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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:Hi there,

some of you may remember this thread from several years ago. I decided to work on it and not only release the missing chapters but also improve the ones I had written so far keeping the experiences I made and the knowledge I gained in my poi life so far in mind. This thread will be extremely useful for people that just started poi but also for the ones that have been playing for quite some time. It will change your perception of poi and the person that has written it, for you will inevitably start feeling an incredible attraction towards the author of this thread.. muhaha..

A few words on the thread itself:
Pretty much four years ago I decided to write a guidebook for poi spinners in a German forum. Back then my motivation was to not only list the things I have learned for myself so far but to make them accessible to the public. I sucked at every aspect of playing poi back then. Hell, I promise you, I ruled at sucking. I honestly didn't think that I would ever come remotely close to a "good" poi player. So my evil plan was to infiltrate some more talented poi players' brains with my ideas and feel like I have part in their success. What a brilliant plan I had back then laugh3

Well not only did I change but also my level of playing poi. And this is why I believe that you can easily achieve what I have achieved. This sounds cheesy as hell but it's the bloody truth. Face it, my friend! The only person holding you back from becoming an awesome poi player is yourself.

Ok, that's enough of me writing passionately. Before you start reading I want to make sure that you understand that everything I write is from my own point of view, I don't claim to know or write the truth (although I might be damn close to it hehe) so don't feel offended if I say something that you wouldn't approve of. The things I wrote won't be breathtaking, they won't be revolutionary but as I think quite nice to read and an inspiration to everyone. If you wanna post comments - go ahead - I am always thankfull for criticism.
The different parts don't have a special order for when I wrote the thread I just wrote what came to my mind.






Chapter I
Steps


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Steps. Probably not the first thing you'd expect to read about in a guidebook about poi spinning. So I hope my efforts in surprising you paid out.
It is actually something we usually don't think of when spinning poi. We don't see ourselves doing them, only if we are practising in front of a mirror but who gets to have that luxury in his training space? Anyways, if we are performing the whole audience can clearly see if you have worked on your steps or not. I recognized that the first time when I saw PK spinning at the BJC'04 in Derby. Although his tricks weren't too geeky he had an immense charisma and I simply couldn't take my eyes off him. I didn't know why and for the first time ever I started analyzing one's poi style. It took me at least 5 minutes to find the feature that fascinated me the most about his style: It were his steps. He had a very distinctive way of making steps while playing. This is where it gets a little tricky, I can try to describe it to you but I am not sure that you will get it.
Whenever he did turns he crossed his feet, standing close to each other (right foot on left site and vice versa) and then he turned himself 180 so that his feet were in the right position again (right foot right side etc). It's really nothing that you would happen to realize immediately if you watch him spinning but you will always feel that he has some very clean and nice control over his body.

But wait, there's more to it. Now we talked about a few single steps, why not talk about walks? I find it very interesting how you can define a character on stage by the way you walk. You can be the smooth ninja fighter, lurking across the stage. Maybe some drunk idiot tumbling around with his fire poi or even a horse, jumping up and down making funny noises. It's completely up to you and your decision of what character you want to represent on stage but please keep the steps in mind for they will be very sad if you forget them.

There are hundres of people on this board reminding you of "moving and making steps while spinnig" but I'd like to add a little something: "but before making steps think about the kind of steps you want to do." Start to move your feet, start to think about different possibilities, but please remind yourself: start with the simple figures and make easy things with your feet/legs first so that it is easier to keep them in mind. Once you get a feeling for these moves you will start moving your feet automatically to some kinds of tricks and that in a nice and impressive way, I hope.

summing up
- pay more attention to your feet
- think about steps (how about step dance?)
- think about your character on stage and the way you walk
- start with easy moves, then progress to advanced moves

And how could I talk about walking without showing you
Monthy Python's Ministry of Silly Walks.?

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Chapter II
Head


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Well, after discussing the bottom of the human body I will continue with the top of our bodies. The head. Unfortunately some people forget after all that it isn't dancing and tricks only, that make a good performance. Your head plays a major role in looking good while playing or amusing the audience.

Normally if we practise our head is faced towards one of the poi or to both, sometimes even worse to our feet and the floor only. Both of it makes us look a little dull. So what you want to work on is the position of your cranium. Start stressing different moves with a specific movements of your head.

Lets just think of a very simple move for a second to understand what I am talking about, the giant butterfly for example. Whenever your poi cross at the bottom, try bending your head towards the floor in a nice motion. If your poi are crossing on the top, you should try to bend your head on the top. Now depending on what you want to convey to the audience do this in either a very funny, a very beautiful or a very aggressive way. Or do it the other way round and look at the top, when poi are crossing on the bottom and vice versa.

Another example : make a simple same time equal direction figure in front of your body and stall both poi at the right side (like a pendulum, not like a super crazy Yuta-stall lol). Follow this movement with your head. then, once again do the same movement at the left side. This should look quite good already but now try to invert the whole thing. Stall at the right - head faces to the left and so on..
Or just do a simple thread the needle move and whilst that make crazy circles with your head.
If you try some time you will find a few things that will actually "feel" very good. To see for yourself if this trick looks as beautiful or crazy as it feels, ask a friend or your mom to watch you and to rate the "head variations". Or just use a cheap ass 50 digital cam, works fine as well.

Well, that's it on the head already, isn't it?
Noooooooo! Please punch yourself if you really thought that was all I have to say about the head.
Head movements contain facial expressions, too!!! Look, I gave this phrase three exclamation marks to show you how important that is! Honestly, please never ever forget what you just read.

