Forums > Beginner Poi Moves > Butterfly - Works, but doesn't feel right

Login/Join to Participate

SpinningFoolBRONZE Member
newbie
7 posts
Location: Bern, CH, Switzerland


Posted:
Hi everyone!

As mentioned in my introduction thread, I'm having some problems with the basic, even-time forward butterfly. It's not that I couldn't do it, not at all, but it doesn't feel right yet. I do it slightly different every time, and it somehow didn't click yet. Every so often I finally think I've got it, swinging away in a stable and consistent way. And then, out of nowhere, BAM!, they knock together at the bottom (tangling almost never happens).

Especially because the butterfly is the basis of so many moves, I want to get it right and avoid getting into wrong habits that restrain me later.

I think my problem is, that I haven't understood the essence of the move yet, which motions are important for it to work. In the beginning I did the butterfly by not letting the Poi spin exactly even-time, but speeding up the lower hand Poi just a hint, so the other one could pass. This worked somehow, but it's obviously the wrong way, because it's not stable in the long run. Until now I came across so many different aspects of the move, that I'm confused which ones are essential:
Speeding up the lower hand Poi just a bit (wrong, apparently)
Holding the lower hand a bit in front of the upper one
Having the palms face up to the sky
Getting the upper hand really _above_ the other one, or even crossing them slightly on the beginning of the downswing
Having the upper hand plane exactly 90 (wallplane), but the lower hand plane slightly tilted, so that the Poi is closer to the body at the bottom than at the top

Having my palms face up to the sky feels very unnatural for me. I have to force myself to hold my hands in this position, and I always find myself turning them down again as soon as I don't concentrate on it any more. Also that way my fingers often are in the way, unless I bend my lower hands wrist down on the downswing, which also doesn't feel too natural.

As for the plane tilting, my logic tells me that this should work, but I find it very hard tilting just one plane a bit, and even harder to keep it that way without thinking about it.

For every single one of the other moves (weaves are a great example) I had a click-effect. From that point on, it was just about refining the movements and getting comfortable in less exaggerated positions. For the butterfly, I'm missing that effect, and so, even though I can do it for minutes, I don't feel confident about my way of doing it.

Any hints? biggrin

The Tea FairySILVER Member
old hand
853 posts
Location: Behind you...


Posted:
I think your 2nd and 3rd bullet points are the most important, but that could just be me. The things you describe as feeling unnatural (palms to the sky, wrists bending down on the downwards swing a little) sound correct.

Some moves just don't feel as natural as others when we learn them, it will become comfortable when you keep practicing. I know what you mean about things 'clicking' into place, I got that with the weave and butterfly, but it took me about 3 months of continuous effort and frustratedness to learn a backwards weave because to me, the movement felt really unnatural! Especially after spinning forwards weaves for months and months with no effort at all. I still have to concentrate on it when I'm doing backwards weaves.

So don't worry, it could just be that butterflies are taking longer to 'click' with you, but they will if you just keep practicing, your wrists will get more flexible and it won't feel unnatural. smile

It might also help if you work on other moves in the butterfly family, like the mexican wave and low wave, or outwards-swinging butterflies rather than inwards-swinging ones, to get your wrists comfortable with the movement.

Idolized by Aurinoko

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind....

Bob Dylan


polaritySILVER Member
veteran
1,228 posts
Location: on the wrong planet, United Kingdom


Posted:
Go find a stick, something like a devilstick is the right kind of length. Hold it at the bottom with one hand above the other, with a bit of a gap between them. Now go and find someone else, and try an tap them on the forehead repeatedly, a bit like the little people in Swiss clocks do.



That's the kind of movement your hands should be doing. top hand forward when down, bottom hand forward when up, or just hold your elbows at your sides and with one fist on top of the other, bend the elbows to move them up and down.



The poi don't hit each other because the one is spinning in a plane that's tilted back compared to the other, so at the bottom it's in front, at the top behind. With the hand movments though you don't even need to think about it.

You aren't thinking or really existing unless you're willing to risk even your own sanity in the judgment of your existence.

Green peppers, lime pickle and whole-grain mustard = best sandwich filling.


simian110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
3,149 posts
Location: London


Posted:
Hiya wave



i've been playing with poi for about five years, and butterfly has never felt nice to me.

 Written by: ]And then, out of nowhere, BAM!, they knock together at the bottom[/quote

yup. still happens to me all the time smile



There are a few reasons i think it feels yukky. Mainly i prefer patterns where I spin circles on either side of my body (left and right / in front and behind) to patterns like butterfly where both circles have to be on the same side of my body. And yes, plane tilting sucks too. Moves where your planes can stay parallel feel much nicer to me.



