Blough created a style, dubbed by it's adherents: Bloughchi. This style's basic moves have been incorporated into various types of footbag kicking
activity. Steve was watched by Stalberger, by Shults, by "Toes"
Fitzgerald and other of the well known kickers. Stalberger introduced him as
the "best freestyle kicker in the world." Another stated, "You
are the best back kicker in the world." "Toes" recently stated, "A
lot of the moves kickers are making now you created." These comments were
based on kicking they saw Steve do in the Bloughchi style. Steve went on to
train hundreds in this style, some of whom became world net champions. The
style is useful for all types of footbag kicking even though Steve, himself,
feels non-competitive footbag dancing® is the purest expression of
The essence of Bloughchi is: development of a kicker's ability to
insure control of the footbag within his/her personal foot reach in the 360°
territory surrounding him/her. With this ability developed, the Bloughchi style
kicker can rhymatically interact with the footbag which becomes a tool to create
flowing movement within which leaps, spins, or other tricks can be performed.
However, not everyone gets to the pinnacle of being able to control the footbag
in that 360° territorial circle. Sometimes kickers stop developing that
360° ability and become more involved with tricks. That is fine if that is
what they enjoy but the 360° ability to control the footbag insures even
By continuing development in the Bloughchi style, a kicker
comes to the point of being able to put the footbag anywhere desired when
returning a pass. Proficiency in Bloughchi allows the kicker to
literally meet the footbag if it is physically possible and to kick it anywhere
the kicker wants the footbag put. Think of how an extraordinary tennis player
can block the ball with the racket and return it anywhere he or she wants. Or
how an extraordinary baseball player can block the ball with the bat and put
that ball anywhere in the park or out of it. You can control a footbag just as
well with your foot!
This style of kicking brings a footbag kicker to many plateaus. With
persistence the kicker enters a whole new realm of physical and mental awareness
and coordination. Once the 360° of control is achieved, done with special
emphasis on back kicks and side kicks as opposed to front kicks, you can achieve
a melding of minds within a cooperative kicking experience with another
person(s). This level of kicking accomplishes an attitude among kickers whereby
each one accepts responsibility for how he/she responds to each pass and how the
volley builds upon itself.
To have a beautiful long running rally requires no grandstanding but a
cooperative relationship and understanding among the kickers of what the footbag
has done throughout the rally. This way the flow continues rather than being
aborted. This is a group effort rather than an individual performance. The
strongest kicker (e.g. whichever kicker controls the footbag best) in a circle
becomes the leader and accepts the responsibility of receiving difficult passes
to make sure the footbag keeps in the air and moving. The kickers will soon
know who this is and will get the footbag back to the most accomplished kicker
so that control of the footbag is maintained (i.e. it stays in the air and there
is no drop). Conversely, the leader has the control to make sure that less
accomplished kickers get their chances at the footbag by making sure they
receive passes they can control.
In training you can challenge each other, one on one, by placing kicks
to weak areas of your cohort kicker (not competitor) thus enabling him/her to
develop even more control of the footbag and enabling you to become a better
passer. Or you can simply enjoy the synergy developed by kicking together,
creating a unity wherein both of you are in sync with each other and the
It is hard to put into words what this type of kicking is about but it
is foremost an effort to keep the footbag in the air while making sure the least
able kicker is included in a manner that they can handle while yet challenging
everyone in the circle to greater heights. It is a cooperative rather than
competitive experience, operating on concensus. The effort is to achieve a
long-lasting, beautiful and exciting rally which includes all members of the
kicking circle. All of this becomes more and more synergistic as the circle
members develop their individual abilities to control the footbag in a 360°
area around themselves.
This type of kicking requires a firm footbag, not a mushy one, so that
it can be kicked hard enough and fast enough to provide time to accomplish
spins, leaps, etc. Stalls are not advantageous to this type of kicking because
stalling is basically an introverted activity rather than an extroverted one.
If you stall the bag the rest of the circle will have no idea what you intend to
do next and the bag is essentially out of play until you decide to do something
different -- it stops the flow, the synergy. Stalling tricks are really an
individual activity. Bloughchi style of 360° of control will enable better
stalling but stalling will not lead to the synergistic movement and mind melding
that occurs in a kicking circle dedicated to keeping the footbag in the air.
The word "freestyle" is too generic. There are many styles
and the people who use them love them. The Bloughchi style is just one of many
and designed to best assure a cooperative blending of abilities in a footbag
circle or twosome that will accomplish the freestyle form known as "footbag
dance"®. The basics about Bloughchi are taught in the book "Footbag
Dance" written by Steve Blough in 1983 which can be read
online or purchased online. The idea of
cooperation instead of competition and the enormous benefits of eye-foot
coordination are developed fully in a research paper written by Blough entitled
"Bloughchi- a Renaissance of Modern Movement"
which is published in this site.