If you perform, you should think about the character (more about this concept later on) you want to be on stage. Now you'll learn more about what I mean by that and how to create one in one of the last chapters of this guidebook, but let me blow this already: A character has a mood he or she is in. You can be a funny character, an arrogant character, a sad character, an aggressive character and so on and so on. So how do you convey your mood? By the music you use? Hah, nice guess but this answer is far from the truth. It is actually your facial expression, your mimic. Now don't tell me you completely forgot about that so far in your routines hehe. I used to. Always.
Did you ever do a fire comedy show ? It's really great fun doing something like that. Not only do you learn more about your mimic but also about group dynamics and the relationship between performer and audience. You can easily make a few hundred people crack up and admire you for your performance although you don't do any fancy tricks. Have you seen Thomas' JFF2008 performance (if not so click here)? Then you probably recognize how he amazes both, the jury and the audience with his performance. It isn't very good technically (compared to what this man can do) but yet so funny and entertaining that it ended up winning the JFF contest. I will analyze this and two more performance videos in the "Character" chapter.

But now back to the face. Some plain advice. Never look dogged or strained. 80% of the people I see doing fire spinning do exactly that thing. Stop it. Please. It greatly weakens your charisma. It feels like all the fire spinners think it is important to show people how DANGEROUS and SERIOUS fire spinning is. In fact it looks ridiculous most of the time. If you wanna do a "serious" show it's better in my opinion to have a neutral facial expressions.

I found it quite interesting to see how people reacted when Yuta filmed for his "Poi Around the World" project. He always said "Smile!" when he started filming and people smiled for about 10 seconds before they forgot about their face and started looking stressed again because they really had to pull off this very technical trick for the camera. wink

summing up
- think of the movements and the position of your head
- play around with facing/not facing your poi
- get feedback from friends or a camera
- mimic! mimic! mimic!
- think about your "mood" on stage
- never look dogged or strained


If you wanna see a really bad example for facial expression check out Steven Seagal's work. No this isn't funny, this is just what most of us look like when spinning lol

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Chapter III
Freestyle or Choreography?

I remember having had countless discussions about the whole "freestyle vs choreography" topic. Some people were of the opinion that choreography doesn't allow you to play freely and emotionally, some of the opinion that choreography is the only way to play clean and emotional. Well to be honest I don't have an opinion on which of these two ways of playing is "the best" so I thought I might just discuss both of them and show you when freestyle might be of advantage and when you'd rather choreograph a short routine.

Freestlye
Pros: Good way to relax your mind and body. Good for improvising skills. Nice to watch for a few minutes. No pressure. You're not too focused or too much in your head but can let your thoughts drift.
Cons: Sometimes too random. Gets repetitive after a while. Often lack of coordination. You don't really learn something new.
Synopsis: I like freestyling. It is great fun out in the sun and can really get your mind and body in a nice state of relaxation. You usually have no pressure on you when freestyling (except if there's a guy filming you or something like that). You're not too focused or too much in your head but can let your thoughts drift. Yeah, in a nutshell this is perfect for some playing around. But to be honest I get tired of seeing exactly that in 80% of the fire perfomances I usually get to see. No offence, it's just this feeling that if you get paid for a performance you shoud actually prepare one.

Choreography
Pros: You know exactly what you're going to do, don't have to think of your next move in panic. People will pay much more attention if you know how to win the spectators' favour. Interesting routine without any repetitions (hopefully). Fits the music perfectly. Adrenaline (that's a pro in my opinion cause I like it - bring it on!).
Cons: Pressure. Expectations. One mistake can strongly influence the rest of the routine. Takes a looong time to prepare and work out.
SynopsisYeah, to be honest choreographies still scare the [censored] outta me. I mean really planning, trying to fit all of your movements to the music, getting a rhythm and climax for the show - qu palo! That's really a whole lot of hard work. But once you mastered that work you will be able to express yourself sooo much better and even more fluidly than with freestyle. Your choreography shouldn't be in your head only but mostly in your body (I love it that G describes our knowledge of poi tricks "muscle memory")! To be honest I feel that a good performance is the only way to evoke strong feelings in the audience.

Just have a look at this, my all time favourite baton twirling routine:
Kiyoshi Sugimoto

I could cry everytime I see it because of it's beauty. Does that make me a wussy? Probably lol. I dare to claim that poiple are able to do so much more so much better than it's done at the moment. It's not about the fancy tricks. It's about showing some personality, some emotions and some originality on stage. Challenge yourself, show some courage, move up your lazy ass to do a choreography and you will see how much your style will improve.

This is what a very old choreography looks like. I'm sure you geeks would do it with MS Paint

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Chapter IV
The Torso


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All right, let me start this chapter with some ancient Asian wisdom that will hopefully kick your ass. Chinese people say that the power house of our body, the "Dantian" is positioned in the pubic bone, about 3 fingers underneath the belly button. Not only is this position of great importance for the fluency of the "chi" (the energy of all life forms in the world referring to the Chinese) but also for the fluency of all body movements. I won't discuss whether you want to believe the whole "Chi" thing or not, personally I don't but the importance of the "Dantian" position is interesting for poi spinners anyway.
If you do a handstand, a wheel or a backflip - this area plays a major role in doing these these stunts. Some blunt physicists would probably say that it is simply the balance point of a human body, but no matter which point of view you have, this point should be the center of your moves at least most of the time. Thus in my opinion many poi and body moves should be done with the abdomen rather than with legs or arms.

Think of a belly dancer for a second. She or he moves precisely that part of the body. And it looks fluent as a jellyfish. Oh hell, I am just realizing that it is kinda hard to describe what I mean in words. Just wait until I upload a video (which will probably never happen, I'm just being honest here hehe).

Let me try with a different example: If you do the insane "Matrix" move that everybody loves to watch. You have to lean back a looot, and I find it a little easier to do if I focus on the position of my mojo storage the "Dantian". Then again I find that a lot of the holy "Matrix" move depends on your footwork so I will rather talk about the torso in general then trying to mash up Poi and Chi theories.

