Rafael Gil Buhl, a cadet at Marine Military Academy, poses with a set of juggling pins that he uses when he performs his juggling act. Buhl, a 16-year-old freshman at MMA, is a self-taught juggler whose life ambition is to join the Cirque du Soleil and one day own his own circus.
By DAVE FAVILA Valley Morning Star
January 30, 2013
Harlingen, TX--Like all student cadets at Marine Military Academy, 16-year-old freshman Rafael Gil Buhl must learn to juggle the rigors of life in the classroom as well as adhere to a strict physical routine.
What sets Buhl apart from his classmates, however, is that he can literally juggle — balls, bowling pins, torches, knives. Almost anything is fair game.
Buhl, who is from Veracruz, Mexico, has always enjoyed performing in front of others and aspired to become a magician after watching David Copperfield perform once. However, after seeing a juggler perform at a circus near his hometown of Boca del Rio, Buhl knew what he had to do.
“I was 11 years old and after watching the jugglers perform, I couldn’t stop thinking that I should learn how to juggle,” he said. “So that summer I went to a magic store and I bought my first set of juggling props.”
Buhl started by learning how to juggle balls, then moved up to bowling pins. After about a year and a half of practicing for no less than two hours a day, Buhl was ready for lit torches and knives.
“It took a lot of practice and patience to get good,” he said. “You have to essentially train your body and muscles to move in a certain way until you get to a point where it just becomes second nature. I have gotten injured before. I’ve gotten hit in the nose and forehead with the pins. It’s just part of juggling. You can’t let it stop you.”
Buhl’s love of juggling goes beyond a simple hobby. In fact, he hopes that one day juggling will lead to a full-time career and a bright future.
“My dream is to one day become a member of the Cirque du Soleil in Mexico and eventually own my own circus,” he said. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to join the circus. When I was 2 years old, I used to play circus with my toys. It’s been a lifelong dream.”
Buhl admits that the road toward Cirque du Soleil and circus ownership is a long and bumpy one, but he’s got it all planned out.
Foremost, he wants to graduate from college and earn a degree in either communications or business administration because he figures those fields of study will help him once he becomes a circus owner.
Before that, however, he wants to perform at the International Circus Festival of Spain so that he can eventually get selected to perform in larger European circuses, which he hopes will lead to a spot in the prestigious Monte Carlo Circus.
“From there I hope that I can get good enough to make the Cirque du Soleil casting and earn a spot in their troupe,” he said. “I know I can do it. I just have to work hard and never give up.”