Hmm, that was all very unhelpful...



Howabout trying to learn thread the needle instead. Its like a fancy butterfly, but your planes can stay straight, and IMO it feels a lot more natural than keeping your hands static.

"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."


SpinningFoolBRONZE Member
newbie
7 posts
Location: Bern, CH, Switzerland


Posted:
Hey all, thanks a lot for the great advice, that was much more and a lot more speficic than I even expected! smile

@The Tea Fairy
Thanks, I'll try to concentrate on these two points, maybe it helps.
 Written by:

I know what you mean about things 'clicking' into place, I got that with the weave and butterfly, but it took me about 3 months of continuous effort and frustratedness to learn a backwards weave because to me, the movement felt really unnatural!


Now, *that*'s weird! It took me about 10min to get from the forwards to the backwards weave. While my friend was on the phone I fooled around with his Poi, and suddenly it just happened, and felt natural (at least as natural as forwards). On the other hand, it took me ages to get a simple thing like the high turn working, or chasing the sun. It seems to me that different moves feel natural to different people, and that there can be massive differences in how difficult people find them.

 Written by:

So don't worry, it could just be that butterflies are taking longer to 'click' with you


It seems like that's exactly the case. Thanks, now at least I'm quite confident again. smile

 Written by:

It might also help if you work on other moves in the butterfly family, like the mexican wave and low wave, or outwards-swinging butterflies rather than inwards-swinging ones, to get your wrists comfortable with the movement.



I also thought of that, and tried a few of them, but I soon noticed that I couldn't do them properly because my butterfly is unstable. A good example is the overhead butterfly: I can do it in front of me "forever", but as soon as I throw my hands back (works, more or less) and return them to the front, I mess up the regular butterfly, resp. don't find back into it.


@polarity
 Written by:

Go find a stick, something like a devilstick is the right kind of length. Hold it at the bottom with one hand above the other, with a bit of a gap between them. Now go and find someone else, and try an tap them on the forehead repeatedly,



Thanks! That's a completely new approach to me, exactly what I need right now. smile

 Written by:

a bit like the little people in Swiss clocks do.



Well, that's embarassing. I'm acutally Swiss, but I have no idea what these little people are supposed to do in these clocks. biggrin I didn't even exactly know which clocks you're talking about until doing a Google search, but that's probably because we don't call them Swiss clocks wink

@simian
 Written by:

i've been playing with poi for about five years, and butterfly has never felt nice to me


Ahh! That really gives me some confidence. Maybe I was expecting too much, and not every move does "click", or at least not for every person. I definitely also prefer the types of moves you described, they just feel more fluid (fluent?) to me.
 Written by:

Hmm, that was all very unhelpful...


Not at all! It helps to see that other people have the same weird feelings about certain moves, it helps me approach them in a more relaxed way.

Thanks again all of you, I really got some new ideas and energy to keep on trying out of your replies! ubblove

jaeroSILVER Member
your new best enemy
246 posts
Location: over the river, through the woods, USA


Posted:
when I do a butterfly, I don't put either of my planes at 90 degrees. one is tilted forwards a little so that it's closer to my knees. the other, I tilt back. so it's closer to my head... I know it sounds a little squirrelly, but in the long run, you'll get the confidence in your swing that spinning it near your face doesn't mean possibly into your face. patience will bring control. the key, I think, is to just keep the poi as far apart as possible where their planes cross. i.e. at the top and at the bottom. by, say, putting your right hand above your left, you are free to swing that at an 85 degree angle towards your forhead. and with your left hand beneath your right, you're free to swing that at an 85 degree angle towards your knees. it also helps to move your wrists in the circular motion with the spinning of the poi. it's also important, while learning, to watch the top of your butterfly. where they cross. make sure theres a gap. at least 5 or 6 inches when learning. you'll decrease the space to 1 or 2 inches when you feel comfortable with the trick. and on a personal preference, I don't turn my palms directly up. however, I do put them at about a 45 degree angle towards the sky during the upswing. then for the down swing, I tend to have them facing each other. while doing the behind the head butterfly, remember that the hand you have on top while doing the normal butterfly won't change positions. it will just be upside down and behind your head. I feel pretty comfortable with the butterfly, and this is almost everything that I base it around. I would, however, suggest learning the thread the needle to compliment the butterfly. just try to remember not to phase out the butterfly completely once you learn the TTN.

