Combat Juggling is a real sport started by juggling prodigy Jason Garfield. Unlike the cartoon cat, this Garfield isn't a lazy boy at all. According to the World Juggling Federation, he entered the juggling industry when he was 11, having mastered “the juggling of ten balls, ten rings, and seven clubs.” So what do you do after that? Try and juggle more balls, rings, and clubs until you are nothing but a gyrating mass of balls, rings, and clubs? No, that would be pointless.
Instead, you create a competition between other jugglers wherein they battle each other for juggling supremacy. That is exactly what Garfield did, and thank the lord for it. The man revolutionized juggling as we know it, turning it into a competitive contact sport. In 2011, the World Juggling Federation produced the first ever live juggling competition on ESPN3. I guess ESPN was busy airing some stupid football game, and the bozos over at ESPN2 think poker is more of a sport worth watching. But ESPN3 took the bait, and soon, the rest of the world will. It's only a matter of time.
Looking at the videos and pictures of a lot of these competitors, it seems as though the majority of players are teenage males, minus a few guys with goatees and fedoras here and there, which implies the maturity and wisdom of a man in his twenties. Some are even total beefcakes, like Vova Galchenko.
As I understand it, the overall goal of each combat juggling round is to be the last team standing with the most clubs juggled. For being such a young sport, there are a lot of rules and regulations in place that make this game a lot harder than it may seem. Players constantly have to be juggling three clubs at a time. They can try to knock clubs out of an opponent’s hands, but suicide bombing is absolutely not acceptable. If you're not familiar with what suicide bombing means, the site describes thusly: “If it is clear that your intention was to take out yourself and the other competitor,” then it’s a suicide bomb. A tragic act of pure terror.
There are different types of competitive juggling games, such as Sumo Combat, Breach, and 360s Combat. The best one is Zombie Combat. Zombie Combat starts off with three players from each team. There should be a player or two on the bench to take over once a player has been knocked out. If one of your clubs falls to the ground, leaving you with only two clubs in your hand, then you become a zombie. Zombies can't move while on the court, and in true zombie fashion, have to wait around for a teammate to throw a third club at them so they can continue juggling. It's tough to tell which teammate to feel more sorry for; the zombie on the court waiting eagerly for a third club to find him, or the one on the bench so desperate to just get in the game.
Oh, there's also this important zombie rule: “A zombie may use both of his clubs to either reactivate one or two players if he throws both clubs at the same time. You may not throw them one at a time because as soon as you surrender one club, you become a paralyzed zombie and paralyzed zombies cannot throw clubs.” If you ask me, sacrificing yourself for the betterment of your team is still a form of suicide, which is not allowed in the combat juggling arena. I do wonder, though, is there a loophole for zombies because they are already dead, making their suicide null and void?
As intense and high-contact as the sport gets, there are restrictions to how badly you can wreck your opponent. The act of “kicking, tripping, spitting, head butting, puking, or any body contact other than arm-to-arm” is forbidden. However, if you are simply an audience member who is puking as a means of trying to get yourself out of watching competitive juggling, then that is totally fine. In fact, it's encouraged. Also, if I can make a quick suggestion, perhaps the WJF should add another section that outlaws players from ever having sex and earning the respect of their parents.
The winning team is the team left with the last player standing… and juggling. But if you ask me, everyone's a winner. Prizes include a trophy and a sweet pair of Steampunk goggles since you're probably into that shit too.