Bounce Juggling With Rings And Clubs

When one hears the term “bounce juggling,” the initial image that comes to mind is someone bouncing balls on the floor or a platform in front of them. However, a few jugglers have explored the possibilities of bounce juggling with the two other most common juggling props; rings and clubs. These props tend to be much more challenging to juggling in this way, but they may also open up technical and visual possibilities that can’t be achieved with balls.

Ring Bouncing

Bounce juggling with rings is not as uncommon as many readers may think. It has been done for quite a number of years by a few professional jugglers who used custom made rings or bouncing surfaces to make ring or hoop bouncing possible. One of the earliest of these jugglers was Bob Bramson, the legendary German hoop roller and juggler. You can click here to see Bob bounce four large wooden hoops in performance. Bob started his performing career in the mid 1940s.

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Bob Bramson

Another innovator in ring bouncing was George Sollveno, from Switzerland. In 1979, he began performing ring bouncing using standard rings, but bouncing them on a rubberized mat. Click here to see him perform up to a five ring bounce shower using this method.

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George Sollveno

In the early 1990s, Sollveno developed a plastic ring with a rubber edge on it, making the mat unnecessary. He even sold these rings, which he called “George Sollveno Jumpy Rings” to other jugglers, advertising their sale in Kaskade Magazine.

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Vladimir Tsarkov

A third well known juggler who features ring / hoop bouncing is Vladimir Tsarkov from Russia. He debuted his act in 1984, performing as the Red Harliquin and juggling rings that are made of inner and outer hoops taped together. These rings bounce quite well, as you can see in the following video.

 A more recent famous juggler to include ring bouncing in his act is Jochen Schell from Germany. Jochen makes his own bounce rings, which he began performing with around 1995. Click here to see the ring bouncing portion of Jochen’s act.

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Jochen Schell

Ring bouncing has become more commonplace recently due to the availability of retail rings that bounce well. Renegade Juggling, based out of California, USA, has sold hollow “fat” rings for at least two decades. These rings, which are either one inch or a half inch in thickness, allow for bouncing tricks not easily done with traditional thin, flat rings. The Peapot video Cooking Fat featured variations on ring bouncing using fat rings. Below, you can see a video of David Cain and Scott Cain using the one inch fat rings for bounce passing from the 2001 IJA Teams Championship followed by a video of David Cain qualifying a five ring lift bounce recently.

 

 Blake Speers has made an entire youtube video exploring ring bouncing possibilities, which is shown below.

 
Another juggler who has explored the possibilities of ring bouncing is Kip Hunt. In the following video, you can see Kip bounce regular rings on a carpeted and padded floor. He qualifies five rings, does 10 catches of 6 rings, and flashes 7 rings.
 
 
Club Bouncing
 
Bounce juggling with clubs is actually quite old, dating to at least as early as 1900! Edward Van Wyck, the first retail manufacturer of juggling clubs, advertised “Bounding Clubs” in his 1900 catalog. Bobby May recalled that Victor Martyn of the old time Australian juggling duo Martyn and Florence also made bounding clubs in the early part of the twentieth century. They were cork clubs with a rubber bottom and were made specifically for rebounding off of the floor. David Cain recently made a prototype for a modern version of the bouncing club using a silicone ball attached to the end of a hollow plastic juggling club. You can see a picture and video of it being used below.
 
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Certainly, most jugglers don’t have clubs made for bouncing, so they use standard clubs to do their bounce tricks. Here’s Luke Burrage showing some solo club bouncing with three clubs.

 
 

Carey Pickford Jr. (CoolJuggler) has managed to qualify a force bounce of three clubs, which can be seen below.

 
 
A very interesting method of bounce juggling club-like props can be seen in the video below, which shows Siahei bounce juggling three sticks off of trampoline-like drum pads.
 

 
Click here to see David Cain do a single club bounce in a four club pattern. Wes Peden does a single bounce in four clubs using a helicopter spin and adding a pirouette at the 9:35 point of the video that can be seen by clicking here.
 
Much more common is the use of club bouncing while passing clubs. The Flying Karamazov Brothers were early modern experts of club bounce passing, as you can see by clicking here. The modern masters of bounce club passing may be Duck and Cover, the team of Leif Pettersen and Steve Birmingham. In the following videos, you can see them do many variations on bouncing clubs while passing.
 
 

There are still many possibilities to be explored with ring and club bounce juggling. Maybe some day we’ll see a five club force bounce or some other trick that we now would consider absurd.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of sixteen books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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