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el beardo
BRONZE Member since Nov 2001

member
Location: london, uk

Total posts: 72
Posted:i've noticed a few times while reading through the threads that some people get quite offended when someone suggests or asks about learning a certain technique of martial arts. The latest example of this that I have seem was regarding rope darts. On that particular thread, I think it was Whiffle Squeek that made a very good point, and not wanting to take that thread of topic, I've started a new one.I recently twirled a bit of fire in front of a couple of kiwi mates (one of whom is maori) for the first time. Both were very very suprised that a half brazilian living in London could do poi, and were impressed, proud even, that i was doing poi. Not proud of me, but proud that a pice of their culture was being recognised and respected outside New Zealand.HOWEVER, at the same time, in an almost patronising manner, as if i was a child who did not know what I was doing (which I am more than happy to admit to), they explained that tho what I was doing was based and very similar to poi, it was not actualy poi.to start with, poi is only performed by women, it is a war dance, it is performed with very short poi. Neither of my friends were offended, but they obviously felt the need to point out that it wasn't actualy poi.I think its very important that we all remember that "poi" is a word that has very very specific cultural connotations, and that means a very specific thing. so, it is hypocritical to the utmost for people to moan about other people wanting to learn a certain discipline or technique of a martial art, such as rope dart, when they are happy to describe their fire twirling in their back garden, or glowstick/beaming balls twilring in a club as poi. thats my rant over. i hope i havent offended anyone, but its something i do feel strongly about. i think we should either accept that traditional arts and disciplines will be learnt in isolation from the cultures that they come from, or we should change the name of what we do from poi to something else. ------------------Flame on![This message has been edited by the beard (edited 09 January 2002).]

May your staff spin fast and your poi always miss your balls.

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Bendy


member
Location: Adelaide, SA, Australia

Total posts: 750
Posted:itsgottab - didn't get that, can you repeat it?
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(jk)Comets are because of the tails aren't they? Mine don't have tails.A stick or a staff is still a stick or a staff. The names aren't chosen because they are cool. They are descriptive, and named after the traditional tool, still doesn't mean that the use is the same.


Courage is the man who can stop after only one peanut

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N8


member
Location: NY, USA

Total posts: 336
Posted:Drat! I always read the good posts after everyone has said everything I wanted to say. Curses! Foiled again!

Care of other people's approval and you become their prisoner.Live fully, Rave wholly.Fluid are the movements of my strings...

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jonathan


enthusiast
Location: new zealand

Total posts: 210
Posted:well i went to a marae a few years back and showed them my fire poi, some were cool, but a few seemed to resent the fact that we were doing some strange stuff with what is to them a cultural thing....... having said that, most recognised that it is time to see their culture evolve or see things go downhill. a lot of the resentment comes from the fact that us white men herded them up into caves and kept them there with no food or water or blankets ect. there has been a lot of cultural suppression in new zealand, but there are still families with kids living in the bush who havent seen a white man yet...... freaky aye. the poi's use as both a weapon and a training tool has been downplayed considerably in new zealand (the whole family used to go out and scrap it up as ive been told) if you look at the numbers it took to colonoise n.z. you can see that it was roughly a 20:1 ratio in favour of the pakehas, yep, pesky natives could rumble hard and eat your legs afterwards!!!!!!!.i have been on the receiving end of quite a bit of racism when i have tried to learn more about the maori culture, but thats the way it kind of has to be. a resurgence in maori pride of their culture is taking place in n.z. and that is a good thing, i guess its kinda like a pendulum and things are swinging the other way!!!!!having said that, a lot of my friends come from the generation that many call 'lost' with little cultural knowledge and ties to their land and ancestors. i guess it could be kinda hard seeing people over the world doing this wonderful thing we do, knowing that it (at least in part) is part of their culture, yet not being able to do it.so i say revive the art of the poi to its former illustrious glory (but except with fire) use 4 and then if people complain about the word you can say "at least i put in the effort............" [This message has been edited by jonathan (edited 25 January 2002).]

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tallicaburton


member
Location: Troy, NY for school (Austin, T...

