Ok, maybe will get myself into
some trouble, but here is some of my thoughts... =) First more philisophical
stuff, but at the end is some real suggestions for things to try doing.
Maybe this won't change anyone's mind, but at least if inspires some people
to try new stuff...
First, I will admit to the basic
moves being easy to learn. I tend to think of that mostly in a positive
light, since it is a good introduction for most people to object manipulation,
and I think it is a nice thing to do if just for meditation...
And I truely object to anyone that
says there is NO skill involved. Everything takes some sort of skill and
things that come naturally to some people don't to others. I picked up
on the moves pretty quickly, but others have taken more time. Also, keep
in mind that if you've been doing club spinning for 5 years, you certainly
have an advantage over someone that hasn't done anything of this sort
Someone actually said it wasn't
an object manipulation, but I can't see that argument standing up. I would
draw the line at things like fire fingers, pom poms, and stilts, as they
don't really add much to the ability of the person, just a fancy addition
or something to make it a little harder. Thus, dance is applied to make
it interesting. I think this is perfectly valid, but I don't think it
is really object manipulation unless you count your own body (which some
people do...). For poi, you are actually manipulating something. Club
spinning, poi, and meteors are all the same sort of thing, done in slightly
I do think that there are limitations
to it, and so dance and acrobatics and style in general has to be relied
on more to keep things interesting. But, that being said, I don't think
it is quite as limited as some people think that it is.
The main normal moves are perhaps
not totally explored, especially taking style into account, but its variety
in that respect is certainly not as much as something like ball juggling.
So, let's see what else can be done.
Taking a look at club spinning,
certainly most of the tricks apply to each other, especially if you used
shorter poi (for between your legs and under your arms and such). Clubs
would have an advantage in that they are solid. You can stop and change
direction, spin them like a baton/staff, and juggle them.
So, what can poi do? The obvious
answer is that it can bend. So, this leads into body wraps. Someone mentioned
the famous samoan sword neckwrap thingy (neckbreaker in yo-yo talk). There
is that, but also things involving arm and forearm, legs, even purposely
wrapping and unwrapping the poi from each other.
Having seen two-handed yo-yoing
a lot, I've seen some of what is possible. Due to the limitations of spin
on around the worlds (about 5-10 revolutions at a time before you have
to regenerate into something else), the focus has turned into as much
complexity as possible in that amount of time. I've seen some very innovative
wraps as of late that work really well as transitions or on their own.
Someone said you can't let go.
Why not? Especially with poi without tails, it is perfectly possible to
let go so there is one or more revolutions in the air before recatching.
Something like throwing both up, turning 180 and catching them behind
your back without looking I'd classify as fairly difficult. If you're
worried about the straps, can also put a round object at the end to hold
instead. Of course various things involving switching hands, directional
changes, one in the air at a time, etc. are also possible.
Another related thing is wrap releases,
which I've also seen in yoing, more often with one yo-yo instead of two.
What it involves is swinging so that the string hits an object such as
your leg or arm, and as it starts to bend around and go back in the direction
it came, you let go, and then catch it again as it zooms by. It'd be a
big pain to do it with two at once in a yo-yo freestyle due to various
technical concerns, but with poi it is very possible.
For instance swing both of them
toward the left and stick out your left leg... as they start to bend around
toward the right, let go of both, turn to the right, cross your hands,
catch them both, and continue.
Can also do releases around the
neck or body, catch the rope with your teeth, etc. Also with stuff parallel
to the ground. Like swing them both around to the outside and behind you,
have them both bend around the insides of your legs and catch them in
front of you.
Also, if you could get the timing
right, should be able to do a wrap release around the rope of another
poi while it is swinging.
There is also a specific kind of
body wrap called a burner, whereas the rope starts to wrap around something
like your elbow, but you let it slip off as it starts to bend and do it
again. It makes the object do a smaller pinwheel circle around that object
if you do it right. Can also be done around the knees and thighs and various
There is wrap pull type stuff,
which I've just started seeing done in two-handed yo-yo stuff. Where the
string starts to bend around an object such as your arm, and then you
pull on the string to whip it back in the other direction. It can be done
so that the object at the end doesn't touch your arm and looks smooth.