Since we just learned right now wherefrom our body movements should be effected it is our turn, not to say duty, to utilise this knowledge. Now watch it, I will give you some advice that can increase your performance by at least 15%!
This is my advice: LEAN! It looks so great if you do it while spinning. Back then when I started poi I was pretty amazed by bluecat's style. One of the reasons for my careless admiration and countless marriage proposals to this person was the simple fact that he leant.. a lot! Check his Spinach Sessions to see what I am talking about.
Lean, my friend, lean! Spread your legs when doing a corkscrew and lean forwards so that you are able to do this trick as close to the floor as possible. It might sound stupid but if done the right way it looks fantastic!

Another important thing to keep in mind are your shoulders. At the beginning of my "spinning-career" I had the problem that my shoulders weren't relaxed at all, they were wide above normal shoulder level. Relax! 70% of the people I see doing isolations have cramped shoulders. Relax, fellas! Have a look at a mirror and force yourself to lower your shoulders. Get a camera and see how kinky you look if you have cramped shoulders and start working on that problem.
On the other hand it can be a funny thing to use your shoulders to stress body movements while spinning and to convey a certain "character" (ok, this will be one of the very last chapters so please be patient with me). Try to push your shoulders up and forwards as far as possible, peer and smile, and et voil - the kid's are gonna love you. (do you know what I mean with that shoulder thing ? just like Dave Elsewhere in the very famous collaboration video).



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Phew, that's a lot of stuff so far. Hang on, we're almost done with this chapter! Let me introduce you to behind the back moves for a second.
I often see that newbie spinners have the tendency to lean backwards when doing a btb move. Lean forwards as you can see it in the lovely HOP poi lessons (at least you could in the very old ones). You will have a hard time successing if you're leaning backwards! once you mastered it with a forward-leant body you will very soon be able to do BTB moves without leaning your body at all. Butt (haha, pun intended) let me share a little secret: most of the times btb weaves and stuff don't look too good anyways, so don't focus too hard on doing them.

Just as with facial expressions start to experiment with different styles: An anxious person with shoulders up and a hump, or a proud person with a straight back and an upraised head, an agressive person showing of his muscles...

Summing up
- Start moves from within your Dantian
- Never underestimate the power of leaning!
- Relax your shoulders while playing
- Lean forwards when learning btb stuff
- Play around with body positions





Chapter V
How to learn tricks


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This chapter may contain some contents that are very likely to displease you if you're a Poi Teacher yourself. I apologize unreservedly if you feel offended, please feel free to share your opinion if you don't agree with my point of view.

Sometimes I feel a little sorry for the people starting poi these days. It's quite unlike it used to be a few years ago. Back then people like me complained about a lack of videos, a lack of teachers and a lack of books. I wanted to see more, better and more exciting poi players than I already did. Well, these days it's quite a different situation. There is a whole bunch of teaching DVDs, online tutorials and books out there, there are lots of workshops held every year and sometimes people seem to get a little confused about things. They don't know what DVDs to buy, what workshop to attend and what books to read. It seems to be impossible to make a decision.

[image]http://www.abload.de/img/homeworkr0r.jpeg[/image]
Soo much information... help

The question is if that is even necessary. Now don't get me wrong, this will be the part where some of you will feel like jumping and killing me for what I write but I feel like there's one truth to spinning poi and it is a very simple one: You don't need workshops, books, DVDs or teachers to learn new tricks. In fact you are even wasting your time by reading this article instead of practising yourself. The problem with learning new tricks is the fact that our brain finds a billion excuses not to practise that trick we want or should practise for any reason. You all know how hybrids work, what they look like and that's all you need to know. Still people seem to need more learning material or workshops on hybrids. Grow up and start practising yourself instead of making a teacher responsible for your success or failure. No one can "teach" you new tricks. Some people feel they attended a workshop successfully for they learned one or two tricks that they probably would have learned anyway if they would have practised a little longer at home. But usually they say something along the lines like "Yeah, it was nice seeing all the possibilities and what you can do with your poi, but I didn't really learn something new" - and that's it. You are a lazy and stubborn person to think that attending workshops will make you a better poi player.

Wow, how rude. Now let me explain what I mean by that. I didn't say that teachers, DVDs and books are stupid or worthless things at all. In fact I would be the stupid one to say so. These things are great tools to improve what you already know, to give you new ideas or to help you if you are seriously stuck with learning a new trick. Seriously stuck. Sounds a little strange, eh? It sounds strange because it is strange. Personally I can't remember being stuck with a trick. I wasn't stuck but simply too lazy/scared or whatever to really practise the trick (of course I wouldn't admit that hehe).
What I was trying to clarify is that there's no one or nothing out there that can spare you the seemingly cruel, boring and endless duty of practising. Careful, my friend! I said seemingly cruel, boring and endless. In fact practise itself is what will eventually give you a deep satisfaction and the desire to keep on spinning poi for a very long time. I'll talk about that later on in the Chapter "Long Term vs Short Term Gradification" - in my opinion the "key" to becoming a good poi player.

