Does anybody else think it would be cool if there was a juggling world cup or world championship? I know we have the WJF and IJA, but this would be something that really decides the best jugglers. If we had one, what competitions would there be? I'm thinking that there would just be one freestyle competition, just to show your best routine.
I know it's a crazy idea. This is probably something as to what Jason Garfield wanted to make to make the WJF, but just presume it was an actual thought. And we are still presuming juggling does not magicly become more popular, just a small group of people.
And on a side note, I think the juggling World Cup or world championship would be held every year, not 4 years, because there is not nearly enough popular juggling competitions
I'm not one of those people who thinks everything has to be a competition, so I'm not at all interested in seeing it actually happen (I'd rather see another successful festival set up than another competition)
But if it were to happen, what shape would you see it take? "Best juggler" is so subjective that drawing up a ruleset and scoring system is problematic.
That's why the IJA winners in any given year wouldn't win at WJF and vice versa. Those two competitions judge two entirely different aspects of juggling, both of which have some validity,
So which style of comp would if be? How would you score it?
That makes me wonder, how many sets of competition rules have we got at the moment? Are we up to 14 yet?
I can think of:
- IJA Numbers Comps
- IJA Individuals, Teams, Juniors competitions
- IJA Individual Prop Competitions (not run any more?)
- The IJA "Extreme Juggling" Competitions (not run any more?)
- WJF (Various, each event seems to have different rules - it's been over 10 years and I still don't understand the WJF)
- Atlanta Jugglers Association Groundhog Day competition (does that count as a serious competition?)
- The Dutch Juggling Championships (https://www.nkjongleren.nl/ - seems it may not be running due to a drop in interest?)
I've not included the various fight night, voleyclub, joggling competitions/leagues etc because they're very narrow in scope - and on the whole seem to be better structured/understood than the more general competitions.
I've also left out well respected, high profile circus competitions like Mote-Carlo, North American Circus Competition, Festival International De Cirque, Circus Maximus etc as although jugglers have entered/won - they're not juggling specific competitions.
A great man is purported to have said
"I don't believe in juggling competitions. It's like seeing who could paint the fastest painting!" Francis Brunn
Dutch juggling championships didn't run in 2014, but it will this year!
From my experience with the Dutch juggling championships:
People are interested in having a national title to put on their website. They join 2 years in a row, win a competition, and never return. Those who are really at the top have no further interest in taking part. There are maybe a total of 5 Dutch technical jugglers who worked hard and cared about the technical competitions, but after multiple years of competition their interest fades away too.
The only competitions that sustain well are those that get a fresh bunch of 13 year olds every year, so the diabolo competition is obviously flourishing.
On the other hand, everybody has been saying all what I said above for ages, yet somehow the championship has existed since... I believe 2006 and is still going!
I helped host the first competition in 2005. At the time Marco Bonissimo was very open about him and a few others running the competition as a way to add "Dutch Juggling Champion" to their business cards and websites.
And the effect is amazing. I know pretty much all of the 'dutch champions', and when they tell this to non jugglers they are incredibly in awe...
I know I was in awe long time ago when I met the devilsticker who got 3rd at the Dutch Championships the year before... Just for the title!
Individual Prop Competition is not currently running (it may begin again in the future, but I haven't heard of any plans for its return this year)
Extreme Juggling has been running for at least the last few years. It might have hiccupped with the WJF issues in the mid 2000s, but it seems stable now.
"I can understand why a man wants to run the fastest 100 meters, but I don't believe in juggling competitions. It's like seeing who could paint the fastest painting!" - Francis Brunn, Juggler's World: Vol. 38, No. 1
There are arguments for and against juggling competitions but Brunn's quote gets right to the point for me.
Competitions are for comparing quantities of things like time, distance, weight, and so on. But a juggling competition would either be comparing abstract qualities - sense of humour, artistic interpretation, devising, or whatever - a bit like the IJA. Or it would be reduced to an unimaginative and mundane pissing contest, comparing arbitrary skills like ability to perform pirouettes ... which is the WJF.
