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 I'll be teaching a CJ workshop!
Author: David Kaplan 
Date:   04-01-02 16:52

During the upcoming "Juggle This" festial in New York, I have chosen to run a beginner CJ workshop. In an attempt to let more people learn and enjoy this art, the focus will be toward beginners who would not or could not start Contact Juggling without this exposure. Anyway, I have seen a bunch of teaching videos, read the James Earnest book cover to cover, and have shown some friends the basics. I plan on going with the point to point method, and suggesting that people who really want to learn just bring a ball everywhere they go. Any tips on what seems to work well? Anything I should stay away from? Please post.
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 Re: I'll be teaching a CJ workshop!
Author: michael glenn 
Date:   04-01-02 17:02

Hey David,

I'm glad to hear that you are going to be teaching a workshop at Juggle this. I am trying to make it there as well. If I can be of any help with the workshop, just let me know. I will be happy to help!
Hope it goes great!


balls of lightning rolled along...
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 Bring Balls
Author: Rich Shumaker 
Date:   04-01-02 19:23

I know you will have balls with you but if you are teaching point to point I would recomend you bring a big ball like a basketball.

I use lacrosse balls to teach the butterfly. Greg and Owen recomend 3" stage balls in Vol. 1 which also work well. Just remember to keep the students spaced out and not on top of each other so they have less chance of hurting themselves and others.

The harlem globe trotters do a great CJ routine although it wasn't called CJ at the time they created the routine.

Most beginners will be able to see point to point made with a big ball easier. Also they will be able to do some more stuff and won't be defeated as easily.

Good luck and have fun.

Please post up how it goes.
I think Tony Duncan is performing at that event. Also Dave and Merret are performing as well. So what I am saying is I think there will be some CJ performances at that show.

Rich Shumaker
The Other Contact Juggler
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 Re: Bring Balls
Author: Aaron A. Gitzen 
Date:   04-01-02 23:09

I have only tried to teach a group once but I think that you may be onto something with the point to point idea. If I had to teach a class today I would start with some type of demonstartion, just to get them fired up with enthusiasm.

Then I would probably give a free plug to the Ernest book and Owen and Greg's video, hey I might even mention this website!

Then I would start to break down point to point by emphasizing sort of a crawl/ walk/ run approach. In the crawl phase they are balancing the ball on a control point. In a walk phase they are walking around and moving with the ball in the control point and finally in the run phase they are throwing the ball to the control point and catching it there.

I say I would do these things because unfortunately it is all in hindsight. I tried to teach a class at IJA in Madison and I honestly believe that I failed miserably. Hopefully you can learn from my mistake. Actually we started with a contact juggling breakout,which is a class where a lot of people just turn up to trade tricks, but quite a few beginners showed up and expressed interest. I volunteered to teach the class and in spite of the fact that I did get some compliments afterwards, I really regret the way I approached it.

The first thing I started with was a demonstration, which a lot of people seemed to enjoy. Then I plugged the Ernest book, which was somewhat complicated by the fact that I didn't have a copy. Then I mentioned the upcomming convention for contact juggling (CJC 2001) and, finally I started to teach the butterfly. I basically followed the format that Ernest does in his book by teaching the cradle first and then building up from there. The problem was of course that most of the students couldn't do it and although they persisted I really believe that most of them probably got discouraged after that one leason. I'm pretty sure I did succeed in demysifying the whole trick itself. I remember when I was showing the steps to the students, and I broke the butterfly down for them, you could really see the lightbulb go on. But when they tried to emulate my moves I'm pretty sure they got discouraged. So basically I don't think the butterfly is a great place to start simply because it leads to frustration at an early stage. You might be able to teach someone this way in a one on one situation, but when you have a large group of people with varying ages and ablilities it's awfully difficult to teach the finer point of the butterly to everyone at one time. It's also hard to keep track of everyones progress. Remember the students are going to want something that they can take away from your class, they really do want to make progress and if they don't it's tough for them to be motivated to continue.

That is why I think Rich's idea about the basket balls is great, or at the very least some large balls. Have them practice some balance excercises and show them the balance points, have them work on some simple arm rolls. They should be able to do those. If they have a little success initially, then maybe it will encourage them later to keep on with it.

In the end my best hope for a class would be simply to break down contact juggling for people into a logical progression, take the mystery out of it, and give them some motivation to learn on their own. I wouldn't expect everyone to walk away from the class being able to do the perfect butterfly because it just won't happen.

