Forums > Social Chat > Definition of poi? Time to define

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Shibaki
enthusiast
Location: Tampa, Fl
Member Since: 28th Mar 2001
Total posts: 309
Posted:Rather than forming an Angst: Revisited sequel, I thought it might be a good idea to know what we are really talking about. About the word... (OMG!) POI!
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Alright, first, I spin fire and I love it. Second, I spin glowsticks, and they are okay. Third, I dont spin staff. Fourth, please take no offense, anyone out there, for this post, but reading some of the posts and topics has got me to thinking that this issue hasnt been fully resolved. It is not natural to let a wound fester until it destroys the body (except maybe in human nature). Staff is listed and welcomed on the site however. At least, in the connotation of fire twirling. So, does that mean that glowstick staffs arent allowed?
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The definition of poi on this site is "Ball on string for swinging 2, 3 or 4 poi." When I describe what a 'poi' is to others who have no clue, I simply describe a tennis ball on a string about the lenght of my arm. So glowsticks arent balls, huh? BUT, it is the lawyers and professionals who form the defintions that we use in our vocab today. We are the professionals of poi on this site, down to the person that just picked up. Maybe we could have a poll sometime so we could form an exact definition? I personally describe tennis balls to other people. But I consider glowsticks poi as well. I consider anything that is attached to the end of a string that you whirl around in interesting patterns. So... I would consider a flag, on the end of string the length of my arm, a form of poi, yet it is definitely not a ball. It is just a hybrid creature of poi. eh?------------------We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.~Edgar Cayce


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CAINED-AND-UNABLE
member
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 19th Feb 2001
Total posts: 214
Posted:i hear ya. just because its a little less popular an object doesnt meen it's not poi.for instance: not long ago i spun some slinkies (springs), in a club.i regarded myself as doing poi.after thinking about it i decided that i wasn't spinning poi. i was spinning slinkies.I was however doing poi. As if to do poi doesn't matter what your spinning: its <my definition>, "the art of spinning, twirling and manipulating objects"
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hope i could help.C'an'U


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Superman
Superman

member
Location: Houston, Texas
Member Since: 13th Mar 2001
Total posts: 829
Posted:im with CAINED-AND-UNABLEits the art of spinning. Balls, fire, glowsticks, chickens, whatever.. [image]http://www.homeofpoi.com/ubb/images/icons/grin.gif">"S"------------------[/image]"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams"- Willy Wonka

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear.


- Mark Twain

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Posted:There are already some definitions out there. The narrow translation for poi from Maori is ball or sphere.More broadly (see http://www.learningmedia.co.nz/Lasso.acgi)
it seems that poi can mean many kinds of roundish object.Of course, you are talking more about the fine english-language tradition of bastardizing words from other places. In which case, I expect, poi as a new english word can mean anything at all. Lynley


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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Hmmm...and here I am trying to keep it simple....poi are the round ones that I set on fire or use to thwak myself with (experimenting with rythm ones)comets are the ones that look like comets, with the long tailsglowsticks are glowsticksstaff (staves) is/are the long sticks with counter weights on each end, sometimes to light on fireflags are big pieces of fabric swished through the air in patternsclubs are heavier than torches, torches are what I stick the firey end of in my mouthjump chain- a chain with wick woven through it.Swords are swordsyou get the idea so I won't go on.When I say I am practicing poi, I mean the ones with the balls on the end that I one day I intend to lightWhen I say I am swinging I could mean any of my tools.The movement is swinging and dance incorporated, very similar though not the same for all of them, but it produces the same effect...fire-light-fabric going around in circles.If I am playing I am playing, not practicing. If I am practicing then I am grilling myself on certain movements, making new ones and creating/drilling myself through routines, not just out there spinning to spin. I *personally* feel that is a definition people tend to mix up the most. I also think that my distinction comes from my looking at it from the professional-need-to-describe-to-clients perspective.
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:So I just got the book on Poi available from Malcolm's store and in that it says the word poi means ball. That's it. Ball. Herm.I think I wanted it to say "Magical flying thingy that makes the weilder really special", I like that more!
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Posted:was reading through http://www.fyretr.com/and
there was mention of "the Poi, or Polynesian fire-chain,"mebbe thats where the word comes from.....


