? Do they both throw equally high and wide, or how big is the difference?

In the shorter runs, it is completely fine for me if every ball behaves different. Here I don't want to compare throw by throw, but rather run by run. I gave 3 samples of 15 catches, I'd be curious to know if ball 1 of attempt 1 is similar to ball 1 of attempt 2 and 3. etc.

In the future it could be interesting to compare jugglers and their styles too. Average height, dwell time, width, etc.

In all of the scores above I'd like to bring to 0 difference of course, and if there was a tangible number it would be fun to keep track over the years and try to become as much robot like as possible.

Anyway, those are some ideas of what to do with the data :). I hope you find some uses for this. And since seemingly I'm only the second juggler you've got on video: Guys, record some 5b 15 catches! Super easy stuff, right?

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

I have been working on determining dwell time and throw height. I do eventually want to create some metric that can describe how far a juggling pattern is from perfection. This is an interesting question though, because I don't really know what perfection is in terms of juggling.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

I wouldn't steer towards the question of what a perfect throw would be, that can be answered by others over time. You could however determine how far a throw is from your own average, or how far it is from the throws of this one juggler who you think throws pretty perfect.

My thoughts about a perfect throw/pattern can be found here:

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Since throws would be perfect parabolas (are they?), can't we visualize most of the data when we'd just have the starting point, the highest point and the catching point of each throw? Would diminishing the data like that make it easier to analyze, possibly easier to visualize? Is it hard to acquire these 3 points from the data?

david - - Parent

In the absence of wind the center of mass free flight paths are perfect parabolas to pixel resolution but the parabola may not be in the plane the camera is digitizing. There is also a little uncertainity about the end points. If you look at the velocity and acceleration plots you can see the noise. You can also see that, for the example shown, less than half is for free flight.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Tracking the ball during throws and catches is difficult for three reasons:

  • The ball is partially obscured by the hand.
  • The ball is at maximum speed, and appears as a blur instead of a sphere.
  • There may be a sudden change in speed and direction during the throw or catch.

The easiest solution is to record video in a higher frame rate; 120fps is sufficient for most 5 ball juggling. Another solution is to use smoothing techniques on the data to reduce noise. I have applied smoothing techniques to Daniel's data, and these are the results (quite an improvement):

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Right now I am focused on collecting good data, by working to make my tracking program more accurate.

I have identified five critical points that I would like to find: toss, crossing point traverse, zenith, catch, and toss onset. These critical points can be found in the data by using statistical techniques.

peterbone - - Parent

I think that your data request is not specific enough. If you want to compare the same pattern for different jugglers then you should specify exactly what data you want. I think you'd have a lot more response for that. I may be interested in filming something if you have a specific request. I have a nice plain wall outside and some bright balls.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

For the purposes of comparing one juggler to another, it would be best to eliminate as many variables as possible:

It would be easiest to do this at a juggling convention, with one camera setup and an 'x' on the floor for the juggler to stand over.

Until then, if you (or anyone else) would like to have a short clip of juggling tracked and recorded in a spreadsheet, I am more than willing to help.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Come do this next year at the Dutch juggling championships. Plenty of ball jugglers who all believe they have the best 5b cascade, you can help them (dis)proove it and collect data at the same time!

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

I made sure to get explicit consent before including you in the Juggling Dataset to avoid future conflict if the analysis proved that your juggling is bad. Looking at my own data, and comparing it to yours I can see that you juggle much better.*

For jugglers that spend more than an hour a day with props in the air, juggling can become part of who they are. Finding out that they are not good at juggling (by some however arbitrary measure) can be a hard pill to swallow.

*I blame it on the balls.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Indeed, sadly, it's just an arbitrary measure... I'm not convinced that my stable juggling is any good until I get close to your 7b records ;)

Do I see correctly that this graph only displays the height of the balls over time? Variation in width of a throw and horizontal spacing would also be important to determine if your juggling is "clean".

Our graphs look very different. I assume the horizontal scale is based on the amount of frames? It wouldn't be too hard to adjust for actual time, no?

Daniel Simu - - Parent

From the video with the overlay it seems like my two hands have opposite problems:

My right hand makes throws from a consistent horizontal location, but the throws vary in width. My left hand makes throws from different locations, but somehow manages to correct the width in such a way that the balls all land at exactly the same spot! I could have never noticed this without the visual aid. Can you check if this is also true in the longer runs? Can you think of a way of graphing out the data of the x axis in a way that this would be readable?