Fight Night neatly sidesteps this problem - it sets an easily determinable objective and then allows competitors to use their skills in whatever way they see fit to achieve the objective. But it's still just a gladiators competition and doesn't pretend to be anything grander than that.
I agree with you Jay. I think that sports that rely on an element of judging are closer to arts than sports.
That would include things like gymnastics, ice dance, snowboard style events etc. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to kick them out of the Olympics or anything but I certainly wouldn't want to encourage any more inclusion of ''judged'' disciplines.
Any type of juggling which actually can be measured empirically such as endurance events would be pretty tedious to watch. Gladiators being a possible exception or maybe volley club.
Overall I'd rather just leave it as entertainment rather than sport and if you want to compete just compete with yourself to get better.
I think, it's overdue. I wouldn't compare juggling to painting, as there is catches to count, siteswaps to follow, times to take until drop, and many different disciplines. It is absolutely common in sports (also exotic sports with small communities) to have certificates, cups, money-prizes. Events, where you can earn such rewards for your work, will only cost an entry-fee in proportion to the prize-fund, but not scaring people from attending.
Jugglers would have to present their records not only on video via web, but at that special event that day under given conditions if they want the cup, that event's certificate or the prize in their discipline. More cracks would take part and lively up the events.
since when did drinking tea, eating biscuits and chucking stuff about become a sport?
I mean .. can you even win the costs of the trip on current events? Everyone likes a palpable reward and approvement for his/her hard work & skills.
Well, where are you going to get that funding from? Big sports events are funded by audience.. But in juggling there is not much audience, most of the people rather juggle themselves than watch a competition..
The Dutch Championship is always organised as a tiny convention. Of course people watch, because their friends are on, but mostly they attend because there also is an open gym. The participants pay much more than the regular visitors....
The recent WJF10 at Skillcon had at least $7000 for the overall championship. That should have covered the costs of the trip, unless the winner got a little carried away in Vegas!
That sounds real good! .. and that could buy a decent massive gold cup maybe with a little diamond on it ;o] (= really know to few of such things .. guess juggling world owes J. Garfield or post-Garfield WJF for that)
I talked to Christian Hauschild, who got third place at the WJF last year, which was $1000 if I remember rightly, but lost a lot of money on the trip.
Personally I think competitions should either cover all the costs of all the competitors, and then the winning money is a bonus, or not have any cash prize at all. Because if Thomas Dietz is going to a WJF, why would I (or most other jugglers) ever bother going?
The thing I tried to do when setting up the BYJOTY and now with making Fight Night more of a thing is to make the competition intrinsically entertaining and interesting, not just to watch but also for everyone taking part. For the most part this means reducing the brain stress for all the competitors to a minimum. Rules that the participants have to know can be super short (a few paragraphs should be enough), while those organizing the tournaments should be doing more work and have to know more stuff. And the audience should be able to just turn up and see a fun event too. This is the model of all juggling games sessions at conventions too.
This might seem blindingly obvious, but from the outside it seems like the WJF still hasn't got this figured out. For the top competitors it just takes too much work at boring juggling to have a chance at success. Fight Night? Turn up and 10 minutes later you're playing combat. BYJOTY? Make a juggling act between 2 and 5 minutes long. 5 ball endurance? Quick, someone give me some thuds and I'll give it a go!
Well .. the "ThomasDietz"-problem can be resolved by an attractive staggered many prize-ranks like 40%, 30%, 15%, 10%, 3%, 1%, a.s.o. or alike what turns out best andor depending on number of participants .. (it needn't be a "the winner takes it all"-prize)
No. Everyone who makes takes part in a competition should be paid all their expenses to be there, and more as an incentive to take part or a proper professional fee. That's the only way anyone will ever take a competition seriously.
OR the tournament shouldn't reward the winner monetarily.
It has to either be a professional sport/competition or an amateur event. There isn't a middle ground in any sport that has a vibrant competitive scene with any longevity. You can't learn any of this by looking at previous juggling events, you can only learn by looking at the history of established sports and the development of new sports (such as esports).
I broadly agree on the pro/am distinction.
