magical balls
June 5, 2008 8:13 PM   Subscribe

This fun Japanese contact juggler's clip is proving popular lately, but he is not the first Japanese practitioner of the art to surface online. Here are several more highly entertaining Japanese contact juggler clips worth watching: one, two (starts about 1:06), three, four, five. (all via the highly entertaining Ministry of Manipulation's blog).

Unlike traditional juggling, contact juggling focuses on an object keeping contact with the body and is often performed with single or multiple crystal balls. Hate to use a wikipedia link, but it seems to offer the most concise overview of the origin and various styles.

Here are a few other performances of varying styles that I enjoyed:
A Shadow of Myself
Strict machine
Jago, 2
Liquid palpitations
Shay - Alter Ego
Crystal Ball Paul
Double Entendre
In Isolation

Intrigued? Learn how:
ContactJuggling Wiki
posted by madamjujujive (27 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
How very David Bowie in Labyrinth.

Yet again, mjj, a stellar goddamn post.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:20 PM on June 5, 2008

That was developed by Michael Moschen. (Who is the one who did the hands of David Bowie in that scene in Labyrinth.)

This guy is really good at it, it must be said.
posted by Class Goat at 8:31 PM on June 5, 2008


And this:

These manipulations were actually performed by Moschen who stood behind Bowie during filming, reaching around and performing the tricks 'blind'.

So not only did this guy invent contact juggling, his other claim to fame was that he gave Bowie a reach-around on the set of Labyrinth?

I kid about the wire-fu, MJJJ. That's some remarkable shit right there. BotW, obv.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:32 PM on June 5, 2008

Holy cow. That's amazing.
posted by eriko at 8:41 PM on June 5, 2008

Madame, you have freaked me right out. I appreciate this feeling very much.
posted by cowbellemoo at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2008

How come these guys are so much cooler than that creepy dude with the ponytail you see at the renaissance faire every year?
posted by Telf at 8:47 PM on June 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I kept waiting for guys with foam sticks and bottle cap "chain mail" to start beating the crap out of each other in the background whilst declaring their everlasting love for mead.
posted by togdon at 8:50 PM on June 5, 2008

Is that it?
posted by parmanparman at 9:09 PM on June 5, 2008

Yup, that there feller's purty good!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:48 PM on June 5, 2008

The Wikipedia link mentions James Ernest, who wrote the book Contact Juggling. He performed with us during some of our early Seattle shows. This was way back in the pre-Web dark ages, sometime in 1991. It's good to see other performers pushing the art forward, like the guy with the crazy moon boots.
posted by Tube at 9:52 PM on June 5, 2008

This is superb. Made my MetaFilter week.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:11 PM on June 5, 2008

Fun post, thanks!
posted by amyms at 10:39 PM on June 5, 2008

Check out Michael Moschen explaining his art at a TED talk talk this guy is amazing. TEDs pretty awesome too.
posted by m o q s h a at 11:04 PM on June 5, 2008

I bought one of these balls several years ago, and though I can juggle very well, this skill is unbelievably difficult. Those balls are acrylic, heavy and roll all over the fucking place I assure you. So props to anyone who can achieve that magical sense that it's a floating bubble (plus the robotics movement is a nice addition).
posted by leibniz at 11:09 PM on June 5, 2008

posted by Wilder at 1:33 AM on June 6, 2008

Thanks, madamjujujive!
posted by episteborg at 4:19 AM on June 6, 2008

Up until 5 minutes ago I considered myself someone who knew how to contact juggle. Now I realize I don't know the first thing about it. Man... what a depressing way to start a Friday. Thanks a bunch. :)
posted by pookzilla at 4:38 AM on June 6, 2008


why? because that is some mad juju jive (i.e. some crazy magic dance)

thanks, madam!
posted by jammy at 5:01 AM on June 6, 2008

contact juggling [kon-takt juhg-gling]
1. The art of holding a big marble completely still while moving your hands around and doing the robot.
posted by jckll at 5:23 AM on June 6, 2008

Delightful! The illusion of a floating bubble is just beautiful!

I was wondering what the ball is made of, since he makes it look weightless, but leibniz says it's heavy acrylic. Even more impressive.
posted by Quietgal at 7:16 AM on June 6, 2008

I was wondering what the ball is made of, since he makes it look weightless, but leibniz says it's heavy acrylic. Even more impressive.

A ball this size would weigh the better part of a kilogram. That he doesn't move it around like a freshly fired cannonball is fantastic.
posted by pookzilla at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2008

Nooooo! I have work to do today!

Thanks for the link and the catalyst for tonight's version of the "Where do you find this stuff?" from my wife.

(which is answered by, well, there's this group of really cool nerds, and the coolest thing is that they are all nerds about different things)
posted by qldaddy at 7:59 AM on June 6, 2008

I've seen contact juggling before, but I've never seen that technique of just holding the ball firmly and rotating it in a way that makes it appear as if the ball isn't moving at all. It's the sort of technique that if wasn't nearly perfect, would look phenomenally stupid. Very impressive.
posted by ErWenn at 4:13 PM on June 6, 2008

Had I read the Wikipedia link, I could have saved myself word fumbling by just saying that what I had not previously seen was "isolationism". I find it interesting that isolationism seems to be so strongly associated with other forms of contact juggling. Bodyrolling and palmspinning seem to have a lot in common with each other, but isolationism seems so different.
posted by ErWenn at 7:49 PM on June 6, 2008

Mesmerizing. I have to agree that doing it perfectly seems key.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:04 AM on June 7, 2008

Wow! That is amazing.
posted by caddis at 9:59 AM on June 8, 2008

Even more contact juggling.
posted by bwg at 2:44 AM on June 12, 2008

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