Numbers Championships

Numbers Championships Rules 2018

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IJA Numbers Records

No substantial changes to the rules were made for 2018.
The IJA Numbers Championships were established to advance the sport of “numbers juggling” and to provide a forum for competitors to challenge each other and the laws of gravity and physics. The purpose of these events is to showcase those who can successfully juggle the greatest numbers of balls, clubs, rings, and bounced balls for the most catches.
All competitors must demonstrate general competency for numbers juggling. Numbers competitors must be registered IJA fest attendees, both at the time they register for Numbers and at the time of the Numbers Championships. There are no restrictions based on age, gender, or nationality. Each competitor must pay a $15.00 (US) registration fee per event. “Competitor” means either a solo juggler or a team; so for teams, the fee is $15 per team, not per person. The registration fee is to be paid to the Numbers Directors at the annual IJA festival during the times designated for Numbers registration. No one can compete on more than one team in the same event. Each registrant must sign the IJA’s video release and insurance waiver.
The following Numbers events currently exist for individuals:

  • Individual Balls
  • Individual Rings
  • Individual Clubs
  • Individual Ball Bouncing

The following Numbers passing events currently exist for teams:

  • Ball Passing
  • Ring Passing
  • Club Passing
  • Ball Bounce Passing
  • Three-Person Club Passing

Exhibition events: The Numbers Directors may, at their discretion, add one exhibition event at the annual festival. Exhibition events will be announced at the Numbers table no later than 24 hours prior to the close of Numbers Championships Registration. The intent of an exhibition event shall be to showcase and award high numbers juggling achievement in a category not listed above. An exhibition event shall be awarded medals, but no prize money.

There is a minimum number of objects required to be juggled in any event. They are as follows:

  • Individuals: 8 balls, 8 rings, 6 clubs, 8 balls bouncing
  • Two-person teams: 11 balls, 11 rings, 10 clubs, 11 balls bouncing
  • Three-person teams: 13 clubs
Balls must be roughly spherical objects, including beanbags. Clubs must be long, roughly cylindrically-shaped objects, including sticks or batons. Rings must be large, roughly flat objects, including plates and hoops.

No object may have significant aerodynamic lifting qualities, such as a flying disk, nor be so light as to be significantly affected by air resistance, such as a balloon or a feather.

Each competitor is responsible for providing his/her own equipment, including props being juggled or special surfaces on which to bounce juggle.

Each competitor may use one or more assistants to pick up dropped objects, call out times, or provide other support. Assistants may in no way help with the start, progress, or finish of any attempted juggle.
The Numbers Directors will make final decisions regarding categorization and acceptability of props. (See the section below entitled Authority of the Numbers Directors.)

In the ball bouncing events, each ball thrown must bounce exactly one time before being caught.

Bounce jugglers are not required to actually grip each ball as it comes to a hand. Instead, they may simply push the ball slightly to redirect it to the floor. Since a stable pattern can be maintained in this way, any touch of a ball with a hand will be considered to be a catch in ball bouncing, provided that all other requirements are met.

A competitor may bring a special surface on which to bounce. Similarly, the juggler may bring a raised platform on which to situate himself. In bounce passing, multiple platforms of any heights may be used for standing or bouncing. If used, all such platforms may be raised at any height or angle, but they must be flat and firm.

For each juggler in a team event, at least every other throw (counting both hands) must be a pass to another team member. This means that the 1-count (“ultimates”), the 2- count (every right hand or every left hand), and pass/pass/self are acceptable passing patterns, but the 3-count (pass/self/self) is not. The intent is to ensure actual team pass-juggling, rather than having two or more mostly-solo jugglers.

In each team event, the passing can be from any combination of right and left hands, provided the above requirements are met.

Each competitor must register by submitting a completed Numbers registration sheet and paying the entry fee during Numbers registration hours. Competitors must also demonstrate general competency for Numbers juggling prior to registration. For registration hours and the deadline date and time for Numbers registration and payment, see the Numbers Schedule of Events at the Numbers table.

The order of registration determines the running order for the Championships. That is, the first competitors to register and pay will compete last in their events, and the last competitors to register and pay will compete first in their events.

