To begin, walk around while you're juggling three clubs (or balls or rings). Walk slowly in straight lines at first, then try walking sideways to your left or right. Finally try turning corners without losing the pattern. You'll find that you have to lead yourself when you're moving, especially when you're turning. Otherwise your props will be left behind, on the floor.
Now try backing up while juggling. Then slow down and go forward. Notice again that you have to lead yourself to keep the clubs from crashing into your body or flying away when you change directions. The key is simply not making the transitions faster than what you can handle. With practice, you can learn to run all over the place while juggling.
If you can wander around while juggling, there's no reason not to do it while passing clubs (or balls, etc.). Start by moving slowly toward your partner, who should slowly back away. Then reverse directions. Move the pattern sideways by having one partner move to the right while the other moves to the left. Again, reverse directions.
Now both of you can move to the right to make the pattern rotate about its center. You always have to lead your partner, but in this counterclockwise turning, if you lead too far, you'll hit your partner's club, so that probably limits your speed. On the other hand, if you rotate clockwise (each person moving to the left), the collision problem disappears and you can throw far ahead of your partner.
A simple move is to get closer to, or farther away from, your partner. This is a good practice for times when you might need to make shorter or longer throws.
If you combine the above possibilities, you can choreograph a dance with your partner, sometimes moving slowly and at other times faster. It's generally easier if you both know which way you're going to move next, but here's an interesting game, much like a dance, with one person leading and one following.
One partner can at any time choose to move in any direction at any speed desired. The second partner simply responds to the movement with a compatible movement. For starters, always keep the passing distance and direction constant, as you move forwards, backwards or sideways. Later see if the leading partner can induce the follower to turn or rotate as well. Now it's really a dance, and with a good leader and a good follower, it can flow beautifully around the floor.
Or, let both people try to influence each other without any preplanned flight path. See where it leads you. Now that you're adept at gliding while juggling, let's add some more people and different ideas.
A handy bit of knowledge to have is how to jump into or out of a juggling pattern, such as a feed, without disturbing the flow of the pattern. A common trick is simply to say "In!" or "Out!" or "Hup!" when you want to change the pattern. Of course, the folks you're juggling with have to know what the possibilities are that you might intend, so that they can react properly, but here are some suggestions.
First, with three people in a feed (one feeder and two feedees), either of the feedees can leave the pattern by saying "Out!" on a pass. The next pass is unaffected, going as usual between the other two jugglers, so they don't have to react terribly quickly to adjust the pattern. Starting with that pass, however, they can simply switch into a 2-ct (every one) or a 4-ct (every other), depending on local convention. Let's assume for now that they go into a 4-ct.
Now, the juggler who left the feed can come back in at any of four different places and a feed will resume: on the left or right of either of the two other jugglers. So the "out" juggler simply picks one of those places (and perhaps an interesting way to get there) and then calls "In!" at the right time. For now, just assume you go straight forward and turn around, changing feeders as a result - see Fig. 1, where "M" represents the moving juggler.
If you're going into a 4-ct, call "In!" at the time of a R hand self by the two remaining passers (assuming they're passing R handed). This again allows the next R hand throw to be unaffected by the call, in this case being a pass between the two continuing passers. The next R hand after that, however, is a pass between the juggler who called "In!" and the person opposite, who now proceeds to feed normally.
For going into a 2-ct, the timing of the "In!" is the same. Since there is no R hand self in a 2-ct, the call comes on a pass. The next R hand throw is not changed, as usual, and the R after that is the caller's first pass in the resumed feed. So you always yell "In!" on the second R hand throw before you want to make your first R hand pass. That's 4 counts before you're really in (a count is one L or R hand throw).
When you go out, instead of going straight forward and turning around to change feeders, you can just move to the other side of your neighbor feedee and keep the same feeder. Or you can go beyond that position over next to the old feeder to come back in. The easy routes in both of these cases go behind one of your partners. For more of a challenge, try going in front, right through the pattern, to get to the new position.
Because you leave the pattern on a pass, when you are going out you have to catch your partner's last pass to you. You don't have to keep juggling at that point. Often you want to get to the next spot as quickly as possible, and that usually entails just catching the final pass and holding the three clubs as you move.
With a bigger feed, it's fun to call "Out!" from one end and run down to do an "In!" on the other end (Fig. 2). Or move to the feeder's side for a double feed.
The calling of "Out!" is to alert your juggling partners to the fact that something is changing that they must adjust to, although not necessarily super quickly. You can, however, just agree that anyone who moves from one position and immediately is ready in a new position is "out" and instantly back "in," eliminating the need for the explicit calls. With this agreement, we get quick outs and ins. Let's see what it's like with three people in a feed.
Upon making a pass, a feedee goes straight forward, catches the incoming pass short, and turns around quickly, ready to pass to the new feeder. The sequence of passes exchanged is this: (1) moving feedee and original feeder; (2) still feedee and original feeder; (3) moving feedee (now on the other side) and still feedee (who is the new feeder). See the passes numbered 1 to 3 in Fig. 1.