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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:The book is The Rhythm and Life of Poi by Ngamoni Huata....it is about the history and styles of traditional Maori Poi. A good read to keep perspective of the cultural evolution of what we do, as well as definitions.As for Mephisto on fyretr. I have referrenced people to his site many times and I have the utmost respect for him but there are things he mentions that I personally feel he should not and things that he should've mentioned that he doesn't. Then again it is not actually Mephisto who does the site, it is a companion to him and I think sometimes he doesn't know how to explain things so I can not blame the man....however, for performance tips on fire eating/breathing and crowds, there is no one better than Mephisto.
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Malcolm
Malcolm

HOP admin
Location: HOP
Member Since: 18th Nov 2003
Total posts: 997
Posted:Just the other day I had a Mr Poi email me.He was looking up history of his family and of course was happy to see he had a home page in "home of poi"He of course was a bit confused with the contents of the site and felt he needed more info on "poi".I explained that poi in this case meant "ball" and that the site was about objects swung around the body.I guess one way of looking at the name "poi" is like comparing it to 'music'Long time ago man hit hollow tree trunk with head and it made a sound
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he kept hitting head "thump thump thump..." friends joined in with other noises and they called it 'unga bunga' OR (loosly translated) 'music'.Years later 'music' evolved with the advent of a set of notes on a piano. The pianoist called it 'music' even though his instrument was different to his ancestors. 'Music' has evolved in many directions with computer generated noises, natural, wind, precussion, string.... which to me is like what 'poi' has done. With raupo ball, stones,glow stick, fire, LED, comet, old socks, screwed up newspaper on string... etc as the evolving intruments. Where will it go to next? I am all excited
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Of course other cultures around the world also have swinging things like poi but call it by other names. Not to forget the Hawaiians who eat their poi.Just my thoughts
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Malcolm


"May your balls always burn"

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poiboi
member
Location: Anaheim, California, USA
Member Since: 7th Nov 2001
Total posts: 2
Posted:heres the definition i got off a place where you buy bladespinners.. Poi is a very old art form/discipline that originated in New Zealand and has since been adapted by other cultures and converted into many forms of ritual dance and artistic expression. Some of the most commonly known forms include Polynesian fire dancing, and rhythmic bolas (as seen in the Cirque Du Soleil). Poi can be performed with any type of music and for any kind of audience because there is a natural human fancination with fire and light and when put into motion, the fascination multiplies. Poi is also very easy to learn (yea right). It can be performed slowly and fluidly like Tai-Chi or fast and wild for amazing visual effects and a great workout. Many people are seen doing poi at raves with glowsticks. Adapted into the rave culture poi is popular in many cultures including ritual, raves, and ceremonies.

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Shibaki
enthusiast
Location: Tampa, Fl
Member Since: 28th Mar 2001
Total posts: 309
Posted:I second that definition Malcom. unga bunga, eh?Groovy
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------------------We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.~Edgar Cayce


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clarkey
member
Location: stratford-upon-avon, UK
Member Since: 19th Jul 2001
Total posts: 29
Posted:'The art of spinning/twirling a pair of objects, traditionally round in shape, around your body. The objects are mounted on pieces of string/rope/chain/wire etc, which are normally no longer than the users arms. One is held in either hand, but moves can also be exercised using a single hand. This art has its origins in Maori culture, but has been changed and adapted the world over. Today it is popular among people of all ages, and cultures.'Made up my own definition, based on my knowledge and trying to incorporate whats been said here, what do you reckon?? please add to it if you think i've missed anything.Twirl on!!!!!

The best way to predict the future is to invent it

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Liquid
member
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, Unite...
Member Since: 27th Jul 2001
Total posts: 28
Posted:poi is poi, stop trying to lable it so much, you went oout you had fun it looked cool, you dont have to contemplate about it, no one is going to die. its like if i shoot a basket it bounces out and hits some ones head, who scored the point the guy who shot it or the guy with the head, the guy with the head would not have hit it in if the guy had not taken a shoot. just say its a basket , some thing else to, about the POI is a FAD thing, what did you expect. people like ita lot of people on here say " i hate every one is doing it now" but then they say " Ya i have only been doing it 7 month" they are the same people they complain about, but every one feels that they really like and that are not part of the fadpluris any one going to the area 51 moby oakenfold party?????

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Posted:New Zealand Maori generally get the media credit for inventing swinging around round things on strings (or poi if you will), but is that really the case?I'm sure I've heard of some similar Japanese thing that actually gets lit?I've never heard of or seen traditional Maori poi on fire. (And consisting of dried flax, I believe, it wouldn't last very long if you did light up).Is this a generally Polynesian practice? After all, Maori settlement of New Zealand occured less than 1000 years ago.What does the Rhythm of Life book have to say on the breadth of poi?Lynley

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nomad
nomad

retired
Location: Paris, France
Member Since: 15th Jan 2001
Total posts: 356
Posted:Hey Malcolm, I like your definition and the idea to compare Poi to Music as a generic term. But then.... why have 3 different categories in the "meet others" page that say "poi", "glow sticks", and "fire"? According to your definition, isn't "poi" implied in the other two?I know i'm being a picky bitch.... Sorry.
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Nomad


