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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Maximus recently said in another thread that he was recently critiqued on his spinning. Not in a bad way but that last year he was told to not split his focus between multiple toys.

I know there are many of us who use multiple toys (not necessarily all at once ) and I was wondering how you all balanced using them? Where you shifted your focus or prioritized?

Also, how do you deal with critiques?

Just curious..thanks for the input!


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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Maximus


member
Location: Upland, CA., USA

Total posts: 250
Posted:I've had a day to think about it, and think about it I have. The person (Crimson Rose) and the context (her "Show me" salon so she can see with her own eyes that you can handle fire) are important.
Last year she saw me with double sai, double swords, long sword, staff, meteor hammer, and some gimmicky stuff too strange to describe. Maybe I looked like a "jack of all trades, master of none." I like to use each one of them. I get a different feeling with each. I try to use each one in a completely different way. But Crimson said I was like a tree with too many branches and not a strong enough trunk. (Nice metaphor, huh?)
So I have been focusing on staff. I have a big bag of signature moves including high tosses and a floor routine.
So after Crimson said she hoped I've been focusing on one tool (right in front of everybody--I felt embarrassed and defensive), I said I had. And grabbed my staff and launched into an aggressive routine. I knew she didn't want a routine, that all I needed to do was stand there, smile, and do a rotor. But I wanted to impress her and somehow redeem myself. I did the whole floor routine, I did tosses to the Moon (caught 'em all), the Popeye, etc., etc. Even my buddy Clay was saying, "You can do some basic moves, y'know."
So I got some lovely applause when I finished, but instead of saying "Wow" like I wanted--like everybody else does, Crimson firmly took me around the shoulders and said I was still all over the board, that I needed more focus, that I needed a central foundation--that the tree still did not have a strong trunk.
While she wants me to be the best fire performer I can be for her Burning Man ceremonies, I believe her criticism was dead on and will make me improve in a way I probably never would have realized myself.
Plus, I am used to being treated like a "maestro," one of the very best in my area, and to be talked to like that was humbling and put me in touch with a deeper humanity within myself. When was the last time I felt humility? I'm used to being the invincible warrior, not the still-learning child.

Mmmm...

g'night.


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Ajay


member
Location: Oxford, U.K.

Total posts: 158
Posted:i do like doing alot of different things, i juggle, diablo, devil stick, spin poi and am just starting to learn contact juggling.
i wouldn't say i was amazing at any but i find generaly people will tend to be more impressed by someone doings lots of different things rather than doing one thing better because they'll just get bored of it.
its slightly different if your performing to ppl who can do the thing your doing instead of someone who has never seen it because they wont be impressed by "basic" moves where someone who has never seen or tried it would be.

so im my opinion its good to concentrate on one thing and get good at it but you shouldn't be too narrow and forget about the other things.


One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew there swords and Shot each other.

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:I'm learning staff. Last night, I borrowed someone's staff in a club. He showed me a lot of stuff to help me spin better and more stably. I appreciated it.

I guess I always respond well to criticism on my spinning. On other stuff, I might be a bit more resistant to criticism, but with swimming and spinning, the two activities that I really can't see myself do, I love constructive criticism.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Flynt
SILVER Member since May 2002

Flynt

Intrepid Penguin


Total posts: 5635
Posted:i have to say, this is something i've been thinking about the past few days. Finally saw a copy of "the art of poi" just a few days after getting back from melbourne. Having never seen anyone but sparx and myself spin before, seeing the crazy antics that the lovely ppl in melbourne get up to, was rather awe inspiring. i felt humbled and kinda lame standing next to them, (whilst trying to absorb everything i could)

and then watching "art of poi" and i sat there, and while sparx bitched about knowing every move on the video, all i could think was, bloodygeehell, my technique could sure use some work!

I guess its not so much about spreading myself too thin over too many fire toys for me, because i am only learning two so far.. but about getting myself to a level where i think HEY! im great! only to be gently (*THUMP*) brought back down to the earth by someone else, and i need to remind myself every now and then , heck, theres more to learn, things to memorise better, more speed to gain, or more grace in that move, spin, turn, whatever.....

being critiqued is not about being put down, its about recognising that we can do better ` which is an awesome thing when you think about it....


Currently on the right side up of the world.