The bit I can't get my head around for a professional juggling competition, I'd where the money would come from. Sport it's easy to see, as there are spectators to charge, advertising and sponsorship deals to arrange, TV rights to sell because the audience is large, volume of equipment sales are high enough that manufacturers have advertising budgets to spend...
For juggling? Well, how many jugglers at BJC Nottingham paid the extra to go and watch the WJF showcase competitions? A couple of dozen? Are Henry's/babache/renegade/play selling enough kit that they could bankroll it out of their advertising budgets?
Somehow I doubt it.
The only route into that I can see is grow an am event, make it big and popular with spectators, then when you're big enough go pro.
The WJF tried to skip the first bit, and what you're doing with combat like is making inroads into the first bit.
Unfortunately it won't meet in the middle, because the skills in the two events are really very different.
ill just drop this here https://adsoftheworld.com/sites/default/files/styles/media_retina/public/images/wws3.jpg?itok=PYjImafp
In terms of making combat a popular spectator sport, quite a few of my students were saying "WTF?!?" when seeing Luke v Jochen in Toulouse.... and saying that they'd pay (some) money to see it.
I made them analyse the behaviour of jugglers arriving at EJCs in order to make recommendations about how resources should be allocated for pre-reg / reg desks [and what opening hours they should have]. They asked what type of festival lasts 9 days and has people arriving at silly o'clock throughout the event. I answered that question with several videos!
Now I'm curious. What is the behaviour of jugglers arriving at EJCs? I always try to arrive the first hour it opens and I assumed everyone else tried the same.
From working one EJC on registration, I recall that yes, of course the biggest queue was as the doors opened, but there was also a fairly regular stream of people for the rest of the day, and rather a lot of people arriving on the second day as well.
It also depends a lot on how you get to the event. When flying, how expensive the flights are, and how often they run can make a big difference.
To get to Lublin, for example, I spent 2 nights in a swanky hotel in Warsaw before travelling on towards Lublin because the flights on that day were so much cheaper than the ideal time that overall I saved, even after 2 nights in a nice hotel.
Now, in that example, the cheaper flight was earlier, and so we were there at the start time of the convention. But it could just as well have happened that I'd have arrived later, as I seem to remember plenty did.
Whilst I like to get to the event at the start, if the difference in the flight cost is more than the EJC ticket, it can be a difficult decision to make.
And if you have a 12 hour drive or train journey to take to get there, you might need to get there the evening of the first day rather than at the start.
Some of the things that they had to incorporate into their models was distance from Frankfurt [which, about 10 years ago was pretty much the centre of mass of European jugglers], the number of trains / coaches arriving per hour (jugglers come in waves by public transport, especially when it is further away from Frankfurt - so not as driveable for as many). Other things considered were if there were any special events that may attact locals in, and whether that event was "all day", or at a specific time. Also, part of the challenge was to work out how the available desks should be split between pre-registered and pay-on-the-door jugglers to minimise overall queuing, subject to the constraint that, on average, pre-registrations should queue for less time than those who haven't.
The peak arrival time is always at the beginning, but transport costs, transport time and availability (so when people can get away from work etc) all play a factor in when people arrive at an EJC. The recommendations made by students were interesting (I gave them all individual fictional, but realistic, hourly arrival data for the last few years) and they had to try to predict this years arrival behaviour and so make recommendations for the team - based on estimates of the total number of pre-registrations!
"It has to either be a professional sport/competition or an amateur event."
Why do you think this? The model of "pay out to the winners, pay nothing to the losers" has been how practically every video game tournament has been run. Scrabble tournaments also run that way, and they've been around ~forever.
Actually, isn't distance running also like that (pay achievers, don't pay others)? Something like the Boston Marathon?
I'm afraid I don't know enough about other fringe sports to comment on them.
Look up all the controversies with esports and how that prize money works out. Top competitors agree before the final to split the winnings, then just piss about in the final match. There's loads of issues at big tournaments all the time.
Marathons have elite divisions and then everyone else. It's one day, but there's really more than one sport going on.
