The Next Five Steps
The following is the next part in Ferrets series on beginning Contact Juggling, The First Five.
O. K. I guess I'll get my Arse moving here, and take all you, diligent, and persistent , beginners past the first five steps and onto the next lessons,
 Passes and Transfers
In other words, smooth transfers to the other hand.
I know I've been harp'in on ya'll to practice with both hands, so let's now utilize that 'ambidextrous skill' that you've worked so hard on, into a smooth, flowing pattern, when you go to show 'em, "Yea, I can do That with This hand as well"
There is a fair number of Passes that can be accomplished in this Art Form, but if you Just learned the 'Butterfly' I'm not going to try to take you to the Next Step, by teaching you a walk, from left-hand cradle, up your left arm, a slight turn at your elbow, up the outside of your bicep, off your shoulder, and onto a right-hand cradle catch. You'll Get There, Trust Me! But like they say, 'you should really learn to walk before you learn to do the 100 meter hurdles'
There are 3 passes that I feel should be attempted first.
- The Palm-to-Palm
- The Back-to-Back
- The Prayer Pass
These, are in no way, The Order, in which to learn these passes, as they are All fairly simple, ( as passes go. ) The 'Prayer Pass' may be easier to learn for some, than the 'Palm-to-Palm' and vice-versa , to others, but these Three Passes will give you a Good Foundation to go into other tricks with. So All Three should be practiced, with the same commitment that you put forth learning the 'Butterfly'
When you start learning more advanced 'tricks' a great deal of these 'Moves' will be Set Up by one of these Three Basic Passes. If the set up doesn't look confident and smooth, the trick will not look smooth either, and it will be much more difficult to learn, to begin with, because of the sloppy set up.
The nice thing about These Lessons, as opposed to the '[The_First_Five]' is that I get to point you in the direction of some video footage as we go along, so you can see what I'm talking about! Most of That Footage will be Kae, but Than again Kae's images are currently The Best you're gon'a find in the Entire Cyber World, in This Art Form, so he's mak'in This A Lot Easier for Everyone.
What a Guy, eh?
( not to mention I get to pick his videos apart, which should be fun. Wink)
So Let's Get Started, shall We?
 The Palm-to Palm Pass
There are Two ways to do the palm-to-palm pass. The 'True Palm' (or heel to heel,) and The 'Cheater Palm' (or knife edge to knife edge.) ed. note: there are more than two, but only two should be concentrated on by the beginner - Kae
Now please don't think that the term 'Cheater Palm' is derogatory , it is merely the Term 'I' use, as it is easier to learn, than a 'True Palm' right off the get-go.
This is mainly due to the unfamiliar position you put your hands and elbows in, to do a 'True Palm Pass' (once again a term I use in my mind to delineate the movement.) Both are aesthetically appealing to your audience, and the 'cheater palm' is actually a better set-up for the harder tricks, later on, including that shoulder pass I spoke of.
What's more is, the cheater palm, is Much more easier to control at High Speed!
And as you advance, and gain more confidence , you will begin to execute your tricks quicker, along with combinations of what you've learned, and some of those combinations can be Visually Devastating! If done at High Speed, and the 'set up' is All Important to the Trick! Believe Me, the 'Cheater Palm' is a Powerful Tool, and should be learned early on!
And It's Dirt Easy to learn as well! (Which is a nice plus)
As with all these passes (or any move, for that matter,) the more you use it, the easier it is to do, with confidence and fluidity! And, as you progress to harder tricks in the 'arm /body rolling' category, having a Well established set-up pass, will only add to the overall trick, in visual appeal! So by now you're saying, "Alright, alright, Ferret, Teach me the Damn Trick, already!" (Now all you Budding Performers know how I can pull off a 20-30 min. Show! *g*) Alright than. Remember how in step #3. I described that position of arm wrestling a friend, and losing? And you took that position to steps #4, and #5, as the ball rolled into your palm? That is the Beginning of Both Palm passes!
You Should have your hand palm up, sphere settled nicely, and the back of your forearm at about a 45 angle to the ground, the point of your elbow should be about a hands length, (not width)(fingers extended) away from your side. Just stall it right there for a moment and remember the position. ( Yes, another muscle memory exercise ) The next step will decide whether you move towards a Cheater Pass or a True Pass.
For a Cheater Pass, Bring your elbow directly into your side, by the shortest route, ( a straight line ) and as your elbow touches your side, freeze your elbow to that point, and swivel your shoulder, so that you bring your up-raised palm (with ball) directly in front of your chest, and your elbow, still 'glued' to the spot that it first touched on your waist. You should have naturally lowered your palm, and brought your forearm to a clean 90 degrees to your body and parallel to the ground, about waist height. Once again, stop for a moment, and think about this position. Your upper arm should be tight against your side and vertical, to the ground.
now just hold the ball there, and bring up your other hand, same position, palm up, elbow tucked tight to your side, and �match' the pinky side, knife edge of your hand to the knife edge of the hand that has the ball palmed, and just gently dump the ball into the other palm.
Hey! You just did a 'Cheater Palm-to-Palm, Transfer!'
Boy, That Was Tough, wasn't It?
Now that the ball is in the other palm, ( hopefully, in a �mirror image' that it was in, a moment ago ) slowly reverse the shoulder swivel, and elbow tuck thing, and follow through with step #4 in this position, and roll it back to cradle, only now, it's on the other hand. Steady the Sphere, take your free hand, reach around, (or over, which-ever is easier) and while still holding the ball in cradle, Pat Yourself on the Back! Come on! Harder than that! Ya, Did Good! Well Done! Way To Go!
Did you keep the ball steady on cradle in the other hand?
