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Steve the Juggler performing devilstick at Portsoy Boat Festival

Devilstick Tricks

The Devil Stick is also known by a number of other names such as a flower stick, stunt stick or rhythm stick (each is slightly different, but perform largely the same purpose which is to dance under the control of your handsticks.

Devil sticks have nothing to do with the devil. The name comes from the Greek word “devil” meaning “to throw across”. The Devil stick can defy gravity because when you hit a contact point (one quarter or three quarters of the way up), the devilstick gets a little lift.

 


Pendulum and other Tricks

Kneel with the devil stick standing upright. Using just your hands, toss it back and forth so that the bottom end of the devil stick does not leave the floor. Keep your hands a good distance apart so that the devilstick is almost touching the ground before it is caught. Now use the handsticks in place of your hands. Catch the devil stick on your handstick 3 quarters of the way up and throw it to the other handstick (while still keeping the bottom of the stick firmly on the ground). You should be allowing the devil stick to rest gently on each handstick, like you are throwing and catching the devil stick, rather than hitting it left and right.

 

Gradually see if you can get the devil stick to lift a little off the ground, by giving some upward push also. It takes a lot of practice, and you may find that after a few throws, the stick gets out of control:

Devilstick performer using the Yoho Spinstix (available from Jugglingworld - UK only)
  • If your handsticks are in a V shape, with the wide end nearest you, then the devil stick will come towards you
  • If your handsticks are in a V shape, with the wide end furthest away, then the devil stick will head away from you

 

You should now be able to start from a kneeling position, and slowly stand up whilst tapping the devil stick. Try to keep the movement slow and even. If the pattern becomes fast, this could be because the handsticks are too close to each other, or that you are hitting the devilstick instead of lifting it.


Horizontal Stick Tricks (aka Cigar Box Tricks)

To get the devil stick horizontally onto your handsticks, there are two methods I use:

  1. Place the devil stick on the ground, then put your handsticks on top of it, and roll the devil stick toward yourself. Then quickly insert your handsticks beneath the devil stick and the devil stick should roll on top. This works best on non-carpetted floors!)
  2. From a normal start where the devil stick is moving from handstick to handstick, you need to throw the devil stick with a little more force to your other hand, and this will give you time to bring your handstick up and under the devil stick to catch it horizontally.
Straight Up You can throw it straight up in the air by raising both hands at the same time with equal amounts of force . It is easier to catch the horizontal devil stick on your two handsticks if they are as far apart as possible as the catch becomes much more stable (see for yourself!)
180 Spin You can then try lifting one hand slightly higher than the other in order for the devil stick to perform a 180 degree spin in the air and be caught on the handsticks once more
360 Spin Try lifting your hand even higher and with a bit more force, if you would like the devil stick to do a 360 degree spin in the air and be caught again.
Pirouette Throw the devil stick up in the air and spin yourself round 360 degrees!
Toss and Cross When you throw the devil stick straight up, you could cross your arms over, and catch the devil stick again.
Arm Roll Roll the devil stick up your arm and then back onto the handsticks!

 

Steve the Juggler performing the arm roll devilstick trick

Arm Roll to Behind Back Roll the devilstick up your arm, then duck your head and let the devilstick continue rolling. If you lean forward, you can let the devilstick roll slowly down your back, which gives you enough time to invert your hands so that they can catch the devilstick when it rolls to the base of your spine!
Behind the Back Catch Instead of rolling the devilstick to behind your back, you are now going to throw it to that position! This will take a bit of practice, and it may hurt as you try and quickly twist your arms into position. Be careful that the devilstick doesn €™t come down onto your head! Up to yourself how you get out of this trick once you have caught it behind the back!
Handstick Tricks When you throw the devil stick straight up, quickly spin both handsticks in your hand (or flourish or throw) before catching the devil stick once again.
Body Bounce Drop devilstick onto a foot and kick back up onto stick. If you kick it lightly in the centre, the devil stick will rise smoothly. If you kicked it slightly off centre, then you could perhaps get it to do a flip before returning to the stick, or you could indeed kick it up ready to do all the vertical devil stick stuff! You can also bounce the devilstick off your knee, elbow, shoulder and head!
Spectac-U-Lar If you wear glasses, then move them slightly forward on your face, then roll the devilstick down your arms so that it will come to rest on top of your specs! This is a good comedy trick.

 

Devilstick/Flowerstick/Lunastix all available from Jugglingworld - UK only


Flips/Spins

Spins allow you some time to do other tricks when the devil stick is in the air and they also look great!

  • Single Spin: Get a steady rhythm going and then push and lift a little harder with one handstick to make the stick do a half turn.
  • Double Spin: You require a bit more force than for a single spin (experiment until you get the right amount)! The stick should do a complete 360 degree turn, before it lands at your other handstick.