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Of course, the same kind of graph but downwards, that could work...

(if only I could edit posts to include the thoughts I have seconds after posting, this thread wouldn't need to become a mess)

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Also, the color coding is different in the graph and in the video. Sticking to one consistent order would make it easier to analize.

Sorry for the overkill of input, I'm just excited and curious to study more of my juggling this way :D

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Yes, these graphs plot height on the Y-axis and time on the X-axis. I would like to include the horizontal position of the balls, but that would mean graphing in three dimensions, which I have only a little experience with (I'll try it in Matplotlib for Python, but if anyone has suggestions...).

The graph of your pattern is more stretched out because yours if filmed in 60fps and mine is filmed in 30fps. I am working on a way to normalize the data so that different frame rates can be compared.

I see that you have replied to your own comment several times! Glad to see you are excited about this. I am excited about this too, but as this is a long term project for me, I am going to take my time and try to produce high quality data and avoid publishing things only to have to retract them later.

unigamer - - Parent

Hello Stephen, I've been following this thread closely, it's a great project. I'll try to get some footage of myself juggling soon and send it to you.

I haven't got round to using Matplotlib yet because I've had access to Matlab while I am a student. I have done a fair amount of plotting, animating and other stuff. If you're willing to send me an example csv file of some juggling, maybe a column for each ball and each row being a discrete time step then I'd love to have a go at plotting some stuff. I can just send whatever I come up with to you, the Matlab code won't be directly useful because I suspect the syntax might be a bit different but it should be a nice little prototype.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

The data for my pattern can be found here:

@Stephen: Until a 3d graphic is readable, 2 separate 2d graphics would also help to analize the juggling

unigamer - - Parent

Sorry Daniel, I wasn't paying attention to who-is-who there so my previous message was directed to you. Thanks for a link to the data, I've had a quick play around with it.

My working folder:

My first quick test plot:

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Don't worry, this is Stephens data file anyway (of my pattern)

Looks interesting, I guess I'd have to view it in 3d to be able to see if it is analisable...

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Nice graph! Did you smooth the data?

I made a .gif of the same graph using Python and Matplotlib, here's a link: Small: 3mb, Medium: 5mb, Large: 9mb.

You can find the code used to generate these (and lots more) in the Python Tutorials folder of the Juggling Dataset.

unigamer - - Parent

I didn't smooth the data but I did choose thick lines which can have a similar effect.

If your gif is animated then my phone isn't showing it properly, I'll check tomorrow on a desktop. Hopefully I'll make the switch to Python soon so I can use your stuff and my work won't be tied up in proprietary, expensive software... it's just so convenient though!

I'd like to do some animating of the data. It would also be interesting to seperate each 'cycle' to see how consistent the throws are. This steps into statistics and is a bit outside my territory but it would be a fun project to learn more with.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

I made a few more animated graphs and uploaded them to Imgur for viewing on mobile:

These graphs are also available in the graphs folder in the Juggling Data set.

I have learned a lot about statistics and computer vision working on this project. You can find the codes that I used in the Python Tutorials folder (they aren't pretty).

Dee - - Parent

It would be interesting to see how this relates to what Joost Dessing was doing at EJC2014 (a brief description was in Scott Seltzer's general review of EJC2014).

Mike Moore - - Parent

Oh cool, thanks for that link. It must've slipped past me at the time.

Stephen Meschke - - Parent

Thank you for that interesting link, I look forward to reading his publications. It seems that Dr. Joost Dressing and I have different aims for the data that we collect.

My goal for the Juggling Dataset is to create a dataset that others (who are so statistically inclined) can use to study juggling. I want the data to be as accessible as possible, similar to how the creators of Kaggle have made the Titanic Dataset accessible; by hosting the data online with a thorough description and several tutorials in multiple programming languages.

I assume Dr. Dressing collects data to prove or disprove a hypothesis and then publishes those results for academic prestige.

Early on in the creation of this data set I realized that creating a data set is difficult. There are several steps, and each of which requires specialized knowledge, software, and equipment to do well: juggling, video recording of juggling, computer vision analysis of juggling video, formatting data and hosting it online, writing tutorials and descriptions for the data...all of this has to happen before a hypothesis can be tested.

