This is truly 3mins 8 seconds that may change the course of your life. I believe this so deeply. Many thanks to my friend Richard Young for sending me this fantastic video.
This is pretty much what I feel right now. This leads me more and more towards thinking I just need to get out there and perform!
Mark Watson performs his brand new, never before seen comedy routine as part of the British Young Juggler of the Year competition at the British Juggling Convention 2012 in Southend.
If you want to get in touch with Mark with regards to this routine, feel free to e-mail him on email@example.com
So, having just got back from the British Juggling Convention in Southend, I thought I’d take the time to share with you all a little of what I thought about it. So, to start with the usual stuff…
Entering BYJOTY and getting a pretty good reception from the crowd. Didn’t win anything, but it was great performing in a proper big top alongside some really great young jugglers!
Waking up in the middle of the night with a cold nose – it happened several times!
Enter BYJOTY – yes!
Run a couple of successful workshops – yes! (Anybody with feedback on my 4 and 5 ball beginners workshops? Good and bad, all is useful!)
The Gandini Juggling Project - didn’t it have to be? All of their performances were incredible, and I loved Smashed!
I had to miss a few workshops I really would have liked to go to due to my involvement in BYJOTY – ah well, I can’t enter again anyway and I’m very glad I did.
Getting to play Gladiators late on Saturday night with some of the Gandini jugglers, Tony Pezzo, Luke Wilson and Francoise! Great fun!
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the convention this year, though there were one or two sad things towards the end of the week that I really must mention…
Certain members of the group that I went with got a little out of control on the final night, and it turns out their actions may have damaged the reputation of our society somewhat amongst the convention organisers which, as an ex-Chair, I feel is a great shame. I know none of us are perfect, but I do feel that some people need to grow up and start being adults much sooner in life.
The disappointing thing is that these are also the kind of people who, away from the convention, will say things such as “I wish I could be that good”. The thing is, you can! The problem is it takes a large amount of regular training and practice, something that (no matter how many times I try to tell them) they just refuse to do. I hope to write a few articles in the coming weeks on practice to illustrate what I mean, though I have already written one that covers the fundamentals.
All in all, though, I did have a rather good time, thanks partly to my driving buddy/tent buddy Kat - thank you for making it a fun week!
Some thoughts on effective training methods with regards to circus skills, juggling in particular…
Don’t ever cram too much into a practice session. Everyone has loads of stuff they want to learn, but we only have a limited amount of time and have to choose what we focus on. Its better to learn a few things really well (and pretty quickly) than to spread your time on lots of things learnt badly and very slowly.
If you can only do a short practice session, still go through all the tricks you can and just reduce the number of tries or repetitions you do. If you’re really short on time, just do everything once.
Make sure you practice little and often! Its better to spend 10 minutes practicing every day than it is to spend 2 hours practicing just once a week. If you can, practice every day.
Start every session with a warm up of some kind, whether that be stretches or just some simple juggling to get the feel for it. Gradually build up the difficulty of the stuff you’re working on, but make sure to end on some easier stuff too.
Change what props you work with and how many you juggle frequently to prevent boredom or developing bad habits - some of your best progress will be when you come fresh to it.
Each trick in your training schedule should only be practiced for between 2 and 5 minutes. If something is feeling good, then it will still feel good in the future so don’t do too much of it or else you’ll burn out. Similarly, if something is going bad, don’t keep working at it as this will only make things worse - move on and come back to it another day. Always end with a clean run when you’re practicing a trick, even if it means going back to doing just one throw of it or using just one object - psychologically ending on a good run has a massive impact!
Take occasional breaks to grab a drink or take a breather, but be sure to carry straight back on with the training.
If you’ve discovered something new that you want to experiment with then be flexible enough to try things out, but maybe write the idea down and come back to it another day? This is why carrying a little notepad and pen for instant jotting down of ideas is useful.
I remember Matt Hall speaking about how scientists believe it takes the body around 20 repetitions of something before the brain even begins to create new pathways for it. So if you’re trying something new for the first time and don’t get it straight away - thats perfectly natural!