Two poi can be done in one hand,
in which case it basically becomes a bolo / eskimo yo-yo, which has a
variety of tricks of itself. If you had a mechanism to attach and detach,
some of the more difficult stuff such as throwing it to the floor so that
if you have rubber balls both hit the ground at the same time and bounce
up again, etc. If course two in one hand with a normal in the other is
possible, and can do difficult stuff where you pass the single poi through
the other two without being tangled. And of course four if you have two
in each hand, which is again basically double bolo/eskimo yo-yo tricks.
Speaking of passing through stuff
and tangles, that brings to the Sword and Shield class of tricks. It is
a natural outgrowth of yo-yos where they can make both small and large
cicles, but you can also fake it with poi. By suddenly reaching forward
and also grabbing the middle of the rope, you can make smaller circles.
Passing the longer poi through the other one without them tangling is
more difficult because of timing concerns and can look very good. Can
either have the longer one go slower, and pass through every two or three
revolutions of the shorter, or speed up the longer and have it pass through
each one. Should also be able to pass it through the "wrong way", where
normally they'd tangle but won't if you can get the timing perfectly.
Since the shorter one won't hit
your body in as many situation you can do stuff like hold the shorter
at your side and spin it parallel to the ground, and take the other poi
spinning vertically, cross it over your body and make it pass through
the smaller revolutions.
For a neat effect you could also
start with very small circles, and let the rope slide through your hand
to become longer, and keep the two passing through each other the whole
time. Or do something like wrap it around your fingers or arm to make
it get smaller, then bring both to the other side of your body and unwrap,
all while having another poi pass through it.
With a bouncy type ball at the
end, you can bounce it off the floor or walls. With balls at both ends,
you can let go and have it bounce and recatch.
Also can bounce it off of various
parts of your body, or kick it, etc... for speed and directional changes.
Three poi should be able to be
done, with one being thrown and caught while doing stuff with the other
two. A cascade might even be posible with shorter poi. Not sure if the
physics would require every throw to be done with the opposite spin of
what it was last in order to be fast enough?
Could also probably do a shower
with wrap releases, which would look really cool, kind of like that old
hoop rolling on the back move...
And turning again to bolo/eskimo
yo-yo stuff, instead of just the regular opposing circles of motion, I'd
think propeller type actions like with devil sticks would probably work,
and maybe some baton/staff moves with using the fingers to propell it,
even though directional changes would be limited... Even though you could
probably go inside/outside of the arm, etc...
Thinking in terms of just one...
for a meteor, instead of just poi-ish moves, you also have all the bolo
stuff and the things in the last paragraph. And even if just a regular
poi held at the end, besides the body wraps, releases, throws, and kicks
and such, can also grab the middle with your other hand and do various
pinwheel actions. With a very long single one, more advanced bodywrap
actions should be possible, even though normal twirling might be limited
by the length.
Ummm... passing between people...
(I've seen it done with freehand yo-yos, which basically applies in this
case). Body wraps and releases around other people body parts. Passing
poi through other people's poi without getting them tangled with each
other. That could include a lot of different configurations... in front,
at a right angle, standing back to back, etc. More than two people...
Maybe 4 people in a box configuration all passing poi through each others,
and then throwing them straight across, diagonally, parallel to the ground.
Catching or throwing behind the back. Wrap releases to other. If in a
circle, each person with on poi, something like parallel to the ground
swung across the head, hold out the other arm straight up, wrap release
over to the next person who catches it as they release their other one.
For something harder. Two poi on
each person. One going vertical, one horizontal over the head, passing
through each other. After a revolution above, swung lower, around your
back, and released, so it passes through the other hand's poi while traveling
to the next person who catches it and again passes it through their vertical
poi. All of this happening at the same time with everyone in the circle.
I could be wrong, but that sounds like it'd be pretty hard...hehe... Or
even harder, perhaps not even around the head between each release, but
constantly wrapped and released around each persons body while constantly
passing through their own and then the next person's poi.
I'm not entirely sure that isn't
impossible, but if it is, you could also have each person have one poi,
and then there is a second poi that is passed from person to person, being
caught and passed through their other poi, before behind released again,
perhaps released in a different way.
Anyway, that's just a couple of
ideas that came to mind. I'm sure there's other stuff, too. Even if none
of that seems interesting, I still think it is fun to do, and that's perhaps
the most important thing. It also makes a handy yo-yo training device
(without all the pain!). =)