Combat (juggling)

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Juggling gladiators

Combat or gladiator is a competitive juggling game played by jugglers where each, "juggler tries to knock [each] opponent's balls while somehow maintaining [their] own pattern."[1] In its most typical form, a number of players juggle three clubs each, attempting to interfere with other players' juggling, with the winner being the last to remain juggling three clubs — not necessarily those they started with.

Basic rules[edit]

The basic rules are quite simple:

  • At a signal everyone starts juggling.
  • The last person juggling a full set of clubs wins.

The combative aspect is that players intentionally juggle so as to interfere with each other, as long at there is no actual physical contact between players.

Combat is most often played with three clubs per player. Very experienced jugglers may play combat with four or five clubs (but the games are shorter), and it is sometimes played with balls by novices.


Basic strategies include:

  • Moving face-to-face with an opponent so the opponent gets confused about which clubs to catch. (Only works on novice players.)
  • Throwing one club high, and using the time to wave a hand or club in front of an opponent.
  • Turning around and backing into the opponent's clubs.
  • Grabbing an opponent's club out of the air, and either dropping one of your own clubs, or continuing with four clubs.
  • Grabbing a ball from one opponent and throwing it at another opponent. (Only when playing with balls)
  • Hitting an opponent's club out of the air with one of your own.
  • Throwing one club high and far away, so it is possible to safely hold the two remaining clubs while running away from an aggressive opponent.
  • And of course, turning away from all opponents and hoping that they will drop a club before you do.

In popular culture[edit]

Major League Combat, the World Juggling Federation's team version of Combat Juggling, has been featured on:

  • ABC's Good Morning America aired on April 11, 2013.
  • Featured Video, appeared May 23, 2013.
  • Colbert Report aired on August 5, 2013.
  • TruTV's World's Dumbest aired August 22, 2013.
  • Steve Harvey Show aired May 13, 2014.


  1. ^ Wall, Duncan (2013). The Ordinary Acrobat: A Journey Into the Wondrous World of the Circus, Past and Present, p.82. ISBN 9780307271723.

External links[edit]