Combat juggling

About a decade or so ago, there was massive interest in figure skating. It seemed like a lot of TV time was devoted to showing one competition after another. These figure skating competitions left me cold, like any competition where the scoring depends on aesthetic criteria rather than objective measurements. It seemed like harmless fun but could not hold my attention for more than a couple of minutes. I used to joke that for it to really catch on, they should make it into a contact sport where all the contestants would take the ice simultaneously and were allowed to body check each other and the last skater who managed to stay upright would be declared the winner.

So I was startled to find that a similar idea has been adopted for the equally gentle pastime of juggling. There is now something called ‘combat juggling’ where jugglers are allowed to disrupt each other. According to Wikipedia, “In its most typical form, a number of players juggle three clubs each, attempting to interfere with other players’ juggling, with the winner being the last to remain juggling three clubs — not necessarily those they started with. It has been adapted to be both individual and team contests, with the latter involving some pretty aggressive moves.

I learned of this new sport through Stephen Colbert, who also discusses the latest baseball doing scandal.

(This clip aired on August 5, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. Acolyte of Sagan says

    From the headline I thought you’d started a petition to abolish juggling. I had my special signing pen in hand before the page had loaded.
    Now I’m disappointed.

  2. Corvus illustris says

    I see before me the spirit of W. C. Fields, juggling with one hand and fighting dirty with the other while balancing on his head a container of his favorite beverage.

  3. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    I eagerly await the invention of full contact tiddlywinks.

    Try the Game of Skittles instead. It’s almost there already.

    These figure skating competitions left me cold,

    I have a hard time with competitions in aesthetics-based things, period. Gone are the exhibitions of yore, absolutely everything has to be a damned competition.

  4. AsqJames says

    Now mimes, on the other hand …

    …should be hung upside down in the scorpion pits and made to read a sign saying “Learn the words”?

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