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Wow! It's been 3 months since my last practice journal entry?!? I have been practicing, I promise! Quite a bit actually.
My wife and I adopted a new dog and it helped motivate me to landscape my backyard so she has some nice space to play. The yard was all rock before, no real room to stand anywhere or do anything! I put in a bunch of planter boxes and trees, and a couple hundred square feet of outdoor carpeting. It is so wonderful to have a nice outdoor space right out my back door to juggle! I think I'll be persuaded to practice more, now that I can just step outside for a juggle rather than having to walk/drive to a park somewhere. Also, the wind is slightly blocked by the other houses and such. It's seemingly less windy in my yard than it can get at the park in a big open field. That's a huge plus for clubs, and on one particularly calm day recently, I even had a ring session.
I've still been practicing clubs, focusing on good technique with basic 3-5 club patterns. It's feeling really good. I've been watching some club manipulation videos, mainly some new ones by Kevin Axtell, and I am so jealous of the way some people can move clubs around and make it look so beautiful! Kevin is making so many pretty shapes and patterns using 4 clubs without even throwing them! I want to get good at that stuff but it's hard to find a starting point before I get side-tracked and revert to what I call my default patterns; running through stuff that is solid while your mind wanders and thinks about everything but juggling. A few days ago I started trying to create a 3 club mini-routine with some of my newer, fancier moves, and it's far enough along now to where I enjoy practicing it without getting sidetracked too easily.
Starting to feel like I need some new moves with balls. Not having as much fun just drilling my usual patterns and siteswaps with 4-7 balls, and feeling stale with everything 3 ball. I've started playing with some very complex 4 ball ideas, basically trying to squeeze in as many odd multiplex combos and body throws as possible in short sequences with a clear, static, starting and stopping point. I might at least have enough to make a new video soon.
Rings........... I am ashamed that I still haven't made the time to go to a rec center and practice rings. It's been a good couple years since I practiced rings with any regularity. There are a couple rec centers that haven't kicked me out for juggling, but they are far from my house and usually a little too packed to find adequate practice space. If I'm still making excuses by my next journal entry, remind me to be extra ashamed of myself.
I also spent quite a bit of time practicing flowersticks recently! I have several tricks now instead of just the basics, some are starting to get fairly solid. I'll have to make a video of that soon.
It was recently announced that WJF9 will be in Vegas this December! I have a hard time getting excited about the WJF anymore... maybe I've just been to enough conventions now to where it isn't as magical. Even the last IJA I went to I didn't participate in any workshops (except the one a friend signed me up to teach! :)) I wasn't too concerned about missing some of the shows either, and I managed not to turn on my camera a single time the whole week. The attendance at WJF events seems to be dwindling, so maybe I'm just thinking it will be a little too low-key to feel really exciting. I wouldn't go if there were travel expenses, but the convention is happening right down the street from my house, so it'd be silly not to go. This will be the 6th WJF event I've attended, I'll try to post here about my experience!
That's it for now! Juggle on!
TOOOOOOO LOOOOOOOONG DOOOOOON'T REEEEEEEEAAAAAADDDDDD!!!!!!!!
Total practice time: 1 minutes
Location: Las Vegas
So when I started my journal here, I went on a bit about how I don't really practice or enjoy clubs anymore. Shortly after writing that, I started thinking about why I don't practice clubs anymore. Aside from not having a good indoor space, and clubs being easily affected by even slight winds, it seems I was becoming frustrated, I had reached some sort of plateau, I wasn't really getting any better and as a result wasn't having so much fun with it. I had previously determined my club technique was terrible, and the last few times I worked on clubs I went back to drilling basic patterns and focusing on technique. This was boring. I quickly gave up and focused on my main prop, balls. Then, after about a year-long break from seriously working on clubs, I was willing to give it another shot.
So, about a month ago, I went to the park one day and spent an entire hour with clubs, only drilling basic patterns and obsessing over technique. To my surprise, I had fun. It felt good to juggle clubs again, even if it was hard to tell which throws were bad and which throws were thwarted by the wind. Maybe it just felt new to me again after such a long break? I don't know! So over the next few weeks I had several sessions with clubs, and today I feel my technique has improved slightly. Maybe the reason for the long break was the realization about how bad my technique was, and not having the motivation to relearn everything.
I've been trying some new swing/toss fusion type tricks, and I'm becoming re-inspired to work on certain tricks that in the past I was starting to feel were impossible for me. 5 club triples and singles, 4 club backcross and shoulder throw patterns, 3 club reverse backcrosses, all things I will start trying more and more as my technique (hopefully) continues to improve!
