HoP Mechanical Engineer
Location: OK, USA

Total posts: 729
Posted:To paraphrase a character in the movie Jurassic Park , "we've built science on the backs of those researchers before us, forging ahead in the name of discovery but not really posessing the discipline attained by making the original discoveries we now use as foundation for our own practice." Whoo! Kinda long-winded there. But it made me think about something

I've learned poi for 8 months now, which is a time relatively short compared to others in the art who have taught me. As I find myself spinning on par with them, it makes me wonder if we learn faster than our predecessors (i.e. the number of generations descended from the original learner, accumulating the knowledge and experience of every teacher before us). Students of my own have shown even more phenomenal learning curves.

Does anyone else kinda notice the same pattern in their skill level, where newer students learn faster than they did?

Also related to learning rate is discipline. Someone learning slowly will take more precautions and may be wiser than someone who learns relatively quickly (Star Wars fans will definitely have an analogy for this). Is that why we may see more accidents happening in tandem with the "fad" theory we've discussed several times on the boards? I've personally had to boot out one student already because I caught him spinning with no safety at a party... not something I relished doing but I have a zero-tolerance policy.

OK all done, talk amongst yourselves

What hits the fan is not evenly distributed.

Delete Topic


Location: Mpls, MN, USA

Total posts: 646
Posted:I've been playing around with this poi stuff for a year now. While I don't regularly teach people poi, I have on occasion showed a newbie a few moves and such. And yeah, with instruction they learn about ten times faster than I did. One girl got the weave and butterfly down in like 30 minutes. Lets just say it took me longer.

I think thats just the advantage of having somebody talk you through it. I've never had anybody there to tell me what to do, I've figured it out all on my own. Which takes some more time but also allows you to develop a distinct style and way of doing things.

As for moving too fast, yeah, that is a danger. If you have to work really hard to get something, you may have more respect for what you have done and may take more caution in it. I say may cause every case is different, but I can definitly see danger in somebody who rushes into using fire because everything they've done before hand has been effortless.

Fuzzy Dice.......................................



Location: down the bottom of the garden,...

Total posts: 285
Posted:well ive been learning for a few month now...erm im pretty slow to be honest but according to dio im gunna be better for it so yay-ness

i'll draw you a picture ill draw it with a twist ill draw it with a razorblade ill draw it on my wrist and if i do it right a red fountain will appear washing away my sorrow washing away my fear



the man with the flaming pants
Location: Brisvegas, Aust

Total posts: 148
Posted:yeah i've noticed that too people i teach learn way faster than me!! but thats good!
Yeah intresting comment on speed of learning reflection in control and skill levels. It might have something to do with having a certain level of familiarity with the poi/staff, that would relect in the control of the poi/staff
but thats just what i think.

It's all good




Location: Florida

Total posts: 1463

Dio what an interesting observation! My mind is running in five different directions pondering the possibilities...

I think that there are no limits in life to the endless possbilities within our (all life's) variety. I dont exactly agree with the original limiting of the statement by simply placing it on a basis of quantative perception. By this I mean that I dont think that you can really judge people's abilities in something like poi. It is something case specific and not something that can be judged but for our personal esthetic value. Only you know what you are capable of and where your personal limits are... You can see that people might not have the same skill level and that others catch on before you but is it something you are 'learning' or 'mastering' or 'conquering' or quite simply something you DO something which is part of you.

Everything in life is relative and it all depends on how open minded you walk not only into this discipline but also into the whole wide world.
SOME people these days catch on a lot faster.... Or does it just seem that way?! Take it out of context and pop the idea in another... Its all the same BUT different, life that is... we as beings are everchanging ever learning. Our own human evolution would mean that we are always children seeing every-THING is relative to everyones upbringing. Children in 40 years should be generally catching on a lot faster than we do these days. BUT this is only relative to how openminded any given person is willing to be... This can be an individual issue and also a cultural issue. I say this because with so many different cultures at so many different levels of contious (sp?!?!?) evolution we cant really make these generalizations.
I think many younger kids these days catch on not only faster but they have the drive and confidence to create with any tool in their hands.

From initial quote. quote: 'but not really posessing the discipline attained by making the original discoveries' I dont particularly think that this quote above is hitting the nail quite exactly on the head. It is not the discipline that the newer learners lack but the knowledge and wisdom that comes with patience and a whole lifetime of DOING something. Much like Star Wars ( ) ... yoda is very very WISE, this wisdom has grown with many years of practice and EXPERIENCE and he knows that he can 'kick ass' but he is wise enough to know why it might not be nessecary until it is nessecary. I think that poi is something you grow with. You go through ups and down highs and lows... Times when you are practicing a lot feel very confident in your spinning (again apply these analogies to life) and times when you dont really need to be spinning.