After boring you to death or making you rage like a poisoned monkey by explaining my view on things I will now get a little more practical. Allow me to share my way of learning new tricks. I usually watch a video for 2 or 3 times if there's a trick that arouses my interest. I start by asking myself the question "Do I really want to spend plenty of time on learning that trick?". If the answer is "Yes!" I proceed by analyzing directions, timing and the way the person transitions into that trick. This can take some time but it's use shouldn't be underestimated. A proper analysis can make practising a lot easier. After the whole theoretical stuff I make a commitment to myself. It is either "I will practise this trick for 30 minutes" or "I will practise this trick exactly 100 times". A commitment will help you having the discipline to actually keep practising the trick. If you don't commit to yourself you will end up jumping from freestyle to that new trick and back again without a real learning success. After I have practised for either 30 minutes or 100 times I am usually able to do the trick. If not so I decide to spend NO MORE TIME on the trick for the rest of the day but to pick up things later on, maybe tomorrow or later that week. This helps me maintaining a positive attitude towards my practise for I don't feel like it is a cruel punishment but a fun and interesting thing. If that time is over I will focus on different things, such as steps, transitions or maybe even some freestyling. I can almost guarantee you that if you practise a trick for 30 minutes 7 days you'll either be pretty good by the end of the week or have at least some major progress.

Ok, now that you have learned that trick you will be facing another challenge: directions. You may very well be able to do the trick perfectly in one direction but nuts at doing it in a different direction. Now it's up to you. Do you want to learn the other side/direction as well? Let me just say that I strongly recommend doing so. This can be done in various ways. Sometimes I practise a new trick for 15 minutes in one direction and then for 15 minutes in the opposite direction, sometimes I learn the trick in one direction in the first week and take only 15 minutes a day for the next week to learn the different direction as well. You will learn the trick a lot faster in different direction once you have learned doing it in one direction properly for you'll understand how the trick works and what you have to pay attention to.


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Trust your instincts when picking a teacher (preferably not your sexual instincts, though..)

As for the challenge of which teacher, DVD or book to pick: Trust your own instincts but stick to them. Once you have chosen your teacher or bought a nice DVD stop looking for better stuff, at least for a while. Searching for better teachers/videos/books will distract you from practising and learning tricks. You will simply feel when you need new inspiration or learning material. Besides that keep your eyes open. Check free spinning videos on youtube every there and then to see what path you want to take later on. If you start teaching yourself it can actually be quite interesting to get some of the DVDs and books to see how other people teach themselves. There are some brilliant people out there but as I said before they won't be able to spare you practise.

Summing up
- You won't learn new tricks by watching or reading
- Take responsibility for your own learning success
- Analyze new tricks
- Make a commitment to yourself
- Practise different directions
- Stick to one teacher but keep eyes open


Upcoming Chapters
Chapter VI: Arms
Chapter VII: Should I imitate my idols?


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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:what about going faster with less control?!

Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:Chapter VI
Arms

Although poi spinning is mostly about what you are doing with your arms this chapter will end up being the shortest of them all. Since most moves need a very clean execution you won't have a lot of movement freedom with your arms.
So the only point I am trying to make here is the importance of varying your arm movements in general. If you do a butterfly, for example, don't do it more than two times in a row. To keep your routine or freestyle interesting always vary between normal and giant butterflies. Although they feel very similar to a poi player they look different to the audience. A pirouette with giant butterfly is about twice as impressive as a pirouette with a normal butterfly.
Same holds true for a lot of different figures as well. A windmill is more interesting if you change between extended and normal windmill or how about you you extend one arm only and keep the other hand on head level? How about you do a pirouette with one hand extended and the other one spinning on shoulder level?
A backwards three beat wave behind the back backwards is much more interesting to watch if you extend one arm everytime you come from the left to the righ or from the right to the left.
or do the giant butterfly not in front of you but laterally ( sorry, I always forget about these floor,wall and so on plane names ),with one arm inflected and the other stretched. very easy but a nice variation to the monotony of usual giant bf's.
As I said before these seemingly subtle variations make a huge difference to the audience.

Since that was a really short part and I don't feel like I have anything else to say but I'd like to add something Thomas aka nevisoul said about arms which might be quite interesting.

"Arms: Learn to play with straight arms, many moves in poi is being based of making circles and to make a good circle you need a good centre of rotation, If this centre is moving around the whole time (that is what happens if you bend your arms) you will never learn the rythm of a simple flower cos the centre of rotation change place every time and even though its just a tiny tiny bit your brain will never learn the move cos its different every time. Learn with straight arms and then play around with bend arms."

Nevisouls' take on arms:

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(lol maybe I should have told him it was a tripod, not a weapon)




Chapter VII
Should I imitate my idols?

Human beings learn by imitating other human beings. I find it extremely interesting to watch my nephew growing up and adapting his father's behaviour. But I can clearly see that he developes his own character as well (he's only three years old yet one can easily see that this boy got his own mind). So how could I say that imitating someone else is a bad thing? Nonetheless there are a lot of people out there telling you not to copy other peoples' styles. Damn, now that's confusing.
This is a question that drives me bananas. Even today I have to say that I find it very difficult to find a satisfying answer. I will give it a shot though.

You probably started spinning poi yourself because you have seen someone doing it so well that you decided in that very moment that you want to learn this stuff, no matter what. If you get to hang out with that particular person you will probably learn a lot from this person, not only the tricks but also some of his or her "stylish" attributes. Also if you learn by watching videos you will soon have a favourite spinner or even more than one and soon you will end up trying to imitate these people as well. And that is in fact an extremely good thing. Don't listen to people telling you to develope your own style before you even learnt the three beat weave. I am of the opinion that you have to reach a certain technical level before you should even start thinking about your own style. Why is that? Because you will easily be overwhelmed by what lies ahead of you. Learning the tech stuff takes a tremendous amount of time. Developing your own style is even harder. Thus you have to take one step at a time. If you want to learn some drawing for example you have to start off by learning the technical stuff first for you won't learn it by yourself. You simply have to start by following instructions and imitating your idols (my arts teacher even said that you will learn a lot faster by copying drawings and paintings from the great masters - and he was right!).


