~ 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 Next Steps

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

This is gon'a be fun trying to teach ya'll this one! Cause I learned These 'backwards' and I'm not going to try and take you There! So I'm gon'a try and teach them, in a way that I Did Not experience, as I was learning Them. You see My dilemma, here? I promise, I'll do my best! But you may see me steering you towards the way I learned, during the course of this Lesson, and you may notice a slight push toward Lesson # 9

I do Not recommend learning Lesson #9 before #7, but that's how things worked out for me. And I think I turned out O.K. (even if My Mother, Does say I dress funny, and she refuses to take the blame for it!)

To properly do a Back-to-Back Pass,, you first need to stop for a moment, and look at your hands. And not just the back of them!

I'm going to assume, that if you routinely wear a wrist watch. That at This point you have decided to remove it! (Jewelry as well, Ladies. Rings, Everything)

Now, without a ball, place One of your hands in a cradle position, (nice box shape) elbow held up and level with you hand. Take your other hand and place it at a 90o angle to your cradle, and vertical to the ground. And connect your hands at the point just above both wrist bones. Kae will tell you, in the text of his "Back to Back Pass," to start with your hands touching at 'index base, to pinky base,' and he is probably correct in this procedure, but as I warned ya'll, earlier, I learned these the Long Way around, so bear with me.

Your vertical hand, (which will eventually become your first attempt, receiving hand) should be outside of your cradle or sending hand. (there's a reason for this, trust me)

You should look like your ready to take on 'Ultra Man' or some other 'campy' 'zipper suited' monster from Japan. Hopefully you learned your lesson, with the un-expected roommate walking in on ya, and you looked over your shoulder before attempting this move. (Of course you could be a lonely bastard, who finds great amusement in making your dog turn his head sideways, because the poor creature, can't figure out, Just What the Hell Your Up To! But who am I to judge?)

Now take this badly dubbed "Enter The Drunk'en Dragon" position and while still holding that cradle, and keeping your wrists touching, bring your vertically held arm, up to a horizontal plane. And try to duplicate a good box shaped, cradle with That hand as well. If you kept your wrists tight to each other, you should notice pressure being exerted on the out side edges of both wrist bones, from the opposite hand, and the outside hand's thumb should just center on the inside hand's wrist, and a 'thumbs length' (duh) down the back of your forearm. Both your elbows should be held high, and It should almost feel like a 'lock' at the wrists. Remember to keep your fingers hyper-extended as in step #1 (holding a cradle) All you skateboarders, should be think'in 'Half-Pipe' here!

Now place a ball on the hand closes to you, and go back to the tight, wrist touching thing again, still holding the ball in that comfortable cradle. Now look at that empty hand. See all the bumps and divots, between the ball and the empty hand's cradle? Yep! You're gon'a have to Overcome All That Shit! Now we're talk'in Half-Pipe with a bunch of scrap metal and beat-up cars in the way *g*

Momentum is the key. But at the same time, tempering that momentum so you can use it as a 'Tool,' and not just a 'run-away ball' will only come with practice and ultimate familiarity with the backs of your hands and the movement itself.

Try and make both hands as flat as possible, and still drop those middle fingers for a Good sending as well as receiving cradle. The ball should roll from sending cradle, down the back of the hand at a slight angle, (pinky side) towards the back of the receiving hand, and gently up into that waiting cradle. Easier Typed Than Done! Yes, I know!

(And you can probably understand why Kae will warn you of beating up the backs of your hands when you first start learn'in this trick, eh?)

Sorry Ya'll, but He's Right, and I Highly recommend that you go outside for this one, cause the ball's gon'a go 'fly'in' when you first attempt this, believe me!

But Hey! No Pain No Gain, right!

Believe Me! It's worth the effort.

Having a good foundation in 'Back-to-Back Pass' control, will not only set you up for numerous tricks from 'Arm Rolls' to 'Isolated Staircases' but will allow you to save slight flaws and 'screw-ups and never let your audience know that you Didn't Mean to Do that!

The 'Back-to-Back Pass' is Wonderful for That! And Any Time you can save a 'Blown Move' on The Back of Your Hand, as opposed to a 'palm catch' Your Bat'in a Thousand, Believe Me

So, your in a good safe spot, and your holding the ball in your most favorable cradle, and you're got your wrists pushing hard against each other, and your empty hand is waiting to catch the ball in cradle....................................................................So DUMP It Already!

You Know where it's supposed to go! So Make It Go There!

(Please, do not expect to have this occur correctly, the first time. If it does than I'm a Better Teacher than I thought I was. *g* )

Did you catch it? Excellent! Now Don't Move! Study that position and the way it Feels for a moment. Now send it back, without ever disconnecting your wrists. And once again settle the ball on the 'original cradle.'

