I too felt this same clicking-into-place when reading Erik’s suggestion of a standard reference point with which to relate all of juggling to.
However, I thought there might be a problem with this, and it seems now the process-based definition is public, the problem has reared its head. The problem is this: a juggling historian can easily see the connection between the default form and a huge variety of juggling skills, but new jugglers (or people who just don’t know the history, or people who know the history but don’t think it relevant) are missing the “easy” connections.
Is there a way to connect diabolo to the default form if you don’t know the history of diabolo linking it to juggling and jugglers via circus performers of the past? I know loads of people (including myself) who learned basic or advanced diabolo skills before ever learning the three ball cascade. Many diabolists never cross over and learn the cascade, I’m sure. In places like Taiwan there are diabolo clubs that have no connection to juggling at all.
It reminds me of a time I went to a unicycle convention, and I spoke to someone on the train after, and they couldn’t understand why there had been a show in the evening at all, let alone why the show had juggling in it, or why a juggler hosted it (me). For them they were at the convention to play unicycle hockey, nothing more. For them a unicycle was, and always had been, a piece of sporting equipment, not related to performance. In a way they were correct, because unicycles were invented as a variation of penny-farthings, but without the small rear wheel, which came about because of bicycle racing where the back wheel wouldn’t touch the ground because the riders were pedalling too fast. The circus connection wasn’t made, or wasn’t relevant.
I suggest that the three ball cascade is a good default form, but it is too restrictive for most people, and the connection to it via the knowledge of the history of juggling is too many steps. I think, to get more people on board with such a definition, you have to free them up from having to make connections via a history they might not know or care about. And I say that as someone who knows a lot of juggling history, think it’s important, but personally don’t care about it all that much.
As I said in my original feedback, their is a foundational aspect to so much of what we (culturally) now consider juggling that is missing from your current definition, when elevating the three ball cascade above everything else. That’s “controlling things with sticks”.
So much of juggling is based on the juggler having a stick or other piece of wood between their hand (or other thing doing the controlling) and the object ultimately being controlled. This includes things like devil stick, flower stick, cigar boxes, plate spinning, diabolo, hat spinning, ball spinning, mouth sticks, lots of balance tricks, lots of combination tricks, kendama, Guy Heathcoat Ball-Sticks, golf ball bouncing on the golf club, stuff with ping pong bats and balls… this list goes on and on.
What do these all have in common? The object being juggled never (or rarely) touches the juggler’s hand, and if it is caught there, that isn’t part of the skill, but the moment when the skill “ends” or the juggler is finished doing that skill. Repeated throwing and catching in the hand defines the three ball cascade, but the same thing when done with cigar boxes isn’t even cigar box technique any more, as its essences is NOT catching the final box in the hand. The same thing (catch in the hand) done with diabolo or hat spinning or devilstick or a bottle on a mouthstick is what you do when you want to STOP the skill, not part of the skill itself.
Some of these include throwing and catching, or even a ball, but most have this disconnection to the three ball cascade, or the default form, that many people are unwilling to bridge. Not just in this conversation, but in statements like “why doesn’t diabolo have its own competition?” or “flowersticks aren’t allowed at the WJF”.
If you expect people to follow your process, you have to understand they will stumble time and time and time again if you make them go via the history juggling to find the connection to the default form, especially with all these skills where the object being manipulated never touches the hand (or the skill ends when the object is caught in the hand).
If you deny “using a stick to manipulate an object” is a fundamental aspect of a huge number of juggling skills otherwise disconnected to the three ball cascade, and we forgo the history of performance juggling to connect it to the three ball cascade, the only thing that connects these to the three ball cascade is modern juggling culture. But that’s saying nothing more than “jugglers do it so it’s juggling” which isn’t very helpful to anyone.