The World Juggling Federation was founded in 2000 out of a desire to expand public awareness of juggling as a sport. The goal was to produce juggling competition programming to air on a sports network. In 2004, the WJF secured their first five TV deals with ESPN and the shows aired in January of 2005. To produce these shows, WJF President and founder Jason Garfield began a global search for the world's best jugglers and invited them all to compete. Jason Garfield had gained popularity in juggling since he entered the industry in 1986 at just 11 years old. Having accomplished the juggling of 10 balls, 10 rings and 7 clubs, Jason was well familiar with the highest level of juggling skill and wanted to raise the bar even further through competitions specifically designed for that purpose. In 2000, dissatisfied with the reputation that proceeded juggling wherever he performed, Jason created plans for a venue that gave juggling the reputation he wanted it to be known for. Looking to the competition structure of gymnastics and consulting with an Olympic gymnast, Jason formed the first set of WJF competition rules. Having absolutely zero experience in event planning and TV production, Jason took it upon himself to produce the first WJF convention and series of competition programs and has continued for fifteen years until he decided it was time to take juggling to the Olympics.
Soon after its inception, the term "technical juggling" was replaced with "WJF style juggling" within the juggling community as jugglers identified anything technically challenging in juggling with the WJF. The WJF also started a new generation of jugglers who spend a great deal of time connecting moves together where previously most jugglers only did one move at a time. And now, the junior level competitors exceed the skill level of the advanced competitors of 2004. The WJF also advocates proper training. Since the competition scoring is based heavily on perfect form, Jason Garfield has taught beginning through advanced workshops at WJF events to give everyone the opportunity to learn correctly and avoid embedding bad habits into their juggling skill. Additionally, the WJF has produced the world's best instructional materials for juggling:
Jason Garfield's Theory and Practice of Juggling, which covers the basics of 1-7 balls, 1-7 rings, and 1-5 clubs.
Etudes for Juggling: The Next Three Years of Your Life, which is a huge 2 Disc DVD set that covers a wide variety of moves and incorporates 360s dance training from three different professional dance instructors.
And JUGGLING: Fundamental Exercises and Practice Structure. A workbook that covers everything in both DVDs and additional perspectives on juggling.
From 2007 to 2010, the WJF annually sponsored a juniors division competitor by holding an online video competition to determine the winner of each year's sponsorship. In 2008, Lauge Benjaminsen of Denmark received an all expense paid trip to WJF 5 including his flight, hotel accommodations for two, competition uniform and music. The WJF also seeks out new talent and negotiates sponsorships from our supporters to help bring these new jugglers to the WJF events. in 2008, Joelle Huguenin from Switzerland received a sponsorship deal that the WJF brokered for her travel expenses. And the WJF also arranged a sponsorship for Falco Sheffler from Germany to attend WJF 5 and give a performance and workshop. All of these elements help make our live events a truly amazing and one of a kind international experience for our attendees.
In 2011 the WJF produced the world's first juggling competition live telecast on ESPN 3 and did it again in August of 2012 at WJF 8.
Now, in 2021, the World Juggling Federation is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt non profit corporation and has assembled a team who's mission, which they have chosen to accept, is to bring the sport of juggling to the Olympics.
If you would like to support the WJF, please visit our donations page for ways you can help out.