~ CJC 2001 ~
sponsored by Infinite Illusions
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 Next Steps

steps 1 to 5 | STEP 6 | step 7 | step 8 | step 9

O. K. I guess I'll get my Arse moving here, and take all you, diligent, and persistent, beginners past the first five steps and onto the next lessons,

PASSES; In other words, smooth transfers to the other hand.

I know I've been harp'in on ya'll to practice with both hands, so let's now utilize that 'ambidextrous skill' that you've worked so hard on, into a smooth, flowing pattern, when you go to show 'em, "Yea, I can do That with This hand as well"

There is a fair number of Passes that can be accomplished in this Art Form, but if you Just learned the 'Butterfly' I'm not going to try to take you to the Next Step, by teaching you a walk, from left-hand cradle, up your left arm, a slight turn at your elbow, up the outside of your bicep, off your shoulder, and onto a right-hand cradle catch. You'll Get There, Trust Me! But like they say, 'you should really learn to walk before you learn to do the 100 meter hurdles'

There are 3 passes that I feel should be attempted first.

  1. The Palm-to-Palm
  2. The Back-to-Back
  3. The Prayer Pass

These, are in no way, The Order, in which to learn these passes, as they are All fairly simple, ( as passes go. ) The 'Prayer Pass' may be easier to learn for some, than the 'Palm-to-Palm' and vise-versa, to others, but these Three Passes will give you a Good Foundation to go into other tricks with. So All Three should be practiced, with the same commitment that you put forth learning the 'Butterfly'

When you start learning more advanced 'tricks' a great deal of these 'Moves' will be *Set Up* by one of these Three Basic Passes. If the *set up* doesn't look confident and smooth, the trick will not look smooth either, and it will be much more difficult to learn, to begin with, because of the sloppy set up.

The nice thing about These Lessons, as opposed to the 'Ferret's First Five Steps' is that I get to point you in the direction of some video footage as we go along, so you can see what I'm talking about! Most of That Footage will be Kae, but Than again Kae's images are currently The Best you're gon'a find in the Entire Cyber World, in This Art Form, so he's mak'in This A Lot Easier for Everyone.

What a Guy, eh?

( not to mention I get to pick his videos apart, which should be fun. ;-))

So Let's Get Started, shall We?

"The Palm-to Palm Pass"

There are Two ways to do the palm-to-palm pass. The 'True Palm' (or heel to heel,) and The 'Cheater Palm' (or knife edge to knife edge.)

Now please don't think that the term ‘Cheater Palm' is derogatory, it is merely the Term 'I' use, as it is easier to learn, than a 'True Palm' right off the get-go.

This is mainly due to the unfamiliar position you put your hands and elbows in, to do a 'True Palm Pass' (once again a term I use in my mind to delineate the movement.) Both are aesthetically appealing to your audience, and the 'cheater palm' is actually a better *set-up* for the harder tricks, later on, including that shoulder pass I spoke of.

What's more is, the cheater palm, is Much more easier to control at High Speed!

And as you advance, and gain more confidence, you will begin to execute your tricks quicker, along with combinations of what you've learned, and some of those combinations can be Visually Devastating! If done at High Speed, and the 'set up' is All Important to the Trick! Believe Me, the 'Cheater Palm' is a Powerful Tool, and should be learned early on!

And It's Dirt Easy to learn as well! (Which is a nice plus)

As with all these passes (or any move, for that matter,) the more you use it, the easier it is to do, with confidence and fluidity! And, as you progress to harder tricks in the 'arm /body rolling' category, having a Well established set-up pass, will only add to the overall trick, in visual appeal!

So by now you're saying, "Alright, alright, Ferret, Teach me the Damn Trick, already!" (Now all you Budding Performers know how I can pull off a 20-30 min. Show! *g*)

Alright than.

Remember how in step #3. I described that position of arm wrestling a friend, and losing? And you took that position to steps #4, and #5, as the ball rolled into your palm?

That is the Beginning of Both Palm passes!

You Should have your hand palm up, sphere settled nicely, and the back of your forearm at about a 45° angle to the ground, the point of your elbow should be about a hands length, (not width)(fingers extended) away from your side. Just stall it right there for a moment and remember the position. ( Yes, another muscle memory exercise ) The next step will decide whether you move towards a Cheater Pass or a True Pass.