We as humans all have this amazing ability to make art from life experience. To express and create with that ability (that which you are born with) in any type of medium. Fuck it! Learn what you can, how you can when you can and at whatever speed is nessecary. We cannot judge ourselves. By doing this we limit ourselves and drown away the value of creation by not relating it in its own context.

I wish to never limit myself, my children, my friends or others!

...whoops! I think I babbled!

I hope someone understood the ramblings


ps: dio... we need to have a sliff and sit and chat someday

[ 22. January 2003, 15:37: Message edited by: dromepixie ]




Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Total posts: 83
Posted:Well, I've been learning for about two weeks now and having no-one to teach me hasn't hindered me too much I don't think.. although I haven't been practicing as much I'd have liked. I got the hang of the 3 beat weave in about an hour, then progressed in the following order: butterfly, giant butterfly, tuck turn, low turn, high turn, chase the sun, 5 beat weave. Each move took about an hour to get the basics down tops. I'm thinking on brushing up on butterfly moves next, and mastering alt/overhead/mexican.. not really sure where to go from there.. maybe look at some horizontal plane stuff and work on transitions and fixing sloppy left hand work.

I think since this is something I want to be good at I don't wanna rush it and I won't be moving onto fire until I can do every basic move without fault. There is a danger in learning too fast from someone else, I think it'd be easier to develop a good technique by teaching yourself since that way your learning is based on experience and feeling how the poi work and react to your moves, thus learning the correct way to handle them. Personally I've found that poi moves can be difficult to explain and that could lead to confusion, resulting in poor technique and slowing down the learning curve maybe?

Just my two quid.

- Honk if you love peace and quiet!




Total posts: 531
Posted:I have only been spinning for 6 months and in that time I have learned a lot.A friend of mine who started at the same time has not faired so well though.I have taught myself a lot of moves either by doing or by watching others without any real instruction.Then I show him how to do these things and he takes much longer in getting the moves down.

What I'm getting at is everyone learns at there own rate.Having someone to show you how will help lots but is not a guarantee that learning will come faster.And I have never met anyone who has accumulated the experience I have in the time I have.


Phuhzzzie Wuhzzzie the Pumpkin King

Location: Melbourne, the new Land of Nod

Total posts: 141
Posted:I'm looking at this subject on a slightly different angle. Yes I can see that the folk I teach to spin can occasionally, sometimes, often pick up moves a bit faster than what I did. Hell, I thought I had Three Beat down for a couple of months until somebody pointed out to me that it was Figure of Eight! And back to the point.

As I was saying I see this subject on a different angle. I think that the folk we teach aren't superior learners (No offence to anybody here who has been taught to twirl. Hey, isn't that everybody some way or another?) I see it as those who are teaching the moves have are also learning.

Any monkey can say "Look at me! I can twirl! La la la la la!" But to be able to say "Alright then, I'll teach you how" take a whole different knowledge. We (those who teach) have learned from our mistakes, and as a result of which, we are able to not only show people how to twirl, we can show them how not twirl.

We've learnt from our mistakes so other people don't have to. The amount of time we save teaching them how any particular move isn't done saves time on the student smacking themselves in the head. And because they're not wasting time with wayward flying poi, they're spending more time learning the move and little to no time making mistakes.

Since this thread is about a "Chaos Theory" I'll try and explain my point mathamatically. These figures are not documented and are just examples to give an idea on what the hell I'm going on about. They are based on how I teach others and myself.

Teacher(for arguments sake self taught)

10 minutes looking at the move in theory. + 40 minutes practicing the move with multiple whacks to the head. + 10 minutes polishing off the newly learnt move.

10+40+10= 60minutesStudent

5 mintutes having the move explianed in theory. + 10 minutes practicing the move with multiple whacks to the head. + 5 minutes in the middle trying to show how the move is done and explianing it different ways. + 5 minutes polishing off the newly learnt move.

5+10+5+5= 25minutes
Contridictory to the beliefs of some earlier posts I don't belive that the next generation of spinners are an advanced super race of beings capable of hyper-fast learning and thought processing. Sorry guys. And I dont want to sound arrogant, becuase I'm not, I'm just making my point of view heard. (Now if that isn't a pig headed cliche I don't know what is!) But I belive it is the teachers, cutting through the crap of making mistakes that is what causes students to pick up moves faster. This isn't to say that teachers are the Aryan race of twirlers, just another type. I'm pretty sure that it has been established a couple of times on HoP that you can't compare two spinners justly.