While you were following these last directions , ( much to the bewildered , amusement of you cat or dog, or worse, an un-expected house mate?) Yes? Than you get extra points for practicing that �peanut butter and jelly sandwich' thing I spoke about in step #1. ( I Knew I'd get a Few of Ya, but wasn't that the Most Fun you ever Had, try'in to make a sandwich? Wink)
When you do this particular pass. During the last portion of That transfer, you should, end your position,* I.E. cradle,* into that classic box shape I mentioned in step#1, ( but then again, the �cheater palm' lends itself to other cradle catches that Do Not adhere to that strict Box Style.) And in so doing, (from a knife edge, on both the sending and receiving hands,) you place the ball in a very large, easily, controllable field. The point between the knife edge, of your hand, up to the 'index and ring finger!' and over to the cradle. A nice 45� curve across your palm, that allows a Maximum of Control! Now you know why this Pass is a Favorite of Mine for setting up a quickly executed, 'Arm or Body Roll' from cradle, that involves centripetal force, as I can confidently, get away with building up speed during the beginning pass set-up, and than 'Launching it off cradle with some good spin already built up, for any number of fast runs down the back of the arm!
I'm Teas'in Ya, arn't I?
Ya'll learn all of these tricks, and probably faster than WE did, cause We didn't have teachers, back when Kae, Rich, Ian, and I were learn'in.
Oh Yea! Back In The OLD DAYS! We were Happy! To Find someone, who knew of someone, who know someone, who know a trick. And we usually had to walk 5 -10 miles through 2' of Snow, Up-Hill, BOTH Ways, just to Hear An Exaggerated Story of The Damn Move! So Count Yourself Lucky! Ya Bar Stewards!
(Sorry, I just turned 39 today and I'm feeling Old, I'll try not to let it happen again)
I'll move on to the 'True Palm Pass' now, please disregard that last, little tirade.
 The True Palm Pass
dun't Dun't DUNN!!!
O.K. remember that spot I said, is the 'decision point' for what you're gon'a Shot For at that moment? A Cheater, or a True Palm Pass?
For a True palm pass. Pull your elbow into your side as before only don't freeze it There. Just let it 'skim' past. Keep it close to your body, but pull it in and up as it passes your waist. (Remember this is the elbow, attached to the hand, that controls the ball, that we're talk'in about here!) The Major difference here is with the angle of your forearm. With the cheater pass you comfortably, positioned your forearm where it naturally wanted to go. And your receiving hand fit nicely next to your sending hand!
For the true pass, you want to have the ball transfer from palm across the heel of your hand and Directly to your other hand by way of heel to palm. In order to accomplish this, you must first be able to put your two hands together, at the heels. Yes, I Know, I know, some of you will say, "that's easy" but some will not. What's more is that you should practice this position with your pinkies, and ring fingers spread as wide as possible! Because if you don't your audience will not see the pass, and you will lose aesthetic appeal. Go ahead, try it without the ball. Feels weird doesn't it? Your 'sphere free hands' should now look somewhat like a Tulip, and more palm should be visible to someone looking at you than, to your own point of view.
Now remember that position, place a ball so that it's balanced between your two hands (heels touching) and roll it back and forth from one palm to the other. Notice how you start to swing your upper body? That will disappear when you add The Sphere's momentum in later. But You'll notice that this is Not a comfortable position! And for some (depending on their build) a downright Difficult position. For those that do find it difficult, don't give up on it all it takes is practice combined with stretching. And Yes, because of My build and the way My body happens to feel comfortable moving, I had to punch my way through this exercise as well! I found pre-practice stretching to be the key, and I will touch base on that in an up coming essay.
So Now Let's go to 'Action Video!' "Roll 'em, Kae" Go to 'Moves' on this site, 1 ball, stuff. Bring up Kae's "[moves.php?action=read&id=34|Palm-Palm Butterfly]"
Yes, Kae I'm going to pick it apart. (Even Kae berates himself in the text of this Gif, but I know he has worked on correcting that flaw, as it shows in his later Gifs.) But it gives me a unique opportunity to point out common mistakes, and it also allows me to point out the proper, 'aesthetic' technique, as well.
Watch Kae's movement as He transfers from right-to-left. Good momentum, not too fast, nice heel-to-heel transition , good display to the audience! ( i.e. lower digits separated well, and thumbs almost touching.) A Nice Classic palm-to-palm pass And you should pay particular attention to how close His elbows get to each other, and the amount of wrist bend, that is involved! That wrist bend, and the 'matching' of the inside forearm, all the way down to the elbows, is a key factor in pulling this off and is usually the most uncomfortable position for many people.
And all it takes is practice and a bit of stretching.
Now for the thing to avoid in this particular move. ( Sorry Kae )
When Kae comes back with a left-to-right hand transfer, he does what I refer to as 'A Slap' Meaning, as the sending hand positioned the ball in 'center palm' and just before he lowered it to the heel, he 'slapped' it into the receiving hand! And flipped it over to cradle, with more hand movement, than pass momentum. Also, take note of how close his elbows come to each other during the left-to-right transfer. Not Very, do they? See the Importance Here?
This movement should not be ignored, but should be focused on later when you start getting 'radical' with the ball/balls !
But for a classic 'palm-to-palm' it should be avoided. As it is essential to Know, and 'Present' well during slow, deliberate moves, that will Most Defiantly involve palm transfers!
The 'Slap' is a visually interesting move, in and of itself, if done in an interesting sequence, but I will fore-go That explanation until a later date. As I personally do not feel that it's That easy! (If done in a Unique pattern,) And more for the advanced Cjer ( sometimes we take 'short cuts' and don't even realize, that we're doing it.)
Now let's go to '[moves.php?action=read&id=44|Marco's circle].' another 'classic' True Palm Pass! Once again, notice how close Marco's elbows get to each other. Also take note of how far back Marco's wrists are bent, when his forearms are both close to vertical. Ah, the wonders of Stretching and Flexibility!
Now for the 'extreme example.'
Go to Marco's '[/moves.php?action=read&id=7|Back Hand Roll]' and watch his right-to-left hand palm transfer, after his right hand 'flip-flopped the ball over to a right-hand-palm.'
Notice the extreme, back, bend he puts in both his wrists! And once again, those elbows are tight to each other! The Over-All Transfer is visually appealing, due mainly to the amount of sphere surface shown during That transfer, and still sets him up nicely, for a much more advanced trick. That under-arm flip-flop.
And I assure you Marco used that smooth, flowing, momentum to set-up and execute That trick, with the grace, that He does, (During The Part We Can't See!) But That's neither here nor there. Wink)
But You See the reasoning behind getting Good at these first Three transfers now, don't Ya?
