Four-Ball Mills Mess: Multiplex from three balls to four

Jack Kalvan demonstrates transition from a 4B multiplex MM to Four Ball Mills Mess.

The following article first appeared in the May/Jun 2001 issue of JUGGLE magazine. The publisher has kindly given permission to reproduce it here.

 

Second method - Multiplex Start

 

Another way to learn a Four-Ball Mills Mess is by tricking yourself into it with a multiplex throw. Hold two balls in each hand and begin juggling a regular, three-ball Mills Mess. Don't release the fourth ball. At some point, multiplex throw two balls at once so all four balls are flying, and keep crossing and uncrossing your arms in the Mills Mess style. There's a chance you may begin juggling a Four-Ball Mills Mess.

 

Figuring out how begin so you end up with two white balls in the left hand and two black balls in the right hand takes some doing. Here's one way that Jack Kalvan figured out.

 

Begin with two white balls in the right hand, and two black balls in the left hand. The arms are uncrossed.

 

With the arms uncrossed, the first throw is a reverse cascade with a white ball from the right hand.

 

The second throw is with one of the two black balls in the left hand, while the left arm is crossed under the right arm. Keep holding the second black ball between your palm and the last two fingers. Catch the white ball between the thumb and first two fingers of your left hand so you have both a white ball and a black ball in the left hand.

 

The third throw is the second white ball, reverse-cascade tossed from a crossed-over right hand. Uncross your arms and catch the first black ball in the right hand.

 

The fourth throw is the multiplex throw. The uncrossed left hand releases both the white ball and the black ball. Catch the white ball that was thrown by the right hand in step three in the left hand. (see illustration)

Arms are uncrossed. Left hand multiplex-throws white ball and black ball. Left hand catches previously-thrown white ball as left arms crosses over right arm. Right hand, crossed under left arm, will reverse-cascade black ball from the left to the right.

 

Now comes the fun part, juggling all four balls. The fifth throw is with the crossed-under right hand throwing a black ball. Catch the black ball that was multiplexed by the left hand in the right hand.

 

The sixth throw is a white ball with the left hand. The left arm is crossed over the right arm. After the throw, the empty left hand catches the white ball that was multiplex thrown from the left hand in step four. (see illustration)

The left hand, crossed over the right arm, tosses the white ball. With the arms still crossed, the right hand catches the black ball. The left hand catches the incoming white ball just after the arms uncross.

 

If you maintain the pattern, you should be juggling a Four-Ball Mills Mess with two white balls in the left hand, and two black balls in the right hand.

Options for the Multiplex Throw

 

It's possible to begin with the arms in different positions, and to throw the multiplex at various points. Please be aware, though, that the individual balls do not always end up in the same hands. If you would like to consistently end up with the two white balls in the left hand and the two black balls in the right hand, you need to pay attention to: 1) where the balls are at the start, and 2) when you throw the multiplex.

 

Here is another way to begin with a three-ball Mills Mess and use one multiplex throw to make the transition to a Four-Ball Mills Mess. This method incorporates the more traditional right arm crossed over left arm start. The multiplex throw is from the left hand, when the left arm is crossed under the right.

 

Hold a white ball between your last two fingers and palm, and a black ball with the first two fingers and thumb, in the right hand. A black ball is held between the last two fingers and palm, and a white ball in the first two fingers and thumb of the left hand. Remember, the right arm is crossed over the left. Get used to juggling a three-ball Mills Mess while holding the extra black ball between the last two fingers and palm of your left hand.

 

Ready? Here we go. The right hand, crossed over the left, throws the black ball.

 

The arms open and the left hand throws a white ball. Cross the left arm over the right and catch the black ball in the left hand.

While the right arm is on bottom, the right hand throws a white ball. The right hand then catches the descending white ball that was thrown by the left hand.

 

The left hand, crossed over the right, throws a black ball. After the arms uncross, the empty left hand catches a white ball Arms open, the right hand throws a white ball. The right arm crosses over the left to catch the black ball.

 

Left arm crossed under the right, the left hand multiplex throws both a white ball and the held black ball. The white ball flies higher than the black ball. From this point on, only white balls will be juggled by the left hand, and only black balls will be caught and thrown by the right hand.

 

You now need to begin juggling the Four-Ball Mills Mess, so things will speed up a bit. Throw the black ball from the right hand. The right arm is still crossed over the left arm at this point. Catch the descending white ball in the left hand. This is the white ball that was thrown by the right hand, just before the left hand throws the multiplex. Uncross your arms and catch the lower of the two multiplexed balls, the black ball, in the right hand.

 

With the arms open, reverse-cascade the white ball that is in the left hand. This white ball flies up on the outside of a descending black ball. Cross the left arm over the right to grab the other white ball. Notice that your left hand passes underneath the same descending black ball to catch the white ball.

 

The right arm is crossed under the left arm as you throw a black ball. Still crossed under, catch the other black ball.

 

Toss a white ball from the left hand that is crossed over the right. Uncross your arms by bringing your left hand under the black ball, to catch the white ball.

 

This puts you in Four-Ball Mills Mess mode. The next throw is a black ball from an uncrossed right hand.

Left Handed Start

 

If you begin with the left hand crossed over the right you will want to hold a white ball and black ball in the left hand, and a black ball and white ball in the right hand. The left hand holds the white ball between the thumb and first two fingers, and the black ball between the ball and last two fingers. The right hand holds the two balls in the opposite order. The black ball is between the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand. The white ball is between the palm and last two fingers of the right hand.

 

The first throw is a white ball from the left hand crossed over the right

 

The second throw is a black ball from the right hand, arms uncrossed.

 

The third throw is a black ball from the left hand, left arm crossed under right arm.

 

The fourth throw is a white ball from the right hand, right arm crossed over left arm.

 

The fifth throw is a black ball from the left hand, arms uncrossed.

 

The sixth throw is the multiplex throw. The right hand, crossed under the left, throws a black ball and a white ball with one throw.

 

The black ball is the first ball out of the right hand and flies a bit higher.

 

The left hand releases one white ball, and catches the other white ball, the lower of the two multiplex balls.

 

With the next open-arm right hand reverse-cascade, you should now be juggling a Four-Ball Mills Mess.

 

copyright 2001 by Todd Strong
       
 

Copyright © Todd Strong

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