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Forums > Technical Discussion > Counterweighted Poi Handles: Progression or Digression?

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Mr_Chutney
SILVER Member since Apr 2003

Mr_Chutney

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Posted:I have been a keen poi thrower ever since I first started reading Spherculism. Up until very recently I had stubbornly refused to add counterweights to my poi, instead only using modest knoted handles (Ok, this is a form of counterweight, but there are no additional materials added).



The reason for this is that I felt. in some strange, almost emotive way, I was fundamental changing poi into a different toy.



This brought me to the more difficult question: what therefore, do I regard poi AS? I thought back to my first encounter with poi, in Greenwich park, watching some bloke spin tennis balls about on string. That image somehow strikes me as being the definitive poi (and yes i know how horrible they would be to spin smile).



So here I find myself, counterweighted, wibble happy, poi sat next to me, and I wouldn't want to play with anything else. Yet I almost feel guilty- weigthing both ends of the poi, evenly or otherwise, is simply creating a mini-meteor, though they are seldom used as such.



So- am I worrying about nothing, or is there something worth thinking about. Are the counterweighted poi so many of us have some hybrid, or merely a pregression of the art?

EDITED_BY: Mr Chutney (1129892751)


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*HyperLight
BRONZE Member since Dec 2003

*HyperLight

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Posted:I must admit, I've thought the same thing a few times. I've never really convinced myself one way or t'other though smile

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Does counter weighting help?

I do lots of releases/catches and have never felt a need to weight my handles- on the sock poi that were my main poi for over a year, I never even put a knot in the handles.

I can't compare, as I've never used weighted handles, so, for those who've tried both, what's the advantage to weighted handles?


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Suibom


Suibom

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Posted:Are you changing what you are spinning from poi to something else, some hybrid? Well, yes, you are. Though, I'd say it's, as is generally currently used, more of a juggling apparatus than a mini-meteor. Regardless, though, why feel guilty?? Are you a poi purist? Do you feel that what you do must be strict and pure poi? If so, then shame on you for trying to change it! :P However, I still think it's a progression of the art of poi. If you are spinning for the enjoyment of yourself and others, why worry about categorizing and pigeonholing?

Definition of poi- A Hawaiian food made from the tuber of the taro that is cooked, pounded to a paste, and fermented.

Ahnold discussing poi - "It is naht a toober!"

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Mr_Chutney
SILVER Member since Apr 2003

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Posted:It very much depends on the type of release-

Same direction catches (where the poi is caught so that it continues in the same direction it was released from) are practically impossible with non weighted handles, and even if you do pulll one off, nailing the timing such that you could easily drop it into a weave or butterfly pattern would be very difficult.

Moving on, 'taps backs' and 'wibbles' absolutely need some counterweight, as you are flicking the poi in the oposite direction to the way the head is flying, using the opposite ends weight to shift the momentum (wibbles are far easier to understand in person, but I'm sure you have a good idea of them already).

Primarily is about making to poi rotate reliably in the air- this way multiple rotations are possible and allow you to really spice things up smile


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Mr_Chutney
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Mr_Chutney

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Posted:Suibom- these are all things I've considered- I almost posted this so many times, but having never really persevered with counterweights I never really felt I could post it without sounding a bit 'holier than thou' which I most certainly am not.

Poi purist? no
Guilty- weeeell not really. I was very suprised at the number of spinners at PLAY with counterweighted handles though- it seems to be the 'done thing' with sock poi construction now.

I don't know- I just wanted to see what other poiple thought- do the purists abhor all these throwy things many spinners now play with, or is it just another step? Does modifying the poi miss the point? Is there a point!?


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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

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Posted:That's cos Matt turned up at Uberpoi with little bouncy balls and converted us biggrin

Getting to the other side smile

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Mr_Chutney
SILVER Member since Apr 2003

Mr_Chutney

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Posted:Yes, he has a habit of doing that doesn't he biggrin

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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

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Posted:biggrin

Matt does indeed rock.

Wibbling - magically turning poi into devilsticks biggrin


Getting to the other side smile

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Written by: Mr Chutney

It very much depends on the type of release-

Same direction catches (where the poi is caught so that it continues in the same direction it was released from) are practically impossible with non weighted handles, and even if you do pulll one off, nailing the timing such that you could easily drop it into a weave or butterfly pattern would be very difficult.