Lunastix Animation


Vertical Tricks
Propellor The devil stick rotates continuously around one hand stick (just like an aeroplane propeller). In order to do this, tap the devil stick across from your weaker hand to your favoured hand, and when it arrives, instead of knocking it back, keep it spinning in the same direction by circling the devil stick with the hand stick and pushing it up just below the middle each time it comes around. Remember that you can rotate the devilstick clockwise and anti-clockwise in each hand, so there are 4 different directions to master! This is a difficult trick for many people so don’t be surprised if it takes a while to learn!
Helicopter / Whirlpool The devil stick rotates in a horizontal plane. Get a steady rhythm going, and when the devilstick lands on your left handstick, pull the handstick towards you. As the devil stick comes across to your right hand, push your right handstick away from you slightly. Repeat these push and pull moves. Keep your handsticks close to the centre stick for more control. Once the devilstick begins to rotate, try to flatten the pattern out so that it is spinning smoother. This would be the trick I use to get the devilstick facing the right way in order to throw it high and begin juggling the handsticks and devilstick – see next trick)
Juggling You have 3 objects in your hands (two handsticks and one devil stick), so it is possible to juggle them! You may have to experiment a little if you want to add this trick to your devil stick routine, as you will need to find a way to get into and out of this trick! You should build up to being able to juggle 3 clubs before attempting this trick. You would then simply throw the devil stick high at any point in your routine and begin a cascade pattern.
Flourishing When you have a handstick free (eg the devil stick is on its way to the other handstick), you can “flourish” (twist the handstick round your fingers, throw it in the air, turn it round etc).

 

Trapping / Double Sticking The devil stick is hit at two different places simultaneously. One handstick hits the devil stick one quarter of the way up, and the other handstick hits the devil stick three quarters of the way up. The devil stick is far more stable when you use double sticking, and less likely to run away or towards you.

 

Under the Leg Throw a single spin to gain some extra time, then quickly lift your opposite leg, reach under your leg with that handstick, and catch and toss the devil stick back to the other hand. Practice this trick until you can do it fluently under either leg. After some practice, you may find that you can “jog” in place hitting under the leg with alternating right and left handsticks!

 

Horizontal Balance Place the middle of the devilstick on one handstick so that it is lying horizontally across. Try to balance it. You may find that the exact middle of the devilstick isn’t exactly where you think, and it can be useful to mark the exact middle with a marker pen so that you can locate it easily in future!

 

Balance Balance the stick upright on a handstick, then try to spin it over and catch it once again in the upright position!

 

Flowerstick/Devilstick products can be found in my Jugglingworld store which is UK only

