Rubenstein's Revenge

Rick Rubenstein demonstrating Rubenstein's Revenge.

 

The explanation (below) first appeared in the July/August 2000 issue of JUGGLE magazine. JUGGLE is the official publication of the International Jugglers' Association.

Rick Rubenstein, co-founder of the juggling duo Clockwork, is credited with coming up with this fascinating three-ball variation. The subtleties of the pattern are so great that Rick confessed to not actually be able to juggle the pattern for a great length of time. It turns out that what Rick came up with was slightly different than the version which was popularized with his name. It took Rick a while to modify his pattern, and be able to proudly demonstrate what's thought of as the true Rubenstein's Revenge.

 

There are a total of six throws and catches for a complete cycle of Rubenstein's Revenge, three throws on one side, and the mirror image of those three throws on the other side. The order is a standard right, left, right, left throwing sequence. Each ball flies in its own distinct flight path and each ball is always thrown from one hand to the other. Not only do the arms constantly cross and uncross, but the hands circle around each other in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

 

Because people learn patterns in different ways, several different approaches are given here. Try them all to see which work the best for you. It may turn out that attempting the different methods will have a cumulatively beneficial effect that will result in learning Rubenstein's Revenge more quickly.

 

Three Pre-Excercises to Help Learn Rubenstein's Revenge

 

Surprisingly enough, one good pre-exercise for juggling a smooth Rubenstein's Revenge is to practice a Forward Cross-Follow pattern while club or poi swinging. The winding and unwinding of the wrists in club swinging is very similar to the hand motion of Rubenstein's Revenge.

 

More directly, you also get a sense of the crossing and uncrossing of the arms while juggling Mills Mess. In fact, Rubenstein's Revenge can be thought of as a continuation or extension of Mills Mess.

 

If you can already juggle a Burke's Barrage you may want to try using that pattern as a stepping stone to the Revenge. Some jugglers learn Rubenstein's Revenge as an elaboration of Burke's Barrage. Isaac Orr suggests juggling Burke's Barrage with the carries on the inside. Then add a chop after the carry. Style it up and you have Rubenstein's Revenge. The chop and the extra styling help to transform the right, right, left, left throwing sequence of Burke's Barrage into the right, left, right, left sequence of Rubenstein's Revenge.

Two-Ball Rubenstein's Revenge

 

Steve Healy, known by many as JAG, suggests that people try this warm up with just two of the three balls to practice the complicated clockwise and counterclockwise arm circles of Rubenstein's Revenge./p>

 

Hold the striped ball in your right hand, palm pointing down, and the white ball in your left hand, palm pointing up. Begin with the right arm crossed over the left. (see illustration)

Moving both arms in a clockwise direction, invert your arm positions so the right arm is crossed below the left, palm up. Throw the striped ball straight up, or, even better, slightly back into the center. Still holding the white ball, continue swinging your left hand clockwise out to the left, under the striped ball.

 

When your arms are uncrossed, the left hand claw throws the white ball with a reverse cascade throw over the striped ball. After throwing the white ball, continue the clockwise movement with the left hand so the left arm is crossed over the right. Claw catch the striped ball in your left hand. Catch the white ball in your right hand with the palm turned up. You have just completed the first sequence.

 

The next bit can be thought of as a mirror image of the first. The left arm is crossed over the right, holding the striped ball, palm facing down The right hand has the white ball, palm facing up. Swing both arms in a counterclockwise direction until the left arm is crossed underneath the right.

 

The left hand throws the striped ball straight up, or slightly back towards the center of the pattern. The right hand carries the white ball counterclockwise under the striped ball to the outside right of the pattern. Without stopping its counterclockwise motion, the right hand throws the white ball over the top of the striped ball. This throw is an open arm clawed reverse cascade.

 

The right hand claw catches the striped ball after crossing over the left hand. The left hand catches the white ball palm up. This puts you back in the original position to start over again.

Individual Flight Paths of the Three Balls

 

The Striped Ball

 

The striped ball is thrown from an underarm crossed arms position into the center of the pattern. While the striped ball is flying through the air, circle the other hand under the striped ball to the outside of the pattern. This opens up your arms so they are uncrossed. Continue circling so the catching hand is again crossed over the hand that just threw the striped ball. Notice that your hands have not changed their orientation. The arm that just threw the striped ball was underneath and is once again underneath. The empty receiving hand was crossed above during the throw and goes back to being crossed above for the catch, after circling the striped ball.

