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How to Spin It
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Famous Skip
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28. Merry-Go-Round, Two Handed.
The Stem Has Just Seen Passed
from the Left Hand to the Right.

In learning the merry-go-round we are starting on one of the most delightful series of tricks in roping, and one which no one interested in the art should fail to learn. It is by no means a difficult trick to master for it has as its basis nothing more difficult than the flat spin.

The trick consists of carrying the flat spinning noose all the way around the body. Picture 28, showing the two handed merry-go-round, gives an idea of how this trick looks in action.

For this trick the 20 foot rope with the wired honda is usable, although a 16 or 18 foot length is better. Get the flat spin going nicely as described in "Flat Spin", then carry the spinning noose past your left side, around behind and to the front again, by raising your arm up over your head and reaching behind. At first you will have trouble in making it spin behind you, but this is doubtless due to the fact that you are rushing it too much behind for fear that of will not get around you.

Do not worry about the noose not getting past your back--it will float around of its own accord if you simply carry your hand back over your shoulders. The main concern is to keep the rope spinning--not to carry it around the body.

Starting the spin in front of you with the right hand carry it well to the rear of your left side, keeping your eye on it, and there give it one good spin-don't jerk it to get it past your back-just spin it, then turn your wrist over so that the palm of your hand is up and gently carry the arm past your shoulders, turning your head around to the right side.

The rope will float past your back and still be spinning when it reaches the right side. Here pick up the spin again and carry it around in front. This jerking of the stem to get it past the back is the disastrous mistake most beginners make. At the start, it is better to carry the noose around the body in five spins, but later four may work out to be more satisfactory.

When you have the merry-go-round mastered, you can work up a series of tricks around the flat spin, featuring the body spin, handshaking, juggling, jumping into and out of, throwing the loop over head and down, and the merry-go-round. Work from one into the other without stopping the spin. Never let the noose stop spinning while working before spectators if you can help it. The following two tricks work into this series also.


This is a variation of the merry-go-round described above. Get the rope spinning in front of you with the right hand, take it in the left hand and carry it around behind you, there take it in the right hand and carry it around in front where the left hand takes it again, and so on. In Picture 28, the rope has just passed from the left hand to the right hand. If you have mastered the straight merry-go-round this one can be learned in fifteen minutes.


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29. Taking It Easy.

While spinning the rope around you with the body spin, sit down on the ground very slowly and carefully, and gently straighten your legs out on the ground under the spinning loop. Then drop down to a reclining position on your left elbow, as in Picture 29. With a little practice you can lie flat on your back. A 15 or 16 foot rope is best.


This trick, popular among the circus cowboys, consists of taking one's coat off while doing the body spin, rolling it up, and lying down on the ground, using the coat as a pillow. The trick is finished by getting up and putting the coat on again.

While doing the body spin with the right hand, work the left arm out of the coat, then take the rope in the left hand and work the right arm out.


This interesting trick is well worth the effort required in mastering it. It does not call for any difficult rope spinning, but does require considerable general athletic ability. The skip rope with the brass honda is required (See Famous Skip).

The hurdle can most easily be accomplished by starting with the wedding ring and dropping the rope into the handshaking trick (See Handshaking). When the handshaking is going evenly and smoothly, bend well down toward the floor and step over the stem with the left foot as it comes around, raising the right foot high in the air behind; the next time the stem comes around, step, over it with the right foot, raising the left out of the way behind. This is a strenuous invigorating trick-and a spectacular one. You will be proud of it when you have it learned.


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30. Handshaking
Around One Leg.

With the same 25 foot skip rope used in hurdling (See "Hurdling", above), start the wedding ring and drop it down into the handshaking trick. (See Handskaking). Now raise the left leg to the side and handshake around the right leg only for a few spins, then change to the left leg, raising the right out of the way, and handshake around it.

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31. Handshaking Around
Alternate Legs.

When this can easily be done, shift from one leg to the other rapidly, handshaking one spin around each leg alternately. See pictures 32 and 33.

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32. Hurdling the Spoke

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33. Going Over the
Spoke in the Hurdle

The Famous Skip

How to Spin a Rope






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.