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Germany Idol: Good example for people trying to find their
own style by imitating their idols (good is not referring to the
shitty quality of the show itself)

Now some of you might wonder "But when is the time to start developing my own style then?". Jesus Christ, yet another question that isn't easy to answer. Keep in mind that no matter how hard you try to imitate your idol's style you will never ever completely have your idol's style. However, I think that you will simply feel when the time has come to develope your own style. Let's get back to my nephew for a second. Right now he is of an age where he starts resisting his parents from time to time. Lets jump in time, a couple of years ahead. Puberty time, yeah! He won't be resisting his parents from time to time but he will fight them to death, disagreeing with anything they say and even hate them for who they are. I hope for you that you won't go through something that extreme in your spinning career. But I hope that you will go through some kind of catharsis. If you do so it is a good thing: You start questioning your idols and you start finding own ways.

Another thing Id like to tell you is that you should know what you want to invest in poi spinning. If you dont want to be training as hard as Yuta dont be disappointed if you will end up being no Yuta wink and dont put yourself under pressure. Relax.

Finding your own style is just like growing up. Keep going and goind and going and you will end up finding yourself being unique one day. Yes, its that easy. You dont have to think every second of your spinning about your own style. It will come. Naturally. I probably thought way too often about these issues. You dont have to. Listen to the advice I give you in this guidebook and you will save yourself a lot of time, thinking and maybe even money hehe.



Summing Up
- Imitate your idols
- After some progress start questioning their style
- Think about what you want to achieve
- Keep going and find own ways
- Gimme five!





Chapter VIII
What music should I listen to while spinning?

If often read topics on forums where mostly beginners ask other people what sort of music they should use when spinning Poi. Since no one can give a "true" answer to that question, I'd suggest to keep looking for the real question concerning poi and music. In my opinion that would be the question When should I be listening to music?
So far I always had it like this with the music:
I listened to one album during practice, no matter what I did and that'd usually be enough for me (well sometimes I played poi for 2 or 3 albums time, but usually it was precisely one). Whether I was practising isolations only, or tried to dance like a drunken monkey, I have always listened to music during pratice.
Nowadays I act very different to that.
I usually listen to music only when I want to work out a routine or when I want to reward myself for a good practice session by doing a nice and relaxed freestyle session. No more use of music besides that.

Now this may all sound a little too serious for you, since poi is a hobby rather than a workout for you. But I just want to expose my point of view and tell you how to get to a real good and nice level of playing poi in the shortest time possible smile
It is my experience that I learn a lot faster and more efficiently if I focus on the trick itself without being distracted by music for I usually have a hard time focusing on things if I am listening to music at the same time. I tried spinning poi without music for quite some time and was particularly surprised by how much faster I learnt new (and seemingly impossible) tricks. Yeah I know, this may sound a little too ascetic for you but I promise you that you will feel a lot better if you get to hear music again after some abstinence and do some freestyling. Isn't it the same for chocolate? Who wants to have ten chocolates a day? One bar every there and then feels a lot better. You will also be very happy about yourself for you finally managed to do that damn trick you have been trying to nail for weeks now. grin

You should also think of your neighbours when listening to music without earplugs!

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Have fun!
upcoming chapters
Chapter IX: A transitions learning technique
Chapter X: About practicing
Chapter XI: Long Term vs Short Term Gradification





Chapter IX
A Transitions Learning Technique

I "stole" this concept from Rob aka bluecat back in the olden days when this guy used to post on a website named poiinthepark.net hehe. Unfortunately I have no access to the original post so I will re-translate my old translation from English to German. But don't worry, you will get the idea anyways since you are a smart human being!

Back then bluecat wrote that he got the idea for this learning technique from a juggling workshop. If you want to find transitions to make your poi style more interesting try this way instead of your old one:
Write about
5 tricks - if you're a beginner
10 tricks - if you consider yourself immediate
15 tricks - if you consider yourself godlike
on a piece of paper in a random order. The crazier the better. The final list could look something like this

1. Butterfly
2. Orbitals
3. Behind the Back 3 beat weave
4. Between the legs weave
5. normale 3b weave
6. Giant Butterfly
7. Hybrid pendulums
8. ...
and so on

now your job is to think of a beautiful yet fast transition from trick 1 to trick 2.
Butterfly to orbital, hmm this one is tricky. you could do a regular butterfly and wrap one poi around your arm to get in split time same direction and then do the orbital. But you could also go from a backwards butterfly to a butterfly airwrap, stall one of the tangled poi on your arm, end up in split time same direction and finish it off with an orbital.
after that step you proceed finding a transition from trick 2 to trick 3 and so on and so on.. it is important that you find a transition from the last trick back to the first trick as well, of course.

This will take you quite some time, maybe even an hour or longer. But once you practised every transition and speeded it up you will easily be able to play the whole sequence within a few seconds. And it will feel incredibly good for you have created something very unique, your own transitions. And you will often find combos in this exercise that you like so much that you will play them over and over again and might end up adding them to your routine as well. Besides that you will feel like you're really in a flow and don't have to think about "...OH I'M RUNNING OUT OF MOVES, WHAT TO DO NEXT??..."

The aim of this technique is to find transitions that look nice and are nice to apply because they feel good.





Chapter X
About Practising: Emotions & Persistence

I think each and every one of us knows the following problem:
You start practising a trick, get better and better at doing the trick itself until you reach a point where you think you absolutely nailed it. You then go on practising a different trick the next few days, leaving the old one alone. After a few days you want to pick up the trick you've played back then but all of a sudden you feel like you are a lot worse at doing the trick than you used to be before. This can result in great frustration sometimes. You are confused, maybe disappointed and too distracted by your emotions to realize that this is actually quite natural and also known as the learning curve.