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bender
GOLD Member since Nov 2001

still can't believe it's not butter
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 6979
Posted:you are too kind, maximus! I do not know enuff about this crimson person, but you deserve more respect than that! no-one, not even a master like yaself should lever be criticised for being imperfect. Nitpickers only invite scrutiny on themselves. If it was in the context of polishing for performance, fair enough, but from your observations you deserved more kudos then criticism. You can still be enlightened without humbling. Humility is purest when developed internally. To be forced into it from shame is cruel, no matter how it has made you grown; the ends does not justify the means!
People stop criticism when burny and sharpy show up in my set - and then jokes are made with the nervous laughter of the threatend to have studied Shaolin and of Da Mo's sacrifice, surely, Maximus, you would realise the hollowness of such confrontation? to embellish a cutting remark with a tree analogy does not change how cutting it's nature is. trees are fer huggin'! specialisation is not the be-all and end-all of firetwirling development. I love doublestaff more than poi, but not that much!

Many twirlers do not develop their twirling philosophies to keep up with their technique: you do befriend the boastful aloof triple staffer or the humble, enthusiastic poi novice?

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
Mark Twain


Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always

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tennis
BRONZE Member since Jun 2002

confused and abused
Location: bristol

Total posts: 363
Posted:evening all
I have recently discovered the world of fire dancing and it's many offshoots and really wanted to play with them all and what's the problem with that? If you enjoy something and discover another then why not do both and do them when you feel like it. In the last month i have acquired my first set of fire devil sticks, diabolo and poi. I'm still not very good on any of them but I ENJOY MYSELF . And is that not the key to why you took up this hobby? Do what you want to do and enjoy yourself. That's my little rant over.


My cat's breath smells like catfood

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Dom
BRONZE Member since Dec 2001

Dom

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Bristol, UK

Total posts: 3009
Posted:I think this issue/question has several answers depending upon who you are and why you're spinning.

Personally, I like toys. I like to play and mess about. So I'll try a bit of everything and whilst I mainly spin poi and flags I'll also experiment with staff, meteor and clubs, with the occasional pathetic attempt at juggling and contact. Obviously I like to think I'm pretty good at poi, but I'm not trying to be the best out there or use it as a pulling power. If I was it'd be hard seeing how London's full of really outstanding spinners.

If I was a serious performer I'd focus some more on a couple of toys I'd use in shows and think about how I was spinning these more, building more skill, working out routines, etc... We all know the quip about all a public audience wants to see is the weave really fast. They also want variety, and while the public see little difference between spinning poi ok and really well, they'll probably see more difference if you mix poi, staff, juggling, dance, etc... in a set.

If I was some kind of poi athlete, trying to be the best in the world, impressing all other spinners, being a maestro and winning competitions, then Crimson's advice to focus would probably sit well. But for a public performer or general spinner I think it's not such good advice.

You have to enjoy what you're doing, so do what you enjoy.


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Actually Pele, I've always wanted to ask you how you managed so many disciplines?

I really think it depends on your level, and what you want to achieve. I'm drawn to the circus skills/performance side. So, I feel it's important to have a good repertoire, and be competent in a number of disciplines.

Personally, I try lot's of different toy's because I enjoy them. And, as a learner I think cross-training helps.

I try to practice with all my toys, for at least a few minutes, everyday. But, I prioritise, and spend more time with say staff and poi, compared to clubs or devil stix, because they are my favorites


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Stone, I started dancing when I was 4, singing when I was 11, acting when I was 16, fire eating/breathing at 25, poi at 26, staff at 27....see the pattern? I don't do it all at once.

I try not to take up alot of new things at once. Sure I have the toys, and play with them, but I try to not focus hardcore on them all. I now know poi and can do it okay, so I moved onto staff which I can do alright. Then I picked up devil stix. Now I am trying contact juggling. So I moved on to something new each year when I feel I am proficient enough to not bash myself all the time with it. That way I can work on a new toy, or work on a new move with an old toy and keep myself occupied. It balances out and is a slow growing process.
This way too, my audience always has something new year after year that is really seen (new toy), and not something hard to notice (most new moves), for those who are repeat watchers, which keeps me being hired year after year!
For example, I am always adding new fire breathing/eating tricks into my repetoire, even though I have been doing it for years. This week in fact, I am debuting a new one at my show!
I still strive to learn more with poi and staff, but really enjoy attempting contact juggling and devil sticks. What tool I practice is according to how I feel, and the only thing I do that I know I do well is fire breathing, everything else I feel just adequate to below average in, so keep pushing myself. I try to practice every day. I can't sit still long, unless I am tired. So I practice devil stix or cj while watching tv or whatever. I like to practice spinning early in the morning or late at night, I dance whenever I am on two feet (at the sink, behind the desk at work, etc), and I practice singing whenever as well! That is how *try* I balance those things out.

