Arm Traps

I first saw an arm trap done when I was learning to do the devilstick. One of our juggling club members showed me how to do them. I was then reintroduced to them in the book Mastering Devilstick (part one) by Chris Dore.

Start by doing an Idle. Be sure that you are not holding the handsticks at the very end, so there is a little of the handstick sticking out the back side of your hand. When the devilstick is tossed from the left handstick, turn your right arm so that the right handstick is horizontal and parallel with your body. Your palm is facing up in this position. Catch the devilstick on your right wrist and then trap it with the back end of the devilstick. You let the devilstick swing underneath your arm and then flip it over it. When flipping it over your arm be sure to flip it high enough and far enough to the left to hit it with your left handstick. The trick is not very difficult, but to get it looking smooth you will need to work on the release.

I saw a nice variation on this trick by a guy named John from New York when I was at the '96 Madfest convention. Rather than catching the devilstick on your wrist and trapping it, you have the devilstick roll over your arm and then trap it. So if you were going to do a right handstick arm trap, you would hit the devilstick with the left handstick and have the center of the devilstick land on your right forearm, closer to your wrist. The devilstick should then roll over your forearm. Trap the end of the devilstick that rolls around your forearm. If your arm is angled down, rather than parallel with the ground, the devilstick will roll down your arm a bit so that your wrist can trap the devilstick.

I saw yet another variation to this trick at the '96 Illini Juggling and Unicycle club's convention. Rather than tossing the devilstick around the outside of the arm after the arm trap, have it roll over the outside of your forearm. This is similar to the variation above, but the arm roll is done after the trap rather than before it.

Here is another variation of the arm trap that I learned at the '96 IJA Festival in Rapids City. It is similar to the arm trap where the devilstick rolls over the arm before the trap. In that trap your palm is most likely facing down to trap the devilstick after the roll over your arm. In this variation the devilstick does not roll over the arm but you trap it in the same position. I saw Rob Peck get into this by doing a normal arm trap, let's say with the right hand. He then he gives the devilstick a small half flip in the counterclockwise direction and catches it in this "backside" arm trap position. Greg Kennedy showed me this trap at the fest as well.

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