Knot a problem

I recently performed with the energetic Jon Udry, in Somerset.

Jon doing 6 rings on stage

I’d been having problems with my Yo-Yos, every six months or so I switch to a new pair of Yo-Yos and it takes a while for them to break in.

Occasionally I get a set which are a little sharp on the edge, this means that they snap strings. If I throw a Yo-Yo hard (easily getting up to 50,000 RPM) and the string were to  snap and the Yo-Yo hit someone, it would hurt. A lot. Even if it doesn’t hit anyone it would leave me on stage looking rather foolish.

So as you can imagine it’s something I’m rather careful to check. In over a decade of performing with Yo-Yos I’ve never snapped a string on stage. When I get a new set of Yo-Yos I can tell very quickly if it’s going to snap strings.

But at this gig I realised as I was setting my props, that I might have picked up the wrong set at home. This understandably worried me a bit, I double checked and realised it was fine I had the right pair so I set my props and waited to go on.

Onstage when I pulled out my first Yo-Yo it had a bit of a tangle in the middle of the string, bit odd. I figured that it was just a twisted string and all I needed to do was to pull it free. That didn’t work but I though it probably needed a little force so I put the loop on my finger and pulled harder. Bad idea. Instead of the mess of string neatly disappearing it held fast, knotting up.

Fuzzy picture of the knot in my string

At this point I was behind on my music and not thinking clearly, instead of changing  to the back up Yo-Yo I had in my bag I decided to carry on and see how it went.  Probably not the best idea I’ve ever had, as the knot was only just big enough to fit in the gap of the Yo-Yo and could easily have jammed up entirely, making me look even more foolish.

Thankfully I somehow managed to get through the routine, I’ve no idea how.

Juggling Slang Lexicon


Written by Erik Åberg.

In the recent years I have noticed quite a bit of slang being used in the juggling community. This is an attempt to explain some of it. 

Oldschool – Classical juggling, or something done or presented in a classical way, sometimes also with an undertext that somthing is solid and tested out, proved quality

”Jönssons act is oldschool.”

Newschool – Modern techniques and ideas. In some cases it could refer to bold or risky

”I went to the Polish Convention and there was actually quite alot of newschool shit happening over there.”

Bookwork – Fundamental juggling technique practiced in a correct way. Taking juggling or practice very seriously

”When I started juggling I practiced quite alot but I wish I had done more bookwork.” 

”One positive thing about the WJF is that it makes atleast some kids do more bookwork.”

2-count – To speed something up when someone´s slow,

”Come on Elias, 2 count for fucks sake!”

4-count – To slow down

”Hey, 4-count alittle will you”

IJA – What you´d expect, alittle boring, same as always.

”Did you see the new Indiana Jones movie? Yeah, it was kinda IJA”

Chris passe passe – Not paying attention. Rather do other stuff then what is there or going on. often reffered to audiences, when things are happing in the audience that takes focus away from the show. In some cases it can refer to getting laid or upsetting brittish people.

”You know I was trying to get my street show going but the damn audience was totally Chris passe passe all the time! It was so hard to get the focus!”

Can also be used to someone who was fucking around with something else when they should have paid attention

”You forgot the carkeys? I told you several times to remember them! I told you in the kitchen when you were totally Chris passe passe so I even reminded you after we had breakfast!”

”Elias, don´t be so Chris passe passe, get off the computer, stop cubing and listen to what I have to say!”

”I watched the news but I was pretty Chris passe passe during the weather report since I know I´m gonna be inside doing bookwork all week”

”Slusklund is so happy today, he must have been Chris passe passe last night or something”

Joggling&WJF – Waste of time, kill time

”My flight was late so I was pretty much joggling&WJF in the airport for 3 hours”

”I filled the form in really carefully, then Slusklund spilled his coffee over it so everything I had done was joggling&WJF.” 

”We still need to do joggling&WJF for another hour before the movie starts.”

Russian – Not drop, doing a dropless show

”How did last nights show go? 

Really great, I was totally russian.”

Spanish – Dropping alot. But can also refer to juggling just for fun, for pleasure or for relaxation. In some cases also refering to smoking weed, drinking or chilling out. Not knowing what you´re talking about.

”How´d the show go? 

I was kinda spanish in the beginning but then it was OK”

”Usually my 5 ball pirouette is russian but today it was pretty  spanish”

”Did Slusklund come by practice today? 