I'm mostly self taught but every now and then when sombody teaches me a move I can pick it up faster than what they did, not because I'm the smartest mofo that ever graced the earth with his presence, but because the person who is teaching me knows how the move isn't done and points that out to me. Big word up to the folk who've thrown a couple of moves my way, you know who you are.

Wow that I was my longest post ever, and almost my most serious. I don't know, what is more serous, saftey or learning?

A wise man once said to me, Hey! You! Get out of my wardrobe! and in a way, I guess he was right.


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Enter a "Title" here:
Location: San Diego California

Total posts: 2905
Posted:In my own experiance and looking at the teachers I have... I could only dream to be able to spin like Pozee does.

If any of you have had the privlege to watch someone like Pozee spin then you will understand what I mean.

At Nyx's welcome party I remember just sitting about 50 feet away and just staring in awe at Pozee standing around chatting with people busting wrap after wrap after wrap. They were as natural as hand gestures when you speek. Then I noticed something... they wernt just wraps they were colour changes!! He had two different coloured glowsticks in his hands and was switching them with each wrap!

Sorry I dont think I will ever be able to surpass Pozee. hehe

Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"



happy hunting
Location: Brisnyland

Total posts: 228
Posted:poi = baldspot
therefore i choose staff
but on the real topic, i am self taught and within a month of learning i was already teaching others.. "there is no poi" to quote, same goes with anything i do not believe in limitations, i choose not to do something (poi) because i have no interest in the art, however i believe that with dedication and patience i could achieve in it as with anyother aspect of live and the physical act of living. the not so physical side to life... that story is for another thread..
keep spinning, fire only hurts momentarily..

regret nothing, learn everything




Location: Bergen , Norway

Total posts: 167
Posted:thats interesting Dio....
I have done poi for about a year now and loving it.....but beside that I have been playing guitar for 17 years (I'm 27)...and when it comes to learning something it's all about persistence..
a really strong will to learn what your doing, and dealing with emotions that occour during the prosess...like rage, despear, happyness and on and on....
some people talk about passion and 'not giving up'....I think that 'not giving up' sounds really good but you have to be dragged into practicing without any thought...just focus automatically when you practice....leave it for a while and get back in to it and....it goes on and you grow with the disiplin you are learning....then you get better in your own speed....and passion.....well you can call the will to practice 'passion' but the real passion occour when you stop looking in thew textbook all the time and use your own mind to explore your artform....that could be long into the learning practice.........
there is a difference between learning anf growing......you learn a move, guitarsolo or jump
but you grow with Poi, the guitar and gymnastics.....

I like Fire.. :)


jim bombadil

Location: bristol

Total posts: 142
Posted:In my experience I have also seen that people often learn skills faster than they're predeccesors. I guess it probably is because the path has already been trodden somewhat and the youngers participants concept of what is possible or normal is very different from the originator.
How this knoledge is passed is the interesting bit. I think that the idea that the teacher can comuicate the process and the stages he went through to get to the desired effect but learning I believe does operate in more magical ways as well I think. heres a story I can't remember where I read it..
Theres an archipeligo of islands off of Japan. These islands are the only habitat of a paticular breed of monkeys. There are monkeys on many of the islands although they cannot travel from island to island.
The monkeys live on pottatoes, one day a monkey rolled his potatoe down to the sea and washed the earth off it. He found the potatoe tasted better. So he told his mum to do it, she told her boyfriend who told his mate and slowly everyone on the island heard and started washing their potatoes. Right then some of the monkeys on a nearby island who to conventional logic couldn't have pecieved the actions of the potatoe washing monkeys started to do the same thing. So... was it just coincedence, had they happened to evolve at almost exactly the same rate and in the same direction since the islands were formed or was there some kind of contact without using the five senses? It sort of fits in and I like the story anyhows.


BRONZE Member since Dec 2001


Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Bristol, UK

Total posts: 3009
Posted:Yep, I've noticed this too. Maybe because when you teach you have the experience of your teacher and your own experience, so the teaching quality grows.

However people's styles still take a longer time to appear, and most importantly: most of the time people learn just the 'moves' quickly. I've seen a lot of people who just do the 'moves' and don't know the flow or become creative with their moves. To use an old consultancy phrase I hate but so often heard and used: thinking outside the box. That generally takes a certain realisation that's totally unconnected to time, but rather linked to personality type and the group someone spins with.

For example I just handed a whole bunch of ideas to a Maori poi spinner who had been spinning for years and could do 4 poi at a time, but because her training had been to learn certain moves and dances she'd never experimented with other ideas, or heard of non-Maori poi spinners.




Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I've always been a teacher, even when I'm not at work. I'm confident that I could teach anyone all of my year+ accumulation of tricks in under a month. And they'd probably be better than me.

Sounds silly but I can usually teach people to be better than I am at whatever it is that I'm teaching. Swing dancing, harmonica and poi are no different. Instructing uses different skills than learning. I'm good at breaking down what I do once I can do it, which is a good skill for a teacher and a bad skill for a learner.

I guess it's OK since I really don't have an ego or ambition to be the best. Plus, once people get better than me, then they can teach me.

"Those who can't, teach."

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




Location: austin,tx

Total posts: 2364
Posted:something else to chew on. ever hear of the hundredth monkey theory? when one monkey on one side of the world figures out something invariably another monkey somewhere else figures out the same thing. that's a short explanation but check it out, it's pretty cool. i have seen it so many times with poi moves that it just isn't funny anymore. whenever i figure something out invariably within a year or two i see it somewhere else, or it already exists and i found it independently afterwards. (which makes the next year very auspicious indeed cuz i sure have figured out some over the top cool shizit )

i KNOW that this is true. we all exist in muiltiple dimensions, and in some of them, the world is a vast network of entities that all share a common consciousness. Jung coined the place "archetypal" or "collective" consciousness. we all are tapped into this network whether we know it or not, just as when you drive a car the carburetor works whether you know how it does or not.

once a neural pathway has been mapped, or rather branched into, it only follows that somewhere esle in the world it will be trodden as well. all thoughts arise from the base of knowledge that preceded it. and the more times a pathway is trodden, the wider it gets in our collective consciousness and the easier it gets to learn. after generations of constant use by an organism it eventually becomes instinct.

so yes, the newbies may pick up a move faster, but only because of training and such, as you said. but the REAL skill is in the body and chain awareness. that is something that you either have a lot of, or you need to work at. so some pick up a move faster than others. but really it is a coordination thing. if you have coordination, you will pick up chains and get moves right off. if you don't it will take some work. no matter what, i can tell the difference between someone who is a fast learner/coordinated versus someone who is a practiced slower pace learner by their expression and breathing. the learning curve is really in the end the same... some people may have coordination, but lack something else, like style or dancing ability, etc. so in the end it evens out, as far as a well rounded artist is concerned. usually.

but i say unto you this...
i've seen plenty of people who think they are great for picking up moves really quickly. but really the skill is manifest in the ability to feel the chains. sorry poi. and now we have hyperloops and infinite beat weaves and dragon's tongue and isolation weaves and other advanced stuff that will really lay to rest all the nonsense, because they take skill and not ability to perfect. but now the sophomores will start jumping ahead of themselves and try to do them before they are ready. i already see it..."arashi show me that crazy isolation move" when they still don't know how to do a crisp weave.

-Such a price the gods exact for song: to become what we sing
-Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.
-When the center of the storm does not move, you are in its path.


DJ Dantana
BRONZE Member since Aug 2001

Location: Stillwater, Ok. USA

Total posts: 1495
Posted:I think a big part is the teacher. A good teacher can make it a lot easier to learn something. A BTB weave for instance was imposible in my mind, untill I saw somebody do it in person. It just didn't make sence untill then. Rather than look at a 2D movie or picture, (or technicnical description ) It is much easier for the body and mind to comprehend something if it is presented to you in person.

Regardless, it isn't just the moves that make a person look good. It is also (some might say "mostly") dependant on how the body moves, on how it flows. One must be at peace, then one will know.

Specificaly, just standing there? Or is there stiff, ungainly manner? Bad posture? Does the spinning look awkward, even when doing the easy moves, even after much practice? Scarred of the poi? Stumble and stager around like a drunk?

Or does the body flow as one with the poi. Does the body float and orbit, following and yet leading the poi? At one with the flow. Is there dance and sex appeal in every movement?

A person who can do every poi move known to man, but lacks all grace and flow and dance in the movement of their body, can not be a worker of magic, a hypnotist, a sensual being.

I guess my point is this: it isn't just the poi moves that make a person fun to watch. It isn't just tricks with the poi that deffine skill. True skill cannot be measured in number of poi tricks. True skill is not deffinable. It is something you know when you see it, but if asked to describe it, one is left dumbfounded, lost for words.

I have seen students who can only do a 3 beat weave, but their body flows like a true master. They are mesmerizing to watch. What will happen when these students learn a few hundred moves, and can put them together, and still they retain their dance and flow? That is true skill.

Not just the movement of the poi around the person, but the movement of the person around the poi.

we eat and we drink and we smoke and we try!