Any number of attempts may be made within the time period. Any run in progress when the time period ends will be permitted to continue until the first drop. That is, if a run is continuing, catches will not stop being counted just because the time period is over, although no more runs may be started after the time period ends.
To successfully qualify a given number of objects, a competitor (solo or team) must keep the pattern going without a drop long enough for each hand to make as many catches as there are objects being juggled. For instance, in solo juggling of eight balls, each hand must make eight catches before there is a drop; and in two-person passing of ten clubs, each hand must make ten catches before there is a drop.

A greater number of objects cannot be used to qualify a lesser number of objects. For example, 19 catches of 10 rings by an individual does not count as a qualifying run of 9 rings, even though nine of the ten rings were each thrown and caught twice. A qualifying run must be made with the actual number of objects that are being juggled.

Except for bounce juggling, a drop is a failure to catch an object which, as a result, hits the ground or any foreign object.

For bounce juggling, a drop is a failure to touch a ball which, as a result, hits the ground twice in a row or hits any foreign object.

Collisions among the objects being juggled are permitted and are not considered as hitting foreign objects.

The drop is considered to happen at the moment the object logically should have been caught or touched (not when it hits the ground).

Catches made after an object has been dropped will not be counted, even if made before the dropped object hits the ground. That is, the catches counted must be consecutive catches with no missed catch in between.

Catches made at the end of a run by “stacking up” or collecting multiple objects in the hands and body of one or more jugglers will be counted to the extent that such catches are made before any object is dropped. Any part of the body can be used to assist in catching or collecting, provided that the objects being juggled never touch the ground or a foreign object. Only throws made before collecting begins can have their subsequent catches counted. Competitors are not allowed to use pockets, nets, or other special clothing or apparatus to aid in catching or collecting. Collecting can only be used to end a run. Any object thrown after collecting has started is considered to be a drop at the moment of release of the throw.

Any object dropped after being collected is considered to be a drop at the moment of errant release and no subsequent catches will be counted in that run.

While an object is touching any part of the body, it is considered to be in the hand that last caught it, or otherwise “should have” last caught it, in the normal pattern. For example, an object held between your legs or under an arm counts as being in a hand (the hand by which it “should have” been caught). Holding an object with the body in any way and then catching another object in the “same” hand results in collecting, and can only be used at the end of a run.

Multiplex (“squeeze”) catching is considered collecting and is only permitted at the end of a run. If any hand, or hand and body combination, catches or touches one object while already holding another object, the competitor is considered to be collecting and ending a run.

A bobbled object will be counted as caught, provided it is caught before the first drop. A bobble will not be counted as more than one catch. In particular, two consecutive catches by a given hand must always be of two different objects; the second and subsequent consecutive catches of the same object by the same hand will not be counted as catches but will be considered parts of a bobble (at most one catch).

Catching a ring and placing it over the head (pull-down) or dropping a ring onto an arm are acceptable, but these actions do not constitute additional throws or catches. Body catches only count when used in lieu of a hand catch.

In team events, catches resulting from self throws are counted.

Competitors are not required to hold all of the objects in their hands at the start of a run. The start may be achieved partly by picking up, kicking up, and/or lowering any of the objects from a balance. For instance, objects can be pulled from holsters, prop stands, or the hands of assistants. However, each object not initially held in the hands must be at rest (not moving) at the time a competitor first encounters it. Objects cannot be thrown or catapulted into the pattern by an assistant or a device. An object must be thrown from a competitor’s hand to count as a catch.

A competitor can choose to achieve a pattern by first juggling a lesser number of objects and then picking up or kicking up additional objects. However, in all cases, no catches will be counted while any object remains to be picked up or kicked up. Furthermore, no catches will be counted at the beginning of the pattern while any hand contains more than one object.

An object which is kicked up, picked up, lowered from a balance, or taken from a prop stand or from an assistant only counts as a catch once it has been thrown from a hand. Assuming that all objects initially held in the juggler’s(s’) hands are thrown first, and followed by the object(s) to receive such special handling, the catch (when thrown from a hand) of the final such object is counted as catch N (where N equals the number of objects being juggled).

Multiplex throws are not allowed.