Finally please/ PLEASE write us back and tell us how it goes. It would be great if we could come up with some simple steps for teaching contact juggling that produce consistent results. If I had to teach a large number of people toss juggling, I think I could do that, (well I have done it before) but I'm still not sure what the best method is for teaching a group of people to contact juggle.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just dont' want to be there when it happens."
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 simple steps...
Author: remy 
Date:   04-02-02 01:32

very specific, but simple, steps that I use to teach the butterfly--these so far have produced consistent results for me. This gets kinda long, so be warned...
1)Time: plan an hour for the workshop.
2)Supplies: have enough largish balls for everyone you anticipate showing up--learn about the size of the event, and what they plan to provide for you. If they are beginners, which they are, they won't have their own equipment, and toss jugglers showing up and having to use their beanbags to learn is a recipie for difficulty. give them 4" balls, if you can.
3) This is the big step: teaching. Before you even start, remember to never let them feel stupid or incompetent. Make sure that they realize that they are beginners, and the learning curve is different from toss juggling. Now on to teaching.
Your responsibility as an instructor is not to talk for an hour, and it is not to get immediate results. It is do to a thorough job of instructing. assume they know nothing at all about the topic. Tell them about the cradle. tell them to all make a cradle. stop talking and give them time to do this. walk through the attendees and see/correct their cradles.
then go back to the front of the group. teach them to balance the ball in the cradle. then stop talking and give them time to do this. then walk through and answer questions.
then go back in front of the group. teach them to do simple little tosses of the ball in the cradle position--an inch or so off the hand. Explain that the palm of our hand has been taught to catch things--observe toss jugglers. Explain that the back has not, and now needs to. Tell them to start at an inch off the hand, and as it becomes comfortable, to make the tosses bigger and bigger.
stop talking and let them try. give them LOTS of time. Go into the mass of attendees and give explanation/help.
now explain the basic windsheild-wiper motion of the arm-from theELBOW, NOT THE WRIST! Tell them that the wrist shoud never reall move. We all know that our wrists do move, but in teaching, keep things simple until they have the basic idea down SOLID. Tell them to put down the ball and try this. From the Elbow, not thw wrist. Stop talking and help them. From the Elbow, not the wrist.
Now tell them to put the ball in the cradle, at the sternum, and hold it there. explain that they need to excecute this same windsheild-wiper motion while using their new tossing skill, now tossing the ball from the back of the hand to the palm instead of just tossing and landing on the back of the hand.
Give them lots of time to do this and get used to it. GO out and help them. FROM THE ELBOW,NOT THE WRIST!!!
once most of them seem comfortable, tell them that the butterfly is produced by making these throws lower and lower, until the ball never really leaves the hand.
the bulk of them should be able to do this, although akwardly and with little consistency. give them more time.
and more help.
The last thing you should explain is the figure eight motion. now they can move more than their elbow. Tell them that it will initially feel akward and that it will not be an easy thing to incorporate into the motion. Now help them for the remainder of the hour.
best of luck
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 Re: simple steps...
Author: David Kaplan 
Date:   04-02-02 02:35

Here is how I plan to give the students something they can do right from the get go- Squeez ups. I always have people commenting on "the thing where the ball is trying to float out of your hand." I believe that it is a pretty easy trick, and many will be able to walk away being able to do it. I will teach all of the tricks that require only minimal practice, such as arm rolls, and other various moves. There are a lot of moves that I saw in the Sphereplay video being done by people with only a couple weeks of experience. I will take a look back at the vid and teach those first.
Although the butterfly is a very important move to learn, it is harder, and requires more practice than others. I plan to spend time on this at the end of the workshop.
For me it is important to give them something they can do immediately. If they have one cool move, they will want to spend more time with the ball, thus getting better. The harder things will come once the ground work is there.
Michael, if you are there, sure, I'd love for you to give me a hand. You could even run the damn thing if you want, but I volunteered because I wanted to make sure that there was going to be at least a small CJ focus in the fest.
-David Kaplan
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 Re: simple steps...
Author: David Kaplan 
Date:   04-02-02 03:54

At 5:00 PM there will be an Advanced contact juggling workshop led by Greg Maldonado. Anyone know this guy? Is he really good? How much can I learn from him? Regardless, I'll attend his class, and see what I can pull out of it.
-David Kaplan
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 Re: simple steps...
Author: Robin Spehar 
Date:   04-02-02 04:25

uhhh, you're joking, right?
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 Re: simple steps...
Author: Lance Coombes 
Date:   04-02-02 04:53


Greg is the guy with the shaved head in the "Contact Juggling Part 1" video. Search him out at the convention (shouldn't be hard. Dressed in black, shaved head, and contact juggling like a madman) and talk to him before either of your workshops. He is very easy to work with and you guys can easily come to an agreement on who is going to cover what and such.