Yeah, but he was totally pissed off, called us a bunch of bookwork jerks and said he was gonna go somewhere else and get spanish”

”Jason Garfield thinks he´s bookwork but then you see the siteswap written in the WJF rules and they´re totally spanish so I´m kind of Chris passe passe about that whole thing”

”The situation in Northern Ireland used to be pretty Chris passe passe with the IRA and all, but in the recent years it´s been kinda spanish.”

German – Overly obvious, in a bit stupid way so it´s easy to understand, like wearing a Zorro costume and juggling fencing swords. Could also refer to overly clear juggling in the vein of doing the box to the sound of a clock going ”tic-toc-tic-toc-tic-toc”. Using UV-costumes, UV-props, or lit up props. Doing what someone would expect to see in a show for kids in a shopping mall, but not neccessarily in a negative way. Sometimes also opposite to being french.

”His act is solid and german all the way, he could perform it to sheep and they´d get it”

”My act didn´t really suit that stage, I could totally feel the audience going Chris passe passe. I really need to make it more german if I´m gonna perform places like that.”

French – Alot of  strange stuff going on aside of the juggling, trying to be deep, a bit pretentious or theatrical, using the clothes to become an animal, screaming, dancing or jumping around.

”That show was fucking french.”

Mexican – Juggling fast!

”The beginning of the act was pretty slow but towards the end when the music kicked in it went totally mexican.”

Japanese – Stuff you haven´t seen before, exotic, fresh

”Did you see Slusklunds new club routine? It´s japanese as hell!”

Sushi tricks – New tricks, fresh material, unknown techniques, similar to japanese

”Have you seen Sluskes new club routine? Yeah it was pretty IJA but he´s got a few sushi tricks in there.”

”You saw that french guy at the open stage? He had a few sushi tricks but he´s gotta do more bookwork, it was kinda spanish.”

Adding wasabi – Spice things up, take an idea further, go further out

”I´m kinda happy about my new ball routine but I just need to work on it more and add some wasabi.”

”How´s Wes doing in circus school? He´s allright but he´s gotta add some more wasabi to his research.”

Ninja – Someone that moves well

”He´s juggling technique isn´t so strong but he´s a total ninja. Coupla years of bookwork and he´s gonna be really good.”

Ninjutsu – Dance or dance classes

”When I get into circus school I am planning to do plenty of bookwork plus alot of ninjutsu aswell”

Gatto blood – Someone who´s got solid, high level, classical, oldschool tricks like backcrosses, pirouettes or numbers or potential to become like so. Can be used as ”being Gatto blood” or ”having Gatto blood”

”Did you see Putte´s new routine? 

Yeah, he´s got a few sushi tricks in there plus he´s got plenty of Gatto blood” 

”Do you know Bobbo from Östersund in the north of Sweden? He´s the Gatto blood up there”

Engineering – Manipulation

”I saw this Belgian dude Sander, he´s got some mad engineering skills!”

”Half of my practice session I spend on bookwork but the rest of it is pretty much engineering.” 

”Sluske doesn´t give a fuck about getting Gatto blood, he´s only into engineering these days.”

Engineer – Someone who does manipulation

”He ain´t got much Gatto blood but he´s a pretty decent engineer”

Examples of combinations

Spanish engineering – Droppy manipulation, chilled out manipulation

Japanese engineering – New manipulation not seen before

French engineering – Wierd manipulation probably not so juggling related

”At the end of the act there was some french engineering going on; he put one club up his ass and 2 in his mouth and imitated a moose or something like that.”

Mexican engineering – Fast manipulation

”Did you see Masaki Hiranos 3 ball stuff?  Mexican engeneering”

Chris passe passe in Germany – Not paying attention to something that is REALLY obvious. Being completely up in the blue, close to retarded.

”How on earth could you miss that? Are you Chris passe passe in Germany or something?”

Video of the week – Rodolfo Reyes

Thought I’d start off the video of the week with a bit of an old school feel with legendary balancer/juggler Rodolfo Reyes.

Rodolfo Reyes

This is one of my favourite acts of all time. Perhaps it’s me just being nostalgic but you just don’t seem to come across acts with the same kind of unique quirky skill anymore. Maybe there’s a reason for that? My head hurts just watching the last trick!

Here’s a different recording of the same act:

And Rodolfo Reyes promotional video from 2008: