Forums > Help! > When are you ready to light it up?

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15 posts
Location: Toronto

Hey I've only been spinning for a week or two but I've got most of the basics down except behind the back stuff *grrrrr* my nemesis!! Anywho, just wondering when is a good time to take the plunge. I feel if I do it too early, my chops won't be strong enough but if I wait then I'll let the fear get the better of me. I mean now I'm enthusiastic and courageous but in a few more weeks who knows? Please share yout own experiences and let me know when did you first light up and what did you learn?
Thanks heaps!!

Life is GRAND and i am gratefulNamaste'Ren

Mark PMark PBRONZE Member
old hand
1,031 posts
Location: Bath, England

Hi there,

2 weeks and you are dissapointed you cant do behind the back!?!?!?! I have been spinning for about 9 months now and still cant

Seriously though if you can do many of the moves after only a couple of weeks then I take my hat off to you, my first attempt with fire was after about 2-3 weeks. I hadnt had too much practice during that time as I didnt really get the bug until I lit up for the first time and could only do butterfly and forwards weave.

If you are confident with what you are doing then find yourself a safety and light up, there are plenty of threads that explain good safety procedures, so have a read of one of these first. Basically if you arent really happy doing a move then just dont try it with fire straight away build up starting with the easier moves and just get used to the feel/noise/love of fire

Mark P

GlåssGlåssDIAMOND Member
The Ministry of Manipulation
2,523 posts
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

agrees with everything mark says

yea he's right,BTB is hardcore stuff.

What is it with newbies nowdays, its like learn the weave, learn revers then learn it BTB.
err no. Theres a lot of stuff in between.

Ok there are more than 350 poi moves.
3 beat weave and reverse are in the easiest 25 and btb 3 beat weave and BTB reverse weave are rank well over 250th in hardness.

they're really not basic moves

49 posts
Location: U.K. / Holland


I took the plunge after just learning a couple of VERY BASIC tricks, but I wouldnt go as far as to say it was a clever idea!

You just need to be confident with an unlit pair of fire poi, and be sure to have somone around with a wet (large) towel in case of problems!

To be honest, Ive smacked myself a few times while lit up! It scares the willies out of you, BUT i have never actually caught on fire, just got a little branded on my arm from a piece of wire on my Poi. Just make sure you are...

A) confident

B) NOT ALONE (make sure someone is on TOWEL duty, not practising or talking, just focused on you! )

C) In no way intoxicated (sounds REALLY obvious, but a couple of beers is enuff o screw you!)

All the best for when you go for it....let us know how it goes!


Distorted sex drive in space was already known to be a sticky knoblem - BRASS EYE

16 posts
Location: plymouth/cardiff

Not to frighten you or anything, but the first time i lit mine (after about a week) i set my hair alight!!! i haven't lit mine since but alot more experienced now and can't wait to do it again. Definately don't do it till you are 101% sure, but you will have a wicked time, happy spiningxxx

if you do not suceed try try again

Mark PMark PBRONZE Member
old hand
1,031 posts
Location: Bath, England

easy solution to above - Wear a hat if you want to keep your hair

glass 350 moves OMG let me sit down and think *listens to sounds of cogs grinding* - nope it is no good I dont know how many I know but I just enjoy the dancing

Mark P

GlåssGlåssDIAMOND Member
The Ministry of Manipulation
2,523 posts
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

thats counting a move and its revers as one move.
So 3 bt weave and reverse 3 beat weave count as one move only.

I lost count after that and lost my list, and I'm not interested in making it again.

I agree, dancing

MikeGinnyMikeGinnyGOLD Member
HOP Mad Doctor
13,923 posts
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

So here's the scoop on lighting:

1) The pois are going to look a lot bigger once they're lit.

2) They are going to make heat. You'll feel the heat.

3) They are going to make noise.

It can be a bit scary, so leaving all the safety advice aside (and you should make sure you are doing all the safety stuff!) my advice is to do a very basic routine just practicing a few moves and going easy on the transitions. You can work on getting really polished routines down with fire my opinion, you should just use your first burn to get the idea of what fire is like.

When are you ready? When you can spin for a while (20-30 minutes) without hitting yourself.

Good luck.


Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

A buckuht n a hooze! -Valura

MrConfusedMrConfusedBRONZE Member
529 posts
Location: I wish I knew, United Kingdom

As pretty much everyone has said, only do the moves that you're comfortable with (that is, the ones you can do without having to concentrate on them at all). Other than that, light up as soon as possible!
I would recommend that you light up just after dusk for the first time; then there's some light other than that coming from your poi. It can be quite off-putting, especially with the noise.


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

vaperloc...the mightyvaperloc...the mightylook @my member
466 posts
Location: Ft worth Texas

Safety being first I would find a house w/ a pool ,1 good pool can do the job of 20 towel boys.Breathing fire for my first time I watched my mentor almost blow his face off!he was ablaze about a half second bf jumping into the pool.ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE THERE althogh he was only on fire for a second he was still almost incoherant and we had to get him out.Btw he sufferd no burns,just a singed goatee and ego.

There are no obstacles only challenges.
Very funny scotty now beam down my pants.
[colour."green"}What would willie do?