Fields like machine learning and data science are really starting to take off! By creating the Juggling Data set, I hope to leverage the machine learning practitioners and data scientists skills to advance the knowledge of juggling. They are nothing without data, but likely lack the ability to collect it. There are a lot of data addicts, but few data set creators.

IsaacDraper -

Top tip: don't try continuous back crosses near a dish of oil and balsamic vinegar! I now have one very messy juggling ball :(

John R - - Parent

Alternatively, you've got a healthy, tasty snack! Maybe a little chewy, but plenty of fibre...

vazonun - - Parent

Let me tell you a short story...

I was a recipient of a medium sized parcel, one containing some brand-spanking new juggling props, which included a lovely set of white juggling balls (uglies). My excitement was through the roof, and I couldn't wait any longer than the few seconds it took me to remove them from their individual wrappers until I started their maiden 5b cascade. Within moments they were happily flying through the air from hand to hand. Until... I made a rookie error, I got too excited, I was enjoying them a little bit too much, which inevitably caused a rogue throw... As I chased the ball through the air with my eyes, I knew I had no hope in catching this ball, it was doomed to hit the floor. But not in my case...
Well, to cut a short story long. My hot beverage of the day tasted a little like juggling ball, and I now have an off-white ball which now smells of coffee.

IsaacDraper - - Parent

Oh dear! Not a good day :(

Mike Moore - - Parent

Ooo, I like what this thread is turning into.

My tip: when you a ball rolls away, and you find it covered in cobwebs...check for the spider.


IsaacDraper - - Parent

Top tip #2: if you want catch a mouse, leave your uglies in the floor. They love them.

^Tom_ - - Parent

Top tip #3: After this, you'll buy a tupperware box to store your juggling balls.

peterbone - - Parent

Our wood burning stove glass got smashed by a club during a mis-timed lazy catch the other day. Luckily it was due for replacement anyway.

Nikita -

Hey guys!

I just recently joined the forum and I have few questions about record logging.
Hope you can help me :)

So the thing I'm confused with, is order of throws in siteswap notation.

Lets say I want to record 56 throws of 12345 (we all know this trick, and there is no questions that it is called 12345)
So I record 56 3b 12345.
My actual throws started with 3. Like 3451234512... So why do I record 12345 instead of 34512 then ?
12345 and 34512 considered different tricks by site engine, but they actually are the same one.
And how would I record this trick with additional 6 throw ? Is it 1234560 or 0123456 ?
Do we have any rules of resolving situations like this ?

Also, do you count 2 and 0 as a catch ?
And is there a way to tag people in posts ?

lukeburrage - - Parent

The convention among jugglers is to typically write down or say a siteswap starting with the highest value. Sure, you might get into the pattern with different throws, or start the loop at a different place, but for clear and easy communication, it's nice if everyone sticks to the same order for the same pattern.

This means 97531 is always easy to recognise, rather than each time the reader having to decode that 31975 and 19753 and 75319 are all the same pattern.

In your case, you are wrong that there is no question that your pattern is called 12345, as you yourself then explain. The convention is to call it 51234.

As for counting catches, with running a siteswap pattern it's often easier to count the cycles of the pattern. For example, here is a video of the b97531 record. Catches aren't mentioned, but "151 rounds" is:

Daniel Simu - - Parent

I've never heard of this convention. 51234 sounds strange. Why not start a siteswap at its easiest point of entry? If it is a ground state siteswap, it's always obvious. 45123 makes much more sense to me than 51234. Obviously it's going to be 97531 and not 19753
Besides, how do you solve for siteswaps with recurring high numbers? 777171 could be written in 4 correct ways then?

I'm not an expert on states, but the excited state pattern 891 doesn't start with the highest number either. I believe that the easiest entry is 778, wheras the easiest entry for 918 is 7788?