The order of events for the Numbers Championships will be specified by the Numbers Directors. In each event, competitors will compete in the reverse order of when they registered and paid. That is, the first competitor to register and pay will go last in each event of the Championships.

Competitors must check in with the Numbers staff at the beginning of each event entered. Anyone not present at the beginning of an entered event may be disqualified from that event.

Each competitor is given a four-minute time period to achieve the best qualifying run with the minimum, or higher, number of objects for that event. At least one qualifying run of the minimum number of objects, or higher, must occur within the first two minutes (see the section above entitled Definition of a Qualifying Run). If a qualifying run of at least the minimum number of objects is not achieved during a run started in the first two minutes, then the competitor’s competition for that event ends after the last run started during the first two minutes. If a qualifying run is achieved during the first two-minutes, then the competitor continues to attempt to achieve better runs through the end of the four- minute time period.

The competitor must indicate to the judges the number of objects to be juggled each time the number changes, as well as just before the beginning of the very first run.

The competitor’s score comes from their qualifying run(s) that used the greatest number of objects that the competitor was able to qualify. Of those run(s), the one with the most catches represents their final score.

In each event, the winner is the competitor with the qualifying run of the greatest number of catches of the most objects.

If no competitor in an event is able to successfully achieve a qualifying run, then no medals or prize money will be awarded.

If two or more competitors have successfully juggled the same highest number of catches of the greatest number of objects, then a tie will be declared. In the event of a tie, the Numbers Directors will opt to either declare both competitors as tied winners, or to allow each of the tied competitors an additional two-minute period in which to attempt better runs and thereby possibly break the tie.

Gold medals will be awarded to the winners of each event.

A $100.00 (US) prize will be awarded to the winner of each Numbers event, provided that the winner achieves a qualifying run of at least the minimum number of objects during the Championships. If the winner is an individual, that person will receive the entire $100. If the winner is a team, the $100 will be split among the team members.

An additional $100 prize will be awarded to gold medalists who break IJA Numbers records. Prize money will be awarded only for records broken during the Numbers Championships. If a tie for first place occurs, the $100 prize will be split equally between the tying competitors.

In an event that is being video recorded, if at any time the Numbers judges are in doubt about an attempt, they may choose to assume that the attempt was successful, while reserving the right to review the video recording later and to subsequently reverse or confirm their decision. This judges’ assumption of success and option to review will be communicated to the competitors, since it means that the attempt in doubt may later be disqualified. The Numbers Directors may opt to stop an event during the Championships to review video.
Numbers judges will be selected by the Numbers Directors from the general membership of the IJA for their knowledge of and attention to numbers juggling, and for their ability to accurately observe and record the Numbers Championships. The Numbers Directors may serve as Numbers judges.

Due to the objective nature of the Numbers Championships, Numbers judges are allowed to have a personal or professional relationship with any competitor. Any Numbers judge is allowed to enter any Numbers event, but is not allowed to judge an event in which he/she is competing.

A timekeeper will track the time used by competitors, and alert the judges and competitors when time has run out. At the request of a competitor, the timekeeper may announce the approximate time used or remaining at selected intervals. In order to avoid distracting the competitor, the timekeeper should not make any announcements while a run is in progress, unless such announcements are specifically requested in advance by the competitor.

In the Championships, there will be at least three judges for each Numbers event. Their tasks are to count and record the number of catches made during each attempt. One judge will be assigned to watch each of the competitor’s(s’) hands. The judges will consult with each other to determine the total number of catches.

The judges have the option of using flags to communicate to the competitor and the audience about when the competitor may start and when a qualifying run has been achieved. To avoid distracting a competitor, judges will not raise a flag during a run.

Flag Meaning
None do not start
Green start (judges are ready; the competitor may start when ready)
Orange a qualifying run at this level has been achieved
The Numbers Directors are the final authority on interpretation of these IJA Numbers Championships Rules and will exercise discretion in handling circumstances which may arise that are not addressed in these Rules. The Numbers Directors have the authority to disqualify a competitor who does not abide by these rules.

Scott Cain and Merry Spahr
2018 Numbers Directors

Thanks to Martin Frost, Barry Bakalor, David Cain, Peter Blanchard, and Peter Kaseman for their contributions to the writing of these rules.

ms. 3/19/2018