Juggling Games - Clubs

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3 club gladiators/3 club Combat

Europeans generally call it gladiators, Americans usually call it combat.

This is THE convention game, everyone juggles three clubs, the last person left juggling wins. This is always a highlight of the main convention games & is often played late at night & long in to the next morning in the main hall at juggling festivals. At TWJC we even maintain our own Leaderboard.

The game starts with all combatants in a circle, drumming their clubs together. At this point in the game look around the circle, the people to watch out for are the people looking around to see who to watch out for!

When the game begins don't stand still for a second. Keep moving & pick off anyone & everyone you can.

Back to back tussles. Try to avoid these, because if someone else comes at you from the front you can't retreat. If you find yourself in a back to back position use your elbows to jog their elbows.

Double & swipe. The most popular & effective move. Throw a double then swipe down through your opponent's pattern. Swiping downwards is pretty much guaranteed to get that person out. If you are stuck in a group a good way of breaking out is to bat someone's club upwards, they will instinctively lunge for it & probably take some people out as they do so.

If you swipe at someone from in front there is a risk that you will miss hitting one of their clubs leaving yourself open for a counter swipe, if you swipe from the side you are bound to hit something. The most guaranteed way of getting someone out is to come up behind them, throw a double over their head then sweep your arm down between their body & their pattern. When attacking this way from in front it is all a question of timing, if you are quick enough you can get in & out before your opponent knows what hit them.

For extra style, throw a triple & swipe with both hands at two different people.

To counter this move, as soon as you see the double throw a double or triple yourself. Also try & trap the attacker's arm. To look really cool, drop a club & catch your opponent's double before it hits the floor & carry on juggling three. For legendary status, throw two doubles or triples, catch your opponent's club & go into a four club fountain.

Feet. A well placed foot up into someone's pattern will make someone drop, especially if you manage to knock one of their clubs. Failing that resting your leg on their arm will have the same effect. Be aware though that while you are standing on one leg you can't avoid someone else's attack.

Kicking up fallen props. Within seconds of a game starting there will be clubs on the floor, if you are quick enough get over a club, maneouvre it onto your foot & gently lift it into someone else's pattern.

Two in one hand tactics. Best used near the end of the game, when there are fewer people to attack you. If you have your opponent cornered go into a two in one hand juggle then:

Tribal gladiators

To add a bit of variety try tribal gladiators, find some way of splitting all the players into two teams, then re-enact scenes from Braveheart!

5 club endurance

Players have to juggle 5 clubs for as long as they can. More & more competitors at the BJC every year now...

Club balancing endurance

Everyone takes one club & has to balance it on their chin, nose or forehead for as long as possible. Only one tip for this one - don't face the sun! If you can last longer than 30 seconds you will end up being asked to start performing various tasks such as:

For added entertainment, the game can be made more interesting by placing a plastic glass of water on top of the club. This isn't any more difficult it just adds a little more pressure on the participants.

Club balancing race

A race where all competitors have to run a set distance or complete a short course while balancing a club on their chin. If a person drops they have to stop & start again from the point that they dropped.

To make things more interesting include an obstacle like a small hurdle.

Gandini gladiators

Strangely this has nothing to do with the Gandinis according to Sean himself! In this game everyone wears a crown of three clubs, the last person left wins.

To make a crown take three clubs & arrange them into a triangle on the floor. Place all of the knobs so that they rest on top of the club's waist. Pick the whole thing up & turn it over then place it on your head. Now keep your head as still as you can & move slowly. The slightest jerk will cause the crown to fall apart.

I've always thought that waterpistols or ping pong ball guns would be good for this game but have never had the opportunity.

Long distance passing

Passing couples form two lines facing each other & start passing (usually 4 count) one line has to stay put while the other gradually moves further & further back. If a person drops then the moving half of the pair has to stop at the point he or she reached when they dropped. At the end of the game the winners are the pair standing the furthest apart.

Two types of pass for this one, lobbed multi spins, or Russian style hard & fast singles. Lobbed throws are more affected by the wind & are also more likely to be over or underspun. Russian style passes require more brute force to travel long distances & are obviously coming at you much faster.

One person long distance passing

A person juggles three clubs, lobs a club forwards & as high into the air as they can manage, then they have to sprint after it & (hopefully) catch it & resume juggling. This is another game that is usually played in stages, two lines are laid out, players must throw before the first line & catch after the second. With each round the lines are moved further & further apart.

Tower of Babel

Played in groups (the more people the better), the object of this game is to build the tallest tower of juggling clubs possible. Any &/or all clubs may be supported by hand but each club must be touching the one below it. Standing on each other's shoulders is the obvious approach but unless you are really good limits you to a height of two people.

Skilled acrobats will form a circular tower around the column of clubs. Start with a base of three people, then add a second layer of three people each one standing on the shoulders of two different people. Then add a third layer... but don't get too carried away! Also be aware that there is usually a time limit for players to complete their tower so make sure you don't reach the peak too early or you might collapse before you can be judged!