Have you seen the kids at the street twirling a short string with beads around and between the fingers? This small fidget toy is called begleri and captivates more and more the interest of the world.
The begleri is originated in Greece but by time it became more suitable for performing tricks. In the past year it started to get more popular, first among yoyo and kendama players, balisong flippers, penspinners, cardists and magicians, and finally it forced its way to the heart of a wider audience.
Begleri consists a string that has two beads at the end. The attributions of the begleri are a player preference, however most begleris tend to fall in a conventional range.
Material: The begleri string must be durable to withstand the active use but it can not be too stiff or tacky so that it would be easy to twirl between the fingers. It should not be rough either otherwise it would harm the skin. Most people prefer to use paracord or other braded cords but you can also meet begleris with leather string or metal chain.
Lenght: Different lenghts mean different begleri trick variations and play style. A longer begleri string can wrap around more fingers or span a longer width between fingers. Most of the begleri tricks can be done with both lenghts but some are easier with a long begleri string and some are easier with the short one, however some begleri tricks may be impossible with a string that is too long or too short. When you choose a begleri, you'd better check whether it is possible to adjust the lenght of the string or whether at least it has a suitable lenght for you.
There are two lenghts that can be measured on a begleri: 1.) the lenght between the beads, 2.) the full lenght with the beads. The first one is the play area and so is more important. You should compare the play area to your own hand size to adjust the begleri to the following standard lenghts or any other uncommon option:
- short game: adjust the length of the begleri play area appr. 2cm wider than your palm width
- long game: spread the fingers wide and measure the distance between the tip of the index finger and the tip of the pinkie finger and set the play area to this lenght
Diameter: Some people find it easier to catch and hold a thicker begleri string between the fingers, some prefer the graceful apperaence of a thin begleri string. Your preference should also correlate with the hole size of the begleri bead as well: if the hole is too small than you might not fit a thick cord into it, otherwise if the hole is too big than the knot of the thin string will not fasten the begleri bead.
Material: The most common materials used for making begleri beads are: wood, plastic, metal, semi-precisious stones and paracord or the combination of these. The begleri beads and their surface are supposed to be durable and resist drops and knocks. The paint on the metal beads tend to wear off easily, so be aware of this when you consider buying a colored metal begleri bead set. The monkeyfist begleri has a softer surface due to the cord cover and so it is more silent when you play with it.
Size: The most common begleri beads are within the range from 15mm to 25mm so that they could be grasped and also pass through the fingers while twirling.
Shape: Probably we can say that nowadays the most popular begleri beads are: the ball-shape, the egg-shape, the domed top barrels, the rounded cylindrical shapes. The rounded shape do not catch on the fingers and let the tricks be smooth.
Weight: The begleri beads tend to weight from 5g to 25g. The heavier beads result bigger momentum but the hits on the hand can be hurtful. The light begleri beads are safer when the trick fails and the begleri flies away.
The standard way is grasping the begleri string closest one of the beads while this bead is on the palm side of the hand. It is called fakie if the bead is on the other side of the hand.
The basic begleri grips are classified based on which fingergap grasps the begleri:
- top grip: between the thumb and index finger
- high grip: between the index finger and middle finger
- mid grip: between the middle finger and ring finger
- low grip: between the ring finger and pinkie finger
How to start playing with the begleri?
Choose one of the above begleri grips. Give momentum to the dangling bead so that it moves around the hand and comes into contact with the hand or the fingers and is bounced back in the opposite direction.
Hold one begleri bead and allow the moving begleri bead to wind around one or more fingers until there is no more free string left.
Transisions are the movements between grips. Hold the begleri in one grip and swing the other begleri bead so that it can be caught in another grip. You can release the first begleri bead after or before the catch. The second way is more dynamic.
During the toss the begleri is released from the hands and tossed up to the air then catched again.
More advanced moves
During a roll both begleri beads circle around one or more fingers. Start a wrap but partway through the wrap release the still begleri bead. It will follow the movement of the moving begleri bead.
The gap transfer is a special transition. Try these:
- Hold the begleri in standard position in a basic grip and swing the begleri to catch the other bead in a grip with two conditions: 1.) the string has to link the begleri beads on the palm side of the hand and 2.) the second begleri bead has to be caught in standard position.
- Hold the begleri in fakie position in a basic grip and swing the begleri to catch the other begleri bead in a grip with two conditions: 1.) the string has to link the beads on the upper part of the hand and 2.) the second begleri bead has to be caught in fakie position.
You do not neccessarily have to tranfer the begleri to a new grip as you can use neighboring fingers too for gap transfer. In this case the fingers are spread during the move creating a gap.
During the bead roll the begleri bead which is closer to the fingers is pushed to a neighboring grip.