Other balancing skills?

Just curious, has anyone else here used the balance they learned with the unicycle and picked up other variety skills like ropewalking, rola bola, walking globe, stilts, and freestanding ladder?

My personal stupid human tricks bag consists of slackrope walking, rola bola, escapism, juggling, and I hope to add just about everything I can think of. It’s almost an addiction with me now. There’s nothing like that feeling of getting a new trick for the first time.

Dorian

What an excellent thread.

I love balance skills. I find them to be the most personally satisfying of the circus arts. Of course, the unicycle itself is a balance skill.

I have also been working for quite a while on balancing a cane with a tossed up hat or just a club on my chin while juggling and have recently started to be able to hold it for upwards of forty catches. I do rola bola and have recently become quite competent at juggling while on it. I’ve taken a few futile pokes at balancing a club on my chin while idling on a unicycle (at my current state of idling this has been mostly a joke). The shortest thing I can balance on my chin is a hat but I promised my daughter I’d be able to do a spoon by the end of the summer; she doesn’t believe it can be done. (Neither do I actually, at least not by me. :slight_smile: )

I recently managed to get one club into a chin balance out of a 3 club juggle. I’m still working on chin rolls which aren’t going that well.

Oh yeah, I’d love to try rope walking but simply don’t have access to a slack or tight one. :frowning:

The ultimate balance act has got to be Rudy Horn’s one-foot idling on a unicycle and tossing cups and saucers up to his head using his other foot.

And, I recently had the pleasure of watching, very close up, a clown (yes, a clown) balancing a pole with a hat on it while doing a 5 ball cascade. Pretty cool considering he did a very low key and not very complicated three ball routine prior to this finisher.

Oh well, you asked, right. :smiley:

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

I did stilts before unicycling but it wasn’t a very big obsession. My friends and I just made some. I also do the rola bola. I can juggle up to 6 balls 4 clubs or 5 rings on it.

I can balance on one foot for 2 minutes. Can anyone beat me that. As you said Raphael, I love balancing Acts. It’s a shame that I didn’t take it up way younger in my days when I was growing up during the 1970’s. My folks were a bit restricted on me on what I want to do. It’s a shame really. Oh well.

That would be good for me too. But I don’t have access for that too.

That would be wonderful to do that sort of act what Rudy Horn did. I saw pictures of it in the book that I read. What about Nancy Huey on Guinness world records prime time. She was idling one foot and the other was rice bowls. Balancing 31 rice bowls on her head.
Amazing really.:slight_smile:

David.

Hands down. Eyes closed.

Later,
Eli.

I’m into balancing, although usually only when I don’t have a unicycle with me and I go extreme pootling.

I’ve had a go on a (small) tightrope and I reckon they’re over-rated. Unless you’ve got a really long and not tight enough wire it’s not that much different from balancing on a narrow bar or rail, which you can do pretty much anywhere. Now slackrope, that really is difficult, looks quite fun although painful to learn.

I can’t really be bothered with using things that need props to get my balance fix as there’s so much out there to balance on / with anyway. I walk along the top of railings and seats and balance on the top of bollards quite often. Oh and I can do a 180 spin on the corner of a traffic cone, the 360 sometimes happens but is usually a 180 to falling on the floor. I learnt a jumping into balance on a rail although I’m still failing on a 180 jump onto rail.

Also a good one if you live in a city is to catch the tube / metro / subway and see how long you can stand on one leg on it, it’s actually pretty hard to keep balanced when you get into a station.

Joe

Raphael,

That’s awsome! have you got any videos?

I’m planning on learning to juggle (in the soccer sence of the word) a soccer ball on my head while idling my unicycle. I tried it a while ago but didn’t get very far.

Andrew

I’m with you Andrew. I just bought a Basketball not long ago and I must try it out soon as I intend to do some Uni-basketball very soon. That should be fun. I love Juggling too but Unicycling Rules O’k.

David.

Unicycling’s the only balance sport I do as a sport. However, when I perform with the Morris dancers I do a number of balance-related tricks. Because of the context, i tend to do stuff which is easy to achieve, but which can be presented to the audience as entertaining.

I have a free standing ladder. I can climb a short distance up it, walk it like a pair of stilts, or hop on it. Nothing more complex than that, though.

I do loads of chin balances. All time favourite for wowing the audience is one of those big umbrellas from outside pubs. To the uninitiated, it looks like it’s really difficult, but in fact it’s really easy as long as it’s not windy. Others include smaller unmbrellas (open or closed); walking sticks (with or without a hat on top); chairs; my unicycle (Coker is a challenge); and tent poles. Modern tent poles are very flexible, and 20 foot of curved flexible pole is a great challenge. One day I’m going to buy a cheap set of sweep’s brushes and try those.

I once did a rapier - with a really sharp point. It slipped and drew blood from my chest. Looked more dramatic than it was. A fencing foil is very easy, and much safer.

Another trick worth playing about with is bucket walking. Use an ordinary bucket (metal or plastic, but fairly robust) and jump up onto it so that your feet are at opposite sides of the rim. It is now possible to walk the bucket by rocking from side to side. You can also pirouette on it. 360 deg. should be achievable. Reach down and grab the handle and you can hop! I used to keep 3 juggling balls and three clubs in the bucket, and do a brief (and rather inexpert) juggling act, standing on the bucket’s rim, and making a big thing of the ‘difficulty’ of getting the balls out of the bucket.

I’ve been “cross training” on the rola bola and while it hasn’t been a miracle cure-all it has helped develop a sense for side to side balance which has helped smooth out my idling and wheel walking.
The down side with practicing circus related skills ( I also juggle balls, clubs, and rings) is that the neibohors assume you’re some kind of circus freak and they quit talking to you.

Re: Other balancing skills?

djm wrote:

> I can balance on one foot for 2 minutes. Can anyone beat me that?

Sure. :wink:

Before my knee injury 10/14/1, I could balance in side crane or side kick
stance for 2 minutes with my eyes closed, or throw 37 kicks without putting
my foot down with my eyes closed. Why 2 minutes? That’s the length of a
kickboxing round.

Why 37?

1: High round kick
2: High side kick
3: High hook kick
4: Mid round kick
5: Mid side kick
6: Mid hook kick

Pattern: 1626364656615253545514243441323312211: all the permutations of 6
kicks taken 2 at a time; in other words, 11 and 12 and 13 and 14 and 15 and
16 and 21 and 22 and 23 and 24 and 25 and 26 and 31 and 32 and 33 and 34 and
35 and 36 and 41 and 42 and 43 and 44 and 45 and 46 and 51 and 52 and 53 and
54 and 55 and 56 and 61 and 62 and 63 and 64 and 65 and 66 are all in the
pattern. It’s way more elegant - compact - than that list, though: X
squared plus 1 elements long instead of 2 X squared elements long. Also
fun.

The same idea - I call it the permutation drill - can be applied to punching
or footwork or bladework or… but those things aren’t balance skills. Long
kicking combinations are.

Andrew, I will permit myself a bit of vanity and assume you mean my trick and not Rudy Horn’s. :slight_smile: Unfortunatey, I don’t have any video, but I’ve added a couple of shots of me doing this trick at the Philadelphia Juggling Festival.

http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/albuq14

How ironic. I started learning this stuff in the 70s and my mother encouraged me to be a bum and do some street performing or something similar for a while before heading off to college, but I was too in a hurry to start a “proper life” and I never took her up on it. Whenever I watch one of my Cirque du Soleil videos I get this pang.

Cheers,
Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

quote:

Oh yeah, I’d love to try rope walking but simply don’t have access to a slack or tight one.

It’s easier to tie a slack rope up than you’d think, if you care, here’s how a professional slack rope walker, MooNiE/Philip Earl Johnson told me to do it.

  1. All you need is a good distance (I use 100 ft. so I can tie it just about anywhere) of quarter-inch hemp rope (or some other natural rope that will stretch). You can buy this at many do-it-yourself stores.