Total posts: 51
Posted:Geese itsgottab, you are pretty cynical towards all of this. You seem to find even the choice of the name 'poi' a device to be cool. Could it just be that what we do, our poi, is a derivative of the Maori art? And that we aren't trying to be tribal "cool"? I would have to agree with Pele (who has done a wonderful job defending all types of rationality). And in fact, poi has another name. Its called "fire spinning".Just because some of the Maori find us doing this art "wrong" doesn't make it so. They don't stand on some higher moral ground. If I was attempting to learn the traditional Maori Poi, I think they have a great right to be angry. It is something I cannot possibly understand, and if I'm not going to use it in the right context, I AM bastardizing it. Except, we are NOT trying to do traditional poi. We have a new form of art, which is loosely based on poi (you swing both of them around, the moves we have are ours and theirs, but it is hard to claim moves are intellectual property, because someone independent of all of those could "discover" all these moves on their own). We call it poi, but so what? If you cook in a wok, I'm sure it isn't traditional Chinese food. Lots of people celebrate solely the commercial aspects of Christmas. We call it poi because that's where the idea came from, and it has evolved into a name. If you are going to get on your high horse (sorry if you aren't, but sometimes you sound pretty mean
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) then why not look at the roots of other words in the English Language and lament their bastardization.I only wrote this because itsgottab seemed extra mean/cynical. If you weren't trying to be I'm sorry. If you were, I'm sorry. Lets just love a little bit more. And not get all angry about things we can't change, or aren't important enough to change. We should use all our passions for saving rain forests....er ah....whales....yeah. I love you guys, have a great day! -This is your life, and it is ending one second at a time-Fight Club(so you might as well enjoy it)john


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jonathan


enthusiast
Location: new zealand

Total posts: 210
Posted:its all good, we just live in n.z. so we probably have a bit more local knowledge! i think the maori do have a point (i dont think its a good one) but the thing is that what a poi is/was differs between tribes! one thing the maori arent renoun for was a sense of togetherness and intertribal consistancy - 23 languages (dialects really) when whitey came, all other tribes for eating or slaves......(he he that seemed to be a fairly pervasive aspect of the culture though) my advice when confronted by an irate maori would be to1 ask which tribe they hail from2 ask how something that has brought so much extra exposure to their culture (i doubt anyone seriously thinks we are portraying anything like traditional maori culture)3 ask them if they can do it, if they cant just say why not? if poi is a cultural thing for you why cant you do it and why are you tetchy about others doing it. (at this point a 5 beat btb weave would add that extra little sting!!)in traditional culture groups women and occaisionally men have 4 long poi, usually used 2 at a time with either handles long or short, so those dudes at the top of the thread were doing exactly what you suspectedbeardy, talking down to you, its quite a common reaction when they feel that you might be onto something cool and they feel maybe a bit 'inadequate' ooooohhhhhhhhscandalous thread here,but their culture is heaps different to white mans, full of magic and mystery and crazy shit, so allowances have to be made, so long as its both sides doing it![This message has been edited by jonathan (edited 25 January 2002).]

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Itsgottab


member
Location: NZ

Total posts: 244
Posted:what i was repeatadlly trying to say was that poi accuratly portray traditional moari poi, where as they don't for any of the so called modern poi. nothing to do with culture bla bla bla, just simple reflection of what we do. if you have seen traditional poi, the same ones maori use today, you'll see they are done during the day, and are indeed poi or balls, there are no tails etc.if you have seen any of the traditional moves you may also realise there are feww similarities between the two styles, theres and ours.prehaps calling them hammers maybe a better reflection of our competive move progression style, as in that crazy sport they do at the olimpics

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sleepymike


member
Location: Clearwater, FL USA

Total posts: 5
Posted:I am calling what I do ....'BOB'. Ive never been to a rave, or done MDMA. I am 38 years old, and have never even desired to spin a glow stick...but I have suspected that my daughters are snagging the ones I keep as emergency flashers in my van. I am a long time pyromaniac, if that makes a difference. I do this because it interests the hells out of me. I started by taking pics for some friends when they were fire BOBing, because I was the only one in the group with a manual camera. It was then I was hooked. I made my own practice chains with some ball chain, split rings, and some tennis balls. I am currently in the stage of beating the crap out of myself to the unabashed amusement of my children and wife.I think we are splitting hairs here...we can have our own style without forgetting the roots from which they come. When I spin BOB, it is an almost meditative state for me.I use whatever music Im listening to, wether it be bagpipes, pennywhistles, techno, or jungle, I have even BOB'ed to reggae. So, needless to say, I dont BOB to be cool. You can go into a kosher deli and enjoy a nosh without being Jewish, and you can BOB without being totally entrenched in the Maori culture. Im not sure why we need to pick apart what others do...does it make us feel superior in our advanced knowledge of cultural anthropology (no offense to any cultural anthropolgists in the audience) This smacks of the SCA and the 'Authenticists', that insist if it wasnt made in an authentic manner, with period materials and technology, it aint good enough (much offense to the SCAdian Auths in the audience). I will continue to BOB in my own fashion, and I hope to be able to set myself on fire soon.. (pun intended)So, live, love, and laugh, and try all three at the same time.Regards,SleepyMike--------------------"The only difference between myself and a madman, is that Im not mad." Salvador Dali

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emptyset


member
Location: Albany, NY United States of Am...

