Devil sticks are types of juggling sticks that consist of two side sticks, and a middle stick manipulated by the side sticks. The center devil stick may be weighted, or have a soft end. It is usually never held, and gains its momentum from the careful movement of the side sticks.
A juggler using devil sticks can be quite impressive, as he or she works the middle stick. Modern jugglers may use middle sticks with multiple decorations or with fringed or tasseled ends. Most eye-catching are devil sticks used where the two ends of the middle stick are on fire. The middle stick can be thrown, caught, twirled, come perilously close to the juggler, or be manipulated from side to side, depending upon the juggler’s proficiency.
Sometimes juggling acts use multiple jugglers with devil sticks. Jugglers may use one middle stick and pass it back and forth, or they may use several sticks and throw them to one another with astonishing speed.
Devil sticks enjoy an ancient history in the world of juggling. Evidence of this form of juggling exists in drawings on Egyptian tombs. Current thought is that juggling with devil sticks may have first been based in Africa, and then perhaps progressed to India and China on the Silk Road.
Origin of the name devil sticks is a little bit harder to determine. Devil sticks can also be called flower sticks, perhaps due to the tassels on the end of the middle sticks, Crystal sticks, or they may sometimes be called by a registered or patented name like Lunastix®.
One can find tutorials and demonstrations of juggling with devil sticks on many Internet sites. There are also a number of books and DVDs that can help one master the basics of this form of juggling. Some community centers or gymnastics groups may also offer classes in juggling, which can cover work with devil sticks.