Moving on, 'taps backs' and 'wibbles' absolutely need some counterweight, as you are flicking the poi in the oposite direction to the way the head is flying, using the opposite ends weight to shift the momentum (wibbles are far easier to understand in person, but I'm sure you have a good idea of them already).




I can't comment on wibbles/tap backs as I don't do them, but, I've got to seriously dispute what you've said about same direction catches.

I'm pretty much at 100% reliability on catches like that, and that includes catching into a '2-in-1-hand' (see my clip on COL 2005' for the kind of stuff I'm talking about)- using socks with no handle weight and no knot.

I wonder if this is just a matter of what people are used to? Maybe I'd find weighted handles initially next-to-impossible?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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"Last of The Lancers"
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Durbs
BRONZE Member since Sep 2001

Durbs

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Posted:Neither really - It's just personal taste smile

It's still poi
But it's not quite poi

I think it's progression in so far as it's doing something "new" (ish) with poi - in a traditional sense of poi
It's digression in so far as it's not poi-ing in the "spinning" sense of it
It's regression because it's juggling and devil-sticking which are ages old
It's indigestion because i've just eaten too much, too quickly wink


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Durbs
BRONZE Member since Sep 2001

Durbs

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Posted:On the throwing issue - my fluffy orange socks have practically no weight in their handles and simply won't rotate around a set point. They become like comet-tails (if you know what I mean)

I'm sure there's some physics equation for working out the minimum weight needed in a handle to give it enough momentum to rotate around the head...


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Mr_Chutney
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Mr_Chutney

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Posted:OWD- I wasn't saying it wasn't possible ad infinitum, though my experience of unweighted, unknotted poi in throws is much the same as Durbs describes with his fluffy orange poi, and I've tried teaching many, many poiple various releases with untied sock poi with very limited success.

If I remeber correctly you use water filled balloons for weights- could these influence the way your poi fly as water is able to shift within the balloon in quite a unique fashion? Also, the material of sports socks is a bit more rigid, wheras the thinner 0ver-the-knee socks many hoppers use are very flimsy and will go floppy against any wind resistance.


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Durbs
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Posted:Ahhhh - floppy

Such a good word

Anyway - carry on smile


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onewheeldave
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Posted:Written by: Mr Chutney

OWD- I wasn't saying it wasn't possible ad infinitum, though my experience of unweighted, unknotted poi in throws is much the same as Durbs describes with his fluffy orange poi, and I've tried teaching many, many poiple various releases with untied sock poi with very limited success.




Perhaps they require different techniques- one of the reasons I use the term 'releases' rather than throws is because the way I do them is a very controlled release, where the poi is almost stalled before the release. Maybe with weighted poi you can do something more akin to an actual 'throw', where you don't have to be as concerned about cancelling the horizontal component of the pois momentum?

Written by: Mr Chutney


If I remeber correctly you use water filled balloons for weights- could these influence the way your poi fly as water is able to shift within the balloon in quite a unique fashion? Also, the material of sports socks is a bit more rigid, wheras the thinner 0ver-the-knee socks many hoppers use are very flimsy and will go floppy against any wind resistance.



No, the water isn't a factor- i also use socks with millet in, and they handle the same; some of the socks I use are also 'floppy'- part of the release involves ensuring that they stay straight throwout their airborne time.

Perhaps this may be relevant- pretty much all my releases involve the poi rotating only 1/2 a rev whilst airborne (180 degrees)- do those using weighted handles tend to do 360 degrees or more?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


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Mr_Chutney
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Mr_Chutney

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Posted:I think technique relative to the type of poi is going to be a factor, but I don't think throwing with weight handles needs more control- its simply different. Weighted handles do facilitate more throws more easily, but I was able to do most of the throws I have done for a long time with reasonsbly light poi. You certainly need control when doing continuous throw patterns such as the ones i've been working on recently.



On your 180 degree point- yes, possibly, but it really depends where you're throwing from in terms of relation of poi head to handle. Throwing a poi with unweighted ends, it follows that if left to continue flying, should there be enough open space below, it will fall head first, tail following. With a flick of the handle upon release, you can speed the handles progress around the poi head, assuming its not too light.



For example- could you spin one poi, outward butterfly (right hand clockwise) release it under an outstretched left arm and allow it to flyback such that it can be caught ready to fluidly repeat, potentially continuously?