Imagine that there is some clever signature here.
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 Re: simple steps...
Author: David Kaplan 
Date:   04-02-02 05:32

Actually that was my [shitty] April fools day thing. Hey, for some reason, that message shows up as being posted on 4/2. What time zone is this forum set to?
-David Kaplan
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 Re: simple steps...
Author: remy 
Date:   04-02-02 08:15

greg is awesome. amazing. great.

and my best friend.

go. see him. He taught me.

and he made the Part 1 video.

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 Re: simple steps...
Author: michael glenn 
Date:   04-02-02 10:23

Yahoo!!!!!! I'm psyched that there is going to be quite so much sphere playing going on at Juggle this. It will give us all a chance to swap neat stuff.
David, I don't want to run the workshop, but I would like to help, here is my "formula".
Whenever I teach a workshop, my first goal is to get everyone having some sort of success right away. People are very willing to give up trying if they don't see any immediate success. I believe that your success as an instructor hinges upon the first 5 mins the students have a sphere in hand.
I think the squeeze-up is a very good start. Also a palm circles and hand flips (index & pinkie) are good begginer moves.
Once your students are showing success with a few moves, then show them how to put those moves together. Pretty soon they start to understand the flow of the art form, then they are really hooked.
Now they are ready to see more, they have a better understanding of what you are doing, it seems more attainable. At the end of the workshop I perform a routine that I hope will inspire them to play on their own. I found that if I do this routine at the beginning of the workshop, it is disheartening to some and they think they could never do that. But if they have already had success, then the routine is more inspirational than impossible.
This has been my system and I have had good success with it. Use whatever will work for you. I'm really psyched to see you this weekend and meet with Greg also. We should have a good time!!


balls of lightning roll along...
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 Re: simple steps...
Author: KTesh 
Date:   04-02-02 10:59

I can understand the draw of quick tricks that can be mastered immediately, but I've got the James Ernest book and CJ pt 1 and they both start out with the Butterfly.

Lately, while I am out and about practicing if a person stops me to ask a question or two, I'll answer their questions, and give them a quick breakdown on the butterfly.. two vs three finger cradle, bounce the ball, catch with your palm... tossing the ball back and forth until you get "IT". Remarkably, as I got into CJ without initial contact with others, it took me *MONTHS* to learn the butterfly, and it would have taken me a lot longer had I not found Serious Juggling and the James Ernest book and CJ pt 1 video. (I started with palmspinning two acrylic spheres (one 2in. ball, and one 2 1/2in. ball)

I do warn people about the cost of the balls ($23/3in. acrylic plus damages). Within earshot of parents, I will warn kids about the risks of CJ (the fire risks with acrylics, broken china etc). I always recommend practicing outside.
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 Re: simple steps...
Author: silver 
Date:   04-07-02 00:35

This guy is good. Don't miss his workshop. You will learn a lot and he is a very friendly and open guy to boot, enjoy.

commit senseless acts of beauty.........
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 Re: I'll be teaching a CJ workshop!
Author: silver 
Date:   04-07-02 00:49

I've run a few workshops and have to agree that the butterfly is a baaaad place to start. Things that work for me are forearm rolls and fingertip to palm walks. Also showing how you can create an isolation with a small twist of the wrist is a nice way of introducing the illusion aspect early on(you may have to lend an acrylic briefly, and say "try this" as you move around, but it's one more thing for people to take away feeling good about)
The BEST discovery I've had is half size basketballs, I've found almost anyone can do a full chest roll with one within half a dozen attempts, if that doesn't encourage a class i don't know what will!
Hope my inane blather has been of use.
Otherwise it looks like you've plenty of other sound advice from others, good luck and enjoy.
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 Re: I'll be teaching a CJ workshop!
Author: ICU812 
Date:   04-07-02 00:52

you said, "Also showing how you can create an isolation with a small twist of the wrist is a nice way of introducing the illusion aspect early on"...what isolation is this? Do we have video for it?


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
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 Re: I'll be teaching a CJ workshop!
Author: mdamelio 
Date:   04-07-02 01:01

Recently when people are asking questions about cj, I usually don't even talk much about the butterfly, in fact now that I've gotten more advanced into bodyrolling I don't use the butterfly near as much, unless it is coming down the back of my arm I'll go over the fingertips and send it up the inside of my arm, but that's not really the butterfly. One of the things I've started teaching people so they can get that early success you all have been talking about is the three finger tripod stall. This move is pretty neat for someone playing with the ball and it can be taught pretty quickly. And also to hilight what silver said forearm rolls are another pretty easy one. I like to introduce arm rolls early simply because I didn't do them for the longest time, until I went to cjc in fact. I don't know why, I never really thought about it until cjc and then WOW!! I about puked at some of the stuff I saw some cjers doing. So showing arm rolls are good, cause they aren't too hard, and that way people walk away knowing there is more to cj than just the butterfly and all it's many variations. Just my two cents, hope everything goes well at the workshop.

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