Mike's Mess

A pattern discovered by Mike Day who also invented the Mills Mess State Transition Diagram or MMSTD for short. The MMSTD is a mathematical notation for juggling patterns which involve the crossing & uncrossing of arms.

This trick was originally devised as a three club pattern, based on the clubswinging move Cross & Follow, with a little alteration it makes a very nice three ball trick too.

Start with one ball. Cross your arms over so that the hand on top is holding the ball. In one move carry the ball in a wide sweeping circle flat to your chest. Circle all the way around so that your arm swings over & then underneath the other arm. Just before your arms crash into each other make a high Under the arm throw that goes straight up on the other side of the pattern & peaks at about a foot above head height. Uncross your arms, catch the ball in the other hand then do the same again on the other side.

In this trick, every throw is carried round in a circle before being thrown under the opposite arm. Just practise with one ball for a bit. Work on making the carry, scoop & throw in one smooth movement. Also make sure that as you carry the ball you hold the ball between your thumb, fore & middle fingers so that your audience can see the ball, rather than cupping it to your chest.

Now take all three balls & juggle a High Cascade, exactly the same as a normal cascade just higher & slower. Start by catching a ball & beginning the carry that you have just practised. While doing the carry, throw the next ball at the normal time, that is when the ball before it peaks. With the same hand catch the next ball as normal & begin a second carry just before the first one ends. Throw the ball from the first carry under the other arm, then the one from the second carry & resume the high cascade.

It is easier to fit pairs of carries into the cascade rather than one at a time. It also shows you how two opposite carries fit together, while one hand is carrying the other is throwing. By this stage you should be quite comfortable with carrying on both sides.

Now juggle your high cascade count out the throws, "1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4..." On every one & two make a carry & throw normal high throws on the threes & fours.

Finally juggle & count, "1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2..." So that under every throw you are making a carry.

When you get this far you can juggle Mike's Mess. But in my opinion big arm carries under the high throws are far more suited to juggling clubs rather than balls. As a three ball pattern Mikes Mess looks better when juggled low & fast. Hold your upper arms tight to your body & tuck your elbows in to your waist, perform each carry using the forearm only with the elbow as a pivot. Carry fast & make your throws to the normal cascade height. Much better.