Kae:The Head

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[edit] The Head

Head rolls are another one of those contact/toss crossovers that crop up now and then. Henry VIII learned to head roll (the juggling type), which shows that contact juggling is much older than most people realize. In this region, a lot of toss jugglers are a lot more experienced than most contact jugglers – the head is a difficult limb to learn to maneuver with. The head is probably the most difficult part of the body to contact juggle with. Every other part of the body is either very flexible, or is easy to balance on. The head is a stubby, bumpy place, and is difficult to learn to use. Practice all moves on the head with a large soft ball before you move onto a smaller soft ball and finally a small hard ball. I use my trusty novelty tennis ball to learn the moves, and then move onto a smaller bounce juggling ball, and finally my acrylics.

[edit] Butterfly W/ Head Butterfly

This move can be learned before the Head Butterfly has been properly learned. In fact, I’d recommend it as a step towards learning all head moves. Start by Back-Back Butterflying slowly. After a few instances of the combination, butterfly the hand higher than usually, and bend your head and body so the ball can roll straight off the fingertips onto the temple. It is extremely important that you do this slowly. The temple is a very dangerous area to make mistakes. When you can butterfly and get the head into position smoothly, try to lift your head back into position so you are facing upwards and the ball goes into the Forehead Hold. It is not important that you be able to stop the ball at that point, but that would be a bonus. Allow the ball to continue over the head to the other side, bringing the head down and your other hand up so you are in a symmetric position to how you passed the ball onto the other temple. Make sure to keep control of the ball as you do this – don’t just “drop” the ball off the other side. Roll the ball onto the other cradle, and go back to your Back-Back Butterflies.

[edit] Neck Butterfly

This move has more body movement than ball movement, so may not be best for your routine - unless your routine is dancing heavy or something. You will need to be able to hold the ball in the Chest Hold. This involves a bit of bending backwards, so watch yourself - a non flexible person can be hurt easily by overdoing this. Learn to balance a ball on the side of the neck (I call it the Side Neck Hold, because I'm fantastically creative). This is another flexibility hold, but I suppose this move can be used as a workout - like those aerobics things that so many people are hooked on. Balancing on the side of the neck is easy once you keep your head bent - if you are balancing on the right side, then bend the head to the right - this creates a concave surface for the ball to rest in. Shifting from the side of the neck to the chest is a lot trickier - you have to lift your body sideways to give the ball some vertical motion, then drp your body while shifting it so the ball moves to the chest. Shifting to the other side of the neck is a bit trickier, as starting the ball in motion from the Chest Hold is difficult. Maybe it is best to learn as a smooth movement - when you can move from the side of teh neck to the Chest Hold comfortably, try continuing the motion of the ball by using the chest as a sort of catapult to keep the motion going so the body raises again and drops the ball into the opposite side neck hold.

[edit] Neck to Chest Circle

This move is very difficult - not because of balance, which is the usual reason, but rather flexibility. If you are not flexible, this move will seem impossible to you. You must be able to balance a ball on the chest (sternum), the neck, and either side of the neck in order to so this. If you can, then let's go. Practicing this move can get quite painful after a while. If you feel any twinges or unusual tiredness - stop and go do something else. Once you can do the Neck Butterfly, though, it gets a bit simpler. The most difficult part is to move from the Neck hold to the Side Neck Hold - the back muscles of the neck tend to be rather broad. The way to learn it, then, is like the Neck Butterfly. Learn to move from the Side Neck Hold to the Neck Hold - this just involves a drop and twist of the body. From there, raise the body slightly, then drop it quickly so the ball goes over that ridge - this is probably the most difficult part of the whole move, as you must then somehow stop the ball from going too far and falling over the other side. I'd recommend you practice this only a few times per day - too much, and you will hurt your back... or side... or abdomen...

