David Bradbury offers us this introduction to juggling knives. (Those of you who like to juggle on the wild side should also see this page and this one.)
The act of juggling, unless you do it in a private place, is an act that makes you stand out from everyone else - you attract attention, not least from cynics who never have (and never will) juggle themselves. So there you stand with your balls/clubs/hoops flying through the air and the inevitable cry comes from the cynic:
"Hey mate lets see you juggle some knives then!"
How nice it would be if you could produce a nice shiny set of juggling knives and proceed to dazzle the cynic (and everyone else) with a display of skill and daring. Particularly if you can run and juggle at the same time, pursuing the rapidly departing cynic, knives flailing through the air.
There are of course far more worthy reasons for knife juggling. It looks good for a start, so it's an ideal way to round off a street performance. Just as fire torches look good at dusk and at night, knife juggling is the way to show off during the daytime. Everyone with think that you are either brave or completely mad (or both). On a personal level being able to juggle knives and fire torches (without serious injury of course!) is a sign that you are good at juggling.
First of all you need to make sure that you can juggle clubs competently. Don't even think about knife juggling until you can do this. Once you've mastered the art of juggling three clubs in the basic pattern you are able to step up to knives (This is when I started knife juggling and if it can work for me...).
Although the technique is identical to club juggling, knives are somewhat heavier, so it's necessary to "relearn" in some respects. The key to juggling knives is confidence. Specialised juggling knives (and if you're not juggling these knives put the ones you are currently using away and go down to your nearest juggling shop and get some) are blunt, you can catch the blade without too much damage, but there is still a psychological barrier to cross (the blades might be blunt but they don't look blunt).
To juggle knives follow the following set of instructions. Don't go onto the next step until you are confident of the one you are presently on:
Steps 1 and 2 are for gaining confidence and for getting used to the feel of the knives. 3 and 4 are from when you learned to juggle clubs.
As I say juggling knives are blunt but be careful not to juggle too near people (particularly children). Don't sharpen your knives, this will effect their balance as well as increasing the risk of finger loss. Tighten up the screws holding the blade in place every now and then, as you don't want your handles going one way and your blades the other.
When learning to juggle, do so over something soft that the blades can stick into, grass is ideal. When you drop them the blades will bend slightly, so bend them back after every session. Polish the blades (not the handles!!!) to keep them looking good. Finally it's worth making something to keep them in, a soft bag with newspaper or sponge at the bottom to protect the blades is ideal.
Good luck and happy juggling!