Total posts: 98
Posted:hah....strings....------------------Its all in good, clean, light producing fun.

Its all in good, clean, light producing fun.

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Peregrine


member
Location: Mystic, Ct. USA

Total posts: 428
Posted:once again, the video of real maori poi, for the edification of them north americans what havn't seen it....http://waiata.maori.org.nz/video/rangiwewehi.mpgPere

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Bdaze


member
Location: bedford, NH, USA

Total posts: 8
Posted:I hear that! I am a martail arts enthusiast as they say. most of the coments based on martial arts are either deleted or responded to with annoyance. I dont understand it, just because you dont think it isa necisarry to take years of trainign doesnt mean there are things you can learn from them. i can think of at elast 3 web sites with video, pictures or tutorials in rope dart or metero hammers. you could learn some cool moves from them. And it is NOT forcing you to respect or evenm understand another culture. IM NOT ASKING YOU TO DO THAT. on another point in genral you shouldat least here peeople out befor responding with scorne annoyance or anger. peace, b ecool

beeing shot sixteen times is no way to die, falling 68 stories out of a blim flying over the super bowl while on fire now thats the way i wanna go.

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Tempest


addict
Location: Sheffield

Total posts: 522
Posted:So what about sharing Bdaze?I for one would love to see those elusive web sites you know of.Pretty please
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TEMPEST


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Bdaze


member
Location: bedford, NH, USA

Total posts: 8
Posted:well, www.shaolincenter.com has some good video clips and furiosG.com is also good. i dnt know if shaolin center has to many clips of meteor hammer but they do have some rope dart clips. thats all i can think of off thew top of my head but searching for shaolin rope dart works well. hope this helps. peace

beeing shot sixteen times is no way to die, falling 68 stories out of a blim flying over the super bowl while on fire now thats the way i wanna go.

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Dragon7
GOLD Member since Oct 2003

Dragon7

addict
Location: Aotearoa (NZ)

Total posts: 625
Posted:*cough*



Strange, this is the 1st time iv read this thread. umm




EDITED_BY: Dragon7 (1099042696)


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Kat
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Kat

Pooh-Bah
Location: London

Total posts: 2211
Posted:Hands Dragon 7 a cough mint

Come faeries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.

- W B Yeats

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Dragon7
GOLD Member since Oct 2003

Dragon7

addict
Location: Aotearoa (NZ)

Total posts: 625
Posted:thank u. biggrin

I find dantanas post interesting :]

Written by:
we are doing to poi the same thing that Bruce Lee did to martial arts. Bruce laughed at people who thought that their one form of martial art was better than all others. And he scoffed at people who thought a martial art could not evolve and change because it was "traditional". He took ideas from all over the world, figured out what the best parts were from all of them and made what suited him his own. He incorperated everything from american boxing to traditional kung fu. We are doing the same thing to poi. Sure it has a root in maori society (and under different names in other societies), but we have taken it and added to it what each of us think its good and made it our own. I have added elements of martial arts and break dancing to my style. I call it poi sometimes, and sometimes I call it kung fu. doesn't realy matter, it is just a name. We could call all this wu shu kung fu, because it has elements of that in it. We could call it dancing or call it whatever, but when someone says "poi", I think we all know they are talking about swinging stuff, and that it what is important...communication. (and having a good word for the internet search engines, which is the main reason we should all tell people that it is "poi" )




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Rouge Dragon
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction

Total posts: 13215
Posted:Most of my points have already been said; such as "poi" not being exclusive to Maori culture anyway, and no-one can really trademark a something like it because so many cultures have so many variations. Also, that it seems to be generally accepted that what we do is not exactly the same as what the Maori do, and therefore we aren't really bastardizing anything being we aren't saying that what we do is the same - only that it is derived from it.