[edit] Head Butterfly

Remember the weeks you spent learning the Windshieldwiper and Butterfly with your hands? Time to revisit that, but with a twist. The obvious way to learn the Head Butterfly would be to start with a Forehead Hold and roll to a Temple Hold and back to do i on the other side. That is is actually the hard way to learn it. The easy way is to learn to move from either Temple Hold to the Forehead Hold before even attempting to roll from the forehead to the temple. The reason for this is that it is easier to balance a ball on the forehead than the temple, so it is easier to stop a roll on the forehead than on the temple. After you have learned to roll from temple to forehead successfully nine times out of ten, your temple holds should be good enough for you to learn it in reverse. Rolling from the temple to the forehead involves a sort of wave shape with the body and head - if you start with a Temple Hold on the right side of the head, then you move your body to the right, then carefully flick your head up straight and move the body back to the left - so the ball is "thrown" upwards, but just as the final throws when you were learning the Windshieldwiper, the throws do not cause the ball to leave contact with your head. If you have done it correctly, the ball should be in Forehead Hold position, and the body should not be offcenter. Rolling from the forehead to the Temple Hold is "slightly" trickier. When you try it the first few times, you'll notice the ball tends to roll straight off the head - either by the neck, or straight over the head. In the beginning, then, it is probably best to minimise the sideways motion of the ball - so the ball is only moving vertically. If you are rolling to the right Temple Hold, then start on the Forehead Hold, then move your body (not the head) slightly to the right, and bend the head to the left, moving the body further to the right so the ball practically stays in place, but ends up in the Temple Hold.

[edit] Arm Roll to Forehead Hold

To get to the forehead strictly rolling the ball, you could learn to roll from a Neck Hold straight up and over to the forehead, but this is a simpler, more impressive way. Learn the Head Butterfly and Neck Roll fluently. This is important, as what I'm about to show is a variant of the same motions. First off, we'll trace our route. The ball will travel up the left backarm to the left shoulder. In the neck roll, you would now duck your head down - instead, duck it down only slightly and well to the right. Bend your torso to the right to emphasize the bend. The ball now rolls up the stretched neck muscles, behind the ear, and you straighten up into a Forehead Hold. Of course, that was the simplified description. You will have to practice each stage a bit at a time, being very aware at all times of your position in relation to the ball. If you straighten up too quickly after the roll, for example, you risk throwing the ball off to one side - do every move very carefully, and do not allow the ball to move one millimeter out of your control. If possible, perform the move slowly - this will help in the long term. From the Forehead Hold, you can do the exact opposite on the other side - rolling the ball down behind the ear and off down the right arm. Again, learn it slowly. A more impressive version of that is to do it from the opposite shoulder - roll the ball from the right cradle to right shoulder. Then allow it to continue into a neck roll to just before the left shoulder. From there, raise your left shoulder to halt the ball and then reverse it's direction. The ball can now be rolled up onto the forehead as described before. You can then roll down the right side of the head, and reverse directions again to neck roll down to the left arm. This can surprisingly be done early on in your learning if you use a large ball.

[edit] Head Circle

Like getting dizzy? This move is for you. You could even use it as a loosening up move for athletics. You could learn this before the Arm Roll to Forehead Hold, or you could learn this first. They both use the same moves - but I find that it is usually better to learn the moves cautiously than continuously - ie; in the former move, you have the familiar arm rolls and neck rolls with the occasional new roll to a Forehead Hold, but here, all moves are new to you - so make sure you practice the Arm Roll to Forehead Hold first. The Arm Roll to Forehead Hold has all the description you need, really - start on a Forehead Hold, roll to a Temple Hold, continue to a Neck Hold, and then carefully navigate the ball up the other side of the head back to the Forehead Hold. You could combine this with the Neck to Chest Circle - visually, they run into each other, and continuing the workout theme, the Neck to Chest Circle gives the abdominal muscles and waist a workout while the Head Circle works the kinks out of the neck. If you want to be extra slow learning this, try learning to bring the ball from a Neck Hold to a Temple Hold and back, then repeat on the other side. Practice this in conjunction with your head butterflies, then when you have both solid, simply continue from one into the other.

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