For a Cheater Pass, Bring your elbow directly into your side, by the shortest route, ( a straight line ) and as your elbow touches your side, freeze your elbow to that point, and swivel your shoulder, so that you bring your up-raised palm (with ball) directly in front of your chest, and your elbow, still 'glued' to the spot that it first touched on your waist. You should have naturally lowered your palm, and brought your forearm to a clean 90 degrees to your body and parallel to the ground, about waist height. Once again, stop for a moment, and think about this position. Your upper arm should be tight against your side and vertical, to the ground.

now just hold the ball there, and bring up your other hand, same position, palm up, elbow tucked tight to your side, and ‘match' the pinky side, knife edge of your hand to the knife edge of the hand that has the ball palmed, and just gently dump the ball into the other palm.

Hey! You just did a 'Cheater Palm-to-Palm, Transfer!'

Boy, That Was Tough, wasn't It? *g*

Now that the ball is in the other palm, ( hopefully, in a ‘mirror image' that it was in, a moment ago ) slowly reverse the shoulder swivel, and elbow tuck thing, and follow through with step #4 in this position, and roll it back to cradle, only now, it's on the other hand. Steady the Sphere, take your free hand, reach around, (or over, which-ever is easier) and while still holding the ball in cradle, Pat Yourself on the Back! Come on! Harder than that! Ya, Did Good! Well Done! Way To Go!

Did you keep the ball steady on cradle in the other hand?

While you were following these last directions, ( much to the bewildered, amusement of you cat or dog, or worse, an un-expected house mate?) Yes? Than you get extra points for practicing that ‘peanut butter and jelly sandwich' thing I spoke about in step #1. ( I Knew I'd get a Few of Ya, but wasn't that the Most Fun you ever Had, try'in to make a sandwich? ;-))

When you do this particular pass. During the last portion of That transfer, you should, end your position,* I.E. cradle,* into that classic box shape I mentioned in step#1, ( but then again, the ‘cheater palm' lends itself to other cradle catches that Do Not adhere to that strict Box Style.) And in so doing, (from a knife edge, on both the sending and receiving hands,) you place the ball in a very large, easily, controllable field. The point between the knife edge, of your hand, up to the ‘index and ring finger!' and over to the cradle. A nice 45o curve across your palm, that allows a Maximum of Control! Now you know why this Pass is a Favorite of Mine for setting up a quickly executed, 'Arm or Body Roll' from cradle, that involves centripetal force, as I can confidently, get away with building up speed during the beginning pass set-up, and than 'Launching it off cradle with some good spin already built up, for any number of fast runs down the back of the arm!

I'm Teas'in Ya, arn't I?


Ya'll learn all of these tricks, and probably faster than WE did, cause We didn't have teachers, back when Kae, Rich, Ian, and I were learn'in. OH NOOOO!

Oh Yea! Back In The OLD DAYS! We were Happy! To Find someone, who knew of someone, who know someone, who know a trick. And we usually had to walk 5 -10 miles through 2' of Snow, Up-Hill, BOTH Ways, just to Hear An Exaggerated Story of The Damn Move! So Count Yourself Lucky! Ya Bar Stewards!

(Sorry, I just turned 39 today and I'm feeling Old, I'll try not to let it happen again)

I'll move on to the ‘True Palm Pass' now, please disregard that last, little tirade.

The True Palm Pass

dun't Dun't DUNN!!!

O.K. remember that spot I said, is the 'decision point' for what you're gon'a Shot For at that moment? A Cheater, or a True Palm Pass?

For a True palm pass. Pull your elbow into your side as before only don't freeze it There. Just let it 'skim' past. Keep it close to your body, but pull it in and up as it passes your waist. (Remember this is the elbow, attached to the hand, that controls the ball, that we're talk'in about here!) The Major difference here is with the angle of your forearm. With the cheater pass you comfortably, positioned your forearm where it naturally wanted to go. And your receiving hand fit nicely next to your sending hand!