But I would like to tell a story:

one apon a time, on grade 6 school camp in New Zealand, a little 12 year old girl was shown some traditional Maori poi and was taught how to use them. She had a great time and at the end of the day they had to be prised out of her hands.

five years later, that same girl saw some poi, the way people on this site know them, at a market, "hey! they're like those things I was playing with in New Zealand!" and to cut a long story short, she bought some.

If if weren't for that introduction to traditional Maori poi at the age of 12, the "modern" (of whatever you want to call them) poi might never have been bought. Therefore, if you like, you can say that the reaons for starting poi and a "circus art" (cos quite frankly, i have no idea what to call it to distinguish!) was because of this introduction that came from traditional Maori poi, shown to her by two Maori ladies who seemed stoked that she was enjoying playing with them so much!



just some food for thought.



also, I do "Iaido", which is a Japanese martial art using traditional-style Japanese swords. "Iaido is the study of the forms and techniques of drawing and cutting with the Japanese sword. These techniques have a long colourful history in Japan and have been developed and refined over hundreds of years." (http://www.kendovictoria.asn.au/elthamiaido/iaido.htm)

From that description, and from my teacher (who, might I add is Slovakian), Iaido is refined from techniques used by the Samurai. But am I Samurai? Am I even Japanese? No! I was pretty European-decended last time I checked! But whenever I mention to someone who is Japanese that I do Iaido (my pen-pals, friends, teachers etc), they were all very impressed that I practised this art and often asked me how I got into in and how much I enjoy it. It seems to me that they are happy that I show an interest in their culture. They even found it so impressive they thought it was worth mentioning in my Japanese oral exam!

But like I said, I am not Japanese, and I am not practising it like a Samurai. Will you tell me that I am bastardizing this when Japanese people have expressed their delight at me doing it?



msn, only a few minutes ago:

RougeDragon: are you offended that I do Iaido when I'm not Japanese?

Noriko: no. Why do I huv to be offended? Usually people don't care at all.



And please don't tell me that she is only one person. Like I said, other people have also expressed their delight, only they aren't on my msn.









And itsgottab, may I ask; do you practise poi the so-called traditional Maori way? I'm talking the practising for battle, keeping toned and preparing food way? I highly doubt it because I would have thought that if they were your intentions then you would not be on this site.







edited after my conversation with Noriko

EDITED_BY: Rouge Dragon (1099056352)


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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Kat
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Kat

Pooh-Bah
Location: London

Total posts: 2211
Posted:Well said!

Going to take an art from my own culture to show why I think adaptation is not necessarily a bad thing. Look at Riverdance / Lord of the Dance - it flouted the 'rules' of traditional Irish dance and though I hate Lord of the Pants Michael Flatley - I think the effect that it had on Irish dancing is great! Suddenly Irish dance was seen as something beautiful and fun!! Not just something that ringletted young girls wearing constipated smiles take part in! So two fingers to the people who give out about bast**dizing our traditions -they were adapted in the first place by the clergy who insisted on the hands by the side rod up yer arse stance that has been around for the past century or so. In the case of my culture I celebrate the change! I know a Maori girl who got such a buzz from her first fire poi play so its fun that someone can take something from another culture, make it their own in many ways and then say - there you go! Even looking at poi round the world - I'd say those of you who have travelled to various poi workshops could comment on the differences between poi in London, Oz and New York for instance!
Vive la difference, vive la poi!


Come faeries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.

- W B Yeats

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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay

Total posts: 7330
Posted:related thread angelblue

"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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Wild Child
SILVER Member since Sep 2004

Wild Child

Star Trekker
Location: Cheshire

Total posts: 1733
Posted:I'd never even seen Poi, or balls on strings, comets or whatever you want to call them until last summer and if I thought I had to use them in a specific, 'traditional' way I probably would never have bothered picking them up. Fortunatley for me, the guy said 'just spin 'em round, do want you want'. I like to dance with them.

He took the same tack with my 4 neices and nephew this summer - they just picked them up and got on with it. That's about spinning and grinning and feeling it all, not about replicating something on the other side of the world. You should see their faces (when I get round to scanning the photo's) that says it all.

But then, us whitey's have the luxury of not having been enslaved/robbed of our birthright/homelands etc so it's easy for us to say - 'hey, chill'

Maybe we should agree to talk about Poi with a capital if it's reference traditional and poi with a little p if it's about balls on strings, with or with out tails/fire - just to show some respect and recognition of the difference

e
x


'The last rays of crimson on the spindle tree as the cerise fruit splits and reveals its orange seeds in a gloriously clashing colour scheme no-one would ever dare to wear'
Euonymous Europeus

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