 Step 7 - Back to Back Passes
This is gon'a be fun trying to teach ya'll this one! Cause I learned These 'backwards' and I'm not going to try and take you There! So I'm gon'a try and teach them, in a way that I Did Not experience , as I was learning Them. You see My dilemma, here? I promise, I'll do my best! But you may see me steering you towards the way I learned, during the course of this Lesson, and you may notice a slight push toward Lesson # 9
I do Not recommend learning Lesson #9 before #7, but that's how things worked out for me. And I think I turned out O.K. (even if My Mother, Does say I dress funny, and she refuses to take the blame for it!)
To properly do a Back-to-Back Pass,, you first need to stop for a moment, and look at your hands. And not just the back of them!
I'm going to assume, that if you routinely wear a wrist watch. That at This point you have decided to remove it! (Jewelry as well, Ladies. Rings, Everything )
Now, without a ball, place One of your hands in a cradle position, (nice box shape) elbow held up and level with you hand. Take your other hand and place it at a 90o angle to your cradle, and vertical to the ground. And connect your hands at the point just above both wrist bones. Kae will tell you, in the text of his "Back to Back Pass," to start with your hands touching at 'index base, to pinky base,' and he is probably correct in this procedure, but as I warned ya'll, earlier, I learned these the Long Way around, so bear with me.
Your vertical hand, (which will eventually become your first attempt, receiving hand) should be outside of your cradle or sending hand. (there's a reason for this, trust me)
You should look like your ready to take on 'Ultra Man' or some other 'campy' 'zipper suited' monster from Japan. Hopefully you learned your lesson, with the un-expected roommate walking in on ya, and you looked over your shoulder before attempting this move. (Of course you could be a lonely bastard, who finds great amusement in making your dog turn his head sideways, because the poor creature, can't figure out, Just What the Hell Your Up To! But who am I to judge?)
Now take this badly dubbed "Enter The Drunk'en Dragon" position and while still holding that cradle, and keeping your wrists touching, bring your vertically held arm, up to a horizontal plane. And try to duplicate a good box shaped, cradle with That hand as well. If you kept your wrists tight to each other, you should notice pressure being exerted on the out side edges of both wrist bones, from the opposite hand, and the outside hand's thumb should just center on the inside hand's wrist, and a 'thumbs length' (duh) down the back of your forearm. Both your elbows should be held high, and It should almost feel like a 'lock' at the wrists. Remember to keep your fingers hyper-extended as in step #1 (holding a cradle) All you skateboarders, should be think'in 'Half-Pipe' here!
Now place a ball on the hand closes to you, and go back to the tight, wrist touching thing again, still holding the ball in that comfortable cradle. Now look at that empty hand. See all the bumps and divots, between the ball and the empty hand's cradle? Yep! You're gon'a have to Overcome All That s**t! Now we're talk'in Half-Pipe with a bunch of scrap metal and beat-up cars in the way g
Momentum is the key. But at the same time, tempering that momentum so you can use it as a 'Tool,' and not just a 'run-away ball' will only come with practice and ultimate familiarity with the backs of your hands and the movement itself.
Try and make both hands as flat as possible, and still drop those middle fingers for a Good sending as well as receiving cradle. The ball should roll from sending cradle, down the back of the hand at a slight angle, (pinky side) towards the back of the receiving hand, and gently up into that waiting cradle. Easier Typed Than Done! Yes, I know!
(And you can probably understand why Kae will warn you of beating up the backs of your hands when you first start learn'in this trick, eh?)
Sorry Ya'll, but He's Right, and I Highly recommend that you go outside for this one, cause the ball's gon'a go 'fly'in' when you first attempt this, believe me!
But Hey! No Pain No Gain, right!
Believe Me! It's worth the effort.
Having a good foundation in 'Back-to-Back Pass' control, will not only set you up for numerous tricks from '[/moves.php?action=read&id=1|Arm Rolls]' to 'Isolated Staircases' but will allow you to save slight flaws and 'screw-ups and never let your audience know that you Didn't Mean to Do that!
The 'Back-to-Back Pass' is Wonderful for That! And Any Time you can save a 'Blown Move' on The Back of Your Hand, as opposed to a 'palm catch' Your Bat'in a Thousand, Believe Me
So, your in a good safe spot, and your holding the ball in your most favorable cradle, and you're got your wrists pushing hard against each other, and your empty hand is waiting to catch the ball in cradle....................................................................So DUMP It Already!
You Know where it's supposed to go! So Make It Go There!
(Please, do not expect to have this occur correctly, the first time. If it does than I'm a Better Teacher than I thought I was. g )
Did you catch it? Excellent! Now Don't Move! Study that position and the way it Feels for a moment. Now send it back, without ever disconnecting your wrists. And once again settle the ball on the 'original cradle.'<
Was the sending back part harder? For Most people it will be.
Two reasons here. One; You have to tip your outer hand much farther back to get the ball to go from cradle to the Thumb Side of your sending hand and this is a very awkward position for anybody. And Two; (the reason you had to tip your outer hand so much) is because of the muscle build up around your thumb!
Your thumb and index finger are the two strongest digits on your hand. (Like nobody knows that, Ferret)
Lot more flesh on that side of your hand than the pinky side. Consequently You will find, that the ball always wants to exit 'cradle' closer to the pinky side than the thumb side and being aware of this Now will help a great deal in later tricks, i.e. #9 and #10
Now you know why I told you to have the receiving hand out in front.
What's more, is all that muscle, tends to work very well as a 'stalling cushion' after the ball has left cradle from the sending hand, and built up a little speed before it transferred to the receiving hand. That muscle tends to 'deaden' the acceleration and usually allows for a much more smoother and controlled catch in cradle. Which is why, when most of Us preform a "Back-to-Back Pass" we do that 'Shuffling movement' with the back, sending hand, Shooting Forward to become the receiving hand, and so on. The thumb side is optimal for receiving and the pinky side is optimal for sending.
Don't get me wrong, doing a reverse 'Back to Back' is not unheard of, and looks Good if presented from certain angles, but most of the time, in order to pull it off well, your hands tend to hide the ball, and the visual effect is obscured as well. Not to mention the difficulty of the trick because, your forcing the ball to take the path of MOST Resistence !