"and there is no questions that it is called 12345" I think siteswap wise it should be called 45123, but 12345 is the obvious style choice. Which indeed makes counting tricky. You could link 45123 to the 12345 trick in the record section, claim that your version is the correct one and ask the current record holders for clarification of their counting method.
For myself I would also count cycles, not catches, but I understand that in the record section that doesn't work... I'm sure someone who uses the record section actively can comment on this?

peterbone - - Parent

The convention is actually to write the siteswap in numerical order. So 777171 would be the only correct way to write it. I assume that the reason is that it was convenient for early siteswap generators to write them in that format without having to work out the states. Writing them with highest values first is most likely to result in a low state start, unless you work out the states.

lukeburrage - - Parent

Well, Peter already answered this. It's the highest numerical value if converted into a single number. 777171 starts with 777 which is higher than 771, 717, 171 or 717.

As for this: "I'm not an expert on states, but the excited state pattern 891 doesn't start with the highest number either. I believe that the easiest entry is 778, wheras the easiest entry for 918 is 7788?"

Let's write those down.

Into 891 is 778? So that's 778891891891...

Into 918 is 7788? So that's 778891891891...

Yeah, you've just come up with the same thing!

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Of course they're both the same thing! But that still doesn't tell you whether you should write 891 or 918, right? And my generator & jugglewiki do call it 891, not 918...

Orinoco - - Parent

I've never heard of that convention either. I've only ever heard 12345 called 12345. Searching for 12345 vs the other permutations on rec.juggling & the Edge (both the forum & the records section), 12345 is by far the most prevalent.

If two siteswap records are entered into the Edge records system that are a rotation of each other & provided you have built up enough 'experience' by entering records you will have the option to merge those two tricks together. Once merged you can enter the trick whichever way you like but they will be listed & compared together.

At present no-one has entered a permutation of 12345 to link to.

Maria - - Parent

I have heard of that convention, and I would certainly write any 4-handed siteswaps that way (I believe that most of the passers do that).

When logging my juggling practice, however, I usually write ground-state siteswaps in the order I do them, so 51234 would be written as 45123, since that way I can say that I did 4 rounds and back to cascade or something like that. (While if I wrote it as 12345 or 51234, the same number of actual throws and catches would only contain 3 rounds and the first and last throws would count as transition throws...).

I don't log siteswap records so it doesn't matter in that case, but if I did, I'd feel that doing for example ...3333345123451234512333333.... would be 15 catches of 45123, but only 13 catches of 12345. (If I do active 2s, otherwise I would not count them.)

Someone might also have noticed that I sometimes log both 55050 and 50505 in the same practice session... Or 552 and 525. In that case, it's just different starts and has little to do with how to write siteswaps and more to do with me wanting to see in my log entry that I actually did two different starts, but being too lazy to use a lot of words. (55050 would be starting with one club in one hand and two in the other, and throwing from the hand with one club first. 50505 would be starting with 3 in the same hand.)

7b_wizard - - Parent

Same here .. heard of that convention and use it for logging records, but in a given context write them as then makes more sense.

The Void - - Parent

I've heard of that convention and yet also commonly heard patterns referred to in ascending order, eg 12345. (Also the convention for writing multiplex throws also follows the "highest possible number" convention. eg [543], not [345]. I learned that from Sean Gandini.)

lukeburrage - - Parent

In the single case of the pattern 12345, yes, that order is the most common by far. It feels like the natural way of saying it. However, it's in a class of patterns where throw values increase by one until it drops to the first number again, and in most other cases, the higher number is said first. Examples:

423 not 234
534 not 345
645 not 456

It's only because it feels natural to say the number 1 first that people do so! And it *is* so satisfying to say it that way! In conversation, I've no problem with saying 12345. I think it's more important to have clear communication between two people than to follow strict rules.

But in the case of making a list or database entry, I think it's best to stick with the convention. And if there's any confusion, explain the convention, not make exceptions for something that just happens to scratch a weird cognitive itch.

The Void - - Parent


Kelhoon - - Parent

What if others (like me) find it easier to start it with the 3 ? i.e. 34512

There are many patterns that people don't start the same way, so the easy way for you isn't necessarily the easy way for others, hence the need for the convention as discussed by Peter and Luke to help everyone recognise a given siteswap from all it's possible cycles.

lukeburrage - - Parent

Yes, this is the whole point. When ordering lists, the person reading it should know where to look, and also not think they are missing anything, and also not worrying that two things in different places are duplicates. This is why bookshops and libraries have settled on (within sections) ordering books by the author's second name, and then the first name, and then by book title/series title and number. If you went into a bookshop, and some books were ordered by the title, and some by the author name, and some by the colour of the spine, everyone would be super annoyed.