 

Claw catch the striped ball with the receiving hand that is crossed on top. After catching the striped ball, continue swinging that hand across the body. The right hand swings clockwise, the left hand swings counterclockwise. These swings will eventually carry the striped ball around the white ball, which is flying through the air.

 

The White Ball

 

Ultimately, you throw the white ball back and forth in a series of clawed reverse cascade throws. The challenge is to have the white ball orbit the striped ball before this relatively simple, reverse cascade claw throw.

 

Catch the white ball in the bottom hand when your arms are crossed. Holding on to the white ball, circle outward to uncross your arms. Circle counterclockwise for the right hand and clockwise when the white ball is in the left hand.

 

The Black Ball

 

The black ball follows the same U-shaped pattern that you juggle for one of the balls in a Mills Mess.

 

Catch the black ball when the arms are open and throw it to the other hand straight up or slightly back into the center in an underarm, crossed arm reverse cascade throw. Remember, the black ball flies mostly below the other two balls in its distinctive U-shaped pattern.

The Sequence of Six Throws for Rubenstein's Revenge<

 

Begin with the striped ball and the black ball in the right hand and the white ball in the left hand. Cross your right arm over the left with the right palm turned down. Circle both arms in a clockwise direction so the right arm is now crossed under the left arm with the palm facing up. Throw the striped ball from the left side into the center of the pattern. (see first illustration)

First Illustration

 

Continue the clockwise circle with your left arm to uncross your arms. The left hand passes underneath and to the left of the striped ball. Claw throw the white ball over striped ball with a reverse cascade throw from the left to the right hand. Continue the clockwise arm circle to re-cross your arms with the left arm on top. Claw catch the striped ball with your left hand. (see second illustration)

Second Illustration

 

With the right arm once again crossed under the left, throw the black ball in an underarm reverse cascade throw from the right hand to the left. Catch the white ball in the now empty right hand. You are halfway through. Now it s time to do the same thing the other way. (see third illustration)

 

Third Illustration

 

The left hand should be crossed over the right, holding the striped ball, palm down. Circle both arms in a counter-clockwise direction so the left arm ends up crossed under the right arm, palm up. This means the left hand, still holding the striped ball, circles over and then under the white ball before throwing the striped ball. Notice though, the left hand circles over a free-flying white ball, and then the right hand catches the white ball. By the time the left hand, still with the striped ball, circles under the white ball, the white ball is held in the right hand. Uncross your arms so the empty left hand can catch the black ball. (see fourth illustration)

 

Fourth Illustration

 

The right hand carries the white ball counterclockwise underneath the striped ball and throws the white ball with a clawed open arm reverse cascade. The right hand then claw catches the striped ball. (see fifth illustration)

 

Fifth Illustration

 

While the right hand carries the striped ball around the white ball with a clockwise motion, the left arm crosses under the right and tosses the black ball into the center. The arms uncross before the right hand catches the black ball. (see sixth illustration)

Sixth Illustration

Some Observations on Juggling Rubenstein's Revenge

 

Remember that during Rubenstein's Revenge both hands make both clockwise and counterclockwise swings. The throwing sequence is: 1) right hand throws striped ball while the right hand is crossed under, 2) left hand claw throws the white ball while the arms are open, 3) right hand throws the black ball again while the right arm is crossed under, 4) left hand throws the striped ball with the left arm crossed under the right, 5) right hand claw throws the white ball with the arms open, and 6) left hand throws the black ball with the left arm crossed under the right.

 

If you pay attention to just the position of the right hand when throwing, the sequence is crossed under (striped ball), crossed under (black ball), open (white). The same sequence is carried out by the left hand, as well. Notice that the hands never throw in a crossed over position. As a contrast, in Mills Mess the throwing sequence for one hand is crossed over, crossed under, open.

 

It may be helpful to say, Crossed under, open, crossed under. More precisely, you could add which hand, Right crossed under, left open, right crossed under, left crossed under, right open, left crossed under.

  

In my experience, this is one of the more complicated three-ball patterns. Not having a clear idea of how to break the steps down, it took me several years to feel comfortable juggling this pattern. Please be patient and take pride in your progress. The skills you are learning will come in handy for other variations, as well.

       
 

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Date Website Was Last Updated: May 25, 2017