'Back Hand Rock-a-Bys' what you just attempted, (or accomplished however, are Not that difficult. And look very nice, once you are able to do them with a nice smooth rhythm. Back and Forth, back and forth, keeping your wrists connected the entire time!
I wanted you to experience this reverse movement before we continue, so you would #1 understand something about this movement, and the physical obstacles involved, and #2 possible give you the incentive to play with this trick in reverse, and see what You can come up with. ( I would suggest leaning back, to begin with.) And aside from some sloppy shit, from my own experience , I believe the trick can be presented in a Highly Aesthetic Manor and I'd like to see Other people take a Shot at That, and see what They can come Up with!
So now let's go to Video Mode!
After that long winded typing session, Let me show you what I talk'in about here. Once again go to 'moves,' one ball stuff. Marco's 'back hand pass' during his "[/moves.php?action=read&id=44|Circle]" is Spot on! See the nice level position he has his hands in? Elbows held high, and the moment, his hands connect is right at the wrist bone. Because of the follow through needed to do "The Circle" he drags the base of his pinky to the base of his index finger as the ball transfers, (what Kae was talking about) and continues with the movement, over his finger-tips to 'Palm-to-Palm' hence, "The Circle!" (we'll get to that trick, just be patient. )
Once again, notice his sending hand is in the back, closest to him. And the ball exits down the pinky side of his hand and is received on the thumb side. Because Marco begins the 'launch' just as his wrists meet. The ball has a much longer path to roll, before it ends up on the receiving cradle. Yes, this allows for more, possible mistakes along the way. But it presents a Much more visual picture to your audience, because the entire move takes longer and They get to see it for a longer, length of time.
See My Point?
Marco presents this especially well, because of His Fluidity of Movement at a Slow speed, and also because The Guy's got Some Damn, Large Hands!
Now let's go to Kae's "[/moves.php?action=read&id=5|Back to Back Pass]" Check out the Speed we got go'in on here! ed. note: the original image was much faster - slowed down for visibility
Kae is presenting that 'Back-Hand-Shuffle' I spoke about earlier. The Act of 'shooting' your sending hand, Under your receiving hand and there-by making it your receiving hand. Thus following That Path of pinky side, exit. To thumb side, receive. The Path the ball Wants to travel!
Kae is mov'in pretty quick here, which is why he's doing his transfers closer to the base of his fingers, than his wrists.
This shows a confidence in The Move! But as speed increases, control must be increased as well, and the best way to do this is to Decrease the amount of travel and there-by the possibility of 'bumps, and glitches' along the way. At Speed, transferring closer to 'Cradle' is a convenient , (not to mention, A Visually Appealing Move.) And Kae shows a good, tight shuffle, with the Back Hand coming forward.
Just a quick note here.
If you can do a "Back to Back Pass" as quickly as Kae is doing in that gif, than you need to be work'in on Your "Staircases" and 'Isolating Them' as Well!
Well I couldn't end This Lesson with out point'in ya in the direction that I took!
Remember I said I learned These Thing Backwards? Go to the video section and punch up My 'armroll mpg' (not the 'Looped' version in the one ball section, but the Video) Yes, That's Step #9. (Don't get ahead of Yourself!) At the tail end of that mpg, you will see me get closer and closer to a Good, wrist connected 'Back to Back Pass' and It is Still done at speed, with a Lot of space between 'launch' and 'catch!'
There are Many Various ways to do this movement, and All will be slightly different. Depending on You, and Your Persistence! But you Should have a Good Gist of the Over-All Move by Now! So It's Time for you to Go Out and Play!
 Step 8 - Prayer Passes
O.K. This One Should be Easy to Teach, cause it's really kind of easy to Do!
But for some reason There is No video, or even a reference to the move on This (or for that matter, Any Site! )
And I Know!!! I'm Not the Only person to come up with this move. So I'm wondering if Kae is gon'a leave the video spot, open for Me to fill. When I get the chance, and the equipment is working. g or if He'll give me a good example, after I submit this.
The Big Difference Here, is That I'm gon'a take you to a different 'Cradle Hold'
Yes, I Know, I know. Your saying, "What! I have to learn a Different Base Position!? I was Just getting used to the Three-Finger-Spread!" I went through the same thing, only I had to learn through trial and error. Some tricks are damn near impossible , to do smoothly, in the 'Classic' 'Three-Finger-Cradle' Because that middle finger gets in the way and tends to create a really Horrible Bump during some more advanced transfers. So at This point in your progress, you should, begin to 'Open up to' the different possibilities of holding a 'Cradle' and 'The Prayer Pass' is the easiest to learn, while getting used to this New Cradle Position. This also has the added benefit of allowing me ( or anyone else for that matter ) to teaching you, one of those tricks in the future, and merely starting it off with. "You Need to be on a "Two-Finger-Spread" for this one."
First go to the three finger spread that you're Used to, from [/essays.php?action=read&id=1|Step #1]. I know that Other people teach this cradle (as a beginning position,) as well, and it is pretty much regarded as the First Step, in 'body-rolling movements, in CJ. But That is primarily due to the maximum stability you get with Three points of contact, on The Back of Your Hand! As for Palm-spinning, Hey, We All grew up learning how to hold a ball in our palm! Probably, at an age that you can't even remember any more. So I don't consider the First Step of Palm-Spinning, to have Even been Taken, till ya Slap another one in there with It. And start pushing the Two around. But that's just My personal opinion. I'm Just a Body-Roller, Cjer, what do I know about palm spinning? Sad Ah! Wouldn't you like to know? ;-j
Fortunately for Me, there are Much Better Palm-Spinners, involved in This Site 'Den Da Ferret!' and if I Have to type up a Lesson on It, I'm gon'a be a little 'Ticked' at My Fellow "Cyber-Manipulators" for their 'word perfect' lethargies. (Yes, I checked, apparently 'Lethargies' is a real word.) I'll just stick to teach'in Ya'll The Body-Roll'in Steps. Wink
Now, on That three-finger-cradle, spread your index finger out a little wider, (away from your middle finger.) Bring Up your middle finger and 'shunt' the ball over, to be balanced between Just those Two fingers! They should now be parallel, and the ball should be between your finger nails and the second set (or middle set) of knuckles. Takes a little more tilting of the hand and some extra hyper-extension of those two fingers, doesn't it? But It's Not That Difficult to Achieve!