Balance Tricks Sent in  – keep them coming!
Hands This one is quite an easy one to do although some people call it ‘cheating’.What you do is you have the tick-tock rhythm going and then when it goes onto either handstick you drop the handstick in the other hand and start doing tick-tock with the palm of your hand and a handstick. Then when it goes onto your palm you drop the other handstick and do tick-tock with both your palms. It’s helpful to do this double-sticking to keep in control. When you’ve mastered this you can actually do half the devil-stick tricks with your hands! (apart from ones like the flourish and juggling!) I think it’s a very good ending trick to have and a great trick altogether. (tip from Callum Wilson)
Orbit’s Axis Hold one handstick for this trick. I start out with a propeller and make the devil stick rotate counterclockwise. I then start walking around the devil stick. I have the devil stick propelling in front of me, then I step to the side of the propeller, which means that I am now doing a one-handed saw with the end of the devil stick coming up and in towards me face and back down and around again. Then while I am doing the saw, I side step the saw yet again and continue with the propeller. This time however I am spinning the devil stick in a clockwise motion. You can continue to walk around the devil stick as much as you like. The devil stick never changes it’s direction of spin. The only thing that changes is where I stand.
(tip from Joshua L)
Wrist Catch To do this trick, you need to be holding the handsticks roughly in the middle. While performing the basic tick-tock motion, move your strongest wrist in to the position of where the handstick would be and use the back of the handstick to trap the devilstick in between your wrist and handstick. Turn your wrist inwards and let the devilstick go, and it will flip over your wrist, ready to be caught on the stick in your weakest hand. (tip from Tom Scally)
Handstick Switch Practice using your strong hand to flip the devilstick 180 degrees and catch it with the same hand. As you flip the devilstick inwards, quickly transfer the handstick from your weak hand to your strong hand, leaving you tick-tocking single-handedly with both handsticks in your strong hand. When you flip it inwards, you have the opportunity of grabbing the handstick back with your weakest hand, or you could grab both and keep the trick going. (tip from Tom Scally)
Stop-Go From normal tick-tock give the stick a slightly harder tap with your weaker hand. Let the stick get to horizontal and stop it with your stronger hand (this needs a shorter tap than normal so pull the handstick away once the stick is stopped, this also makes the trick look better). Quickly tap it upwards with your weaker hand to make it continue in the direction it was going before it was stopped. Once you can do this try doing it one-handed (re-start the stick using the same hand you stopped it with) or adding extra spins before or after the stop. (tip from Chud)
Neck Roll As you flick the devilstick up from your strongest hand while tick-tocking,
lower your neck so that the lowest half of the devilstick catches your throat. If it catches correctly, it will roll over the back of your neck. You won’t be able to see when or where the devilstick will land, so if you put your weak hand so that it mirrors your strong hand, it will fall on to the handstick, ready to tick-tock again. (tip from Tom Scally)
Tumbling Start this trick with a single clockwise propellor spin on the right handstick. Stop the stick when it is horizontal and start a single anti-clockwise propellor spin on the right handstick. As it comes round for the second rotation, pass it across to the left handstick. Do one anti-clockwise propellor spin on the left handstick and stop it at horizontal again. Now try reversing the directions and passing it back. With some practice you can pass the stick back and forth for as long as you like. (tip from Chud)
Kick-Up Variations From tick-tock let the stick drop so that it will be horizontal when its about knee height. When it gets to that height kick it in the middle hard enough to get up to chest height and continue tick-tock. If you kick it slightly off centre it will spin more and you can kick it from foot to foot. You can also drop it from a helicopter spin but you need to get the spin so that it lands straight across your foot or it might hit your leg on the way back up. (tip from Chud)
Behind Back For this trick it takes a bit of of practice and yoga! What happens
is your doing the tick-tock rhythm and then when the devil stick goes onto your weak hand you move your other hand right behind your back to the other side and then start doing tick-tock again, then, to get back you do the same but in reverse so the weak hand goes round the body and out to it’s normal position. (tip from Callum Wilson)
Carnie Footstall From the standard tick tock, drop the stick so it will fall onto your foot horizontally, try to stall it on your foot by moving your foot slightly down as the stick approaches. This takes some practice, one the stick is stalled, throw one of the hand sticks in the air so it spins vertically a few times and the n catch it and kick the stick back up to yourself. If you can stick with only one hand stick, then purposely act like you couldn’t catch the hand stick you threw in the air, to make people think you couldn’t do it. Then smile and say “not a problem” kick the stick up to yourself and start sticking with only one handstick. They’ll get a kick out of it. (tip from Jason Weller)
Continuous Propellors Do the Propellor trick, then after every rotation (or every other rotation) switch the other handstick into the pattern for the devilstick to rotate round. You can now just choose which handstick the devilstick propels round! (tip from Chris Hodgson)
Devil’s Kick Do a normal tick-tock, and with your strong hand hit the stick in the middle so the stick will fall horizontally, then kick the stick up and catch it. (misc, UK)
Reverse Catch to Flip Start out doing a normal tick-tock, then throw devilstick with your left hand so that it does a 360 degree turn. While it’s in the air, flip your right handstick so that the part you were holding is now in front. Catch the devil stick on that part, then go into a horizontal stall, and flip the right handstick back. You should be holding it normally, and the devil stick should be under that arm. Then flip out (misc, UK)
Orbital Same idea as the Poi trick of the same name! Start by doing a buzzsaw, then bring the devilstick around your head while still maintaining the buzzsaw pattern. Once this is mastered, try doing it in the other direction. This move is definitely a crowd pleaser. however very painful to practice, it really hurts when u wack yourself in the back of the head while doin a buzz saw!! (misc, UK)

 

Master Lunastix (available from Jugglingworld - UK only)

Single Sticking

One handstick is now doing the work of two! There are over 50 variations of single stick moves, so this section was written to help give some ideas!
Tap across with your handstick, then quickly pull your handstick out of position, and move it swiftly to the other side to be able to tap the devil stick back across! The devil stick will probably need a half or full spin to give you enough time to move your hand across your body. Plenty of variations (see Single Sticking Variations)
Holding the Handstick Terminology – Normal grip and Pencil grip hopefully explain themselves as the way that you hold the hand stick

  • Inside-The devilstick is on the hand stick and is between the two handsticks like in a normal Tick Tock.
  • Outside-The main stick is on the hand stick but is not between the two handsticks
  • Front -in a normal tick tock the front of the stick is opposite your hand from your body
  • Back -in a normal tick tock the back of the stick is between your hand and your body
  • Over Hand – you reach over the main stick
  • Under Hand – you reach under the main stick
  • Normal grip/Inside/Front — Pencil grip/outside/front
  • Normal grip/Inside/Back — Normal grip/outside/Front
  • Normal grip/Inside/Front — Normal grip/outside/front/over hand
  • Normal grip/Inside/Front -Flip- Normal grip/outside/Front

This section of single stick tricks was written by Brian Hirschberger from Portland (USA). – Thanks!

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