Non-Https Image Link

(Source: home.ubalt.edu/ntsbarsh/stat-data/LearnCurve.Gif)

Learning is never a steady process. You will always have your ups and downs and the good thing about it is that actually both emotions, happiness as well as frustration will help you to advance very fast if you know how to "handle" these emotions. Let me be more clear about what I just said.
These emotions can lift us up to feeling like we are "godlike" poi players already but sometimes they make us feel really bad and like the "worst" spinners ever. Wait, is that actually true? No, not for all poi players, of course. I have to admit though that I used to feel that way for a very, very long time. I took the whole thing a little too seriously and let these emotions decide for me whether I would be playing poi for the rest of the week or not. Until one day I changed my mind about my own mindset. I got tired of crying like a little baby after failing in my attempts to learn a trick and started analyzing my situation and what I discovered is so simple that I am almost ashamed of sharing it with you lol.
The worse I feel about a trick, the more practise I need to put in it. Now that was simple, eh? And I am sure it makes perfect sense to you if you read it. But let me warn you. There's a big difference between knowing this fact and actually experiencing it. Let me throw in one of my favourite quotes to make you understand what I am actually talking about:

"The only difference between
who you are and who you want to be
is what you do!"

Well, after reading this quote for the first time I thought "Woah, now that wasn't much of enlightenment, 's not like I didn't know that before..". Nonetheless I had to realize very soon the difference between what I thought this meant and what it actually meant. So far I had always been thinking that "KNOWING what to do" makes you the person "you want to be". Until I started realizing that it is your actions defining your character and not your knowledge or thoughts(*). Same is true for you as a poi player. I myself used to be pretty arrogant when it came to poi players better than me. I thought "oh well, they do this and that trick, it's not too difficult, I am sure I could learn it within a few hours but I simply don't want to right now for I feel like I am too sexy and skillful already hahaha". Took me some time to figure out it was my own pride holding me back.

So let me sum up what I just tried to teach you:
- Learning is never a steady process
- Approach your emotions from a different point of view
- negative emotions: show you what you lack, stop crying about it and practise wink
- positive emotions: show you what you got, just don't get too proud
- you are defined by your actions, not by your thoughts (*)
- keep persistent to reach higher goals

*= of course that's not entirely true. It is mostly true for other's people perception of who you are before they really get to know you. Hope you get my point.

At this point of the guidebook I'd like to ask you a question. Are you interested in what I am writing about? I know that it gets deeper and deeper and doesn't really have a lot to do with "practical" advice but I thought since there's absolutely nothing on "Psychology of Poi" out there I would like to start exploring this topic myself. So please, give me a little feedback, let me know if you like or dislike the stuff smile

Careful.. persistence isn't always too desirable

Non-Https Image Link



Chapter XI: Long Term vs Short Term Gradification or "Poi Kaizen"
Chapter XII: Poi Siteswap?
Chapter XIII: Key to a Good Performance: Character





Chapter XI
Long Term vs Short Term Gradification

Several months ago I had the idea for this chapter after reading a couple of books on exactly that subject. And to be honest it was this chapter that made me pick up this dusty and old guidebook again after years. I honestly wish I would have been given the exact same advice that I am about to give you.

Short Term Gradification
We all know it. Think of your eating habits. Your stomach tells your tired brain after a hard day with a lot of work Hey pal, Im getting hungry down there. Now stuff is getting interesting. You go to the fridge, check the stuff you bought a few hours ago and find a few vegetables, some noodles and a fast food pizza. Oh, and there is a pineapple and some chocolatte pudding as well. What are you going to eat? FREEZE! Be honest. Id go for pizza and pudding. Why? Because Im tired, stressed out and dont even want to waste any more time on cooking and preparing dinner. Also the pizza tastes good considering how little effort I have to put in preparing it and the pudding gives me just the little extra energy kick I need.

STG vs LTG chapter just died - it's too big and too trivial for a poi guidebook
I will focus on poi siteswap and performance character next year if I have time to continue this guidebook. so long!

EDITED_BY: duvan (1228663573)
EDIT_REASON: changes


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UCOF
SILVER Member since Apr 2002

UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel


Total posts: 15414
Posted:"it seems like u wrote your reply so fast that you didn't have the control to think about the possibility that I might come to that point in one of the next parts" - or.. he was assuming you had finished seeing as most people would have put all of what they want to say, in the first post wink

You have some really good ideas in there though.
I also completely agree that not enough people move around when they spin. Its something I activly think when Im spinning, but more often than not, I will still continue to stand in the same spot.
What you said about using your head is spot on though and is somethig I belieieieive not many people have wised up to. I beleive, that like in magic, you can make people look in a certian direction and at a certian thing when you want them to. Its all about the misdirection wink

Bender: I like yoooou (still). No one understands us (still). hug


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Sporky


Sporky

addict
Location: Glasgow

Total posts: 663
Posted:Fantastic ideas. The footwork bit I've been working on for a while and I agree that it does add something to the performance. Most people won't notice it as, well, they aren't looking at your feet but I think they do take it in on some level.

Facial Expression... I know one guy who looks like he has a spike up his backside when he spins... I'm not sure about the whole "moving your head while you spin" idea possibly because I'm the type of performer who likes to speak to the audience and explain what I'm doing for instance my "Increacing Difficulty" routine where I start with a 2bt weave and end with a btb wall plane 3bt weave, telling everyone what I'm about to do next.

Freestyle vs Choreography... I agree with it but there are times when you can freestyle in a choreographed routine (ie a guitar solo or breakdown) or make a choreographed routine look like a freestyle which might just be the grail of poi...


Have faith in what you can do and respect for what you can't

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ficklampa
BRONZE Member since Dec 2004

ficklampa

member
Location: sweden,stockholm.