When doing this quick out and in, start moving immediately after your initial pass. As you move forward, put the club from your L hand into your R hand (leaving two clubs in your R). Catch the original feeder's pass in your L hand while you continue forward. As soon as you catch that pass, turn quickly by pivoting on your L foot and then step back on your R, with your R hand back ready to pass. Make your pass as you see the new feeder passing to you.
A fast variation is for only one person to move, doing a quick out and in with each pass made, first on one side of the pattern, then on the other, then back on the first side, and so on. In this case you're rapidly alternating between the two parts of Fig. 1, with the 4-pass cycle indicated by passes numbered 1 to 4 in that figure. This is great exercise, as is the combination below with all three (or more) people moving whenever possible.
In a feed of any number of people, if every person does the above-described quick out and in whenever possible, we get a pattern called the wheel. The basic rule in the wheel is that each person feeds all the other people once and then runs to the other side with a quick out and in. Usually we do this with the feeds moving from left to right, but right to left gives the same sort of effect.
We'll start the wheel in a multiple feed formation, with half the people side by side in one row facing the other half in the other row, as in a complete feed. If there are an odd number of people, the extra person is placed at the left end (from own view) of either row.
Start by having each person pass directly across to the person opposite in the other row. With an odd number of people, the one extra person just does a self, followed by feeding the opposite row. Assume we're feeding from left to right.
After each pass, everyone who has another feedee turns a little to the right to pass to that next person. Anybody who has no such next feedee (on the right) does a quick out and in and then starts the feed over again from the new row.
After you change sides, your first pass from the new side is always to the nearest person, on the left end of your old row. With an even number of people, there are always two people changing sides at a time, then one pass after which no one changes. With an odd number of people, there is always one person changing sides after each pass.
Figure 3 shows the wheel for four people as it goes through one rotation. Dotted lines show passes and arrows indicate movement. Note that in the last part of Fig. 3, everyone is back to passing with the same person as in the first part, four passes earlier. Look particularly at the passes made by juggler 4, to see what each person does, namely, throws to jugglers 1,2,3,4 in succession.
You can also start the wheel with one person feeding all the rest. Simply apply the rule that when you run out of people to feed, you do a quick out and in on your final pass and then feed all the people on the other side. In fact, you can start the wheel with any number of people on each side, with everyone making parallel adjacent feeds of the other side. Some people may have to start with selves.
This pattern is called the wheel because, as people change sides, the direction of the passes rotates. Notice that it has rotated about 90 degrees after the four passes in Fig. 3.
Let's digress to a pattern very similar to the wheel, but with virtually no movement except turning in place: the clock. Like the wheel, the clock can be done with any number of jugglers (but 4 to 6 is a good range). The formation is a circle of equally spaced jugglers, and the pattern for each juggler is just like the wheel. Each person feeds the entire group of jugglers, say from left to right around the circle, then does one self (this replaces the out and in of the wheel) and starts over.
To start the clock, just pick any pair of jugglers to start passing together. At the same time that they are starting, pairs of people on each side of the initial pair should also start passing. If there are an odd number of people, one person is left over and starts with a self.
Thereafter, each person just continues passing to people around the circle in a clockwise direction. One hard part is turning from the extreme right to the extreme left while doing one self, especially in a large clock. Less experienced jugglers might simply stop juggling during the turn to make it easier. Also with large clocks, the passes across the clock face can become somewhat long (use a lot of arm movement and very little wrist to make those passes long without overturning them).
If you have an experienced group and an odd number of people, you can add one extra club to the clock to get rid of that pesky self - it is replaced by a triple. This idea was suggested by Rob Stolzenberger of New Jersey. In this variation, everyone starts just as in the clock, except that the person who would have had an initial self has four clubs and starts with a triple. The triple goes to the next person who would have had a self. That person in turn throws a triple instead of a self, and so forth. With five people, you throw your triple to the second person on your right and catch a triple from the second person on your left. It takes practice to catch those incoming triples, which have to be thrown pretty accurately.
Back to the moving patterns. These days a lot of people are discovering the fun of passing with both hands, so let's extend the quick outs and ins to the 3-ct feed. This was suggested by Orange Jugglers Carolyn and Mike Hatalski and Steve Gerdes.
As a reminder, a 3-ct feed has two feedees each doing a 3-ct with the feeder (alternating R and L passes). The feeder's pattern is pass-pass-self, most easily visualized as inside-inside-self, outside-outside-self. (See Tips and Tricks in Juggler's World, Vol. 40, no. 3.)
We simply add quick outs and ins by having any feedee leave on a pass and come in on the other side, next to the former feeder.
Since the 3-ct feed is not symmetric around the feedees, the hand you come back in on is different for the two feedee positions. When you go out as the second feedee, you come back in on the same hand as you went out on, a quick 4 counts after you went out (see Fig. 4). When you go out as the first feedee, you come back in on the hand opposite the one you went out on, a leisurely 5 counts after you went out (Fig. 5). Since you can go out on either a R pass or a L pass, you can reverse the R's and L's of Figures 4 and 5 to see the patterns started on the other hands.
