~ CJC 2001 ~
infinite illusions dot com
Ferret is a Professional Cjer working the Medieval Faire circuit in FL. U.S.A. since 1992. His sole purpose in learning this art was to be a performer at those Fairs, and found contact juggling to be a unique avenue to accomplish that goal. But along the way found that he not only loved what he was doing, but also found a fondness for teaching. His style in CJing is Not traditional, but than again neither is his wardrobe. His instructional pages, along with video and stills will be appearing on this site soon. And his insight into the world of Professional performance art involving nothing but Contact Juggling as the visual portion of his show, should not be overlooked! The comedy dialogue that he uses in both his instructional pages and his actual shows are an added plus, and the fact that he wants to teach, and learn from others as well, is what this site is all about.

The First Five Steps

step 1 | step 2 | step 3 | STEP 4 | step 5 | the next steps

So now you're toss'in the ball back and forth, palm to cradle, and you're following closely with your fingers. And you're doing pretty good! Back to that annoying question again.

Are You doing pretty good with BOTH, Hands?

Very well, Now back to the 'Contact' thing. This is after all "Contact Juggling."

As you throw the ball back and forth, begin to slow down the explosiveness of your launch. By that I mean, don't 'flick' the ball off your hand and into the air as much, let the momentum of your hand's movement, at the beginning of the movement ( be it 'cradle-to-palm, or palm-to-cradle' ) *Push* the ball up your fingers to the tips, where it will than become 'airborne' follow though, like you had been doing in Step 3, and catch the ball in the position you are moving towards, 'Palm or Cradle.' Do You SEE where this is Going? I thought so.

As you learn to control your launch or 'push speed' you should immediately, notice that if you stall your hand movement at the right moment just slightly, the ball will never actually become airborne and right at the apex of the ball's arc it will merely roll over the tips of your fingers, down the other side of those fingers and into the position you were recently catching it in.

When you have reached this point, I want you to stop and really look at how you have accomplished this feat! When the ball grazed over your finger tips did it,

  1. ride up, and peak between your index and middle fingers, touching both those finger tips at the same time?
  2. ride up, between your middle and ring fingers and touch both those finger tips at the same time?
  3. stay in contact with all three fingers, index, middle, and ring. And rolled right over the tip of just your middle finger, at the ball's peak height?

Whichever way you accomplished this, is the way that apparently is most comfortable for you. DON'T CHANGE IT!..................YET!!!

Remember the statement in step #1 about what ever works for you?

I want you to stay with that right now. Why, because it's working for you! Learning this art form is not that easy, and if something is working for you then you are much more apt to continue to learn. Other contact jugglers may or may not agree with me on this. But I do consider this to be an Art, not a science, and I don't think that Picasso would have told Rembrandt, "Yo Dude, your brush stroke's All wrong!" Yes, there are certain paths of learning this art that need to be followed. But stepping off that path, for a little bit is not a Bad thing, and sometimes blazing your own trail can be fun. You can always come back to that trail when the mood takes you. Having said all that, I do highly recommend one Hard Fast Rule, and I know you're sick of hearing it, but learn everything with *Both Hands*

It's time for you to go and practice, what you just learned to do. Most of us CJer's refer to this first trick as either a ‘one handed butterfly' or a 'single windshield wiper,' actually since most of us learned apart from each other, we all have different names for these tricks, I call this one Tammy, but than again, I'm weird like that. We are, at this time trying to put together a set of names that we all agree on, ( I don't think Tammy's going to get many votes, oh well, no biggie ) For some very good visual explanations to this trick, I highly recommend watching, Kae's animations in the "One Ball Moves" area of this site, under "Butterfly." Marcos', outstanding teachings, in "Workshop." And Rich Shumaker's video, at www.contactjuggling.com under "Lesson"

Congratulations, on getting to this point, considered by many to be one of the hardest steps in your training, but then again the first step in Any endeavor, usually is. Reaching this point should impart to you one very important lesson. You CAN do this! And that Should fuel the fire for you to continue. Not to jump up on a soap box here, but I don't believe in the word "Can't!" You can do anything you set you mind to. During my shows at the faires I will often hear a child's mother or father ( usually the father ) say to their child, "Bet you couldn't do that, Billy." I find this Very Sad! Not to mention aggravating, and I really want to Slap 'dad' upside the head. But, because I'm an employee, and dad's the customer, I'm not allowed to even contradict him. For those of you who have children. Please don't do that!

I'll stop preaching now.

There's much more ahead of you to discover in this field. And remember, there are Five Steps to my way of teaching, so I'm not quite finished with you, Yet!

Oh, and BTW. You know I was kidding about the 'Tammy' thing.

Step 5