The slow weave.
Any experienced spinner will tell you that there are few sights more impressive than some one doing the 3 beat weave as fast as they can
For me however, the weave done as slowly as possible is a much more useful thing to work on.
Whenever I teach someone the basics of spinning I always encourage them to work on being able to do the moves really slow, for the following reasons: -
1. when things go wrong and impacts occur, they are considerably less painful and less likely to lead to injury
2. it teaches better control- if you can do a move slow then it's straightforward to do it fast, the reverse isn't necessarily true
3. understanding- being able to do the moves slow facilitates understanding exactly how they work, which in turn will be useful when trying to work out new variations/combinations
4. slow moves tend to lead to exaggerated body movements/stretching, more concise footwork, lower deeper stances etc. In the same way that all these things are good for ones health when performing Tai Chi, they are also good for health when spinning
A good basic move to work on slowing down with is the three beat weave.
One of the most useful things I did in spinning was to start each practice session with a few minutes of 3 beat done as slowly as possible- much more useful than any individual advanced move, as, working on slowing down the weave was a holistic skill that, once grasped, can permeate every new move/combination that you learn.
When doing the slow 3 beat it's a good idea to widen the stance and sink the weight by bending your knees a little more.
Start with the normal speed weave, then slow it down; as well as a lower stance you'll find that, as you slow down, your shoulder/body movements/twist will be much more pronounced.
Doing this every day will quickly bring improvement and, especially for beginners, IMO is one of the most useful things to practice.
It came as a bit of a revelation to me when working on slowing the weave, that as a poi spins its circle, there's only a small, and specific, part of its arc which requires energy input from the spinner.
The best way to understand this is to do a very slow figure eight with one poi only, and focus on the feel of the poi in the fingertips (hold the poi in your fingers for this, even if they have finger loops don't use them, they're not necessary for spinning this slow and will reduce sensation).
You'll feel a 'pull' on a specific part of the pois circle, on the portion where the poi is low and slightly behind you.
For the rest of its orbit the poi is effectively in free fall with no intervention needed from you.
I think it's useful to grasp this because, firstly, this same awareness can be applied in all moves/combinations, leading to a more relaxed way of spinning where the spinner is only applying energy at the few points it is necessary- for over 80% of their motion the poi will simply be following their natural paths.
Secondly, those 'pulls' correspond to 'beats'. Beats as officially defined by Home of Poi
ie total number of circles/swings before the pattern repeats; see: -
So, for example, doing the above figure eight with one poi you'll find a pull on each side, giving a 2 beat- do it with 2 poi and that's the 2 beat weave.
If you do a 3 beat weave, slow it down, then focus on the pulls on your left hand- you'll find 2 pulls when the left hand poi is one the right side of your body, and 1 pull when it's back on the left; giving 3 beats total.
On a 4 beat you'll get 2 pulls on each side, and, with a five beat you'll get 3 on one side and 2 on the other for a total of 5.
Beats are a bit bewildering, even for fairly advanced spinners it can be difficult to count beats in anything beyond the three beat.
It can be done visually, but I find it much easier to do it tactily, focusing on one hand.
Once the 3 beat slow weave is mastered, apply the same principle to reverse 3 beat, then work on maintaining the slowness when going from forward 3 beat to reverse.
On of the things I do to try to encourage beginners to work on slowing down is to show them a transition from forward to reverse weave at normal speed.
It's clear that there's little obvious logic to that turn, one second I'm facing North in a forward weave, the next I'm facing South in reverse- the bit in the middle is bewildering unless you can do the move.
Then I repeat the transition, but this time start with a really slow forward weave, in a low stance and exaggerate the amount of turn of waist and shoulders. This means that as the pattern moves to each side it naturally starts to turn towards the South before being pulled back to the other side.
At this point, instead of pulling it back you simply follow the energy of the pattern and it slowly flows into the reverse weave facing south, and, as it does so, the logic and natural flow of the transition is much more clear.
Even more so when you're actually doing the move, as then there is plenty of tactile feedback.
And then of course, the same principle of slowing down can be applied to 4/5 beat weaves, butterflies and all the combinations/transitions that you know.