I Can’t Juggle

seven-ways-to-effectively-juggle-business-and-school    One of the first things you always get asked as a circus performer is, “Can you juggle?”  For me the answer is always no.  I’ve tried to learn on multiple occasions and have have even gotten up to three throws, but alas, I still can’t juggle.

Being a juggler would make explaining myself so much easier.  Whenever I say I’m an object manipulator, there’s always a paragraph of explanation that comes with it.  Almost no one knows what poi are, contact juggling and buugeng are unheard of, and staff and double staff requires a surprising amount of explanation.

Recently I’ve begun to describe myself as a fire spinner, but that’s really only out of convenience.  People have generally seen fire spinning of some sort.  Most won’t know whether it was poi or staff or rope dart, but they get the idea.  I actually have a real problem with this though.  I am very much of the opinion that poi, as an example, is only legitimate when on fire.  This extends to most other circus/ flow arts, except those that are entirely about the fire (such as fire eating/breathing/transfers).  If the fire is what catches your attention, that’s great, but there’s more to it.  Fire is just on expression of poi, but it is also limiting.  Fire can only be done in certain places under certain conditions, glow or regular poi though can be done almost anywhere (as long as it’s not raining).   I’d also never dream of doing contact poi on fire, nor would it be easy to convince myself to do any throws.  Fire also has a certain quality to it that you don’t always want, occasionally it’s time just to take out those old sock poi you started with and spin them around for awhile.

The Dussack

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It’s agreed, dussacks are much too much fun.

 

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I was at a fencing event a few weeks back where a dussack tournament was held on the second day.  The tournament was held bright and early and with a forty minute drive, it was a bit earlier than I was used to.  I persevered through the travesty that is getting out of bed, and made it to the tournament.

By the time I arrived the tournament had just begun, so I jumped in without a moment wasted, just how I like it.  I took a look around at the other contestants and saw that two of them had taught dussack classes the day before and that several others competing had read the texts and been practicing with a dussack for at least a year.  Prior to this I’d held a dussack against someone else on only two occasions and was excited for a third.

I had received a dussack of my own due to a random act of kindness during the second of my encounters with one and had spent a few hours total practicing with it in my room with only enough space to take six and a half steps either forwards or back.  I had tried looking at the Meyer, but being unfamiliar with the German system as a whole as well as cuts in general, I understandably had some trouble trying to get down the sequences that Meyer had provided.

So here I was, at least half the age of all the other contestants besides one (who still had eleven years on me) and lagging far behind in experience.  While waiting in line I get a quick rundown of the rules, everything is legal and the person holding down the list was afforded an afterblow whereas their opponent was not.  I had heard rules similar to the afterblow, but had never been in any situations myself that actually entailed it.  For thosw wondering what an afterblow is, it’s essentially an opportunity given to one or both parties to strike their opponent in the tempo immediatly after the one in which they have been hit.  This either affords them the point (as was the case in this tournament) or nullifies their opponent’s.

Finally it was my turn to step up to the plate.  I immediately forget all of the fancy guards and sequences of cuts I had learned and immediately switch to my Italian rapier mindset; get to the edge of measure, feint or move to leave yourself an opening hoping they’ll bite, strike whatever target area they make available.  I walk away with six kills in a row.  I don’t think anyone was taken aback as much as I was.

Although I never manage to get to six kills again, I do succeed in holding my own on a field against significantly more experienced opponents with titles and all that jazz.  At the end of the grueling hour-long tournament, after getting hit in the same spot on my leg three times by the same person, I emerge in fourth place with a wave of awe similar to that after my initial fights.

Dussacks are much too much fun.