Location: South Africa

Total posts: 15
Posted:Hey all,

Well, I've been dying to really get into this for a few weeks now, and finally got around to making my own practice staff this weekend. A few things though. Firstly, what would you recommend to weight the ends of the staff? At the moment I've got a pair of socks tied to the ends with cable ties, but it just doesn't feel heavy enough at the end. I've thought of tennis balls, but I'm still not sure if that's gonna give me the weight I need.

After playing for a few hours this weekend, all my muscles ache. I think I discovered muscles I never knew I had, but I loved every minute of it, and can't wait to get home to carry on. However, for some strange reason, I seem to have a little problem with the basic figure 8. I sort of get how it's done, but I just can't get it to go smoothly. Friend of mine was watching me, and he says that I seem to slow down on the back swing, and that tends to make it look a little jerky. Anyone have any suggestions? I think it's mostly due to stiff wrists, so I'm guessing that lots of practice will loosen up the wrists until I'm able to do it smoothly without any thought. Strangely enough, I can do the corkscrew almost perfectly and without effort.

Anyway, love the site, been using the staff lessons on here to start off, and just waiting for the fire twirling book to arrive. Can't wait.

One last question. Have most of you started with poi before moving onto the staff? I've been contemplating it, but I just don't seem to have that coord down and always get wrapped up in chains.


Mother always told me I'd wet my bed if I played with fire. Guess I'll just have to buy some rubber sheets.

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I just finished teaching a beginners fire twirling course last weekend - so I've got a few tips for you.

Makes sure that both tips are making nice deep circles on both sides of your body.

Hold the staff nice and lightly between your thumb and forefinger (and fingers).

tell me how you go!



BRONZE Member since Jan 2002


Location: I wish I knew, United Kingdom

Total posts: 529
Posted:Hi Damia. I started learning staff not too long ago, and had the same problem with the figure 8. I found that I could get it going a lot smoother if you hold the staff very lightly, sort of pinched between the ball of your index finger and the groove between the first and second knuckle of your thumb. This lets it rotate with its momentum instead of being restricted by your hand. Also means that you occasionally end up throwing the staff away accidently doing a simple move, and look like a big spaz. Not that it happened to me at all...
Hope that helps.

How long did you play with poi for? I haven't seen anyone ever just pick up a pair and be able to simply swing them properly. They're dead easy once you get used to how to swing them.


If you're not confused, you're not thinking about things hard enough.




Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:Another figure-8 tip: it's a lot easier if you hold the staff a little off-center, towards the thumb-end for forward, pinky-end for backward rotation.

I played with poi for over a year before I got serious about learning staff. Poi seems to have come more easily to me. Yes, there's a lot of wrapping-up initially, but that's easier to take than the batterings I've gotten from my staff when it goes wrong!

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy



Location: Upland, CA., USA

Total posts: 250
Posted:More tips: Stand sideways to your figure-8 so that it passes slightly behind you then crosses in front. Also loosen up your wrist and let it flop back and forth with the momentum of the staff.
I hold it dead center with the main grip being with the thumb and forefinger. The walnut-shaped electrical tape grip helps.
The ends should be about the weight of a fueled wick--about a quarter pound each, so tennis balls wouldn't be heavy enough. Someone here suggested slipping coins into the tennis balls to heavy them up. I think the noise would bother me. you could duct tape anything (like a short piece of pipe) to the shaft just below the tennis balls to make them heavier.
I went from double sticks to staff to poi to sword and back again. People's learning curves and dispositions very widely. Everyone gets tangled up in their cables/chains at first. Don't worry. And don't go too hard on your wrists at first.
It sounds like you've got plenty of desire, which is all anyone needs.
Good luck.



BRONZE Member since Nov 2001


Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Europe,Scotland,Both

Total posts: 3749
Posted:The one thing Id say to weight a practice staff is bycycle inner tube wrapped around the end like wick, you can adjust the weight, glue them down and make them uv and they dont hurt or nothin.

Idea courtsy of the t'pooka crew.


This is a post by tom, all spelling is deleberate
-><- Kallisti



Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:I might have been the one to say something about coins in tennis balls, i certainly use them, instant controllable weight however, do take the warning about the noise. most anything taht sounds sort of like white noise doesn't bother me, so i actually kind of enjoy it, and if there is music playing i don't hear it. if it would bother you tho... don't do it!

about the poi, i sucked royally (wait, why am i using past tense?) but seriously, it took me half an hour just to learn to swing forward split time. and at least three hours, i think more like six, before i had any moves (which oddly, i first learned the horizantel mexican wave, but we won't get into that.) and more than two weeks to get the weave. if you think it'll be worth it, it's well worse teh practice time, it just takes a little bit to get started.... and u'll prolly go faster than me, i think most do

that was a lot of words. hope at least a smidgen of it was useful.



Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....



Location: South Africa

Total posts: 15
Posted:Hi all,

Thanks for all the encouragement and suggestions. Haven't been able to do more than about 10-15 minutes worth of practise each day, but I have taken the suggestions to heart, and it does feel like I am loosening up a little. Still not perfect, but I'll get there.

As for poi, only reason I'm interested is that it seems most started with poi first, and I'm wondering if that helped to loosen up the wrists before going onto staff. I'll admit I haven't really tried that hard with poi yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll eventually get myself a set.

Funny story though. A friend of mine picked up a set for the first time ever on Saturday night, and within 10 minutes he had the complete weave going. My sister hates him now, 'cause she's been trying for over a month to get the weave down.

Thanks again for the help guys.

Mother always told me I'd wet my bed if I played with fire. Guess I'll just have to buy some rubber sheets.



Location: Brisbane, Australia

Total posts: 21
Posted:hi Damia
i just wanted to say that i was one who started with the staff first before i moved onto poi about 3 months later. i found it to be a good starting point for me because it slowly got muscles i never knew i had to work! especially my wrists, i'd make sure i practised equally with each hand so i could use both without too much hassle. plus staff discovered coordination in me that i never thought i had which helped enormously with poi. of course, the first time i tried them out i got many bruises but hey who doesn't?! just keep practising and don't worry, jump in an epsom salts bath and that will help those aching muscles... ah i still get sore muscles but thats me. i hope this had made sense and helped a little bit!



Location: Sheffield

Total posts: 522

Try wedging the centre of the staff deep in the gap between thumb and forefinger. It will feel weightless even with a heavy staff if you get it centred right. It seems to be more stable than between your fingers and you can grab it firmly just by clenching your fist a little.

Your wrist should move light the lights on the front of the night rider car. It will not feek completley symetrical because yourshoulder joint isnt!

If you practice in a thin corridor really slowly, you will notice the wrist and arm movements needed to keep the circles parrallel.

Hope this helps,
Keep groovin'


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