In the case of siteswaps in a list, or in a database like the records section, the obvious thing to do is order them by A: object number and then by B: numerical value.

This is important because, just looking at the siteswap out of context, it's impossible for most people to know the state of the pattern, or how they would transition into it from the cascade or fountain, or any number of other things.

And it's really important not to have 777171, 771717, 717177, 171777, 717771 an 177717 ALL listed in different places, or else the list would be unmanageable! You'd also have to have 441, 414 and 144 listed. And every other iteration of every other pattern, just in case another juggler liked starting on a different beat or had a different transition into the patter,

If someone is confused, it's much better to explain the convention to that person (eg. "in the book shop we order by author surname") than it is to accommodate their preference at the expense of making the system more complicated and confusing for everyone else.

Orinoco - - Parent

With regards to counting numbers. Don't count 0s, & only count 2s if they are active (thrown); if you are just holding the prop don't count it as a catch.

There currently isn't a way to tag people in a post, I don't think traffic is really high enough to warrant the feature? If you just type someone's name in all capitals I'm sure they'll get the message.

Nikita - - Parent

Thank you, Orinoco.

Not counting 0 makes and passive 2's makes sense. I just realized than I counted number of cycles and multiplied it by number of digits in siteswap. But it turned out to be wrong.

Taging people look nice. As I see it. Just Highlighted name makes it clear to random reader that message has direct recipient. It also would allow to send emails to tagged people if they want it, for example. I don't think everyone read forum from end to end. But it is minor.

I'm much more interested in resolving my siteswap issue.
You mentioned an option to merge two tricks together. I have not found info about it anywhere, could you please comment on it ?
If there is a possibility to merge tricks and make two different entries behave like one trick would really solve it.
But also may be i't is possible to pre process siteswaps programmatically to make all versions of one trick recorded with same string. (like if you enter 315 it is still shows up as 531)
I'm not sure if it is a right way.

peterbone - - Parent

Go to any trick in the records section and look at the bottom of the page for "Is this trick the same as another? Link them together". However, based on what Orin said earlier it may not be available unless you've added a lot of records.

Orinoco - - Parent

...& that link will appear if you've logged more than 10 records. This is just an arbitrary threshold so that linking is only handled by people who are at least a little familiar with the records system. I couldn't remember what the threshold was when I posted earlier so just had to look up the code!

Nikita - - Parent

Okay, that explains why I have not found it :)

IsaacDraper -

Recommendations needed!

I've decided to treat myself to a new set of balls for numbers practice. I'd like something neon as it's visible in most conditions; beanbag variety; good weight and size for 5+.

What do y'all recommend?

peterbone - - Parent

For numbers beanbags I'd recommend uglies or mini uglies by Oddballs. The colours are fairly bright but not neon.

For anything below 8 balls I prefer a hybrid ball such as MMX and then slightly underfill them. They do some very bright colours.

Jazz Phab do neon beanbags, but the quality isn't as good in my opinion.

IsaacDraper - - Parent

Thanks for your reply. I happened across some uglies in a juggling shop and tried them and they're great so I got 7!

Jaz Auden -

Would anyone be able to tell me how I can enter (6x,4)* from 5b cascade?

Orinoco - - Parent

My easy way is to collect 3 balls in my left hand one after the other, then pass the lot into my right hand before catching the 4th ball then you can just start (6x,4)* as if starting from cold.

So in siteswap that's 5555 525[22]5[222]5[111] at this point you should have 1 in your left hand, 3 in your right & one in the air heading for your left hand.

The [111] is a bit arbitrary but I think it looks & feels nicer.

lukeburrage - - Parent

The easiest way is to throw two or more balls from the right hand slightly higher, going into a half shower with synchronous throws. Once you're there, you can switch to (6x,4)* any time you want.

Mats1 - - Parent

You can throw a 6 out of the Cascade and then just straight up start throwing (6x, 4)*

peterbone - - Parent

As Mats1 said, you can do something like 55556x5 1f (6x,4)* . The 1f (or 1x) is a 1 that doesn't cross. Basically a short pause. If you're interested in the theory have a look here.

Jaz Auden - - Parent

Thankyou all!

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