~ CJC 2001 ~
Sponsored by: Infinite Illusions
Ferret is a Professional Cjer working the Medieval Faire circuit in FL. U.S.A. for the past 8 yrs. 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 First Five Steps

step 1 | step 2 | step 3 | step 4 | STEP 5 | the next steps

Alright, now comes the really tough part. You're not going to like it, at least not at first, but these are my steps to teaching this art, and I fully believe that you will not only benefit from this last step, but you will advance quicker, in learning future tricks. I also recommend this exercise to the more advanced Cjers in the group.

Go back to holding the ball in cradle position, *AND CLOSE YOUR EYES!*

Focus on how the ball FEELS on the back of your hand. Whether you realize it or not, you have already been concentrating, in part on the feeling of the movements as you practiced the first four steps. In steps 2 and 3 the ball was leaving contact with your hand so you couldn't feel the ball itself, but you could feel the way your hand an arm was moving, and you were subconsciously developing muscle memory, the feeling that your hand and arm were in the right spot. You were also ( and this is just an assumption on my part ) using your eyes, to react to the balls movements.

Take away your sense of sight and you will begin to heighten your sense of touch and feeling, a much faster sense. Please don't get me wrong the Human eye is truly a wonder of nature, I still don't think that technology has developed any camera that can work as well, all around, as our own eyes. But light, the medium that our eyes work in, moves at a much slower speed than the electrical impulses in your body, known as nerves and nerve endings. If the ball is rolling down your arm and it starts to roll in a direction that you had not planned on, (let's say off the outside of your forearm, instead of to your elbow,) by the time the light travels from the ball to your eyes, and your brain receives and processes that information and then sends a signal to the muscles in your arm to correct your position. The ball will be past the point of saving. If however you FEEL the ball begin to place a little more pressure on one side of your forearm than the other side. The nerve endings in your skin will send that message to your brain A LOT faster and you will find that your reaction time will greatly reduce, and the speed in which you can correct a slight mistake, will greatly increase.

Your fluidity with the ball will be enhanced, and you will know before the execution of a trick whether the ball is in the best spot to smoothly complete that move. Because you can FEEL IT!

Getting back to the muscle memory thing. If you go into the "Message Board" under 'Combining Toss and Contact Juggling' you will find my description of "Flyaways." Moves where the ball leaves contact with your body. By practicing certain flyaways over and over, you will develop muscle memory, and even though you can not feel the ball in flight, you can feel whether or not the execution is correct and still pull off the trick, because that memory told you where the ball was going to be a second later and you already had your hand, arm, shoulder whatever, in the right spot to catch it.

Try this, Close your eyes and toss the ball from one hand to the other.

Did you catch it?


That's muscle memory. And it to falls into the category of feeling the movement as opposed to reacting to what you see.i

The last benefit that this 'touch and feeling' skill imparts is this: When ever you perform, whether it be for your Mom and Dad, your buddies at a school party, or a captive audience of 500 or more. Your ability to not watch the ball will convey to that audience a sense of mastery in what you are doing.

That's my First Five Steps, time for you to go out and practice step #1 and then #4 with your eyes closed. I use a blindfold so I have no way of cheating. Focus on how the ball feels, you WILL notice a difference. And when you can look to your left across a room full of people, while doing a one handed butterfly in your right hand, and completely out of your field of vision.

Pick out a person of your choose, give them a wink and a wave with your left hand.

And when they ask you how you could do that, tell them a Ferret told you!

Good luck and practice often.

And sign the guest page for crying out loud, we do enjoy reading them ya know!