For the true pass, you want to have the ball transfer from palm across the heel of your hand and Directly to your other hand by way of heel to palm. In order to accomplish this, you must first be able to put your two hands together, at the heels. Yes, I Know, I know, some of you will say, "that's easy" but some will not. What's more is that you should practice this position with your pinkies, and ring fingers spread as wide as possible! Because if you don't your audience will not see the pass, and you will lose aesthetic appeal. Go ahead, try it without the ball. Feels weird doesn't it? Your 'sphere free hands' should now look somewhat like a Tulip, and more palm should be visible to someone looking at you than, to your own point of view.

Now remember that position, place a ball so that it's balanced between your two hands (heels touching) and roll it back and forth from one palm to the other. Notice how you start to swing your upper body? That will disappear when you add The Sphere's momentum in later. But You'll notice that this is Not a comfortable position! And for some (depending on their build) a downright Difficult position. For those that do find it difficult, don't give up on it all it takes is practice combined with stretching. And Yes, because of My build and the way My body happens to feel comfortable moving, I had to punch my way through this exercise as well! I found pre-practice stretching to be the key, and I will touch base on that in an up coming essay.

So Now Let's go to 'Action Video!' "Roll 'em, Kae"

Go to 'Moves' on this site, 1 ball, stuff. Bring up Kae's "Palm-Palm Butterfly"

Yes, Kae I'm going to pick it apart. (Even Kae berates himself in the text of this Gif, but I know he has worked on correcting that flaw, as it shows in his later Gifs.) But it gives me a unique opportunity to point out common mistakes, and it also allows me to point out the proper, 'aesthetic' technique, as well.

Watch Kae's movement as He transfers from right-to-left. Good momentum, not too fast, nice heel-to-heel transition, good display to the audience! ( i.e. lower digits separated well, and thumbs almost touching.) A Nice Classic palm-to-palm pass And you should pay particular attention to how close His elbows get to each other, and the amount of wrist bend, that is involved! That wrist bend, and the ‘matching' of the inside forearm, all the way down to the elbows, is a key factor in pulling this off and is usually the most uncomfortable position for many people.

And all it takes is practice and a bit of stretching.

Now for the thing to avoid in this particular move. ( Sorry Kae )

When Kae comes back with a left-to-right hand transfer, he does what I refer to as 'A Slap' Meaning, as the sending hand positioned the ball in 'center palm' and just before he lowered it to the heel, he 'slapped' it into the receiving hand! And flipped it over to cradle, with more hand movement, than pass momentum. Also, take note of how close his elbows come to each other during the left-to-right transfer. Not Very, do they? See the Importance Here?

This movement should not be ignored, but should be focused on later when you start getting 'radical' with the ball/balls!

But for a classic 'palm-to-palm' it should be avoided. As it is essential to Know, and 'Present' well during slow, deliberate moves, that will Most Defiantly involve palm transfers!


The 'Slap' is a visually interesting move, in and of itself, if done in an interesting sequence, but I will fore-go That explanation until a later date. As I personally do not feel that it's That easy! (If done in a Unique pattern,) And more for the advanced Cjer ( sometimes we take 'short cuts' and don't even realize, that we're doing it.)

Now let's go to 'Marco's circle.' another 'classic' True Palm Pass! Once again, notice how close Marco's elbows get to each other. Also take note of how far back Marco's wrists are bent, when his forearms are both close to vertical. Ah, the wonders of Stretching and Flexibility!

Now for the 'extreme example.'

Go to Marco's 'Back Hand Roll' and watch his right-to-left hand palm transfer, after his right hand 'flip-flopped the ball over to a right-hand-palm.'

Notice the extreme, back, bend he puts in both his wrists! And once again, those elbows are tight to each other! The Over-All Transfer is visually appealing, due mainly to the amount of sphere surface shown during That transfer, and still sets him up nicely, for a much more advanced trick. That under-arm flip-flop.

And I assure you Marco used that smooth, flowing, momentum to *set-up* and execute That trick, with the grace, that He does, (During The Part We Can't See!) But That's neither here nor there. ;-))

But You See the reasoning behind getting Good at these first Three transfers now, don't Ya?

Now for Lesson #7 "Back-to-Back Passes"