AHH theres too many wee leprechauns i cannae squash them all

JaedenGOLD Member
220 posts
Location: Edmonton, Canada

Well, I'd been spinning for about a year and a half before I lit up for my first time. I didn't have to wait that long, it's just how long it took before I had access to fire

When to light up? When you know you can. It's all about confidance. You need to respect the fire as it will burn you if it gets the chance yet be confidant enough in your skills that you know you won't let it.

Mike says if you can spin for 20-30 mins without hitting yourself. I hit myself all the time. I think it'd be better to say 20-30 minuits without having to stop to untangle your poi, or to get one started again (either it hit you and stoped, or just lost momentum while you weren't watching).

The world is not out to get you but if you fight it you will be eaten alive

14 posts
Location: sydney

well matey i havn't been spinning for long either
iv'e been doin it about a month and the day i got my fire chains i lit em up that very night,....i couldn't do a dam thing but then i came across this site and i learnt a few tricks,went back out ther lit em up again and had butterfly and weave goin in bout 10 i can do alot more and i think if ur keen on goin the fire then don't be afraid cuz it's really not that bad if ur careful with it,just take it slow and u'll eventually jump straight into it.


Lifes to short to be missing out on the good stuff,light up whilst u still can!!

the captainmember
2 posts
Location: truro, cornwall

just jump in! i've been spinning for about a fortnight now and i lit up after a week. its the coolest, kinda powerful feeling. i can only do real basic stuff so far. i've nearly mastered the butterfly and btb butterfly. i'd recommend NOT trying new moves alight though!
its the noise that gets me. i had no idea it would sound like that. when you're spinning, the world becomes closed, sort of like meditating

i love my dog as much as i love you

30 posts
Location: Manchester, UK

Like everyone else says - just do it when you feel confident enough.

I didn't practice all that much before I used them lit. - Lack of space! Probably only had about 10 hours practice in total beforehand and could only do 2 moves. However - felt confident that I could control the poi for those moves and that I could stop wothout hitting myself so that I didn't have to keep going if I changes my mind!

Also it is good if you want to do it but are still a little nervous to have someone else there who can also spin and use their poi when the flames are almost dying out as it gives you a bit less flame and you get used to it a bit more. Poi still look scary when you first light them (well to me anyway!!)

Hope this helps and have fun!

9,232 posts
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Don't feel too safe about a pool though. Yes, it will put the fire out but the metal and wick will be just as hot for a while. I guess it's good if you catch fire but if you tangle you're in just as much trouble with extremely hot metal...

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

Whiffle SqueekWhiffle Squeekaddict
416 posts
Location: Hartford, CT USA

hehehe, i spun for 2 years before lighting up, so it was like nothing for me, but god i wanted to soooo badly, i think the biggest thing was the heat, cause i mean, fire is hot, you see someone spin, and its like wow, that looks likenothing, but god, it is hot...

one of the first things i did befor ei actually spun the lit staff, was wave my hand through the falme to get used to it, and i also tapped it against my arm so i would know how it felt to have fire on me, so if i did it while spinning, i wouldnt fling the staff or poi through the air in a frenzy...

now, im not saying do all that, probably wasnt the most intelligent thing in the world, butall im saying is be used to and ready for the fire...

Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Raphael96SILVER Member
old hand
899 posts
Location: New York City, USA

I was lit after an afternoon's worth of practice.

I felt comfortable which I think is the main thing.

For the first burn I didn't do much other than the weave and a butterfly. (The BTB butterfly was on my 2nd burn)

That was a week ago, so the experience is still very fresh in my mind.

That first "whooosh" of the poi swinging past my head was just amazing.


dulce flamesmember
234 posts
Location: Oceanside, California USA

Once you have a good number of moves down after practicing with your unlit poi to adjust from any other things you've been practicing with... I waited about three months 'cause I wanted to be able to do a lot of things including behind the back before I lit up. I waited for an outdoor drum and bass party so I would have non stop music all night long.. I'd say if you set a date either around something happening or you with some friends, practice practice practice until you feel ready to perform... The initial excitement should only build up, and not distinguish in the waiting.... That's my opinion... Than have someone with a damp towel around- but practice everything you're going to be doing and if you hit yourself a lot or even a few times while practicing, I wouldn't recommend that move... But, that's the way I work.... I also watched a guy who practiced for like a week with some fire dancers in Mexico and he felt confident... But he wacked hiself in the nose/eye and well, he healed and all, but it's definately not something you'd wanna aim for... Bruised and burnt... Heck, you've probably lit up now and don't want any advice,(I havn't seen a reply from you), but someone else might find it useful... Good luck and have fun spinnin'!

RoziSILVER Member
100 characters max...
2,996 posts
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

its possible to have accidents on your first burn, its possible to have accidents on your 101st burn.

I would be repeating must of the stuff that everyone else has said if I gave you my usual advice, so I won't. Another few good tips are, choose a safety who is not going to be sitting there concentrating on the fire & the pretty colours it makes (so preferably one who has spun fire before).

Have a practice go on your poi, unlit, beforehand. Go through all the moves you know, and figure out which ones you are really confident with, and also which ones you can link to without stopping. Cos it is preferable to not stop if you can. So if you can do a butterly, but you have to stop, set it up, do it, stop and move onto something else, think twice about doing it. (You can stop and hold the poi out to either side of you if you get tired, or make a wrong move, but you need to do it slowly & carefully. So the sudden stops you do when the poi are unlit, become really dangerous when there is fire around)

It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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