Hello, and welcome to Mistress Meghan's correspondence school for contact juggling. Here we strive to spread the breath taking art of contact juggling, by assisting those who have no teachers readily available. For your leson taking ease, I'll post these lessons. This is lesson number 1. If you need any additional help or any clarification on anything in these lessons, feel free to contact me. ~*MM*~ *****
(this is not exactly the butterfly as many CJers know it. in the begining, the butterfly and an extrememely similar move known as the windshield wiper can be used interchangably. the basic difference is that in the wind. wiper the elbow is stationary, and in the butterfly it moves and leads the wrist. But that doesn't matter right now, so on with the lesson)
We will be using two holds in this lesson. The palm hold and the Cradle. You've already figured out the cradle, it's where you balance the ball on the back of your hand, usually at the base of the fingers. I like to balance the ball on my first three fingers, with the middle finger a little lower than the others to create a (Ta-da!) cradle.
The palm hold is just what it sounds like. hold the ball in the palm of your hand, but try not to actually grasp it, just let it balance.
I'll assume you got that far. Now we will throw the ball. put the ball in the cradle of one hand. keep the other one free to catch the ball when you drop it. Trust me, you'll drop the ball quite a few times in the beginning. Everyone does, so don't worry, you will get better. Now the hand with the ball on it. first, practice moving it around (the hand, silly) without dropping or jarring the ball. You don't need to make any sudden movements, just try moving your arm and hand in different positions without dropping the ball. Its a lot harder than it looks, but after a couple of minutes you should be a lot better at balancing the ball.
now that you can balance the ball a little, throw it strait up into the air a couple of inches and catch it again. Doesn't sound too hard does it? Did I mention that you should be throwing it from the cradle, and catching it there too? oops, sorry. Try throwing the ball different hights. Just play around. But do this for a good couple of minutes, as it's an important step in the master staircase of learning.
Your remembering to try this with both hands right? Even if one of your hands/arms tires ALOT quicker than the other one, keep at it. Alot of moves later on depend on being able to do butterflies in both hands, like back passes, plus, it just looks cooler if you can do it with both hands.
try throwing and catching with your palms a little to. This should be a lot easier, as most people can catch a ball, but make sure you don't grasp the ball with your fingers. Don't worry, you'll train your body eventually.
now, we're going to put the ball down for a little while. Find a mirror. make a face at your self. laugh. Are we still having fun? If not, take a little break. Learning anything for the first time can be stressfull, so remember to pace yourself. Your most likely not going to get all of this down in a day. It took me a good week to get the butterfly down, and a lot longer before it began to look pretty. But don't get discouraged, so you'll be ooing and awing your house pets too!
Now back to mister mirror. make sure you can see a good chunk of your upper body. try the bathroom mirror. That way you can shut the door if you need to. Now its time to feel silly. Take your hand. turn it palm down. hold it right in front of you about 6 in or so below your chin. Your palm, and arm, should be parallel to the floor your elbow should be sticking out, and you look like your arm is in a sling. (I told you you might want to shut the door) You can lower or raise your arm a little, to where ever it feels comfortable, but keep your hand in front of your sternum (aka the middle of your chest) and keep your arm relatively parallel to the ground.
Now ve vill be do hing. . .(sorry, couldn't help myslef there) air construction! your going to be moving your hand and arm in an arc. keep your elbow in relatively the same position and move your arm up and to the outside. don't twist it at all though. Ideally, at the end of the arc (you don't have to go all the way either, double jointedness is NOT a requirement) your palm should be facing up, and your arm should make a kind of a V with your body. Now do this with both hands/arms at the same time. since they both cant be in the center of your chest at the same time, put one hand infront of the other, and alternate which hand goes in front. Now your going to repeat the action from before, but with both hands. Your hand will look vaguely like windshield wipers. when they're both out, you'll look like a w, or like your confused. (tell me if you need clarification on this one, as it is a tad wordy)
Once you have that down, you can ignore it for now, it was mainly to give you an idea of what you should be looking like, only with out a ball to mess you up. If you check Kae's site you'll find some videos of people doing this WITH a ball.
Now go back to your ball. You can throw the ball from your palm, you can catch it on your palm. You can throw the ball from the cradle, you can catch it in the cradle. Now, we need to put these two together. your going to put your arm in the position I had you practice in front of the mirror. Now your going to do the same motion, only tossing the ball at the same time. Your going to ATTEMPT to throw the ball from the cradle, Butterfly your arm, and catch it in the palm of the same hand. It doesn't sound to complicated, but it takes skills that most people don't regularly practice.
Your probably going to be chasing the ball around alot. Since your using an orange, I suggest buying a juicer too, as you'll probably have a lot of orange juice at this stage. (tastes better than from a can too!)
Keep at it. Once you've finally been able to catch the darn ball, throw it in a smaller arc. Practice and keep lowering the arc until the ball is only and inch above your fingers the entire time. Then try to lower it somemore.
Eventually, probably by accident the first few times, the ball will stay in contact with your skin for part of it's journey. this time will increase, until it doesn't leave your hand at all, but passes over your fingertips from cradle to palm hold and back again endlessly. You'll still be dropping the ball alot, but the more you do it, the better you get. Keep practicing! It does take a lot of effort, and a bit of time, but anyone, and that means YOU, can learn to contactjuggle.
Tell me if this helps at all! firstname.lastname@example.org
Good Luck, Mistress Meghan
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