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Posted:i think its well accepted now that the history of Aotearoa goes back much further than 1000yrs, re see reports on carbon dating of kiore that arrived with humans over 2000yrs ago...the discussion is now focused on whether they were Maori. However notuced info at 'kiwi origins'sheds a bit of light for myself on indepth poi history, but no one claiming they inventrd it as such

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Tsumi
member
Location: SF CA USA
Member Since: 11th Feb 2001
Total posts: 32
Posted:It's very interesting to hear about the origins of the word and the art, but as to what the word "poi" is supposed to encompass in terms of other toys I don't see the point. Are people afraid that their glowsticks, flags or other toys lack integrity if people aren't calling them "poi?" Is this post referring to someone saying "glowsticks don't count, you shouldn't be on this site?" If you only spin glowsticks there's nothing wrong with saying so. There's also nothing wrong with referring to all spinning toys as "poi," but keep in mind that your new all-encompassing definition of the word is just that - yours.In the directory there are some people looking for partners to practice specific things - i would think the different categories are there for them. so if you do more than one you can just check all of them, unless you have a weird case of carpal tunnel.The book sounds interesting, maybe I'll get it. I haven't really found any other sources on traditional poi yet.

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Posted:ok - Katinca and I did a fire performance the other weekend, to a very receptive audience (they even cheered when I dropped!!
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) and some of the ppl there were NZ'ers. Afterwards they said they really liked it, and it reminded them of poi, cuz some of the movements were the same. IS long fire poi technicque really that different to traditional poi performance?these ppl seemed to think it was sufficently different that its not even the same thing.thoughts?Josh


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Nezza
member
Location: Ashburton, New Zealand
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2001
Total posts: 8
Posted:Being a NZer, & having seen Maori Poi-dances, I rekcon, (and bear in mind any NZers out there that this is just my opinion) that "our" Poi moves are definitely based on the Maori Poi dances. The poi that we do however, seems to be 'showier' and bigger, as the Maori Poi's are a lot smaller, and don't have the tails that the performance poi have. And Lynley is right, they don't - well not that I've heard of - light them. If they did, I'm guessing it would be super dangerous if in traditional costume!! In the Poi dances I've seen, the poi's are also hit with the hands to change their direction. The couple times I've had a go (at P.E at school), I found I was so much more unco-ordinated!!!

The very existance of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done. - George Carlin

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Wormy
member
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Member Since: 5th Oct 2001
Total posts: 22
Posted:Considering what poi were made of it would have been impossible to set them on fire, remember the maoris never had metal.I think it was some KKK member thought they looked pretty... but would look prettier burning!!Food for though...Poi in maori means Ball/Sphere (kinda... poi tepu means table tennis, so ball is not an exact translation. The word Poi can only be used for Balls or Spheres in specific circumstances, paoro is the most common word for ball). Poro also means ball.kanikani also means ball.te kanikani is NOT a 'Paoro' or a 'poro' or a 'Poi'.Paoro and Poi are not the same objects. 'ko te paoro iti i te moka o te toina' is the same as 'Poi'. Poi in Hawaii means Taro Paste (over simplified). Poi has no english meaning.Pois were not set on fire (hence why most of us refeer to the pois you set fire to as 'Fire Pois').Pois are an object not an action. You dont do poi. You do whatever it is you do (twirl, spin, dance) with a poi.I like malcolms explanation.. cept i would refeer to poi as being more like the radio the music plays on more than the music. What you do with the radio once you pick it up is up to you, just like when you pick up a poi.In conclusion...US MAORIS ARE COMPLICATED PEOPLE!! :Phttp://www.netcd.co.nz/netCD/Audio/9909c.ram[This message has been edited by Wormy (edited 09 October 2001).]

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Charles
Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland
Member Since: 27th Jun 2001
Total posts: 3989
Posted:I'm certain that a few ideas and movements from Maori poi began or helped to inspire poi as we know it today, merely because it would have another, more commonly accepted name, whereas poi seems to be more accepted (on average) worldwide than the other names.But a traditional Maori poi dance has much much shorter strings and tends to beat out different rhythms by continually batting them against the hands and arms and soenmtimes other parts of the body. The two disciplines are similar more in what the equipment looks like than in the execution.I see the two as very seperate now, although of course we can learn a lot about wraps and transitions from the traditional styles...------------------Charles (INFERNO)newdolbel@hotmail.comhttp://juggling.co.nz

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Wormy
member
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Member Since: 5th Oct 2001
Total posts: 22
Posted:Poi where of all lenghs, it was not white boy brown who made the strings longer.Different poi where used differently, and used for different reasons. But my tipuna wahine says that as a young girl 80 years ago, she was swinging long poi and doing VERY similar moves.Im sorry but shes been doing poi 80+ years, gonna believe her anyday
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