I've been a part of esports culture for the last decade, specifically Melee and Pokemon. Except for the era of Ken and Isai, that doesn't happen much, especially at the big (non-regional) tournaments. It also hasn't happened recently in Pokemon. Recently some of the bigger players in Smash got sponsored, buffering their winnings, but I don't think that's meaningful to this discussion.
I don't follow the bigger ones (League, Dota, etc) but I feel that those are less relevant, as they're quite a bit larger than juggling scenes and are funded largely by spectators/corporate sponsors. What esports were you talking about? Is it widespread within, and beyond that esport?
Re: distance running, in non-elite tier, races pay out to winners, partially/largely from the pot generated from registration fees from others. Are you saying that this is not the case in the elite tier (money coming from spectators, sponsors, etc., rather than registration fees)?
My point about esports is actually a bit wider than any one controversy, but the controversies are indicative of two main issues that prize money exacerbates.
This leads to a churn of not just players, but the games themselves. Starcraft has longevity, and Counter Strike is getting there, but fighting games don't stick around, nor do the gamers, except maybe Melee. Tournaments and the prizes they dish out aren't structured around the longevity of the game itself. The prize money is to attract the best players to THIS event. Providing long term financial support to a player or team, to let them make a professional career out of the activity, is hardly a consideration.
In terms of juggling competitions, it's obvious how this applies:
The WJF wants to reward technical jugglers, but is now just for young jugglers with unlimited free time. There is remarkable churn compared to other conventions. Jugglers return a few years in a row, but once it becomes obvious they aren't in prize money contention, it obviously isn't a good value proposition for jugglers as they are no longer teenagers and have to earn a living, either by juggling or with a real job.
Also there is a churn on the tournament itself at the WJF. The rules change so much year over year, with every one having different structures and different events and different competitions and different levels of prize money. It also only happens once a year, so it's not a good time investment to train for it even if you think you could win.
This, again, means the incentive for tournaments isn't the longevity of the game. They want their single tournament to be a success, and maybe be big enough to attract players the following year.
There are a few exceptions to this, of course. League of Legends is the best example of an esport that is taking a different route. All the main tournaments and leagues are run by Riot, the game developer, and the players are salaried with prize money a bonus. Riot Games understands all the issues I've outlined above, of course, and are developing the esport right alongside the game itself.
This second point is more nebulous, but without prize money, and with a sport as an amateur activity, there doesn't need to be a governing body. In fact, it's good that there isn't. People want to participate as much as possible, so if there's no money involved, it's best to allow as many tournaments or other events as possible. Once money is involved, it brings along so many more restrictions in rules and possible play and loads of other issues. Not only do the rules need to be there for fair play reasons, the governing body has to be exclusive to stop players going elsewhere for money after breaking rules.
Juggling and juggling competitions don't need a governing body, but the early WJF did lots of posturing in this regard. There were pages and pages and pages of rules, even down to what clothes a juggler could wear, or the props allowed to be practiced in the juggling space at the convention.
Lots of interesting ideas here. They've made me appreciate that we're approaching this issue from two very different angles: that of a professional juggler, and that of a hobbyist juggler. Since my livelihood does not depend on juggling, I'm completely fine with the idea of spending some money to get to an event with the possibility of not winning anything. I see your point that if the organizers don't pay for travel/lodging/logistics, they are asking for free performances (or worse, performances with a performing fee, but still charging people to watch!), which I understand is a faux pas to many (most?) professionals.
Without having people be able to support themselves on being a professional *competing* juggler, the quality of the competitions will be lower than the alternative. Sure, you'll get some people who are independently wealthy (or sponsored by their families, like many young competitors) being able to practise as much as they'd like, but that's only selecting for a subset, and thus not as good for growth as a sport as it would be inaccessible to most.
It's unlikely that I would compete at a fest that I wasn't going to attend anyway, so I don't see lodging and travel as an expense associated with competing. If I were the type of person competitions were trying to attract (elite-tier) that may be a problem, or my attitude may be different.