I have also adjusted things I did as a child into fire stuff. That way the learning isn't so hard. There are transitions that need to be polished and new moves worked on sure, but because it was something I already know how to do, it makes it easier!
Did that answer the question Stone? I try to balance my life, sometimes it doesn't work though!

As for criticism. I agree it depends on how it is dolled out. The way Crimson seems to have presented it sounds harsh. Things can be said more diplomatically, and less vague, but this is only by what Maximus has said (thank you for sharing btw! ). I look at it this way, a person can critique my technique, no problem and it does help when done in a diplomatic way (not gently, just explicative without condescension). No one has the right to critisize a passion, or how a person manifests their passion, be it in one tool or many.
I just think it was incredible of Maximus to see the value in something that could've potentially been taken very wrong!

Thanks all, this is very interesting!


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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Glåss
DIAMOND Member since Nov 2001

Glåss

The Ministry of Manipulation
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 2523
Posted:Thanx pele and maximus, good thread
Bender and Dom are as thoughful and right as ever.

You may grow a strong staff trunk, but this tree will only grow branches which are staffs.

Poi, diabolo, movement meditation, acrobactics, juggling and dance are all a different trees in the same family.

They will grow well in the shade of a strong tree.

Yet many saplings growing together will also shalter each other and grow strong.

Last month I was starting to think That I was getting good, but now I know that I am just beginning. Staff is a journey. If I though that I was a master then I would have to retire from the adventures. So i see that as a beginner again my stick and i have the most path yet to enjoy. Enjoy the path.

I planted 3 more saplings in the last week.

be cool,

Glass
___________________
"People who are good at one thing are rarely good at just one thing."
Quoting one of the best jugglers in this house.


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Dom
BRONZE Member since Dec 2001

Dom

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Bristol, UK

Total posts: 3009
Posted:Glass just out himself at beginner phase, which puts me in the nursery.

Cool! Pass me the cut up potato shapes and finger paints! No, I don't need paper, the walls will do just fine!


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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Well, heck, I guess I'm still squirming my way out of the womb, then...

Hey! It's cold out here! I wanna go back!



-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Thanks Pele. I enjoyed reading your insightful comments. I suppose, I was expecting something a bit more regimented, but I like the “everyday” approach. For me, balance probably means including a bit more structure into my practice sessions. HoHum.

As far as criticism and interesting metaphors go. Sometimes I think we can miss the point, and it becomes difficult to see the trees for the forest.

She said " I needed a central foundation--that the tree still did not have a strong trunk ". I don’t want to interfere here, but are you sure she was referring to staff skills and not something else, when she said the tree still did not have a strong trunk. Just a thought


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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bender
GOLD Member since Nov 2001

still can't believe it's not butter
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 6979
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Stone:
Personally, I try lot's of different toy's because I enjoy them...I try to practice with all my toys, for at least a few minutes, everyday.I'll say! Stone hadta keep getting more toys outta his car the one time i twirled with him! at least now i know what a meteor tiwrled looks like!


Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 3989
Posted:This might be taking it completely out of the context of the original situation, but it is a cool thread.

I've got far too many toys, and some of them I haven;t prcaticed anywhere near enough. Double staff and the unicycle are really my mainstays, but a more regimented approach would be very beneficial I think...


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Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:about toys.... i'm keeping myself down to staff/staffs/poi... no matter how badly i want to try contact juggling and flags and...ok, i'll shut up now. hehehe

but i figure until i haev at least halfway decent proficiency in my current mess i shouldn't keep adding things.......

if i can, i try to practice two hours a day, altho i think i'll have to extend that now that i know more staff stuff cause even just practcing throws can easily go on for an hour. in the morning, befroe work. which means i haev to haev gotten up adn not be somewhere else. but it's cool when it works

criticism... depends on who it's coming from and how it's meant. sometimes i get upset if it soudns condescending, but i usually try to turn that into energy to improve.

i suppose there is one type of critisicm that drives me nuts, but we'll go there later since it doesn't tend to be a problem too much.


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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