I'll get there too late if I shorten my stride, I'll get there too soon if I find me a ride, I'll never move forward if I try to hide this path that I've troden one step at a time.


MikeIconGOLD Member
Pooh-Bah
2,109 posts
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA


Posted:
I find that when I do a butterfly, one hand is a bit higher than the other... Not completely on top, not sticking out further... Just slightly higher. They're arranged on a small diagonal. Also, my poi spin in a squished X. Not 90 degrees, more like 15. My poi also pass the same each time, ie- my right poi always passes behind the left at the top and in front of the left at the bottom.

That said, forget the butterfly - learn the thread the needle wink

Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me


TotalEclipseGOLD Member
Member
120 posts
Location: Nr Petersfield, United Kingdom


Posted:
All this palm-up stuff never seemed to happen with me...is it something that is required for TTN specifically, or does the fact that I have a fully functioning butterfly, backwards butterfly, alternating butterfly etc with palms down mean I've done something highly unorthodox, and possibly blasphemous?! eek

thombreGOLD Member
member
74 posts
Location: Nottingham, United Kingdom


Posted:
I find that I've been able to do the inwards TTN pretty comfortably without ever needing to turn my palms up. However, i can't imagine spinning outwards TTN without it.

Mabye it's just a matter of preference. I always find the best way to spin is however feels most comfortable and versatile to you.

Buy gerbils cos you can't spin with hamsters


TotalEclipseGOLD Member
Member
120 posts
Location: Nr Petersfield, United Kingdom


Posted:
Upon further study of my butterfly, I have noticed that my forwards butterfly is palms down, and my backwards more palms up.

Inside and outside TTN? What are these? I learnt a TTN today, from the forwards butterfly...is the other from backwards?

Aaaaaah all these new things pouring in!

jaeroSILVER Member
your new best enemy
246 posts
Location: over the river, through the woods, USA


Posted:
they'll never stop coming.

I'll get there too late if I shorten my stride, I'll get there too soon if I find me a ride, I'll never move forward if I try to hide this path that I've troden one step at a time.


simian110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
3,149 posts
Location: London


Posted:
 Written by: TotalEclipse



Inside and outside TTN? What are these? I learnt a TTN today, from the forwards butterfly...is the other from backwards?





yup forwards butterfly = inwards

backwards butterfly = outwards



which neatly sidesteps the confusion caused by a forwards butterfly being made up of two backwards wheel plane circles, and a backwards butterfly being made of two forwards wheel plane circles.

confused2

having now pointed out the confusion, i shall retreat to a safe distance to observe... wink

"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."


TotalEclipseGOLD Member
Member
120 posts
Location: Nr Petersfield, United Kingdom


Posted:
 Written by: simian


yup forwards butterfly = inwards
backwards butterfly = outwards

which neatly sidesteps the confusion caused by a forwards butterfly being made up of two backwards wheel plane circles, and a backwards butterfly being made of two forwards wheel plane circles.
confused2
having now pointed out the confusion, i shall retreat to a safe distance to observe... wink



No confusion here smile I noticed that little contradiction when I learnt TTN the other day...although I couldn't put it into words as neatly as you just did ubbrollsmile

SpinningFoolBRONZE Member
newbie
7 posts
Location: Bern, CH, Switzerland


Posted:
Thanks again for the many comments, this really has been very helpful for me! bounce (And hopefully for some more people that stumble across this thread in the future)



Because several people mentioned that they don't strictly have their palms facing upwards, I put that adside for a while, and concentrated on the angles of the planes and the positioning of the hands.



Now I think I finally got it, or at least am on the way wink It seems to me that I wasn't putting my hands together enough. When I tried to do the overhead butterfly this became very obvious: With your hands apart, it will *never* work, but if you but your wrist together before your throw your hands back over the head, and just let them open a bit at the very end, it's relatively easy.



So I applied that to the regular butterfly, and it seems to do the trick, at least for me: If I keep my wrists close to each other, like they were glued together, the whole thing gets noticeably more stable.



(I really have to get my hands on a video camera, then I could just show you guys a clip of me doing it. tongue)



My palms still are facing, well, anywhere but upwards wink, but I noticed people talking about "overhand" and "underhand" butterflies. Do these refer to the direction of the palms? e.g. overhand means palms facing up, and vice versa? Because then it all would make sense, you CAN do it either way, it's just that for many advanced moves one particular way will work better, like the overhead or alternate butterfly.



Also I really will work on TTN, as many people suggested this, and I hope it will give me a better understanding of the regular butterfly.

HOP Newsletter
Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more...