This is the second article in a series of (at least three) articles on wild
7-club passing. All the patterns are ambidextrous so if you are not used to
passing 7 clubs using both hands I advise you to learn some of the patterns
described in the last issue of Kaskade (65), where I went into '7-club three
count', different versions of 'pass, pass, selfs', a few 'bookends' (or ppsps)
and a couple of 3-person feeds based on some of the patterns.
This time the focus is on one of the branches of wild 7-club patterns we didn't get a chance to look into last time namely 'Countdowns'. And there is also a 'bonus pattern' that doesn't seem to be closely related to the other patterns, but that just makes it even more interesting.
This is a branch of passing that has existed for a while in 6-club passing, but hasn't (as far as I'm concerned) been introduced into the vast world of 7-club passing. But fear not! Here it comes. There is at least one Really Nice Pattern in this category - invented by Trevor Lewis and me here in my back yard in Copenhagen - hence the name.
This pattern is a countdown from 3 - (that is, one round of three-count, then
a two-count, a one-count, a two-count and then all over again). As you can see,
the name 'countdown' is actually not really appropriate as there is as much
counting up as there is down, but what the heck. The countdown from 3 is the
shortest of the patterns worth denoting with the dubious term (a countdown from
2 would be a pps). It actually only has 8 throws before it repeats itself, which
makes it one-sided (as 8 is an even number). The entire throwing sequence is
then psspspps. Some people (myself included) find it easier to remember the
entire sequence rather than counting down (and up). I normally think of it as
one round of a three-count (that is 'pssp') followed immediately by the reverse
(that is 'spps').
To do this pattern warm up by doing it with 6 clubs. When that feels comfortable pick up that extra club and proceed to the Copenhagen Countdown.
In this pattern 'Juggler 1' (let this be the best of you if you are not at the same level - the reason for this will become clear in a moment) starts with two clubs in each hand throwing the countdown sequence like in the 6-club version but making his passes crossing floaty doubles. If 'Juggler 1' (J1) starts from the left hand it will be easier for 'Juggler 2' (J2), (so J1 actually does the left-handed version of the countdown, while 'J2 does it right-handed. You could practice the left-handed version with 6 clubs first if you are sure this won't mess up your partner's head even more as he will then have to learn it left-handed. The terms 'left-handed' and 'right-handed' are not totally appropriate in this context as the pattern has two right passes and two left passes, no matter what hand you start from. However, the pattern is still one-sided since it repeats every eight beats, and it actually feels a bit different doing the 'left-handed' version.).
J2 has two clubs in his right and one in his left and does exactly what he was doing in 6-club version (starting right-handed), only his passes are (straight) floaty doubles (this will be fairly easy if you have the 6-club version solid). J2 starts one and a half beats after J1, so the timing of the start is exactly like in a 7-club three-count, (for more info on the 7-club three-count see Kaskade 65).
But wait! There is more! Because to get this to work J1, gets two 'zips' (aka 'handacrosses' or '1s' in normal siteswap) instead of two selfs. The zips are in the diagram represented by the back pointing arrows. So her entire throwing sequence is pzspsppz (Note: The first zip in the first round should be thrown as a normal self, meaning that the first actual zip is throw number 8). This might all sound very complicated but it is a lot easier than it sounds, as the zips come natural (if you are used to doing zips, that is). It might also be helpful to know that the two zips are both from right to left so J1's right hand will be doing no normal selfs (except for its very first throw) so the her right hand will be starting with a self and then doing pass, pass, zip, zip, pass, pass, zip, etc.
In case anyone is interested, the (fourhanded) site swap for the Copenhagen
Countdown would is 9629669669969929. J1 does 92696992 and J2 starts one and
a half beats later and does 96696996 (Note: For - for a brief explanation of
fourhanded siteswap see Footnote 2 in the article in Cascade 65).
OK, enough explanations. Enjoy and remember that this pattern is not so difficult - so if you are an ambidextrous 7-club passer and this seems impossible you are probably doing something wrong. If, however, this beauty seems easy - try the way more challenging versions of the 'Oslo Countdown', or get another mad passer and try one of the versions of the JaSoN's Countdown which is a pattern where the feedees do the easy end of the Copenhagen Countdown. If, on the other hand, you don't feel quite up for that but still want to do some more 'funky 7-club passing', then go directly to the 'Bonus Pattern' at the end of the article.
This one is a real bastard as the sequence is 15 beats long (from each side,
that is), and furthermore because of collision danger. If you are planning on
just a little bit of success with this pattern do yourself the favour to learn
the 6-club version. Just do one round of four-count, one of three-count, one
of two-count, a one-count, a two count, a three-count, and then all over starting
with the other hand. The throwing sequence is pssspsspsppspss.
