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Lesson #10

date created: 2002-03-25
Well…You've got'in through lesson #9, 'Backarm Rolls,' and many people consider the back of the forearm to be a tougher 'catwalk' for the ball, than the inside of your forearm. I would have to agree. I learned the inside work much faster than the outside, but I personally set out to learn those 'backarm rolls' right off the get-go, so that's the way I teach.
Getting good at balancing the ball on the back of your arm first, will catapult you into a Bunch of cool combinations, once you get good at the inside forearm work. (which shouldn't take you too long.)

In Lesson #10, I will touch on 'Combinations' and a little bit on 'Stalls.' (Hmmm, looks like Lesson #10 is gon'a be a long one,) so let's get to it, shall we?

Put your hand out, directly in front of you, palm up, elbow straight, fingers extended,
No Ball! Not Yet!
Like you would if someone you don't like, is handing you something.

Now look at your arm.
The closest muscle you should see is your anterior shoulder muscle, or delt. Don't worry about the shape of that muscle right now, but pay attention to how it feels to be in this position. Your shoulder position will dictate much, towards how level, you can keep your forearm.
The next muscle down would be your 'bicep' (which I'm sure everyone knows)
Pay attention to this muscle, especially where it inserts into the elbow joint, as this will be a factor in this move, as I said before, "Everybody is different, and every 'Body' is different." You will need to work out some things on your own, due to your personal body type.
Past your elbow, you now come across the inside of you're forearm. This will be the playground you will be playing in today. And because we, as CJ'ers, have to deal with balance a lot. We need to maintain a fairly, level playground.
The inside of your forearm consists of six, exterior muscles (there are a bunch more underneath, which is why your hand works so damn well, compared to other mammals) but they are of little consequence for this lesson, so I won't even mention them. The Exterior Muscles, however…are important! Let's say for explanation purposes, you're looking at your right arm. (remember, palm up)
On the inside, or pinky side are five of those six, muscle strands. The Largest of which is that slight rise to the pinky side of your elbow joint. That's your 'pronater teres.' It is the muscle responsible for being able to turn your palm down while your arm is in this position, which is why when your palm is facing the deck, it's referred to as 'Pronated.' When your palm is up, it's referred to as 'Supinated.' The rest of those five are called 'flexors,' and have long names,…but you will be using them, so if you really want to know, go check out "Grays Anatomy" at your closest Library.
Now on the other side, or thumb side, you have 'The Brachioradialis' (Pardon me, while I go put a piece of ice on my tongue, cause that actually hurt to say out loud.)
This is a Big muscle! This muscle is usually twice the size of that pronater muscle, and it creates a slight unevenness in your playground. The reason this muscle is so large is because there is a great deal of demand placed upon it, in your day-to-day life, compared to the other five.

More demand, more size. (I'm fore-shadowing here, pay attention)

In a nice relaxed position, palm up, elbow straight, you should have a slight rise on your thumb side about half way up your forearm, past that it just keeps getting higher. On the other side your pronator, starts to kick in at about the same point, but it just doesn't have the height, till it gets to the elbow joint. Now, what do you suppose the ball is going to want to do, when you push it out of your palm and up to your elbow?
And how might we correct this?
With most people, there is an immediate reaction, to twist the shoulder, and pull the elbow in towards the stomach. There is also a tendency to drop the thumb and pull up the lower digits, (the pinky and ring fingers.) Unfortunately, this tends to present an awkward display to your audience.
If you have enough flexibility in you rotary cuff, (your shoulder joint) to get away with pulling your elbow in towards your center line. Than go ahead and put a ball in your palm, and roll it up to the inside of your elbow……….. Go on, you've probably already tried it by now anyway.
Just pay attention to how you are moving your hand, elbow, and shoulder joint to get it up there. Don't worry about roll'in it back just yet. Just worry about getting it all the way up your forearm. (catching it would be advisable, as it saves you 'scrambling time,')
So what did you do with your arm? How tight did you tuck that elbow? Watch what you do with your fingers, did you dip your thumb down, and bring the 'knife edge' of your hand up? Most people tend to. Some even throw in a little counter hip movement to help with the balance, but as I said, this position, although creating a level track for the ball to run up, presents an awkward display to your audience. Don't believe me? Go watch yourself in a mirror while you try it, and see if it's look'in like the pic of me, at Yahoo, titled 'Necro 2000,' or the Cape Coral pic. Both, good examples, of bad hand position. So ya know I'm speaking from experience.
If you are falling into this position right off the get-go, stop it now, and read on, cause we can correct it fairly easily, before you get too used to the movement.