(I'm linking to one of Matt on Spherculisms videos here, though its in flash. The release he's doing is opposite to the one I'm describing (inward rather than outward- and harder imo), but the idea is the same. LINK)



[EDIT] Just been thinking back to the vids of yours that i ahve seen (I have quite a collection actually, but albatross and technical poi stand out for this discusssion) I do see what you mean- your poi don't seem to stay realeased for very long- I guess the throws/ releases I'm talking about involve the poi bing in the air for longer (most are direct translations of club juggling throws). I see from the 'augmented 5-beat' vid how you do the stall releases- which is effectively what they are, an upward stall released at the point of stall, allowing the head to hang for just a moment in the air. Counterweighted handles don't really affect this type of release, though if anything, catchin two 1 handed might actually be more difficult if the handle were bulky.

EDITED_BY: Mr Chutney (1129914902)


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Suibom


Suibom

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Posted:Written by:
I don't know- I just wanted to see what other poiple thought- do the purists abhor all these throwy things many spinners now play with, or is it just another step? Does modifying the poi miss the point? Is there a point!?



I'm thinking, at this stage in the game, there isn't a point. Poi, as documented on this site, had very specific reasons for existence at the beginning. We do not need to spin poi for the same reasons that the maori did then. I think it's important that people preserve that history, and keep it in mind so that it is not lost, even teach it when teaching spinning. However, spinning is now a form of expression (and often a form of meditation). Being that, I don't see that deviating from "pure spinning" is a bad thing, as it advances the expression and continues to delight audiences (including the self) with new avenues.

I've heard folks refer to themselves as "old school" here and there. I'd like to get their take on the situation. It's all very fascinating. Nice thread smile.


Definition of poi- A Hawaiian food made from the tuber of the taro that is cooked, pounded to a paste, and fermented.

Ahnold discussing poi - "It is naht a toober!"

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Bird
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Bird

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Posted:I have weighted handles.

I'm not sure if they help at all with throw etc, but I like the way they rotate in the air. I also like having something to hold on to, rather than just a strap around my fingers.


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LazyAngel
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LazyAngel

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Posted:I have big chunky knots for handles on my socks. I've delved into weighted handles but big knots is what I prefer.

This suits my style with sock poi, as I like (following some bluecat inspiration at Glasto) to 'link' my poi: I.e make a loop with one, and put the other poi through it a la negative space stylee. Then let go of the NS'd poi so the knot catches on the loop, which I then spin with rope dart style moves and hand changes, due to increased length (x1.5) before, dividing it again. It's a very small variation on what Rob does, and IMHO not as impressive, but I like it a lot.

This also allows me some scope for contact moves, such as throws and catches, but none of this propellor malarkey, it's all much more momementum led and destabilises pretty easily, involving wrap releases to ping off to the next release, each time requiring a small movement by the hand to pong it onto the next contact move with enough enertia to carry it through, my ultimate aim being (as always) to achieve a good flow of movement between contact. I guess I would say it's all a form of thru wrap releases, rather than what people call contact per se.

ANYWAY, aside from all the technical mumbo jumbo, I would inclined to say that as long as you use the poi to do poi moves, and they are still RECOGNISABLE as poi, then it's still poi. What people choose to do to their poi (set them on fire, cover them in fairy lights, use teddy bears etc.) is up to them.

You could worry about the purity of the object, but I bet the maoris didn't use juggling balls in 60%cotton 40% lycra socks.

At the end of the day i see it merely as personalisation of a juggling prop, which is something we all do, and I'm sure everyone knows how wierd it feels to use someone else's toys (in general), as they are usually customised to give a certain 'feel'.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Written by: Mr Chutney


For example- could you spin one poi, outward butterfly (right hand clockwise) release it under an outstretched left arm and allow it to flyback such that it can be caught ready to fluidly repeat, potentially continuously?



Yes: if you get hold of COL 2005, i do it on my clip- continuous underarm releases to same-hand catch from reverse (outward) butterfly, alternating hands.




Written by: Mr Chutney



(I'm linking to one of Matt on Spherculisms videos here, though its in flash. The release he's doing is opposite to the one I'm describing (inward rather than outward- and harder imo), but the idea is the same. LINK)





I've got more chance of controlling my poi through telekinesis, than i have of managing to download media from sphereculism.com smile



Written by: Mr Chutney


[EDIT] Just been thinking back to the vids of yours that i ahve seen (I have quite a collection actually, but albatross and technical poi stand out for this discusssion) I do see what you mean- your poi don't seem to stay realeased for very long- I guess the throws/ releases I'm talking about involve the poi bing in the air for longer (most are direct translations of club juggling throws). I see from the 'augmented 5-beat' vid how you do the stall releases- which is effectively what they are, an upward stall released at the point of stall, allowing the head to hang for just a moment in the air. Counterweighted handles don't really affect this type of release, though if anything, catchin two 1 handed might actually be more difficult if the handle were bulky.