This Position will commonly be referred to, (in the CJ World) as "The Two Finger Cradle or "Two Finger Spread" (go figure! I don't know who comes up with these names, but it ain't no genius, I'm sure)
Now remember Step #1 in my First Five Steps? When I told ya, to just stand, sit, walk around, so you get used to the position, and the balance needed to keep it there? Yep! Wouldn't hurt to run through that Again in this New Position!(Both Hands!)
But Hey! You can use a knife to cut your steak, and still spread butter on a roll, with the same utensil, Right? So this shouldn't take Too long to get used to.
Now once you have a confident, and balanced 'Two Finger Cradle.'
Just for shits and giggles, let's Play with this new position. No, I'm not gon'a talk you into mak'in another sandwich. Smile I expect that You've learned That lesson by now. (btw, did ya ever get that jelly stain out of you pants? g )
You Should have noticed, by now, that you have an extra finger, free in this position. (Remember what I said about 'three-points-of-contact?') Well it works Extremely Well, when you want Another ball in the same hand's palm, during a 'two-finger-cradle' cause you don't have to rely on Just the strength of your pinky and thumb. Now you have your Ring Finger, to add to that Hold! (I know I'm teas'in ya with future moves, but it keeps ya interested , doesn't it?)
So having said that, (or is it typed that?) try curling those three digits down in 'a grasping manner,' while still holding that ball, 'in cradle' on Two Fingers. Kind'a Weird, isn't it? Go ahead. Try and move them around a bit. Experiment with the way different movements change the shape and (more importantly) the level, of those other, two fingers!
Get'in Really weird now, isn't it? After you're played with this for a little while, try a Butterfly off this position. First with your thumb and All Fingers spread, and when you feel Good with That! Try making a 'half fist.'
First with just your pinky and ring, finger alone, and Than bring your thumb in, and over those two fingers. (Remember the 60's 'Peace Sign?' O.K. maybe some of you don't.)
It's a little tougher with the thumb, cause It's the first thing the ball hits, when you come over from cradle to palm position, and It naturally wants to push the ball towards you, and off your hand! You have to tilt your arm, away from you more. And You also have to concentrate on the Right amount of 'stall!'
But look at the Sphere's presentation to the audience in This position! Even up on a Stage. The position you have to maintain. Forces you to present Maximum View of the sphere!
This exercise also gets you used to more Precise Control of your stalling position, on Both Sides of your hand! Kind of forces you to pay attention to that 'launching speed' I spoke about.
For some of you, this may be easy, because of the Path you took back in Step #4. (I Know Kae uses This 'Two-Finger' Style frequently.) It wouldn't surprise me if a number of you are already, familiar with the 'two finger cradle' as a Base Hold.) But I'm Sure that there are Some who are Not! So go ahead and practice that two fingered butterfly, for a little bit. And Try curling your thumb, and two fingers in, after you've got'in 'happy' with the fully spread position.
Yea, Your Other Hand To!
Comfortable with it? Good. Lets get back to that Prayer Pass. Like I said this one's easy. Once you get comfortable with the two finger cradle. Now, holding the ball in that position, bring your other hand up and "Mate" your Finger Tips. Don't try to get your finger nails to touch, at least Not Yet! Wink Remember, you still have to maintain that Hyper-extension with those two fingers to keep a Well Balanced Cradle. Right Now, focus on 'mating' the Finger 'Pads'. Index to index, middle to middle, etc.......Don't forget your thumbs. (cause 'mating' Them, creates more stability during the movement, even if the ball never actually touches them!) Try and keep a level horizontal plane with your cradle hand, and your other hand should be almost vertical with That, elbow pointing towards the ground. If you mated all your fingers and kept the 'heel of your hands apart (we'll get to That in a moment) than your 'mirrored' fingers should present a good 95-100 degree angle to each other.
Everything Fits? Ball's Balancing Well? And You're used to work'in the ball on two fingers now? Alright Then!
Quickly bring your vertically held elbow up to horizontal , drop your horizontally held elbow down to vertical, maintain the 95 degree angle with your fingers, and keep you wrists straight, as you Do This, and just Watch the ball pass, right over your �mated' fingertips and over to your other hand! Simple, Huh?
So Now You've reversed your position 90 degrees, and the ball should have ended up on the �mirror position' (as in) on the back or your Other Hand! Well then, I guess you Passed It. There-by accomplishing the "Prayer Pass" eh? Way to go!
Now Send It Back! Did ya land the return, as well? Excellent! !!
Now at This point I could very-well place my fists on my hips, and in a Deep, Super hero, voice say, "Well, My work here is done." But I can't fly yet, I can only jump a fairly good distance, and That just looks Stupid
Regardless of the fact, that the whole Visual Effect, of the Gag would more than likely be Lost through This Medium.
More Importantly, I am Not done. And Neither are You.
Look at what you just accomplished. There is the potential to quickly learn not just the Pass, but several other simple tricks Here, as Well!
If you immediately separate your finger tips, and go into another move with the receiving hand, than you have utilized this movement, as an "Aesthetically Pleasing Pass." But if you get smooth with this Pass in Both Directions , and you keep the pads of your fingers touching. You can 'rock' the ball back and forth a couple of times in a row, and create an interesting effect. Isolate the ball in space, while doing this movement and you've learned, yet Another Trick! If you are keeping the heels of your hand apart, and both your wrists straight. Than you should be holding a good 95-100 degree angle with your hands.
But you Know you Don't have to.
That, 'close to a 90 position' I refer to as a 'Bridge.' Bring the heels of your hands closer together, and relax your wrists more. When you can do this pass with both your palms touching from the fingertips down to the heels of your hands than you are doing a 'True Prayer.' Another Simple Trick that is Not up on This Site Yet!
Yo! Kae, Marco, What's Up with That?
From there you should experiment with using less elbow movement and more wrist flex. Try and accomplish this pass with the insides of your forearms pressed together, down to your elbows. And use Nothing But, wrist movement. Neat Trick, Huh? Unfortunately, certain types of men tend to stalk me, whenever I do this trick, so I rarely use it in my shows.
