Note: Alan "Crunchy Frog" Morgan reports having seen Jonathan Shaffer doing a blind Mills Mess. You have been warned.
Throws don't have to be perfect; just good enough to reach the hands. After all, if they hit the tips of the fingers, they're retrievable. Throw low and regularly, and after a while the throws will become similar enough that your eyes just don't matter; accuracy to within a hands-size with throws low enough is not that difficult.
but how people do half-showers and such.. eeep!
Blind juggling is great practice for a lot of things. It helps you get a very stable pattern in a cascade or half shower. I suppose it would help Mills Mess if you could learn it blind...
for longer runs, i found i had to try very hard to relax (as lowell suggests). this might sound like a bunch of new age shit, but i found it much easier if i imagined i could still see the balls. sometimes i imagined that i had an eye in the middle of each palm that could see the incoming ball. ok, so maybe it does sound like a bunch of new age sewage, but it REALLY did help.
try learning this out in the middle of a park. you might be surprised how many people walk by at some distance and call out encouraging remarks to you to keep on trying - of course none of them know you have your eyes closed, and they assume you are learning to do 3 balls. i'd always wave in a friendly and shy novice fashion and then make sure i was doing 5 if i saw them returning from wherever they were headed at some later point.
three clubs is not too hard either.
blind juggling helps you to relax and concentrate on other things about your juggling. for instance, i became very aware of how my weight was distributed on my feet after juggling blind for a while. i also noticed a slight tension in my left shoulder.
try walking (forwards or backwards) in a straight line whilst cascading 3 with your eyes closed. steve ragatz and i did this a bit about a year ago - it's fun to see people head off at various strange angles and then be completely surprised when they open their eyes. or try walking to some distant point and see how close you can get.
blind juggling for a bunch of people is hard if you have to make yourself relax in order to be able to do the trick. i was street performing in sydney last christmas and kids loved "three balls and no eyes". i'd count to three and close my eyes in the middle of a cascade. once one shifty looking youngster started edging towards the hat as i counted. i got to 3 and then didn't close my eyes and he lunged forward. i laughed at him, emptied the hat into my pocket and did the trick.
phil san miguel of purdue was fascinated by blind juggling when i told him i was doing a lot of it. his solution to the "blindfold" or "closed eyes" dilemma was to try and gouge out my one remaining good eye with the broken dowel of a softclub. he and i spent an enjoyable afternoon at purdue earlier this year playing blind combat across the street from his house. i thought it was great fun when i went back across the street and lured him out into the oncoming traffic. he took out 2 motorcyclists before he was hit by a greyhound bus.
I have found this also helpful for working a rola-bola blind (which seems like it shouldn't be visual, but is, frustratingly). However, tray spinning is almost exactly the same blind.for longer runs, i found i had to try very hard to relax (as lowell suggests). this might sound like a bunch of new age shit, but i found it much easier if i imagined i could still see the balls. sometimes i imagined that i had an eye in the middle of each palm that could see the incoming ball. ok, so maybe it does sound like a bunch of new age sewage, but it REALLY did help.
Has anyone else had the phenomenon I had when learning to juggle blind, that it seemed like there was an absurdly long wait before the balls landed in my hand? I attributed it to not being able to see their natural progression up, down. It no longer feels strange to me (ah well).
Boppo (Bruce Tiemann) finds blind showering (not half-showering) easier than blind cascade.
Tony Duncan is an extremely good, very experienced juggler, for those who don't know. He appeared in the Philadelphia public show last October, and again in the spring sometime. Some of his contact juggling was devised independently of Michael Moschen around the same time.
I've had pretty good success with this (about 50 throws). It seems easier to me than balls, I suppose because the nice, long handle is not as easy to miss. It's a nice trick to be able to do, when hecklers say, "Well, can you do that with your eyes closed?" and you can. I've also been able to pull off a flourish under a double with my eyes closed.
Also, is it just me, or do other people practicing blind juggling find that, even with your eyes closed, it is more comfortable to work in a dark room? Also, I start out by working in extremely low light, as in with a digital clock providing the only light, for a few minutes before attempting to practice totally blind. Anyone else do that?
I am a novice with whopping 7 months of juggling experience but there are a few things I found useful while trying to do blind fold juggling:
ps: now I can do some juggling in complete dark, my room-mates can sit in a dark room and do nothing but listen to the sound of balls being thrown and caught...
Neil Stammer once taught scarf juggling to a blind person. I do not know of a blind person ever learning true toss juggling.Has anyone ever heard of a blind juggler? It seems possible.
If you're interested, try an entire session sans vision. It's very different! I found that peeking threw off my blind juggling alot, keep them eyes closed! Here's where I'm at:
over the top: 20ish
It's a shame that aside from the passing pattern, so much of the rest of the juggling stuff in the book is so ridiculous. For instance, one of the other troupers does some blind juggling, and Silverberg makes a big deal of him making desperate grasps to catch the clubs he is locating by hearing, as they whistle past his ear.(comments on the novel, "Lord Valentine's Castle" by Robert Silverberg)
This mental strain makes the guy really antisocial for a while. "Blind juggling is bad for the soul." This made a great impression on me for many years (i.e. until I learned how to juggle and tried it myself).
Also, at one point Valentine is locked in a room on the Isle of Sleep or something and "would've juggled his boots, but juggling two objects was for fools". How incredibly unimaginative. (Guess he never heard of 1 5 0 : -8 )