Yeah, albatross and 'technical poi' contain examples of the kind of releases I'm talking about- but 'augmented 5-beat' doesn't.

I'd call the move in augmented 5-beat a transfer, because at no point is the poi airborne- it simply gets placed in one hand by the other.

By release, I'm talking about the poi being released and being airborne and completely out of the hand.

(Although, since making that vid, I've learnt how to do 5 and 7 beat weaves with a release- in some ways I find it easier than actually placing them by hand).

I agree with you that bulky handles make catching two in one hand more difficult- that's one reason I didn't really persist with trying out weights, handles and knots on sock poi


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


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

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Mr_Chutney
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Mr_Chutney

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Posted:Written by: onewheeldave


Yes: if you get hold of COL 2005, i do it on my clip- continuous underarm releases to same-hand catch from reverse (outward) butterfly, alternating hands.




Nice smile I've not sen other people playing with this much. No COL 2005 for me yet, but I'll be sure to check it out. Not much more to say on that!

Yeah, albatross and 'technical poi' contain examples of the kind of releases I'm talking about- but 'augmented 5-beat' doesn't.

Written by: onewheeldave


I'd call the move in augmented 5-beat a transfer, because at no point is the poi airborne- it simply gets placed in one hand by the other.

By release, I'm talking about the poi being released and being airborne and completely out of the hand.




So am I- I just didn't rewatch the video, and made an error relying on my memory smile You're right, that isn't a release in the terms we are talking here.

So, i'm not sure where this leaves us Dave- You're shown that more throws are possible with untied poi than certainly I was playing with, though I still think there must be something about your poi which makes it possible. Are all your poi relatively short?

Still, whilst I am very muuh enjoying the throwy discussion, this thread has gone a little wayward- Should I take it that you think for all but very specific throw related patterns you feel that counter-weighted handles are unecessary?


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

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Posted:Written by: Chutney

So, i'm not sure where this leaves us Dave- You're shown that more throws are possible with untied poi than certainly I was playing with, though I still think there must be something about your poi which makes it possible. Are all your poi relatively short?




Some of my sock poi are fairly short- though still too long to buzzsaw without a wrap or two. Then again, I do the same moves with my fire-rope poi which are fairly long- they have ball end handles but are unweighted.

I think the only unusual thing about my poi is that I'm on the end of them smile

Seriously, I expect its just because I've spent so many hours working on releases with unweighted poi- maybe if I'd used weighted poi to learn it all on I'd feel that weights were necessary too.


Written by: Chutney

Still, whilst I am very muuh enjoying the throwy discussion, this thread has gone a little wayward- Should I take it that you think for all but very specific throw related patterns you feel that counter-weighted handles are unecessary?



Yes- the fact that I can do a those moves without weights does lead me to believe that they are unnecessary.

What I'm unclear on, and what I can't really comment on, is whether counter-weights make the moves easier or not.

The possibilities would be-

1. counter weights make releases easier

2. counter-weights make releases harder

3. counter weights make some releases easier

4. counter-weights are neither easier or harder than unweighted, it's soley down to what you become accustomed to

As someone who's never used counter-weights, I'm not in a position to judge which of the above is right (though I am prepared to exclude- counter weights are necessary for releases, on the grounds that I can do releases proficiently without weights).

Bear in mind that little can be determined by getting proficient with one type of equipment, then 'having a go' with the other- we need individuals who can do releases to a high standard with both- they could offer some useful insights on the issue.

Failing that, if, at some future meet, there are release experts who use counter-weights, as well as release experts who don't; some useful dialogue/experimentation could occur.

I do intend to be at the Leeds convention on 19 Nov, and, either the Nottingham one-dayer, or the Sheffield big PIP/HOP day on 12/13 Nov; so,if anyones coming who uses counter-weighted handles, it may be worth having a chat.


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But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Interesting questions Mr Chutney. Progression, though I think poi are poi, and does it really matter?