If you take the 'bridge' in the other direction and separate your palms from each other, even more, by curling all your knuckles, and rolling your fingertips together to the point where your fingernails touch. Than you have created "The Cage!" A Good example of this is in this site's 'Links' Go to Tokyo_Puu. That's An 'Outside Cage Hold!' (Yes, there is an 'inside cage hold' but we'll get into that later) What's more, is this young lady not only does this, with leather gloves on! But she Presents It to Her Audience in a Much more aesthetically pleasing style, by not only, the dark back ground that the ball is placed in front of, but the fact that she uses her middle and ring finger instead of her index and middle fingers, for the two points of contact! A much more difficult hold, and even more so as a 'transfer' ! Kudos-to-ya, Miss Tokyo! The young Lady also presents a good lesson in 'Performance Art' Over-All!
Your interest should Not be what You see................But what THEY See! And what You, FEEL! If They can't See the Ball, while your do'in all this cool stuff. Well, let face it, The Art Form, becomes pretty lame! Like your Just mov'in your hands around and occasionaly They get to see a 'glimmer' or piece of The Sphere!
Also! If you don't Feel good about the Trick or Move. Than They will see THAT as Well! They will see it, in your movement, they will see it in your Facial Expression. And they will see it in your eyes! Once again Confidence , in the movement. Is the Key!
Having typed that, let me show you what I'm talking about! You will also get to see an �Outside Cage' transfer, and an �Inside Cage' with an escape, and It won't be �a still' this time. Remember what I said about Confidence in your Face and Eyes as well as your movements? Well, This Man's got It! Go to video, (not the Moves page, but Video.) And load-up "Goldfrost's Cage" mpeg. Now watch this Man closely. Impressive , Eh? Can you tell that Gary's done this move before? The whole thing is a combination of fluidity and surety of movement. Goldfrost Knows, he can do this trick Well, and it shows, even Before he preforms it! Where do you acquire this confidence ? Well hopefully It's laying right in front of you, and all you have to do is pick the Damn Thing Up! Wink
There is Much for you to play with at This Point! So I will leave you to it for the time being!
Remember, in the next Two Lessons, we're gon'a start using more than just your hands. So Get Good at All the Hand movements now, and the Body Rolling Movements will be that much easier, when you go to send it down a longer path. g Like your Forearm!
 Step 9 - Back Arm Rolls
EXCELLENT !! My Favorite!!
And Yes! They truly are! I Love doing these bad boys. They are fairly simple to learn, and They are Definitely an Eye Opener, to your 'viewer' because you have suddenly caused the ball to remove itself from the 'perceived' safety of your hands! Even if the ball was on the 'back' of them for half the time, most people will (subconsciously) perceive the fact that you still have easy control of the sphere, because it's still touching Your Hands! With a Non juggling audience, you can usually get at least another 1/4 inch in 'jaw separation' when you make the ball goes anywhere, past your wrist! Provided, that it is controlled , and obvious, that you Made the ball do This, and not just have it turn into a 'lose ball or a thrown move' and, Smack your 7 year old niece, square in the forehead! Yes Virginia, That would be a Bad Thing! And It Never Fails to spoil the 'Magic' of the Art Form, believe me!
So before we begin let's look at what we're up against. Two things here. And both of them are Rules! Yes, I know that I said that I consider this an Art Form, but even Art has rules of science. In this case physics, and physique
Your Arm! And for This pass, The Back of Your Arm!
Please Note! Everybody is going to be different, every 'Body' is going to be different! Looking at what Your up against is your next step here. Some people will be thin and sharply featured, others will have a thicker set of forearm muscles, but without a great deal of definition ! And Ever possibility 'Outside and In Between' those Two! Including various, and personal, traumatic experiences, that you may have put yourself and your hands and arms through during the course of your life. Did you break your forearm, back when you were playing high school foot ball? Did you injure your wrist when you were ten years old, in a bad bicycle accident, or dislocated a finger in a bizarre video game accident? Hey........................It Could Happen! (blush) All these factors will dictate, Not how Well, you can do this, but how you need to Go About, doing this Well.
The first rule of thumb here, is the amount of surface area involved with the 'path' the ball will be traveling, Your Arm! The more surface area, the easier the control, because of the wider margin of error involved, and the ability to correct that error in mid-stream , before it get's out of hand! (Pardon the pun) If you have a thin arm (as I, myself do,) than changing that equates into Long hours in the gym making that surface area larger! I.E. working out! The quick fix here however, would be using a larger ball! Yes, you will increase the surface area, only on the ball itself, But more importantly you utilize another, law of physics! (Hang on to your computer chair here, I'm gon'a get technical on ya!) Newton's 'Laws of Motion!' and Yes this Law applies to a still or 'Stalled' sphere, as well. Newton's First Law of Motion says that "an object in motion tends to remain in motion at a constant speed and direction unless a force acts upon it and that an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless a force acts on it." This tendency of an object to keep doing whatever it is doing is called inertia and it has two components , mass and velocity. The product of these two components is called momentum. If we increase either the mass or the velocity of an object, we increase its momentum. The greater the momentum, the greater the force required to change it. Known as 'conservation of momentum.' I'm sure you all have learned this in school, but it is worth reviewing here.
