Creating a Juggling Combination Trick

Combination tricks are among the most difficult tricks in the world of juggling. The act of taking unrelated skills of juggling and manipulation and merging them into one trick is quite old, dating back at least as far as the Middle Ages. By far the most famous combination trick is the Brunn Finish, popularized by Francis Brunn. The basic idea for the Brunn Finish actually originated in the late 1930s with Angelo Piccinelli, who juggled three rings in his left hand while balancing a ball on a head pedestal and another ball on a mouth stick, spinning a ball on his right index finger, and spinning a ring on his ankle. Francis Brunn added another ring on the leg and two rings around the ball spinning arm to create the trick that eventually bore his name. Many other jugglers have copied this iconic trick, but only Francis’ half-brother Ernest Montego was able to do it on a giraffe unicycle!

While many combination tricks seem to be variations on the Brunn Finish, there are endless possibilities for jugglers to explore. Here are some options for you to explore in the creation of an original combination trick.

HAND – With a hand, you can juggle, spin a ball, paddleball, spin a lasso, spin a plate, spin a baton or stick, padiddle, do yo-yo loops, do a propeller with a devil stick, perform contact juggling, or play and instrument.

ARM – With your arm you can spin a ring or trap a ball.

MOUTH – With your mouth you can spin a ball or plate on a mouth stick, blow a string pipe, blow a ball pipe, balance something on a mouth stick, spit ping pong balls, play kazoo, play harmonica, spin a lasso, spin rings on a mouth stick, or spin a ball on a circular track.

HEAD – With the head you can balance a pole or a head pedestal, spin something on a trick hat, head a ball, bounce a club (like Alexander Kiss), bounce a ball on a platform on top of a balanced pole, or balance a ball.

TORSO – You can spin a hula hoop around your torso.

KNEE – You can trap a ball, balance a ball, or balance a pedestal with your knee.

LEG – You can spin rings or a skip-it with your leg.

FOOT – Your foot can trap a ball, spin a ring, hold a spinning ball, balance a stick, juggle, tap dance, or do antipodism.

WHAT ARE YOU ON? – To top it all off, you can do your trick on a unicycle, tight rope, slack rope, rola bola, rolling globe, or free standing ladder or while jumping rope, standing on a ball, doing a headstand, doing a handstand, or lying on a rope.

Using the above suggestions, there are incredible opportunities to create original tricks that could become your signature finale. Here are some other amazing combination tricks that have to be seen to be believed. Perhaps they’ll be inspiration for you to create a trick that will bear your name some day!

The inimitable Francis Brunn performing his signature trick

Ernest Montego doing the Brunn Finish on a unicycle.

Alexander Kiss, the great Russian juggler, bounced a spring loaded club on his head while running seven rings. He also qualified 8 rings while balancing a pole on his head and standing on a rola bola.

Alberto Sforzi of Italy juggled six rings while spinning a ring on his ankle and balancing a ball on a head pedestal while jumping a rope turned by his two assistants.

Angel Bojilov from Bulgaria spins four plates with his left hand, juggles three rings with his right hand, spins a ring on his ankle, and spins a ring on a mouth stick, all while lying balanced on a slack rope.  He does many other amazing combination tricks as well.

Enrico Rastelli created many different combination tricks, including one where he juggled three sticks while spinning a huge star on one foot while spinning a ring on the opposite ankle while lying on his back.

Larry Vee demonstrates his ability to balance on a rola bola, hula hoop, balance a stick on his head, spin a ball on his finger, and juggle two balls in one hand.

Youri Borzykine walked on a rolling globe while head balancing a pole with a clear platform on top. He threw up a ball and got it bouncing on the platform and then juggled five large balls.

Gregory Popovich juggles six rings while balancing a pole on his head, all while balancing on a free standing ladder.

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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