The Kraken is a three ball
pattern reminiscent of Mills Mess in which balls along the outside are
claw-caught and then released in such a manner that they seem to stall in
midair. This gives the pattern an odd, start-and-stop aesthetic that is
fairly unique among Mills Mess style tricks.
To learn the Kraken, start with one ball in each hand. Cross
your arms such that your dominant hand is over your non-dominant hand, and
then make a vertical under-the-arm throw from your non-dominant hand. As
that ball reaches it peak, make a vertical throw from your dominant hand and
then uncross your arms, claw catching the first ball with your dominant hand
while catching the second ball with your non-dominant hand (the balls have
each been caught by the hand that did not throw them).
Practice this on both sides. To add in the third ball, start
with two balls in your dominant hand and one ball in your non-dominant.
Cross your dominant hand underneath your non-dominant hand, and then make a
vertical throw from your dominant hand. Once that ball reaches its peak,
make a vertical throw from your non-dominant hand and then uncross your
non-dominant hand (leaving your dominant hand where it was before). Claw
catch the first ball with your non-dominant hand, and then make a second
vertical throw from your dominant hand (your non-dominant hand should be
above it). This will clear space for your dominant hand to catch the second
ball (the vertical throw made from your non-dominant hand before it
uncrossed). The third ball will then be caught from above with your
As shown, practice this on both sides. For the next step, you
are going to do the same throws shown above, but instead of simply catching
the last ball with your non-dominant hand, you are going to first make small
throw from your non-dominant hand (which should still be facing palm down),
clearing space for that hand to claw catch the last ball. The throw from
your non-dominant hand should be very light, and in fact more closely
resembles a simple drop. After your non-dominant hand claw catches its ball,
you are going to cross it underneath your dominant hand, which itself is
going to cross over and catch the ball dropped from your non-dominant hand.
Thus your hands will end up crossed in the opposite configuration from when
they started (note that the animation below cheats, since it doesn't uncross
and recross its hands when it begins a new cycle).
Practice this on both sides. For the next step, we are going
to add in the final throw of the cycle. Perform the throws described in the
previous step, but instead of simply catching the last ball with your
dominant hand (the ball that was dropped by your non-dominant hand), you are
going to make a throw from the outside of your body toward the center of
your body using your dominant hand. You will then cross your dominant hand
over your non-dominant hand and catch the dropped ball previously discussed.
The ball just thrown from your dominant hand will be caught by your
As shown, practice this on both sides. At this point we have
completed one full cycle of the Kraken. From here, you might intuitively be
able to figure out how the cycles connect, at which point you will be able
to juggle the full pattern. If however you are not quite able to see the
continuation, there is one more step to practice. Start by juggling one full
cycle (i.e. juggle the previous step) and then, instead of simply catching
the last ball with your non-dominant hand, you are going to make a vertical
throw from your non-dominant hand along the outside of that ball, clearing
space for your non-dominant hand to catch it. At this point your dominant
hand should be crossed over your non-dominant hand. As that outside vertical
ball just thrown by your non-dominant hand reaches its peak, you are going
to make a vertical throw from your dominant hand and then uncross that hand,
claw catching the vertical ball thrown from your non-dominant hand. You will then catch the vertical ball just
thrown from your dominant hand with your non-dominant hand.
As shown, practice this on both sides. Notice how the final
claw catch mirrors the claw catch performed at the beginning. That last claw
catch signals the beginning of a new cycle (on the opposite side of your
body). To juggle the full Kraken, simply make another vertical throw
underneath the claw-caught ball, and repeat the same throws and catches that
you've been practicing in the previous steps. By this point, your brain will
likely be familiar enough with the pattern to repeat the cycle on its own,
but if you get stuck, simply refer back the previous steps. The Kraken has
an odd rhythm that will take some practice to master, so expect to spend a
decent amount of time working with this pattern.
If you have any comments, criticisms, or requests, drop me an email at .