Combat Juggling?!?

So today, I could have written a deep dark post about my brothers and sisters in Orlando.

I have deliberately chosen not too.

That tragedy is being very well covered by all the media outlets of the world and with a good deal more eloquence than I can muster, especially as in contemplating this event I am reduced almost immediately to wordless anger and hopeless tears.

Today, I choose to post something upbeat and even a bit silly, not to minimize the tragedy or to deny the Evil that was done but to light a candle in the darkness.

Darkness ABHORS the light and we must at these times remember to burn as brightly as we can; to laugh, to love, to do as best we can to embrace the lightness of our beings.

So if you want to continue to grieve, please do, only you know what you need, and if you want to donate actual money as well as prayers, please click the link here…

And if you could use a lighter story today, please read on. 

Today, we will discuss combat juggling.

Yes, you heard me right.

Combat juggling is a real thing. Here is their overseer’s official website.

Combat juggling is half obscure martial art, half juggling competition and all fun.

The actual rules are pretty simple, the skill levels and grace involved are absolutely jaw-dropping.

So here is the basics – each combatant has three to seven clubs – and yes, for the nonce it’s clubs only. While a live steel version would be interesting and theoretically doable the idea here is to enjoy oneself and entertain others so the risk of injuries to a doable minimum.

After that, the rules go thusly.

The first one to drop a club. or otherwise have a club hit the floor is out.

The first guy to stop juggling – or not have at least one club in the air- is out.

At first glance this looks to be a contest of endurance and awareness, but it is also very much a contest of skill, physical fitness, strategy, and, oh yeah, hitting the other person.

One of the two goals of combat juggling is to knock their opponent’s clubs out of reach or to the ground.

The second goal is for you keep juggling while doing whatever you can do make your opponent stop.

So if you watch the videos, you’ll see that the competitors are not just juggling but that they are also using some very unorthodox grips to “swordfight” with their opponents.

Here’s a “fight night” as an example.

Combat juggling was created by a well-known juggler named Jason Garfield.

And according to Wikipedia and VICE it did not take long for it to catch on – at least in the juggling community. That’s not to say it is totally obscure as in 2011, ESPN3 ended up airing a combat juggling competition, and YouTube is completely full of videos from these competition/exibitions.

Indeed there is now such a thing as a team variant — five on five with all kinds of fun formats including a Zombie hunting variation.

Zombie Combat,” has some pretty complex layers and allows for both actual strategy and sheer hilarity. And you have to keep track of your clubs, your opponents, and their state of Zombiehood.

Here is Dan Lewis of Now I Know fame’s explanation of the rules…

The goofy name belies some clever rules — there’s potential for serious strategizing here. When a player loses a club in this game, he can remain in the game, but he is now frozen as a “zombie.” There a few levels of zombiehood:

Zombie — A player that maintains control over two clubs. Zombies cannot move, but can use the clubs in his hands to attack any opponents who pass by. A zombie can be reactivated if one of his teammates throws him a club and the zombie begins a three-club juggle. This move turns a zombie into an active player and an active player into a zombie.

Paralyzed Zombies — A player that maintains control of only one club. Paralyzed zombies cannot move or attack. However, a paralyzed zombie can be upgraded into a zombie, if a teammate throws him a club.

Decapitated Zombie — A player that loses control of all three clubs. Decapitated zombies must exit the playing area and take their clubs.

A team loses when all of its members are paralyzed zombies or decapitated zombies.

One version is known as there is also a format called “Kill the King,” a pretty straightforward swordfight style combat match with club to club fighting and defeats.

Another fairly simple variant is called “360,” where competitors earn additional points by doing 360s with all their clubs in the air while their opponent tries to bash them or knock their clubs out of range.

And finally , there is the aptly name “Sumo” game and it tends to be a one on one face off between members of five team members ranked by skill which, of course, takes place in the small circle.

Each loser is eliminated from play and the best guys on the other team takes his place. The idea here is that you start against your weakest opponent and fight progressively more skilled players even as you become more and more fatigued. It makes for some interesting fights as strategy and endurance can mix and match in odd ways as the match progresses.

And that’s the basics.

For more videos, try here




And take care, everyone.


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