But how can you keep five balls in the air at once?
The secret is at Santichai Prakarn Park on Phra-Athit Road. That's where Bangkok's best jugglers head when they're hungry for knowledge and equipment. Most know Sakpong Mahayort, the city's juggling guru, who's happy to give free pointers to novices.
The lean, pony-tailed Sakpong also conducts classes for people who are serious about juggling more than just their workload at school. He teaches students to loft balls, pins and other items into the air. Among them: devil sticks, which are rods that can be set aflame and tossed high into the sky's and the poi, chains with streamers attached that are spun round and round. He also teaches apprentices the art of contact juggling, which involves balancing crystal balls on their bodies.
"The basic skills can be learned in a day. But if you want to become a skilled juggler, you'll have to practice at least two hours daily", says Sakpong, 40, whose sculpted muscles flex when he lobs a trio of pins skyward.
You can start learning by buying three balls from Sakpong. They come with free instruction - how to throw the balls into the air, where to position your arms and body, how to keep the orbs aloft.
People interested in advanced skills can take classes with Sakpong. These go beyond the basic patterns and introduce new techniques.
Most of Sakpong's classes are held in Santichai Prakarn Park. However, classes can also be arranged at a townhouse on Wongsawang Road in Bang Sue District.
"Age isn't important. If you love to juggle and do it often, you will improve your skills. It's all about to practice," says Sakpong, who completed an advanced course with Sean Gandini, founder of the Gandini Juggling Project in the United Kingdom.
"Juggling makes you concentrate, sweat and yet feel relaxed," Sakpong says.
Sedsuporn Sanman learned the basics from Sakpong and now has been juggling for three years. He has even landed a part-time job juggling poi. He says Bangkok's juggling community enjoys sharing moves and techniques.
"When I see jugglers practising new patterns for spinning poi, I just ask them how they do it and they're happy to teach me. It's really easy to start up a conversation," says Sedsuporn, 19, a graduate of Saowapha Vocational College.
Sedsuporn suggests learning from and practising with experienced jugglers. Novices learn faster when they're juggling with the pros, he says.
Somhathai Sinkorkiet is doing exactly that. The 23-year-old secretary at the Thai-language newspaper Siamsettakij has been juggling for about four months and says she enjoys studying with
Sakpong and chatting with more experienced jugglers. "Poi require lots of concentration and patience," she notes. "If you don't pay attention, the pendulums will hit you."
The prices for Sakpong's juggling equipment are reasonable.
Three balls cost Bt150, a set of two poi is Bt280, devil sticks are Bt280 each, a staff is Bt700 and acrylic balls for contact juggling start at Bt500. The price increases with the size of the ball.
Plastic juggling pins are important pieces of equipment. A set of three costs around Bt4,000 because they're imported and made to exact specifications.
Students must buy their equipment to take the classes. Individual and group classes - a maximum of five people per class - cost Bt3,000 for 10 one-hour sessions. Classes are held once a week and are arranged by appointment. For more information or to schedule a class, call (084) 076 1696 or send an e-mail message firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ploybussara Longsomboon
Special to The Nation