A recent 3-ball juggling session

I recently shot with my Flip Video Camera some of the juggling tricks I’ve been working on. You practice all the time, but sometimes you need to see how it looks from the other side. You’ll notice little things that you can correct easily, but wouldn’t be aware of without the video. You’ll also get a sense of how to pace the tricks to keep the show visually interesting.

There’s some Mill’s Mess, over-the-shoulder tosses, reverse cascade, columns and ‘The Factory.’ I threw in some one-ball tosses at the end for kicks.

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Review: Juggling Set from Target

juggling balls

Target juggling set: About the same size as tennis balls.

I bought a Juggling Set today from Target for $2.50. It’s a clear plastic box with three “bean bag” juggling balls — actually polyester fiber packed with glass beads.

The glass beads give the balls a nice weight. The relatively cushy feel makes them easier to catch than tennis balls, but they still feel sturdy. They’re almost the same size as tennis balls, but easier to grip and with more heft.
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Accessing flow states through Pac-man and juggling

Pac-man

Pac-man (By Gerardvschip at en.wikipedia CC-BY-SA-2.5, from Wikimedia Commons)

Reporter Joshuah Bearman talked to gaming gurus Walter Day and Dwayne Richard for his Harper’s piece about competitive video game players, and describes flow states they sometimes enter when they’re playing. It’s a feeling you’ll probably experience when you’re learning how to juggle 3 balls.

True quests, he (Walter) says, are about losing oneself, which in the end is finding oneself. “Top gamers have yogic concentration,” he says, “combining utter focus with extreme relaxation, like what I’ve studied with the Maharishi.” Walter says the players, like all great athletes, can enter flow states when navigating Pac-Man or marathoning on games like Nibbler. And many players do in fact report moments, deep into the hours, when everything but the game recedes. “It’s happened to me many times,” Dwayne says. “It’s like you have some kind of automatic comprehension.”

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Can I put this on my resume? Juggling as job skill

During an interview for a newspaper internship, an editor asked me what I like to do.

Juggling, I told him.

He didn’t understand at first. He thought I was going for the high school over-achiever cliche, like, I enjoy juggling many different responsibilities at once, such as leading this club, doing volunteer work and filing 10 compellingly written news stories a day.

No, not that kind of juggling.

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The ‘this is impossible’ stage and beyond

cat with sock

Source: Day 71 - stoner cat and his cat mint sock by Flickr user Viewoftheworld. (Wikimedia Commons)

I just got an update on a friend’s progress learning how to juggle 3 balls. This is what he said:

i balled up some socks and took a stab at juggling last night

i think im past the ‘this is impossible’ stage and into the ‘i can see how this might work’ part

i can get a few tosses back and forth. the bed idea is a good one, except that my cat was running away with the socks no matter where i dropped them

That’s the first time I’ve seen someone put a name to the process, and, wow, that says it all. That’s what juggling is all about. That’s why it’s so satisfying and addictive and impressive: because it starts out as an impossibility.
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Good juggling music

Erol Alkan

"A Bugged Out Mix with Erol Alkan" (2005)

Sometimes I like to juggle to music. Techno and hip hop seem to work well because of the infectious rhythms.

I once achieved an altered state of consciousness while juggling and listening to Erol Alkan’s “A Bugged Out Mix with Erol Alkan.”

I also listen to hip hop, including Jay-Z and Eminem.
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Hit the wall, keep going

The Dip cover

The Dip

This thought from Seth Godin in his book “The Dip” might come in handy when you’re learning how to juggle 3 balls, and doing just about anything else in life, such as weight lifting or working on some other project:

Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most.

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Vova Galchenko, at 9 years old, juggling 5 balls

I was probably around 9 years old when I first learned the basic juggling pattern with plastic grocery bags. I left juggling alone until I saw a documentary about jugglers when I was 14 years old. That’s when I finally learned how to juggle 3 balls, the basic three-ball cascade.

Now, I’m 24 years old. I’ve been trying on and off for the past several years to learn to juggle 5 balls.

So, here’s a question I’ve been thinking about: What’s a good age to start juggling?

I really don’t know. I taught some friends in college how to juggle. They picked it up quickly.

But how young can you go?

Embedded below is video of a young Vova Galchenko, the juggling master, at 9 years old, juggling three, four and five balls. (I think Olga Galchenko makes a cameo.) So, if you want to learn how to juggle 3 balls and you’re wondering, ‘Am I too young?’ this is my answer.

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‘The closest to real magic you’re ever gonna get’

The day I decided to learn how to juggle 3 balls, I watched a documentary about juggling on TV. Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the documentary, or even what channel it was on. I never saw it again.

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Jugglers depicted in Beni Hasan tomb — 4,000 years ago

The history of juggling goes way, way back. Case in point: the picture used in the header image is a depiction of hieroglyphs found in a tomb at an Ancient Egyptian cemetery site.

Jugglers on the wall of the 15th tomb at Beni Hasan in Egypt

A wall depicting jugglers, and others, in the 15th Tomb at Beni Hasan in Egypt (Percy Edward Newberry's "Beni Hasan")

The cemetery — called Beni Hasan (also Bani Hasan, or Beni-Hassan) — contains 150 tombs, and the image of the jugglers is found in what is known as the 15th tomb. The tomb dates back to around 4,000 years ago, between 1994 and 1781 B.C.
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