So let's look at this. We know that if we can increase mass or velocity, then we can increase momentum. Using a bigger ball will increase mass. You say yea, but not a lot between 2 inches and 4 inches right. Actually, Yes it does. Since I have never personally weighed my balls, (Gads! does That sound sick!?) I will use available info. A 2.5" acrylic weighs 159 grams, a 3" acrylic weighs 275 grams! That's a lot more weight for just half an inch! A Lot more Mass! Because of the tendency to conserve momentum, greater momentum will require a greater force to overcome the ball's inertia and cause it to become unbalanced. By using a larger ball, you are increasing the mass and therefore its momentum. Make the ball roll in a specific direction, and you increase velocity, adding even more to the momentum and making it even more stable.) Now think about that for a moment, increase velocity, increase stability. That would mean that the faster I make this ball move the more stable it will become, while rolling down my arm, so I can do the trick! Hang On Einstein, two thing's here. First remember, "an object in motion tends to remain in motion at a constant speed and direction" This means that what ever direction you send it in, better be the direction that you want it to go, so your launch from cradle, needs to be pretty accurate. Secondly, "The greater the momentum, the greater the force required to change it." The next force that you will want it to encounter will be your other hand. And your Really want that 'other force' to win, without being Beat Up Too Badly, during the initial learning process! Not to mention look smooth while doing it. So you have to �temper' that formula of mass and velocity, and find a happy medium, of speed, mass, and skill! The more skill you build up from practice, the less velocity you 'Need' to use! This is a very important fact! Because of the damage factor you can do with ANY Ball at a high speed. (Run! Virginia, Run!) The more skill you build up, the less Mass you need to use. This is a very important fact as well because of the benefits that smaller spheres have concerning 'Palm-spinning work,' but as the mass decreases, you will find yourself executing the body rolling movements quicker, until you ultimately build up the skill to decrease velocity, of that size sphere, as well. Alternately, the more mass you add, the easier it is to do the trick even at slow speed, but the harder it will be to stop, stall and go into another trick, this is where body movement comes into play, but we'll discuss that another time. If your new at this than Yes, causing the ball to move faster down your arm will make it easier to get it all the way down to your elbow, but now you got'a stop it! And you want to stop it in such a way, as to flow easily into another move. Causing the ball to merely run quickly down your arm, to an attempted catch, that you are not sure if you are going to land, will only get your Uncle Jim, from the Marines to yell "In Coming!" and your niece will always have a pillow in front of her, when you do this stuff at family gatherings in the future. Practice Now! Trust Me!
Rhythmic Gymnasts, do beautiful and complicated routines with a ball in an extremely similar manner. Once again note the size and weight/mass of the ball, plus a large surface area, 'the ball,' allows slow graceful moves, with good control across, and along the arms and body.
Please Note something else about Rhythmic Gymnasts. They Practice!! ! A Lot!
Now to go from cradle to the back of your forearm you once again have to overcome a few obstacles, that Every One of Us have! (and once again, I'm gon'a get a little technical on ya) First you have to deal with the 'metacarpal bones.' Yes, those are the five bones that make up the body of your hand. On top of that, you have to deal with the tendons that control the hyper extension of your fingers, known as the 'dorsal radiocarpal ligaments,' all this meshes into what is called the 'radial styloid.' You see the skeleton of the wrist is made up of eight small, bones placed in two rows, in a cobblestone fashion known as,
Oops!......... Sorry, I did say a Little technical, didn't I? Hey, a skilled juggler is a well informed juggler.
O.K. Basically, you have to go over a lot of bumps and groves in the back of your hand! Otherwise known as 'outside forces' But the most important factor in this physical formula, is that big 'bump' on the pinky side of your wrist. The base of your ulna bone, (that's the longer of the two bones in your forearm) where it connects to the hand. In some people, (myself included) that bump is as big as one of your knuckles, while making a fist! A major obstacle indeed! Obviously you need to avoid this, But, remember what I said in lesson #7 about the ball's wish to exit on the pinky side? You are going to have to counter that now with a little more downward tilt of your thumb, to keep the ball from heading towards that joint
If it passes on the outside, or directly over, that bump, than the ball will wish to exit your hand/wrist and cause you to either quickly, execute an extended back-to-back pass, or cause you to go scrambling across the floor to retrieve the ball, (once again much to the amusement of your dog, cat, or house mates.) If you can train your dog to retrieve 'said ball' than you have a really good advantage over some of us. Unfortunately dog saliva, is Not conducive to Good contact juggling, so keep a towel in your back pocket. If you can train your Cat!? to retrieve 'said ball' than you need to be focusing your energy on doing 'Performing Cat Shows' and Not contact juggling! If you can train your room mate to retrieve............... Wait,.........I don't think I want to go there..............Please forget I (typed) that.
If the ball passes (juuussst) to the inside of that 'Bump,' than you keep it in a pretty decent position to continue to roll down the back of your arm, (Like the Middle! Duh)
Now how are you going to get the ball to roll all the way down to your elbow? Well, gravity usually comes to mind here, as in creating a slight incline with your arm, but there are other ways, I assure you. Dropping your elbow, and creating that incline is the best way to start, however.
So let's try it, shall we? Have your other hand ready, to catch! (Like I needed to say that)
How far down your arm, did it get? All the way!!! And you caught it? The First Time?! Congratulations, you Bum. You realize, the rest of us all Hate you now. Wink
For the rest of us who didn't have it happen right the first time, try it again, (and again and again, etc.....) So what's going wrong? Many things could be happening here. Is the ball exiting right at your wrist? (on either side, doesn't matter) Than more then likely it's a launch problem, as in your cradle position, try the move in a two finger cradle. If you started with that one, try the 'three finger spread.' Experiment with different finger positions, without the ball on your hand and watch how these movements change the back of your hand, creating various obstacles, and pathways. If the ball consistently falls off the side of your forearm than something happened up in the wrist area to send it in that direction. There are numerous possibilities here, depending on You and I could not cover them all, But I can give this advice. Look for the area before the 'drop' for the problem. Not the spot that the ball consistently falls at. That's usually not the problem, when the ball is 'moving' it's momentum will carry it a little bit passed what ever caused it to screw up. Newton's Law. Once again, reproduce your arm's movement without the ball, and Look at your arm!
Siggy asked me this question almost a year ago for a more complicated move and my answer was the same. Place you arm in the starting position of the move and look at all the obstacles you have in the way, try and move your arm to where you have the least amount of bumps, and muscle rises, slowly begin the move, as you would with a sphere on cradle and �visualize' the ball's path, to the completion of the trick, and Watch what the muscles in your arm are doing as you move through the trick. Store this knowledge in your head and try it again, with a ball! (and again, and again, etc......)