Total posts: 81
Posted:i have to agree to that on the footwork and facial.
some people look so focused like its so hard for them to do it.
i think it is lovely when you make an expression that's just a smile, like its all you've ever done for entire life and you can't but enjoy it.
and for the footwork.
i automatically do some kind of aikido footwork since i've been training it for more than half of my lifetime.
might be kind of nice i think.


the only thing worth dying for is life itself

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Sporky


Sporky

addict
Location: Glasgow

Total posts: 663
Posted:I'm the same with the footwork but I use Tae Kwon do. According to friends I tend to have a goofy smile when spining

Have faith in what you can do and respect for what you can't

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Julie2022


Julie2022

member
Location: Little Rock, AR

Total posts: 145
Posted:Excellent thoughts, advice and tips - bravo.

Excellent job translating, btw! I took German and Spanish in highschool and I didn't become that fluent in them. Now I don't remember anything smile


"I'm your Huckleberry."

The muse spake her thought and then there was silence. Thy spiked tongue had melted, only a bitter heart remained.

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:Chapter IV moved to start post

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UCOF
SILVER Member since Apr 2002

UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel


Total posts: 15414
Posted:"LEAN !"

Yeah! smile


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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:hug love how you've broken the principles of movement down into seperate parts. I'm trying to work on this a bit at the moment, particularly applying some of the principles I learnt in Kung fu (starting movements at the waist, around what you call the Dantian I think, and some of the footwork)

The only very small thing I would think of to add is the movements of the hands: the difference between the clenched fist and open palm, and how much you follow the movements of the poi with your wrists. However, tis late and I may be talking rubbish.

Anyhow, great posts!


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:thx angel , I already thought about writing a part about the hands but I haven't too much to say about it because I spin with drew's non-stretchy-like-socks-looking-poi so I can't really "open" my hands.
Maybe some day I'll write a part about hands smile


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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:ah yes, it is very difficult without fingerloops or a nice big knot in the handle!

Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:Chapter V moved to start post
EDITED_BY: duvan (1223566941)


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Glåss
PLATINUM Member since Nov 2001

Glåss

The Ministry of Manipulation
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 2523
Posted:Its a great Thread, thanks for Making it Max.
Why not reformat it, and maybe add a few pictures and post it as an article.
You're english is very good...
Although I know it will not be as good, as you wish until it is perfect.

My spelling grammar and punctuation are terrible.. so don't ask me for corrections.

Hows the video editing going?
It would help if you posted a video to accompany this.
so people can see what you mean

Smiles
Drew


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bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:yep, this is wicked max.
if i had time i'd help you with the english, as i spent several months teaching it in italy... but right now i don't. if noone else has offered by early october i'm your man.
got to reread before i ask some questions.
hug cause it's been too long.
R


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:thanx mr drew & rob =)

well I'll post a staff video first ( probably this weekend if everything goes right )

I like the idea to make an article out of that thread with pics
maybe I'll really work it out one day =)

next two parts will follow in a few hours ( need to finish the "Illuminati" book from dan brown first - cheap but exciting literature wink )


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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:Chapter VI and VII moved
EDITED_BY: duvan (1223922391)


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KaelGotRice
GOLD Member since Jul 2003

KaelGotRice

Basu gasu bakuhatsu - because sometimes buses explode
Location: Angel's Landing, USA

Total posts: 1584
Posted:I just realized this... He didn't finish his post!

Just up and disappeared.

eek


To do: More Firedrums 08 video?
Wildfire/US East coast fire footage
LA/EDC glow/fire footage
Fresno fire

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ubbrollsmile.gif" alt="" />

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Olive
GOLD Member since Jun 2004

Olive

enthusiast
Location: Paris 19e

Total posts: 286
Posted:that's because I haven't commented yet redface

Great stuff Max smile
got a couple of comments on body move & style
I'll come back to this very interesting thread soooon


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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: Glss


You're english is very good...

Although I know it will not be as good, as you wish until it is perfect.





Is the fact that there are so many grammatical errors in the above quote ironic or just sad? ubblol


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

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Mireneye
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

enthusiast


Total posts: 276
Posted:This thread has done so much for my movement. Thank you so much!

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:Peter, nice to hear I could help you with something cool
EDITED_BY: duvan (1224098982)


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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:moved
EDITED_BY: duvan (1224098996)


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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:moved
EDITED_BY: duvan (1224098863)


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16.15.8
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

16.15.8

I cant think therefore Im not
Location: In my backpack

Total posts: 291
Posted:Whoaaa dude!

Honestly you really are on to something here, I would love to sit down for a deeeeeeep Thomas/Max discussion again but only about these things.

There are some stuff I dont agree with, off course, but most of it is like silk for my ears to hear.

So what is poi about? What is the secret to understand, learn and become a good poi spinner?

Max, you are missed!

Circular dreams!

//Thomas


"I dont like shoes, definitely not spinning with shoes, they make my feet feel flat, my feet are not flat...."

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:Originally Posted By: Nevisoul
Honestly you really are on to something here, I would love to sit down for a deeeeeeep Thomas/Max discussion again but only about these things.

Thanks, monkeyboy, I feel the same about discussing these things wink

Originally Posted By: Nevisoul
There are some stuff I dont agree with, off course, but most of it is like silk for my ears to hear.

bring on the stuff you don't like! seriously, I am interested in your opinion as well as in the opinion of any other poi player!

Originally Posted By: Nevisoul
So what is poi about? What is the secret to understand, learn and become a good poi spinner?

I will probably talk about "The Secret" in the very last chapter of this guidebook. I think we've talked about it a lot in the past so I feel like you are aware of it.

All the best in Thaliand!


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aston
SILVER Member since Dec 2007

aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa

Total posts: 4061
Posted:Go for it.

If nothing else, it will spark off other ideas.

Seems pretty decent so far. smile


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Hi max

Good stuff there, I'd have to work really hard to fault any of it and since I'm feeling lazy, I won't.