Was the sending back part harder? For Most people it will be.

Two reasons here. One; You have to tip your outer hand much farther back to get the ball to go from cradle to the Thumb Side of your sending hand and this is a very awkward position for anybody. And Two; (the reason you had to tip your outer hand so much) is because of the muscle build up around your thumb!

Your thumb and index finger are the two strongest digits on your hand. (Like nobody knows that, Ferret)

Lot more flesh on that side of your hand than the pinky side. Consequently You will find, that the ball always wants to exit 'cradle' closer to the pinky side than the thumb side and being aware of this Now will help a great deal in later tricks, i.e. #9 and #10

Now you know why I told you to have the receiving hand out in front.

What's more, is all that muscle, tends to work very well as a 'stalling cushion' after the ball has left cradle from the sending hand, and built up a little speed before it transferred to the receiving hand. That muscle tends to 'deaden' the acceleration and usually allows for a much more smoother and controlled catch in cradle. Which is why, when most of Us preform a "Back-to-Back Pass" we do that 'Shuffling movement' with the back, sending hand, Shooting Forward to become the receiving hand, and so on. The thumb side is optimal for receiving and the pinky side is optimal for sending.

Don't get me wrong, doing a reverse 'Back to Back' is not unheard of, and looks Good if presented from certain angles, but most of the time, in order to pull it off well, your hands tend to hide the ball, and the visual effect is obscured as well. Not to mention the difficulty of the trick because, your forcing the ball to take the path of MOST Resistence!

'Back Hand Rock-a-Bys' what you just attempted, (or accomplished however, are Not that difficult. And look very nice, once you are able to do them with a nice smooth rhythm. Back and Forth, back and forth, keeping your wrists connected the entire time!

I wanted you to experience this reverse movement before we continue, so you would #1 understand something about this movement, and the physical obstacles involved, and #2 possible give you the incentive to play with this trick in reverse, and see what You can come up with. ( I would suggest leaning back, to begin with.) And aside from some sloppy shit, from my own experience, I believe the trick can be presented in a Highly Aesthetic Manor and I'd like to see Other people take a Shot at That, and see what They can come Up with!

So now let's go to Video Mode!

After that long winded typing session, Let me show you what I talk'in about here. Once again go to 'moves,' one ball stuff. Marco's 'back hand pass' during his "Circle" is Spot on! See the nice level position he has his hands in? Elbows held high, and the moment, his hands connect is right at the wrist bone. Because of the follow through needed to do "The Circle" he drags the base of his pinky to the base of his index finger as the ball transfers, (what Kae was talking about) and continues with the movement, over his finger-tips to 'Palm-to-Palm' hence, "The Circle!" (we'll get to that trick, just be patient. )

Once again, notice his sending hand is in the back, closest to him. And the ball exits down the pinky side of his hand and is received on the thumb side. Because Marco begins the 'launch' just as his wrists meet. The ball has a much longer path to roll, before it ends up on the receiving cradle. Yes, this allows for more, possible mistakes along the way. But it presents a Much more visual picture to your audience, because the entire move takes longer and They get to see it for a longer, length of time.

See My Point?

Marco presents this especially well, because of His Fluidity of Movement at a Slow speed, and also because The Guy's got Some Damn, Large Hands!

Now let's go to Kae's "Back to Back Pass" Check out the Speed we got go'in on here!

Kae is presenting that 'Back-Hand-Shuffle' I spoke about earlier. The Act of 'shooting' your sending hand, Under your receiving hand and there-by making it your receiving hand. Thus following That Path of pinky side, exit. To thumb side, receive. The Path the ball Wants to travel!

Kae is mov'in pretty quick here, which is why he's doing his transfers closer to the base of his fingers, than his wrists.

This shows a confidence in The Move! But as speed increases, control most be increased as well, and the best way to do this is to Decrease the amount of travel and there-by the possibility of 'bumps, and glitches' along the way. At Speed, transferring closer to 'Cradle' is a convenient, (not to mention, A Visually Appealing Move.) And Kae shows a good, tight shuffle, with the Back Hand coming forward.

Just a quick note here.

Well I couldn't end This Lesson with out point'in ya in the direction that I took!

Remember I said I learned These Thing Backwards? Go to the video section and punch up My 'armroll mpg' (not the 'Looped' version in the one ball section, but the Video) Yes, That's Step #9. (Don't get ahead of Yourself!) At the tail end of that mpg, you will see me get closer and closer to a Good, wrist connected 'Back to Back Pass' and It is Still done at speed, with a Lot of space between 'launch' and 'catch!'

There are Many Various ways to do this movement, and All will be slightly different. Depending on You, and Your Persistence! But you Should have a Good Gist of the Over-All Move by Now! So It's Time for you to Go Out and Play!