That's all for now...
Total practice time: 1 minutes
Earlier this week I practiced clubs outside in my local park for about 1.5 hours. This is the longest I've practiced clubs in a long time, probably close to a year or so. I tried some 5 club tricks I hadn't tried in a long time, and I managed to land one round of 64 back to cascade never having tried it before. I also tried 753 which I had never tried before, and came very close to getting it. Later in the day, I went to a pool party at one of my Dad's friends houses. I was really wanting to juggle clubs more and take advantage of the lack of wind that day, so I decided to take some props to the pool party. I knew there would be a lot of people I didn't know at this party, so I was very hesitant to bring my juggling props...
...Lemme sidetrack for a sec...
I've gotten to the point where I hate juggling anywhere near non-jugglers. I'm so sick of making small talk about juggling, so sick of all the circus/clown remarks, so sick of all the dumb questions... I seriously go out of my way to try to hide the fact that I'm a juggler because of this.
Anyway, back to the pool party...
So, I brought some balls and clubs along with me. There were lots of people I didn't know and I generally dislike small talk of any kind, so I said some "hello"s and some "nice to meet you"s and then just started juggling in the backyard near the pool. Naturally, people were interested and started talking to me about it. To my surprise, NOT ONCE did anyone ask a stupid question or make a stupid comment. NOT ONCE did anyone even use the words "clown" or "circus". NOT ONCE did anyone ask me if I was a performer, and then ridicule me for not working to build a career as a performer like they so quickly and easily would if they could juggle. I was truly amazed. Three of the people knew how to juggle a 3 ball cascade mostly solid (clear that they just randomly knew how and had never really practiced much) and were really happy to join in my fun. Two of those people managed to more than qualify three clubs within their first few minutes of attempting clubs, which I found impressive.
In summary, I was really glad that I shared my little secret with a bunch of strangers - something that I typically avoid doing out of pure cynicism I guess. Maybe I need to start giving non-jugglers a chance more often.
Total practice time: 90 minutes
So, this is the start of my juggling practice log on The Edge. I started juggling in April 2007, so about 6 years ago. My first few years focused on balls/clubs/rings, and I even dabbled in a bit of cigar boxes and devil sticks. I quickly got up to 7 balls, 7 rings, and 5 clubs, but nowhere near solid. At first, I spent a lot of time working on ridiculous big tricks when my basic patterns weren't really as stable as they should have been. I started some amateur video editing to show off my skills, and I made a lot of youtube vids those first few years, mostly just cheesy practice montages. In May 2011 I met a wonderful woman and got married shortly after that, so since then I've been more interested in togetherness with my wife over juggling, so I practice significantly less these days.
Where I stand now, I still freestyle with 3-4 balls around the house everyday. I rarely make the effort to learn/create new patterns anymore, but I still focus on finding new ways to connect old patterns so it still feels new and exciting for me most of the time. I've also been more focused on body movement and space utilization with my 3ball these days. When I do "go out" to practice, I usually go to a local park and just practice 4-6 ball siteswaps, and basic 7 ball patterns. Never more than a few hours total each week. I've grown to hate clubs, but I still practice a few choice 3club tricks, rarely, and I drill just the basics with 4 and 5 clubs. I really do love rings, but don't practice them anymore due to difficulty finding a good indoor space. Hell, I would even practice clubs more if I had a good indoor space. My favorite prop is balls, all the way. I'd like to say I still play with my alternate props sometimes (boxes, sticks, kendama, diabolo, contact) but it would be a lie.
I've grown bored tracking progress like I used to. Wow, today I beat my 7 ball record by 5 catches, yipee. Who cares? After a certain point, it means nothing. I almost never try to break endurance records anymore. Instead I have become an older, wiser juggler. Back to basics. I spend most of my time working on stuff I can get consistently, where drops aren't usually expected. I am also much more aware of my posture and technique these days. I used to get bored running basic patterns when there's so many tricks to try, but now I actually have the desire to perfect the basics and improve my overall technique. My overall goals with juggling have never really changed, I'm just a hobbyist wanting to have some fun, but I do still want to improve. It's just not as important as it used to be. It just feels good to run patterns and not drop very much.
I'll probably keep my log here on the edge fairly unconventional. Instead of logging progress with individual patterns, I'd like to share my thoughts about my experience as a juggler overall and maybe any funny stories that come from it. So, I probably won't be updating this log more than once a month or so.
Total practice time: 1 minutes