Remember what I said about more demand more size? Well, ya know you can demand more size from a muscle instantly, just by asking it to? It's called 'flexing.'
And ironically enough those 'flexor' muscles with the long names are the ones we need to concentrate on.
With your hand out in that, "Dude! Where's My 20 Bucks" position, curl just your pinky in to touch you palm, keep your ring, middle, and index fingers pointing straight away from you, and don't bring the base of your thumb in to hold it, in that curled position otherwise you will be flexing that big muscle, and taking all demand off the muscle you want to flex. You want to relax the thumb to keep that Brach muscle from getting any bigger. Now look at the playground. What happened? Now curl your ring finger in next to your pinky, and keep your middle and index out, and look again. See where I'm going here? You have the ability to control the contours of your body. You just have to find both a workable surface, and an esthetically pleasing presentation, that work well together.
Check out Ian's Pic. At the Yahoo contact juggling club site, (Ian's first one.) See the hand position, the arm position, the way he has his fingers curled? This is a good presentation! Ian is subtly flexing the pinky side of his forearm, by curling in his fingers, there-by increasing the muscle height on that side, bringing in those finger flexor muscles up to the height of that Brach. muscle, and creating a more level track. The viewing audience sees an aesthetically pleasing position as well as a full view of the ball. The over-all presentation is much better, more 'fluid' more appealing.
Now that I have 'stroked' Ian's ego, let's move on.
One of the best ways to find out how You Body is going to be able to accomplish this, is to place the ball in a "Stall."
Hold you arm out, place the ball on the inside of your elbow in that triangular spot where your Brachioradialis, Pronator, and Bicep come together. The same spot, Ian is holding it, in that photo. For those interested, that hollow, (or what I refer to as a 'Sweet Spot' in CJ,) is called the 'Cubital fossa' why, I don't know, probably makes perfect sense if you're fluent in Latin, or Ancient Greek, which I am not. So let's just call it the inside of your elbow. Works for you?
Good, works for me!

Now place the ball there, and think back to Lesson #1. Remember that whole walking around, getting used to the balance on 'Cradle' thing? Same principal, and it works quite well with this 'Stall,' also. Wiggle your fingers around, while you hold the ball there, and watch what happens to the ball and the muscles in your forearm with certain hand positions.
Actually, I found this inside elbow stall, a lot of fun, and once again started looking to do mundane things while holding it there. If you really want to go make a sandwich, while you balance the ball there, go ahead. It's not like I'm gon'a stop ya.
I routinely walk around with a 3 incher held there, while palm spinning 2 or 3 balls in the same hand, which reminds me, for all you intermediate palmspinners out there. Want to smooth out your isolations? Practice them with a ball balanced in that 'Sweet Spot.' Makes you concentrate on being more fluid with your arm movement, and Improves your balance at the same time.
Anyway I digress, where was I going next with this? Oh, Yea! Back down to your palm.
This is really simple. With the ball in that 'inside elbow sweet spot' tilt your arm down and let gravity take over. It shouldn't take you to long to get it to gently, and smoothly roll into your palm, actually it shouldn't take but, a few tries. Just remember to keep some tension on those flexor muscles, especially the pinky and ring until the ball reaches mid forearm, then gracefully open your hand and let momentum finish the job. O.K. maybe you shouldn't expect gracefulness to factor in right away. Just get the damn thing back there. I promise it won't take too long.

So now you ask, "What's next?" Well, Hell! You tell me!
You should now be able to roll a ball from palm down the inside of your forearm and catch it, (and you had better tried catching on cradle, or I'd be disappointed. More on that in a minute.) You should be comfortable with holding a ball in that 'inside elbow, sweet spot,' and you can probably roll it back to palm, from that position, quite easily.………….So put them all together into one fluid movement.
Did you get it?
Excellent!!!

For those of you who are still work'in on it, what seems to be the biggest problem with most people is the turn around. And the biggest factor in the 'turnaround' is the bicep, and how it inserts into that sweet spot on You. "Everybody is different and every Body is different."
This is what the balancing practice was for. To find the best spot to balance it on Your arm.