The original version of the Oslo Countdown is a synchronous pattern where both jugglers do straight (!) passes - either on triples or doubles (mathematically it is supposed to be triples, but doubles may - or may not - be easier to control). It was courageously invented and attempted last summer with Magnus in the centre of Oslo). Especially around the one-count the pattern gets a bit weird for J1 as the sequence goes (starting from throw number 8) pass, hold, pass, pass, zip, pass, empty hand, zip, pass, hold Anyway - here it is. Good luck. J1 starts with 4 clubs.
If you can't get it work, don't worry - I have only managed to do three quarters
of it so far, but since that is counting down, up and down again it means that
it by no means is impossible. When we tried it in doubles we found that making
the four-count very fast (try to do a 7-club four-count in doubles in stead
of triples to warm up). The one-count, on the other hand, should be nice and
Once you have tried your luck with this one you can try a version that is (possibly) a bit easier. (I say 'possibly' because I have actually never done this one as the only decent passing partner here in Copenhagen is JoePass!) there is an asynchronous version that might be a bit easier, as all the passes are floaty doubles (definitely doubles!), and as it contains no holds or empty hands. However there is a self double, but hey - if you have gotten this far that shouldn't be a problem. J1 starts with 4 clubs, and J2 starts one and a half beats later.
The monster siteswap for that one would be
where each juggler juggles the following:
1: 9668 966 96 9 92 926
2: 9666 966 96 9 96 966
(The underlined sequence is a mirror image of the Copenhagen Countdown!).
OK enough of these weirdies - there are still loads of possibilities of coming up with other countdowns. I know that Tarim has come up with a few - but in his versions J2 doesn't juggle anything like a countdown - therefore I have left them out. Let's just finish off the countdown section with a pattern for three people. Presenting: 'JaSoN's Countdown Feed' (little fanfare in the readers mind).
This pattern I invented in Rotterdam last year with Simon and Nick, but unfortunately
they live in Germany and England, so I haven't had the chance to get it really
solid. The pattern has both an 11-club version and a 12-club version (I don't
remember which one we did in Rotterdam - but we had it working for a while so
it was there were probably only 11 pieces of plastic in the air).
Anyway, warm up by juggling it with 9 clubs. 'Feedee 1' (F1) does pssp-spps while 'Feedee 2' (F2) starts four beats later thus doing spps-pssp (don't get confused by the hyphen - it, doesn't mean anything, is for the people that choose to think of the countdown from 3 as a pssp followed by the reverse: spps). The feeder (FF) does ultimate starting with two inside passes then going into the sequence which is four outside passes, four inside passes etc. This is a nice pattern and can be extended to the n-feed, the w-feed etc. In these cases only the two jugglers on the end do the countdown - all the others are feeding. Well, back to The Real Stuff.
To do the 11-club version have have the two feedees do the easy end of the Copenhagen Countdown (that is straight double passes and no zips). F1 starts with 4 clubs and does pssp-spps. F2 has 3 clubs and starts at the same time as F1 doing spps-pssp. Both start with the right hand. FF starts at the same time as the feedees but from the left hand and he does ultimate. He does one inside pass before going into the real sequence which is four outside passes (starting from the right) followed by four inside passes (also starting right, of course). All the passes are normal (not floaty) straight doubles as this pattern is synchronous.
FF is the centre line and F1 is the top line, and F2 is the bottom line. If you don't understand the difference between inside and outside passes imagine that you are walking along the middle line of the causal diagram passing in the direction of the arrow (with the appropriate hand) each time you walk over one of the letters.
In the 12-club version all the passes are floaty doubles and F2 (this time
equipped with 4 clubs) starts with a left hand pass half a beat before the feeder
and a whole beat before F1. FF and F1 both start with the right hand. F2 starts
one throw earlier in the throwing sequence thus doing pspps before going into
the Copenhagen Countdown sequence. To get this to work FF will be crossing and
the feedees doing straight passes (as in the diagram), but it can also be done
with FF going straight, and the feedees doing crossing passes. Have fun!
This last pattern has got its own chapter, not because it is better than the
others, but simply because it doesn't seem to be related to any of the other
patterns described here. It is a pppss and it is not too hard to juggle, but
lots of fun. J1 starts with 4 clubs and throws three crossing double passes
(not floaty) followed by two normal selfs. J2 starts at the same time as the
other and throws a self before starting the pppss sequence which goes: straight
single pass, straight single pass, straight triple pass, self, self. As this
pattern has odd length cycle it takes 10 beats before it repeats. This pattern
is a real jewel. Groove on this.
OK, enough of this - next time it is popcorn time - 'groovy baby'.