Errrrm, yes, the psychology of poi. I be careful with that topic as there's tons of stuff out there pertaining to learning that can easily be translated straight across to poi..like the learning curve. One thing you might want to avoid is getting too deep that's to say, avoid the overly academic and focus more on the practical.

One idea to include would be stressing the importance of learning a move in "the other direction" at the same time as learning it in the "easy" direction. Experience has shown ( well me at least ) that even if you don't plan on doing that move in the "hard" direction, learning the move in that hard direction will ( may? ) help learning the move in the "easy" direction...easier.

There's also the added bonus of, eventually, that "hard" direction, might just magically become the "easy" direction over time. I've experienced this with spiral wraps. I found it easier to go from 3bt weave, turn into the wrap to the right and exit the wallplane circles by continuing the turn and exiting in the three beat again. Now, after a couple of years, I find that turning to my left may feel a little more awkward, but it's much more reliable.

It may be worth considering including a blurb on not only drilling the basics but drilling moves, or combinations too. I know this is boring but the benefits are better overall control and with that, comes confidence in one's abilities.


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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:@aston: let the sparkling begin grin

@stout: thanks for the crit!

Originally Posted By: StoutErrrrm, yes, the psychology of poi. I be careful with that topic as there's tons of stuff out there pertaining to learning that can easily be translated straight across to poi..like the learning curve. One thing you might want to avoid is getting too deep that's to say, avoid the overly academic and focus more on the practical.

yes, I definitely agree with you on that one. Of course I could post a list of books I'd recommend to read on the topic but who would actually read it? (well I probably wouldn't hehe). That's why I really try hard to adapt the stuff I find somewhere else as good as possible to the poi language and make it as practible as possible. The learning curve was only used to show the cause for the emotions people feel when practising poi but I think you got that anyways wink


Originally Posted By: StoutOne idea to include would be stressing the importance of learning a move in "the other direction" at the same time as learning it in the "easy" direction. Experience has shown ( well me at least ) that even if you don't plan on doing that move in the "hard" direction, learning the move in that hard direction will ( may? ) help learning the move in the "easy" direction...easier.

There's also the added bonus of, eventually, that "hard" direction, might just magically become the "easy" direction over time. I've experienced this with spiral wraps. I found it easier to go from 3bt weave, turn into the wrap to the right and exit the wallplane circles by continuing the turn and exiting in the three beat again. Now, after a couple of years, I find that turning to my left may feel a little more awkward, but it's much more reliable.

It may be worth considering including a blurb on not only drilling the basics but drilling moves, or combinations too. I know this is boring but the benefits are better overall control and with that, comes confidence in one's abilities.

excellent stuff, I didn't think about it recently but I think I've posted some thoughts about that in (the German
Non-Https Image Link
) Part V of the guide but I might come back on what you just said very soon!


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16.15.8
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

16.15.8

I cant think therefore Im not
Location: In my backpack

Total posts: 291
Posted:Ok so here we, it was an hour ago I read it but I will try to remember my thoughts.
They may not come in order I just write the pieces I remember.

------

The head, what I remember you described like follow your movement with the head, what I miss in that sentence is to practise the total opposite. When your arms for example are placed on the left side of you body, look to the right, it gives the trick and the person that perform it a totally different look. And remember that your body always should be balanced while spinning so always try to use your different bodyparts to compensate and among these the head is very important.

Feet, try to most of the time work with flat feet to the ground and not only toe tapping the ground. Some people tend to lift there feet from the ground to take a step, and when they supposed to put down there feet they only touch the ground with there toes before they lift the foot again to move and put it down somewhere else and many times they put down there foot only to realize "ah [censored] I lost my balance" and they need to move again, off course the person dont realize that the brain is telling them to move the feet, they just do it. For a person watching this it gives a feeling of lack in controll and balance even though they dont realize it, it still gives the audience the feeling. When you lift your feet from the ground make sure to know where to put it next, make it smooth and with a clear decision.

Dantian: Yes you are so right, but when I play i always try to move the centre even further down to somewhere on my thighs. With that I mean that I try to play with bend knees, never push them back and lock them, when you do stalls for example, do them from you thighs/knees not only in your arms. When you played poi for three hours and you go to bed tired in back, torso, shoulders, neck and so on, there is maybe something wrong, try to practice next time so you get tired in you thighs. However watch out for "I crapped my pants but I keep spin poi anyway style"

Arms: Learn to play with straight arms, many moves in poi is being based of making circles and to make a good circle you need a good centre of rotation, If this centre is moving around the whole time (that is what happens if you bend your arms) you will never learn the rythm of a simple flower cos the centre of rotation change place every time and even though its just a tiny tiny bit your brain will never learn the move cos its different every time. Learn with straight arms and then play around with bend arms.

Learning a trick: Repeat, repeat, repeat as you say but I say it again, you never learn a trick, sorry. I dont know how many times I told myself "yes I can finally do the BTB weave to find myself saying the same thing a month or two later. Repeat, repeat and repeat even more, a move never gets good enough!

Transitions is what I can see a big problem in the poi world. Many people dont realize how big impact transitions have your style and the way you play poi. Its the transitions that makes your style, its the transitions that makes you unique, its the transitions that can [censored] with other poi spinners mind not necessary the trick/move itself.

That is what I can remember, sorry for being off topic if I went off topic and also remember this thoughts goes for me and not what scream out is right or wrong.

Keep writing dude, this is good!

//Thomas


EDITED_BY: Nevisoul (1223476999)
EDIT_REASON: Sorry, missed some stuff :D (OFF COURSE)


"I dont like shoes, definitely not spinning with shoes, they make my feet feel flat, my feet are not flat...."

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