Still having trouble? No biggy, we can fix this! If you were using the gravity method of moving the ball towards your elbow, than let's try a little push movement with your arm, as you begin the move. Helps the ball get moving, and allows you to keep your arm in a more level position throughout the movement. (gives you an easier, 'balancing plane') The Best way to show you this movement, is to Show You This Movement. Go to 'moves, one ball,' "[/moves.php?action=read&id=1|backarm Roll]" Yes, that's me. See the slight push movement I do with my left arm? The ball runs down the back of my arm at a level position for most of the way and towards the end, I have to pull my elbow up slightly to slow down and control the 'drop' to cradle. And for those of you who followed my "Flyaway" descriptions in 'Marco's CJ Glossary' Yes, that drop is a 'free fall' abate, a small one.
Most, if not All of this pushing movement is done from the shoulder. Now when I do the move with my right arm, I combine the two movements using both an incline of the arm and a slight pushing movement as well. See the difference ? The only thing I can contribute this change in movement from one arm to the other, is a pinched nerve in my neck, from a previous injury, you'll notice also that my left shoulder sits higher and squarer than my right. (my Tailor hates me for this fact by the way, and God help me if want pin-stripes) Now you know the importance of my earlier statement, "All these factors will dictate, Not how Well, you can do this, but how you need to Go About, doing this Well."
So you've figured out where you were having the problem and you corrected it and now your getting closer and closer to your elbow. You may in fact encounter problems further down your arm, as you work your way towards your elbow. Once again, Look at Why! Experiment with out the ball and find a way to correct it. You can do this, and you Know you eventually Will!
While your doing this and the ball is still not getting all the way down your forearm, start practicing that 'cradle catch' instead of a quick palm, as it falls, and you will be learning the next trick before you even get the ball to drop off your elbow. Effectively Kill'in two birds, if ya know what I mean.
So now you can get the ball to roll down the back of your arm all the way to the elbow an into a short 'free fall' to your palm, or even better, your other hand's cradle. Have you been working with doing this with the back of Both arms? Yes? Well, let's see if I can trip you up a bit, not to hinder you, but to push you towards being better at this. Go back to [/essays.php?action=read&id=1|lesson #5] and apply it to lesson #9, and #10 and any others that I throw at ya, in the future. For those of you who have yet to nail this trick, lesson #5 will help as well, in getting a 'feel' for why it's not working, and ultimately achieving the desired movement.
Now there is two other ways that I know of, that will make the ball roll down your arm that involves very little incline/gravity. The First one is an exaggerated movement of that slight push I do in My backarm roll, by pushing your arm under the ball, through out the entire movement, so that your body does all of the movement and the ball merely rolls with the contact of that movement, but remains in the same space, while your arm slides under it. Doing this "Backarm Roll Isolation" takes a great deal of stretching to acquire the necessary position you put your arms in to make this trick look good, but Boy, Does It Look Good! Movements like these are commonly referred to as 'Ball Isolations' they are prevalent in a host of palm-spinning moves, but relatively unknown in the 'body rolling' style. Why, this is so I have no idea. Ian Pugh is aware of the visual impact they have, as is 'The Man Himself', who does a fantastic back arm isolation, only in reverse, (elbow to cradle) course he is The Man! And on a bright sunny day in my back yard you can see a bunch of different body rolling ball isolations , but please, don't everyone show up at once, I've been having trouble with the plumbing and, well...............you know. It's best if I don't stress it.
The other way that I'm aware of is to apply backspin to the ball with your other hand or arm. Of course that would mean that you are ready to do combinations, so I won't go into that one just yet as it is a trick in and of itself.
Now once you've gotten pretty good at the Back Arm Roll (with both arms) let's play with a couple possibilities, of cool tricks that will work off this move. Stopping the ball at your elbow is the first thing that I would suggest. This is called a 'Stall' and will not only add another trick to your repertoire , but will get you to focus on moving the ball down the back of your arm in a slower, more controlled manner. This trick can be done using any of the above methods of movement from cradle to elbow but you have to concentrate on the explosiveness of your launch from 'cradle,' whether it be gravity/incline or an 'isolation push' and yes you can achieve this 'stalling trick,' with back spin as well, but you will need to pay VERY Close attention to how Much back-spin you put on the ball, in order to get it to stop and settle on your elbow.
Once you can get the ball to stop and stall on the back of your elbow, try sending it back to cradle, using either an incline or a reverse of that pushing movement, (otherwise know as a 'draw') or pulling back of the arm. Those of you who have the M.M. movie, know what I'm talking about here. BTW, in order to do that same trick that Mike does, you need to use the "Two-Finger Spread" for a cradle, when placing the ball on your elbow, the rest of the move is just timing, and a well executed 'draw' back to cradle, effectively isolating the ball in space. You can also go into an '[/moves.php?action=view&id=3|Outside Elbow Flyaway]' that Marco shows, in the one ball, moves area, but believe me That move is Not that easy! However getting good at making the ball roll to That launch position and being able to roll or draw it back to your other hands cradle after you can catch it on the other elbow, will only add to the trick. Now is the time to practice that push and draw movement, so when you can finally catch it, you already have a simple, well practiced, but visually devastating way of bring the ball back to cradle. See the importance of learning these moves with both hands and arms? I thought so.
The back arm roll done quickly will set you up for doing My 'Jump, Flyaway'.mpg in the video section, as well as the 'Freefall Flyaway' in the same section, both are fun moves that will usually startle your audience, because you momentarily lose contact with the ball, just don't lose control of the ball.
Well that's about it for Lesson #9. Yes I know, It was wordy even for me, but I wanted you to begin thinking about your body, what the ball is literally up against, and how to over come these personal obstacles.
Also, understanding how and why something works will help you in the future, in accomplishing more difficult tricks, because the hard and fast principles never change, only your skill, ability, and Imagination, will change. Knowledge of ANY Situation will Always help in over coming future obstacles, whether your trying to roll a ball down your arm, or walking into a Blazing Building with the intent of Stopping that Blaze! Make No Mistake, Knowledge Is Power! Pure and simple.
Good Luck with this new trick, you are now venturing out into a different plane with this one, and in so doing, you will be opening up a wealth of possibilities, and variations , that only you will be able to change, add and expand on.
One last thing, I do Highly Recommend that you apply 'My Fifth Step', to this and many other tricks, that you will learn in the future.
Have Fun with these, and learn and practice them often, cause next were gon'a learn inside arm rolls and a Whole Lot More!