I got caught up for a while thinking that using sock poi was somehow cheating. Anyhow, Im over that now. When you think about it sock poi are probably more like traditional Maori poi. Socks are similar to flax, and traditional poi have a tassel and stopper at the non-poi end. Also, there are many types of traditional poi, like button hole poi that have two poi and the tassel in the centre. Though Im still waiting for bunge poi.

I tied knots in my sock poi and use them as ball so I can swing them like clubs. A friend of mine made some mini-meteors, and this got me into changing from sock poi to mini-meteor sock poi by using a different grip. I just put both poi in one palm so the knots hang over the opposite side, and swing really really quickly.

Dave, good tips on realise and timing. Id vote four in your poll. I suspect club jugglers prefer well-balanced clubs, so I dont think it really matters if counterweights make it easier or harder.


cheers smile


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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Stone
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Posted:Interesting questions Mr Chutney. Progression, though I think poi are poi, and does it really matter?

I got caught up for a while thinking that using sock poi was somehow cheating. Anyhow, Im over that now. When you think about it sock poi are probably more like traditional Maori poi. Socks are similar to flax, and traditional poi have a tassel and stopper at the non-poi end. Also, there are many types of traditional poi, like button hole poi that have two poi and the tassel in the centre. Though Im still waiting for bunge poi.

I tied knots in my sock poi and so I can swing them like clubs. A friend of mine made some mini-meteors, and this got me into changing from sock poi to mini-meteor sock poi by using a different grip. I just put both poi in one palm so the knots hang over the opposite side, and swing really really quickly.

Dave, good tips on release and timing. Id vote four in your poll. I suspect club jugglers prefer well-balanced clubs, so I dont think it really matters if counterweights make it easier or harder.


cheers smile


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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TheWibbler
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

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Posted:Well, for what it's worth i find counter weight handle poi, aka The Wibble, to massively open up what can be done with the timing of throws and catches, they allow you to tapback and wibble really nicely.

It does feel like a ttally different thing to me, which is why i call them wibbles and not poi,

I like those comet style throws you get with poi but i've not seen anything that has made me consider switching back in years.

Don't think it has anything to do with easier or harder.

In physical terms when you throw regular poi you are dealing with 1 mass, 1 f
when you throw a wibble you get to play with a Couple of forces

Which personally i prefer A LOT.


Spherculism ~:~ The Act of becoming Spherculish.

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onewheeldave
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Posted:I can't say a thing about wibbles- I've never wibbled, probably never will smile

But, out of interest, in case I get inspired to try some counter weighted poi, could anyone post some tips on constructing simple counter-weighted poi/materials to use; or a nice accessible link to a web page on the subject (or, better still, copy-and-paste the relevant section).


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But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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Suibom


Suibom

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Posted:I usually hear normal sock poi with a second sock tied around the handle portion for the counterweight... Aside from that, with chain poi I hear of wooden knobs eye-bolted to the chain used for the handle as a counterweight. I would imagine you could tie some pellets/grains/etc into the handle knot for a counter-weight as well (sock poi)..



Just some things I've heard used..


Definition of poi- A Hawaiian food made from the tuber of the taro that is cooked, pounded to a paste, and fermented.

Ahnold discussing poi - "It is naht a toober!"

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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

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Posted:there's a very helpful post from Dunc in this thread when we got discussing contact poi a while ago

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TheWibbler
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

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Posted:Just experiment with different weights and sizes till you find something that suits your style.

Wibbles come in all shapes and sizes, if both weights are the same then your wibble becomes a meteor. But it's all fundamentally the same anyhow.

Long ones spin slower
heavy ones stay straighter in the air
short ones good for dibbles and tribbles
light ones can be good for quick wibbling

m


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

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Posted:Bassman, a juggler on an early COL, used tennis balls. I thought of them as a handles, but they problably also acted a counterweights.

Have fun smile


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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Devilstick_Russell
BRONZE Member since May 2004

I like devilstick...
Location: Falmouth, United Kingdom

Total posts: 196
Posted:why doesnt someone start a questionarrie (SP?) and if over half poiple use wieghted handles then technically its the people who don't use weighted handles who are dirgressing by not following the trend, and i'm not saying thats always a bad thing. The thing which doesn't sit right with me, a non poier but basically everone i know is, is do wieghted handles make throws possible or easier? cos if they make em' easier your just kind of cheating ... i think ... maybe ... I'll shut up now

Does this site actually exist? Or am i talking to all my other personalities?

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