  2. Then you find any two poles (trees, basement I-beam poles, corner of a fence,…)

  3. attach one end of the rope to one pole by just tieing a couple regular knots at whatever height you feel comfortable with (I suggest when first trying it… below crotch level, but hey, that may just be me)

  4. then wrap the other end of the rope around the other pole, loop the rope around itself like a c shape, pull really hard and it will tighten up the part of the rope you’ll end up walking on, you do that about 6 more times and then just tie it off anywhere, it doesn’t have to be tight.

Depending on your weight, legnth of the suspended rope, and how well you tied it, it could dip down about 2 ft. If this makes no sense and you really want to try it, I could add some pictures.

Dorian

Re: Other balancing skills?

joemarshall wrote:
> I’m into balancing, although usually only when I don’t have a unicycle
> with me and I go extreme pootling.
>
> I’ve had a go on a (small) tightrope and I reckon they’re over-rated.
> Unless you’ve got a really long and not tight enough wire it’s not
> that much different from balancing on a narrow bar or rail, which you
> can do pretty much anywhere. Now slackrope, that really is difficult,
> looks quite fun although painful to learn.

Not at all! Practice on parking lot chains and stuff. If you fall, you drop
a foot or two and land on your feet, big deal.
>
> I can’t really be bothered with using things that need props to get my
> balance fix as there’s so much out there to balance on / with anyway.
> I walk along the top of railings and seats and balance on the top of
> bollards quite often. Oh and I can do a 180 spin on the corner of a
> traffic cone, the 360 sometimes happens but is usually a 180 to
> falling on the floor. I learnt a jumping into balance on a rail
> although I’m still failing on a 180 jump onto rail.

I was doing pommel horse circles and flares on the Lamar St. bridge once -
hands on the railing - and fell into the river about 50’ below. The crowd
went wild…
>
> Also a good one if you live in a city is to catch the tube / metro /
> subway and see how long you can stand on one leg on it, it’s actually
> pretty hard to keep balanced when you get into a station.

Or turn, yeah; the Chicago el rocked for that. No public transit worth
<edited word> in Austin, though a bus would work too, if it’s empty enough
that you don’t risk falling on anyone.
>
> Joe


Make a searching and fearless moral self-inventory. Admit to yourself
and to another human the exact nature of your wrongs. List the people
you have harmed. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others. Continue to take
personal inventory and when wrong promptly admit it.

Re: Other balancing skills?

Andrew_carter wrote:
> Raphael,
>
> That’s awesome! have you got any videos?
>
> I’m planning on learning to juggle (in the soccer since of the word) a
> soccer ball on my head while idling my unicycle. I tried it a while
> ago but didn’t get very far.

Get To Be The Best 2 and you can see Anthony Gatto doing TWO balls on his
head. Not while unicycling, though…
>
> Andrew


Make a searching and fearless moral self-inventory. Admit to yourself
and to another human the exact nature of your wrongs. List the people
you have harmed. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others. Continue to take
personal inventory and when wrong promptly admit it.

you can use climbing tape too, i saw a bloke at bjc brighton the other week who had a slackrope setup like this.

Re: Other balancing skills?

On Sat, 19 Apr 2003 10:20:48 -0500, Dorian
<Dorian.m52gc@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>It’s easier to tie a slack rope up than you’d think, if you care, here’s
>how

May I take the liberty to emphasize that this applies to SLACK rope.
Don’t set up a TIGHT rope unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
The forces generated in tightrope installations are enormous and
snapping tight ropes (long ones) have been known to injure and even
kill people. I’m serious.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“First things first, but not necessarily in that order.”

Very nice, thank for the link.

Wow! Did the two balls both go up vertically with one in front of the other? By this I mean did he just move his head forwards and backwards really quickly?

Thanks,
Andrew

Cheers Raphael mate. Thank you for the kind words. You put a smile on my face today. I was down in the dumps today. (Morning time in Australia) Your right. How Ironic it was to me.

David.

Andrew, the balls are going up and down side by side, he moves his head side to side.
-Isaac