A Brief History & Introduction To Juggling!

Juggling History - Learn How to Juggle

Hello, fellow jugglers!

First of all, we’re delighted that so many of you have visited our new website, and we’re very happy with the feedback that we have been receiving, so thank you very much!

As you may know, we stock a lot of equipment for many weird and wonderful styles of skill toys, circus balance props & object manipulation, from Thud Juggling Balls and Ball Bearing Diabolos to extream Mountain Unicycles and Staff Manipulation & Fire Spinning.  But in today’s blog post, we want to focus a little on the more familiar art of Juggling.

Juggling is the combination of throwing and catching multiple items with your hands and creating visual treats by mixing up the timing of throws, and the number of items.  From a young age, we have all seen someone throwing multiple Juggling Balls or Juggling Clubs at some point.

But how did the art of juggling come about in the first place?

The form of throwing and catching multiple objects has been around in human culture for a lot longer than you may think.  An Ancient Egyptian tomb that was recently opened contained depictions of a young Prince juggling balls around his body.  This tomb has been dated to 1990 BC, which puts it at around 4000 years old!  Other similar artwork has been found from the Ancient Greeks and Chinese civilizations.  It does seem that the more towards the present that history got, the more the artists would embellish the paintings to include far more balls/items than was physically possible…this was most likely to improve the story for the juggler!

On a side note, the world record for the most balls juggled is 11, by UK citizen Alex Barron.  Due to the pull of gravity, the more balls you juggle, the higher you need to throw them in order for them to stay in flight long enough for you to complete the cycle of all the balls.  Throwing even a single ball straight upwards with force, and trying to keep it stable is hard enough….so to throw AND catch 11 balls in quick succession is an epic feat.  Well done Alex!

Juggling Balls - Multi Ball Juggling

We sell Sets of 5 Juggling Balls for those who are a little more experienced, and Sets of 3 Juggling Balls aimed more at beginners/novices.  You can also purchase Single Juggling Balls as and when you need so that you can build up your set.

Juggling Clubs - Circus Club Juggling

As time has gone by, people have become accustomed to juggling with a huge variety of objects.  It’s not just balls and clubs…you’ve probably seen the skilled juggler at the circus or on Britain’s Got Talent who can throw and catch Juggling Knives high into the air with ease, or Fire Juggling Balls and Fire Juggling Torches without burning themselves at all.  Some even toss & manipulate Juggling Hats – A juggling prop that you can wear, how cool!  to create mesmerizing effects. Oddjob from the Goldfinger movie was even able to cut through metal bars with his hat…but luckily they don’t actually exist! 😉

Another form of ball juggling is contact ball juggling (also called manipulation balls), which requires little to no throwing or catching at all.  The main principal is to create the illusion that the ball is somehow “floating” in mid-air, and your hands are moving around it.   In reality, it needs total concentration and a very steady hand to create this illusion effectively.  We also sell practice contact balls for people who want to start contact juggling but do not want to damage their crystal clear acrylic balls by dropping them.  Contact ball juggling can also be done with multiple balls.  We have the small 60mm balls for manipulating multiple balls with one hand.

Apart from the physical side, Juggling really does help the brain too!  The amount of concentration that is needed for keeping multiple balls in the air has been scientifically proven to increase that grey matter in the brain in as little as seven days from starting.  Because you are concentrating on distance, anticipation (of the ball), and timing simultaneously, you use both sides of your brain.  It’s like taking your brain to the gym!  And with burning around 300 calories per hour of moderate juggling, the health benefits are obvious.  Some jugglers like to constantly challenge themselves, and will even juggle whilst riding a unicycle or balancing on a Rolla Bolla – which will further increase the calories burned

The most commonly seen and learned three-prop juggling routine is the Cascade.  This involves throwing the prop up and over to the other side of your body, and the same using your other hand in the opposite direction.  A third prop is always in the air.  This kind of simple juggling technique is crucial in getting your hand to eye co-ordination on top form to be able to try other tricks or multiple balls.  Some people may find juggling rings possibly easier to juggle than balls as they are easier to catch, and have a more stable flight.  We recommend to most budding jugglers to at least learn this very useful technique as early on as possible.  We will be posting a beginners instruction on this technique very soon…

Yet another avenue of ball juggling is by using bounce juggling balls.  You can achieve this similar cascade pattern by throwing the balls down at the ground instead of up in the air.  The balls bounce back up to you from below.  Also with these balls, horizontal throwing and catching can be achieved by using a wall or other flat and hard surface.  Some jugglers can execute these techniques at the same time, creating a superb visual display.

However, we do recommend the juggling scarves for absolute beginners as they fall at a much slower rate than anything else that we have, therefore enabling you to practice your throwing and catching techniques more easily.  The slower movement of the scarves is also beneficial for your hand-to-eye coordination because you are able to see the path of flight of the objects more clearly.  When you eventually move on to balls and heavier items, you will have a much better idea of where they are in relation to your hands and each other.

While juggling certainly needs some good eye co-ordination, juggling in the dark is as popular today as ever!   Many items that we sell also have a glow in the dark, or LED counterpart.  As early as 1912, a man named “Salerno” (aka Adolf Behrend) added electric lights inside some juggling clubs.  So the idea for LED Glow Juggling Clubs and other LED Glow Juggling Equipment that we sell, was actually implemented over 100 years ago!

Within reason, anything that you choose can be juggled.  The heaviest combined weight juggled was just over 26kg!

A few other juggling related props that we have not covered but well worth checking out are our beautiful Stage Juggling Balls and our ultra-bright LED Juggling Balls that guarantee to captivate any audience.

We will be uploading frequent blogs on many other styles of toys including beginner tips and special events that may be of interest to you, but to finish off today we wish you the very best in your juggling journey and hope that this little blog has fuelled your appetite to juggle a little more!

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The Flames N Games team.

1 Comment to “A Brief History & Introduction To Juggling!”

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