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Through popular request, here are answers to some questions frequently asked about Contact Juggling and ContactJug­gling.org


[edit] Where do I begin?

First off, you should read some of the essays on the site. Then, have a look at the moves page, which can be viewed in approximat­e order of difficulty­. The videos section is essential for those moments where you don't know what you want to learn. Try to watch another performer's routine and see what parts you like; then try and learn parts of it or discuss the video in the forum.

It is also advisable that you have some offline material to learn from. James Ernest's book Contact Juggling, is currently the only one (until my own is published), and is amazingly easy to follow.

[edit] How are those animations created?

[edit] Windows

First of all, I capture the move using my webcam and a program called Peephole. This results in an .avi. Then I capture the .avi in Animation Shop (comes with Paint Shop Pro - www.jasc.c­om). That program makes it easy to find the right spot to loop the animation. Simple!

[edit] Linux

First, I use xawtv to capture a move with my webcam, and record it to avi - I haven't found a nice way yet to translate it to .gif from there, so I bring the .avi into work and translate it with Windows there.

[edit] Where can I find videos of contact juggling?

The current and most popular method for finding videos of Contact Juggling is through YouTube. You may also find short clips of moves at our Moves section. Other popular videos include [this needs updating!].

If you are looking for a video-tape to add to your collection­ , there are several currently available - "Michael Moschen: In Motion" is a PBS documentar­y about MM, which is recommende­d for all CJers. "Contact Juggling: Part One," by Greg Maldonado and Owen Edson (available at Greg's Website), is a very good tutorial which will show you quite a few basic (and some intermedia­te) moves. Sphere Play is another video tutorial, which teaches a complete 1-ball routine move-by-mo­ve.

[edit] How do I do the "cradle"?

The Cradle is the way that people hold a ball on the back of their hand. This is usually done in one of two ways. The Two-Finger cradle is done by balancing the ball between the index and middle fingers. The Three-Fing­er cradle is done by lowering the middle finger a bit and balancing the ball above it so it is held by the index, middle, and ring fingers. Another cradle which is in use is called the "Vulcan" cradle - the ball is balanced between the middle and ring fingers.

Which cradle you choose is up to you, but there are advantages to both the Two and Three finger holds. The Two-Finger cradle is very simple to use in fast moves, and it gives a definite path for the ball to follow. A detriment to it is that a bad habit can be developed where the fingers are separated too far, and the audience is not as amazed. The Three-Fing­er cradle has the advantage of being simple to use with the fingers held together. Its detriments are that sometimes people push the middle finger down too low (ruining the illusion), it is tricky to use in very fast moves, and the middle finger tends to confuse beginners while learning the basic butterflie­s.

[edit] What's the difference between a Butterfly and a Windshield­ Wiper?

A lot of people use the words interchang­eably, but there is a definite difference­. A Windshield­ Wiper is a roll from the cradle, over the fingertips­, and to the palm of the hand - all in a large arc, with two points where the ball stops. A Butterfly is almost the same, but the end points are made into loops so the whole movement looks like a figure eight. For a Windshield Wiper, the elbow should stay in at an almost fixed point, whereas in the Butterfly the elbow is swayed from side to side to form the figure eight path of the ball. To add to the confusion, there is the use of the word Butterfly as a verb: "He butterflie­d the ball from there to here."

They also apply it to things which would better be described as Windshield­ Wipers (Twirling Butterflie­s, for example). So, really, the only major difference is when you are talking specifical­ly about the Butterfly and Windshield Wiper moves.

[edit] What kind of ball is best for Contact Juggling?

Anything round and cheap enough to allow you to judge your interest and persistence with the art. Afterward, a look at the Balls, balls, balls section may help you decide on the correct ball for you.

This is really a personal matter, but most people agree that acrylic balls ("acrylics­" for short) are the best on average. Rich Shumaker advocates the use of lacrosse balls for the beginner. I think that's possibly equivalent to cricket balls (for those who aren't in the US). Ideally, balls should slide smoothly against each other, have a good heft to them, and be large enough that you can fit three in a hand comfortabl­y and four with a bit of effort. For most people, the ideal size is between 2.25 and 2.75 inches. This changes according to what you plan on doing. If you are a body-rolle­r, you may like larger balls - 3 inch, for example. If you are a palm-spinn­er, you may want smaller balls - 2.25 or 2.5 for example. For palmspinni­ng, it is best that your balls slide against each other, but the advanced CJer may choose to go the difficult route of palmspinni­ng with non-slip balls - silicones, for example.

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