Once again, place the ball in that spot, lean the ball up against your bicep, and find the position, where it neither wants to fall left or right. Now when you roll the ball from palm, shoot for that spot, and use it as a straight and level incline to slow, stop and return the ball. This just takes a couple practice shots and you'll find it. With a bit more practice you should have the ability to 'brake' the ball on that sweet spot, and hold it there until you want to move it again, there-by adding another brief trick to your quickly growing list of tricks.
What you have just done is two inside arm rolls with a turn-around. Palm to inside elbow, and an inside elbow to palm. Some people refer to this as 'A Reverse' I have always called them 'Round Trips.' Once again My personal Delineation.
If you change the returning route in any way, for example, shifting your elbow out and coming back to your palm, by way of the back of your forearm, to cradle, it no longer becomes a round trip.
It becomes a small or subtle 'Combination.' An Inside to Outside Forearm Roll, (palm to cradle)

What? You mean you haven't tried that yet? I thought you had gotten Lesson #9 down pat already. This is what I was prepping you for! What's Up With That?

Actually, that ones a little tough, just remember to put some 'draw' movement into the cradle return. As the ball comes up to the Cubital fossa, pronate your palm, making the ball climb the Brachioradialis, over to the back of the forearm, at the elbow, and immediately, pull your elbow back Oops, sorry, started get'in too technical for my own self.

So what else can you do with this new found playground? Hmm, well let's see, can you do this with both arms? (You Knew I was gon'a ask that, didn't ya?) If so, than Madcap's loop in the moves page comes to mind. What a great way to continuously practice your inside forearm work, and work both arms equally. But, once again, I have to point out hand position, (sorry Madcap, remember I slagged on myself, as well.)

See the fingers? It tends to be a common mistake, with many people. Remember to concentrate on you audience's visual appeal, as well as the move, early on and you won't have to break a bad habit later. It's not hard, you just have to think about it until it becomes natural.
What else? Well, there is a 'back-spin' move that I love to do.
Run the ball from right palm, up the inside of the right forearm, and just as the ball hits the sweet spot, 'Pop' your elbow up and make the ball 'flyaway.' Your bicep, and forearm have just put backspin on the ball. The amount of which is up to you.
Now it's 'airborne' and spinning, so do you panic and grab the ball?
Of course Not! You use it.
Throw your other hand's cradle under it as it comes back down, (remember, it's still spinning.) now watch what the ball wants to do and where it wants to go, when it hits cradle. With a little practice you can control the amount of spin.
What's more is, you can separate height from spin, meaning you can put a lot of spin on the ball, with very little height, quickly place another body part under the ball and Freeze, and the spinning ball will run, seemingly on it's own, because of that backspin, or you can put very little spin on the ball and still 'pop' it up to a good height, (which will catch your audience off guard,) and stop it cold, in any spot you choose, the same spot it was just launched off of, the outside elbow of the other arm, even your shoulder, without it wanting to run at all. It just takes a little trial and error. Remember with clear acrylics nobody sees the spin, they just see a bubble moving around you. You on the other hand, know what is going to happen in advance, because you caused it to happen, and you can also 'Feel' the ball, and know how fast it's moving, what direction it's spinning, and can make quick changes in body position to maintain control. Which brings me back to,
Lesson #5. Please don't forget lesson 5, you should apply it to any and all moves! You will excel at this much faster if you concentrate on your sense of 'touch & feel,' and not just sight.

Toss juggling enhances 'Eye hand coordination' Contact Juggling enhances, "Tactile-Brain coordination" provided that you practice, applying lesson 5. Just think what it will do for your skill when you apply them both, not to mention what it will do for you, when you're with your significant other in a dark bedroom. **Grin**
Practicing blind will also enhance your over all fluidity, and once you get past the initial learning curve, it will actually be more fun, which will cause you to, Want to practice more, try new things and push the envelope.

Have fun, with this. You should now have a Ton of Possibilities to play with, and you should start thinking about your own combinations. If something you did, worked for you, assess why, and capitalize on it. Try to duplicate it, and once you feel good with repeating it, go watch yourself in a mirror while you pull it off, to see if it looks good to your audience. If you end up having trouble watching the mirror, than you should see the importance of Lesson #5

That's all for now people. Time to go outside and play. Just remember to use your brain, your sense of touch, your own creativity, and
Your Other Hand and Arm!!!

Keep 'em roll'in

Ferret

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its all possibe ,,if your mind can physically do it ..the body will mentally follow!!!