4-ball Mills Mess, by Barry Prescott

I've been analyzing 4 ball mills mess recently, as performed by Haggis McLeod on "The Complete Teach Yourself Juggling Kit". Unfortunately he doesn't tell you how to go about doing it, so I set out to find out for myself.

Arnold Ward says:

>     + 4 balls MM is an asynchronous pattern;
>     + the same two balls are juggled by each hand.  No left hand ball is
>     ever caught by the right hand and vice versa.
>     + timing needs to be almost perfect to avoid collisions.
>     + Hands are continually crossing right over left and then left over
>     right.
All true no doubt, but I was still having problems getting my head around it. After a few hours playing and rewinding 20 seconds of video tape I have come up with a regime that, with practise, should take a 4 ball fountain juggler and turn him into a 4 ball Mills Messer:

A one handed practise for 4 ball Mills Mess:

Perform this one handed practise with each hand until you are proficient.

For the 2 balls in the *right hand*:

	   /     \         OO  <--- two balls!
   LeftArm| your  |RightArm
	  | back  |
	 (a) (b) (c)   <--- The three positions (in front of you!!)
	  |       |

Ball i.d.     Throw No.

   X		#1: 	Straight up from a (to land at `a') *NB(1)*

   Y		#2: 	From c to b
   X		#3: 	From a to b

   Y		#1: 	Straight up from a (to land at `a')

   X		#2: 	....

   Y		#3:     ....

   (Pattern repeats)
This is it (as the juggler looks at the pattern):

        /|      /\            /\       
        ||     /  \          /  \     
        ^|   _3    \        /    2_   
        1|   /|     \      /     |\   
        ^|  /        \    /        \  
        || /          \  /          \ 
        ||/            \/            \

	a              b              c
Count "1 2 3 1 2 3..." as you do this. Try it with the left hand after you have tried it with the right. The left hand pattern is the mirror image of this).

I would not say that throws 2 and 3 land at *exactly* the point I have labelled "b". They may cross over quite a lot in fact.

NB(1): The straight up and down throw (#1) is done on the opposite side of the body to the arm doing the throw. In the heat of the complete trick this throw is thrown *underneath* the other arm. You can practise this by moving your non-throwing arm around (carrying a spare ball, perhaps), as if it were involved in the trick. The arm pattern for the full 4BMM pattern is *just the same* as 3BMM --

Now lets label the throws with letters, as it will come in handy later when both hands are going at once. I've giving the 3 throws mnemonic names which are hopefully of use.

Throw No.	Throw Label

1: 		     B		Straight up from a (to land at a)
THINK:		"Bouncer" (underneath throw)

2: 		     A		From c to b
THINK:		"stAndard throw"

3: 		     C		From a to b
THINK:		"Cross the body"
As you do the trick you can count to yourself "B A C B A C ...". OK I know what you are thinking --- "Why are the in the wrong order?". Well, when you could to the 4 ball MM trick proper you interleave two one-handed patterns...

4 Ball Mills Mess

	Left Hand		Right Hand

Note that each hand is going "BACBAC...", but the 2 handed pattern is "A B C A B C..."

Some words of wisdom from Vince Darley:

(i) Hand movements are precisely the same as in 3-Mills mess
[but] (ii) Throws are faster and go to different places
(iii) It is still two in each hand
(iv) Practise first just two in one hand
(v) Learn with two pairs of different coloured balls
(vi) Use a site-swap viewer / good juggler to learn more
(vii) practise a lot - it is a difficult pattern
(viii) Also try swaying slightly at the hips to widen the pattern => less collisions and looks nice too.
(v) is *extremely* useful for diagnosing errors I would say.

In case you don't have a site-swap viewer / good juggler (live or on video) to hand, I'll reproduce the 4BMM diagram from the 4-balls help file, but slightly modified and annotated with the type of throw e.g. {A}.

How to begin 4BMM from a 4 ball fountain

This diagram starts by doing a 4 ball asynchronous outward-circles fountain, and then throwing an A from the right hand. (This is what Haggis does in the video.) In this diagram the balls juggled by the left hand are labelled 1 and 2 and the balls juggled by the right hand are labelled 3 and 4.

Sequence here is:

Throw |3 2 4 1 |
Catch | 2 4 1 3|
Time  ---------> and repeat.

       ^     4          1    ^                       <3
       1                V   <3
      v      3                4                   1      ^
             V   ==>       2> V         ==>       V   4  2
       L     R             L> R                      <R
    4 balls async      Toss 3 over to                    L
                       left{A}, catch and 
                       carry 2 UNDER to          Toss 2 out of Left{B}
		       Right.			 straight
                                                 up. Carry 4 over left.
     V========================================== to toss 4 up and bring
						 left back to catch 1.

              ^               4>                        1>
       3 ^    2           ^      2                           4
       V 4>               1>     V                   ^       V
       1 R         ==>    3  L>          ==>                 2
       L                  R                            R>    L

 toss 4 with R{C} and     L. toss 1 to right{A}.  Toss 3 straight up
						  with R{B}. Catch 2
						  with L(over R)
catch 1 with L. Prepare   catch 3 with R.         and pull R back to prepare
to catch 3 with R and     carry L hand OVER       to catch 4.  Prepare to
toss 1 to right.          Right to catch 2.       toss 2 back to left with


    3                            <2
    V     ^ 1                 3
         <2 V                 V

            4                 4      1              etc.....
          L R                 R      L

    toss 2 back to         Catch 1 w/ L, carry
left{C}, pull right back   4 OVER L to left.
to catch 4. Prepare to     prepare to toss 4 w/
carry 4 OVER L to left.    R and 1 w/ L.
Prepare to catch 1 w/ L


4-ball Mills Mess, by Barry Prescott / Juggling Information Service / help@juggling.org
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