Update and change your plan frequently as you learn new stuff and aim higher. As an example, at this very moment in time my training schedule is as follows:
3 Balls - 360s, Shuffle 4 Balls - 180s, Mills Mess 5 Balls - 744, Backcrosses 6 Balls - Synch, Asynch 7 Balls
1 Ring - Balances 3 Rings - Backcrosses, Side Pancakes 4 Rings - 552 Spins, Siteswaps with Pancakes 5 Rings - (6x,4)*, 1 up 4 up 6 Rings - Synch, Asynch 7 Rings
3 Clubs - Left Kickups, 531 4 Clubs - 534, Singles 5 Clubs - High Throw Start, Triples 6 Clubs
I mix between these as and when, making sure to focus on 7 balls, 6 rings and 5 clubs which are particular targets of mine for this year.
Hope this has been of interest to some of you, any comments or queries please get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org
A quick look forward at the great stuff happening in 2012, but first a look back at how 2011 has ended up…
2011 started with the end of panto in Leicester, after which I started working for Spinoff which I have enjoyed all year. Chair of Fever came my way, and a 1st at uni was much appreciated. Now I’ve landed a job at Nomura for next year as well as a bunch of new busking gear. I’ve loved and laughed the whole year through, but whats in store for 2012?
Finish 2nd year of uni, then head straight down to London to start my year working for Nomura as a Finance Analyst. Lots of time to spend in Covent Garden and going to see West End shows, not forgetting my first two months there will be during the Olympics! Thats my 2012, no doubt it’ll end up being different to what I plan, but I’m sure its going to be fun! Hope you all get to be a part of it…
First of all, apologies for the lack of detailed posts over the last few months - with uni work and other things taking over, I never intended my blogs to be particularly frequent during term time. Other things have made life particularly hectic just lately, all of which will become clear in this post…
Its panto time of year and I’ve just come away having watched Dick Whittington at The Little Theatre in Leicester (the place where I starred in Panto last year as the Evil Abanazar in Aladdin). I missed not being on that stage this year, but I’m glad I didn’t go for it this year as I had plenty more on my plate.
This term at uni has been primarily focussed on getting myself a work placement for next year, which seemed at the start to be quite a large and difficult task. However, here I am just 3 months later with a placement confirmed as a high flying investment banker in London on a very nice salary. I only applied for 3 jobs, this one was my first who called me for interview (my first EVER interview as it happens) and they gave me the job without much fuss. Now that I’ve got this dream placement job, I can’t stop thinking that its not where I ultimately want to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited and looking forward to my year as an investment banker, but I never thought I would get such a high flying job (certainly not so easily). All these sorts of things just seem to fall into my lap - becoming Head Boy, becoming Chair of Fever, taking a lead role in a professional panto, and now getting an awesome placement job. Makes me wonder if theres not much I can’t do if I put my mind to it, but then comes the tricky question of what it is I want to do. The answer has to be performing!
I’m certainly not saying everything in my life is perfect, nor am I saying that its all down to me and my achievements - plenty of people have helped me get to where I am in life. But still the question remains, with all this success, what makes me so special?
More importantly, can I transfer this success into the performing world, particularly straight acting, and make a career out of it? Its what I’ve loved all my life and what I truly want to do, so is there anything actually stopping me? Do I need to just take the leap of faith and go for it, and do people realise just how hard that is?
My thoughts for the day, any comments are always appreciated…
I tend to do very fast-paced circus style juggling because for a long time thats what I mostly considered jugglers to be. It is still my favourite kind of juggling, very flashy, but I can appreciate and play around with more creative kinds of juggling.
My opinions were changed dramatically at this year’s BJC, partly from something Stefan Sing said in his “Organic Juggling” workshop - “You can’t see the fast without the slow!” My years of training to be able to pull off vegas doubles and triples easily was worthless without being able to do some slow floaty stuff to be able to make it better (which I’m now working on).
On a more honest, and perhaps slightly harsh, note - most people will know that I don’t do much passing or juggling involving a partner. As much as I do enjoy juggling with other people, looking to my long-term performance goals I have so much I need to achieve in a solo capacity that I don’t want to waste time working with people I know I’m not going to share a career with. Its still fun from time to time though…
After a very long summer holiday between my university studies, I have now completed the project I set out to do - producing 100 juggling trick videos, one for every day of my holidays.
It hasn’t been easy trying to film one a day, and there have been many times I’ve failed and had to catch up, but they’re all there. The project also didn’t bring in quite as much creativity as I would have liked, but it is a nice way of showing how much I have improved in myself over the last 3 months or so.
I hope some of you will be able to enjoy the videos and take something away from them. If you want to start up your own Trick A Day project, my advice would be - DO IT! Its more fun than hard work and is really beneficial!