One hard part of this pattern is figuring out what to do when you become the feeder, especially since you can become the feeder in two different ways - after having been the first feedee or the second feedee. The first thing to remember is that you just keep doing a 3-ct with the one person who didn't move. And remember that in that 3-ct, the same two clubs keep getting passed back and forth.
If you become the feeder after being the first feedee (Fig. 4), you follow your continuing 3-ct pass (say, R hand) with an immediate self from the opposite hand (L) and then a pass to the now-moved person from the hand that just did the last 3-ct pass (R). After that comes another pass (L hand) to the un-moved person, and then your usual self (R) in the pass-pass-self of the 3-ct feeder.
If you are the feeder after being the second feedee, your job is fairly easy. You just pass to the now-moved person immediately after one of your continuing 3-ct passes (Fig. 5), and follow that second pass with a self by your other hand.
This may sound a little tricky, and it takes a little getting used to, but at some point you will feel the timing and not have to think about it. When you can all three finally do 3-ct outs and ins continuously at every chance, you may notice an interesting relationship between the resulting pattern and the wheel with three people (even though the latter pattern only involves passing with one hand). If you discover this relationship, please let us know at Juggler's Workshop.
We finish now with a seemingly devilish pattern of juggling movement called Bruno's Nightmare, named for its inventor Bruno Saxer of Bern, Switzerland. The pattern actually has some fairly simple rules that make it not quite as difficult as its name suggests, but it does require everyone to be able to feed two people who are moving past each other and to pay attention to the change of feeders.
The pattern has three people in a triangle. All three people do the same things but at different times. We'll call one side of the triangle the baseline; call the corner opposite that side the pivot (see Fig. 6). At any given time, one person is feeding from one end of the baseline while the other two people are trading places. After being the feeder, you become a feedee and move first to the pivot and then to the other end of the baseline to become the feeder again.
In Bruno's Nightmare, each person feeds for five passes at a time, with the first of those passes always thrown along the baseline. The five passes are shown in the five parts of Fig. 7, where juggler 1 is feeding. Fig. 8 shows the continuation of the pattern for the next 5 passes, with juggler 3 now feeding.
As the first pass of a given feeder is thrown, the feedee on the baseline moves straight toward the feeder for a step or two, to catch that pass short. This gets the baseline feedee out of the way of the pivot feedee who will cross behind.
The second pass goes to the pivot feedee, who already has started backing up and taking a step toward the baseline.
The feeder should lead each feedee with an appropriate pass to allow for the movement. The feeder's first pass, along the baseline, is short, to let the baseline feedee catch it while moving forward. The second pass goes to the pivot feedee, who is backing up, so that pass is long and should lead slightly toward the baseline.
The third pass is again short and a little toward the pivot side of the baseline feedee, who by then is directly in front of the pivot feedee. The fourth pass is long, going to the pivot feedee who has almost reached the baseline. The fifth and final pass is to the baseline feedee, who has just gotten to the pivot.
When you reach the pivot, here's what happens. You catch one feeder's fifth and final pass, turn 60 degrees during a self to face the new feeder, and start backing up and moving sideways toward the other end of the baseline while the new feed begins. When you reach the baseline, you become the new feeder.
Note that when you have finished your five passes as the feeder, you have one more pass right away, as the new baseline feedee, and you start moving forward as you make that pass.
There is a time when the feedees need to move somewhat fast to get past each other. The baseline feedee moves forward and catches the first pass from the new feeder, waits for the second pass to go by, and then quickly moves toward the pivot. The pivot feedee backs up and drifts a little toward the baseline, catches the feeder's second pass, and then moves quickly sideways behind the other feedee to get clear in time for the fourth pass.
One helpful hint is to count each feeder's five passes, so that you know exactly when a new feeder is taking over. Counting out loud helps everyone know when the feed is changing.
To get everyone back to their original starting points in Bruno's Nightmare requires each person to have fed twice, once from each end of the baseline, for a total of 30 passes. After you go through the 10 passes of Figures 7 and 8, jump back to the beginning of Fig. 7 (with the number of each juggler changing at that point).
Don't be disappointed if you can't make it all the way around on your first attempts. Just keep in mind the pattern's structure and the direction you go at each point: The feed always starts along the baseline, the baseline feedee starts moving forward, and the pivot feedee starts moving backwards to cross behind and become the next feeder.
The above are only a few ways of involving movement in your juggling. But maybe they'll inspire you to become the Fred Astaire or the Ginger Rogers of the juggling world.
Would you like to see some unusual club passing patterns demonstrated at the next IJA festival? Would you like to demonstrate a unique pattern there? We will try to set up a forum at one time during the week for groups of passers to demo their neat stuff in the gym - much like has been done recently with the 3-ball demo. So practice those special patterns and bring your group to St. Louis next July.
If you have any comments or suggestions for Juggler's Workshop, you can reach the editors at: Juggler's Workshop, 3065 Louis Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303; or give one of us a call: Martin Frost at 415/856-1456 or Michael Stillwell at 904/371-2057; or send E-mail to Martin at me@CS.Stanford.EDU.