In an ideal world, yes, I think an organization should pay for its competitors' logistics. I don't think that's going to happen in the near future (is it 16 years now unitl the Fun Fund donation is accessible? Maybe then...) so it comes down to whether there should be prize money at all.
"People want to participate as much as possible, so if there's no money involved, it's best to allow as many tournaments or other events as possible. "
I agree with this, for the most part. My trouble is that I think it would decrease the feasibility of large fests (specifically large fests), which are almost required to draw some large names. If they aren't paid (as they sometimes are in the IJA - varies from year to year) or don't have a reasonable shot at winning some money (WJF) then it's less likely they'll attend. Especially in places like Canada/the States, where the population density is such that competitors/performers will have go more out of their way to attend, and normal fest attendees will have to travel farther, it would require more encouraging to attend.
An example of when prize money is useful is this last WJF. The prize money was high enough that it brought out some competitors that otherwise wouldn't have attended (notably, Thomas Dietz). I imagine that was a draw for some attendees. I think having a few events like that, with (potential) payoffs that attract (at least somewhat close) elite-level jugglers, are worthwhile.
 Some of the points go well beyond what you said, and flowed into what I think you said and why I think you said them, and why I wouldn't have thought about them. If I'm misinterpreting or paraphrasing your ideas incorrectly, please let me know.
 Since we're talking about determining the best at something, I'll treat juggling as a sport here.
So to be clear, a single tournament per year is not enough to provide any juggler with either a suitable financial compensation that they could base a professional career on it, nor does it provide enough motivation for anyone to put work into it unless it was at a convention they were going to anyway. Which is why the IJA and WJF winners are never thought to be the best in the world at anything, nor even world champions of anything, merely the best of the people who turned up that one time.
This isn't just for juggling as defined as sport.
There are loads of competitions in Germany (and other European countries) for jugglers, or at least that jugglers can enter. They are called street show festivals, and there are always jury prizes and audience voted prizes available to win if you've got a good show. I earned more money from street show competition prize money in a single year than any juggler has ever won at a single IJA festival, AND at those festivals I was passing the hat every show to earn money that way, AND I was being paid travel expenses, AND I was given food the whole time, AND I was put up in a hotel the each night of the festival. Meanwhile, at the IJA you have to cover the cost of all those things yourself. Of course you do! The IJA is doing you a favor, letting you take part in their show, rather than treating you like a professional.
It's a good living, if hard work, but even those who don't ever win, and never expect to win as they have smaller shows, can still get by with a summer full of festivals.
It's like the ATP tennis circuit. There's the main professional tour for the elite players, then the Challenger series for those ranked 80 to about 200 in the world. One of the requirements for a Challenger event isn't just an at least $80,000 prize money pool, but also accommodation for all the players, as that's one of the biggest costs for a professional on tour.
Thomas Dietz retired from WJF competition years ago. Plus, there is a beginners and intermediate competition, and even Olympic competitors aren't reimbursed that much just for competing.
Luke, I agree with you about juggling competitions paying for competitors expenses first AND THEN paying prize money. In fact, I brought this point up to the current IJA board.
However, you clearly did not feel that way about it being pointless to compete in 2004 when you competed in the IJA (against Thomas). ;)
Teasing aside, bravo with fight night! From my perspective you are showing the IJA and WJF competitions how to put on quality juggling competitions that are entertaining for everyone and fun for the competitors.
In 2004 I wanted to go the IJA festival anyway, but then was asked to take part in the Cascade of Stars show. When I asked what I would be paid after travel expenses and accommodation, I was told those wouldn't be covered, and that I'd just get free entry to the festival. I turned that "offer" down, and took the same "fee" for doing a turn in another show.
But I still wanted to cover some expenses. Entering the IJA competitions was a purely financial decision. I made some money with some three ball competitions, I think, but didn't place in the main event.
Overall I found the main event quite stressful, and also not particularly fun or rewarding, especially as I think the wrong person won (should have been Emile Carey, who only got third), and when asked about how the judging was handled was told that the judges decided not to follow the rules. Oh, and nobody seemed to feel anything was weird about not following the rules.
Personally I'm not sure why I expected anything different.
Needless to say this kind of experience shaped future juggling competition experiments.
Which is harder:
* Five clubs or seven balls?
* 53 catches of five clubs or 28 catches of seven balls?
* Seven balls for 58 catches or 70.5 catches of 5 clubs (the 17th throw should be caught by the bulb (though I can't determine if it should be 1.5 spins or 2.5 spins)).
* 441 behind the back blind with balls or 17 five club backcrosses or 13 catches of nine balls?
* 42 siteswap with rings or three ball half shower while wearing a purple sweater?
* Fifteen ball flash or one ball trebla with a triple pirouette caught in a nose balance using a bowling ball, while on a rola bola in the alps?
* Picasso's Guernica or Michelangelo's David?
53 catches of 7 balls are harder than 28 catches. There's no analogy for that at painting.
There's also world championships and or olympic competition in e.g. ice-skating, in rythmic gymnastics and even in dancing. All the while these sports can be practiced freestyle and in queer ways too.
And juggling community was way smaller (not ww-digital also) and juggling was less popular at Francis Brunn's times, I guess, so I'm not sure, his saying applies nowadays.
I know we have the WJF and IJA, but this would be something that really decides the best jugglers.
How exactly do you think the existing competitions fail to decide who is the best?
I'd like to see a World Juggling Championships Championship to decide which competition is the best one.
I propose to organise this... next May.
It will be the World's Longest Juggling Championship Championship. Extended deliberation sessions are planned. Judges are requested to bring their own cake, but armchairs will be provided.
There will be a separate under 16s competitions competition, held 3 fields over where I can't hear it
I made this idea so that there is it is easier to decide the best juggler. I guess having a world juggling championships championship is a better jdea
As has already been said. It's not really possible to quantify "best" juggler. The art/painting analogy is apt here. You can't compare modernism to cubism and ask which is the best! They're different. That's the great thing about juggling, there are so many different styles, disciplines, view and methods. At the end of the day do we need a best juggler?
If you are going to do it, the only empirical method would be to rigidly define each category/event. For example longest 5 clubs, longest 7 clubs, and on and on. Which is strips juggling of all interest.
I think David Cain might be in with a shot for longest 3 clubs. Not sure about longest 5 clubs...
Jason Garfield is a strong contender:
Earlier in that video, he has to stand on a pair of chairs to be able to do alberts/treblas.
It took a few seconds to see why this vid was relevant.. but besides that it is amazing! Why have I not seen this before? It is my new altime favorite juggling vid!
Grasshopper, you have so much to learn.
You remind me of myself about 12 years ago when I was a noob to juggling, and I just could not stop posting to rec.juggling.
Here's my two cents: JUGGLING SHOULD BE IN THE OLYMPICS.
Why don't we push for that more? I know you said it should be held every year rather than every 4, but I can't think of a bigger positive step juggling could take.
> JUGGLING SHOULD BE IN THE OLYMPICS.
It's not the first time it's been suggested, in fact IIRC Albert Lucas' International Sport Juggling Foundation had Olympic recognition as one of its aims. And of course juggling of some sort was actually in the Olympics once upon a time, 1932 perhaps? Have a search around the rec.juggling archives and you should find a few references to the matter too.
The long and the short of it is that entry to the Olympic Games is by no means a new idea, and generally in the past one of the main reasons it has failed is because juggling does not possess a strong, over-arching, and authoritative umbrella organisation.
Which is also why this whole thread started with a request for a World Juggling Champs, yet no-one seems to have grasped that we already have IJA, DJC, WJF, X-treem Games, BYJOTY, Fite Nite, MLC, and a raft of professional circus competitions. Far from having a lack of competitions we have a plethora of them, but none dominates.
> And of course juggling of some sort was actually in the Olympics once upon a time, 1932 perhaps?
I think that rhythmic gymnastics has more in common with juggling than club swinging did. Kati Yla-Hokkala of the Gandinis started out in rhythmic gymnastics.
I like to look upon the pole vault as a combined balance & juggling oneself, aswell :o]
Are you talking about club swinging, or was there real juggling in the Olympics at one time?
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