Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:First of all I didn't want this to be just in a poi section... I think it probably belongs in technical but I'd really like people from all different disciplines to read this and leave a reply...

Ok... this is going to be a slightly odd post, so be warned.

I don't want to come across arrogant, but I guess I've made some fairly swift progress in the area of poi. I was asked by a random at the beach today this question. "How the hell did you get so bloody good in only a year and a half?, I've been doing it longer than that and you kick my arse."

I just wanted to share my answer with everyone to start up a bit of discussion...

It came in two parts.

1) I first became very good at finding time to practice whenever I could throughout my day... 1 or 2 mins wherever I could where otherwise I would simply be doing something less worthwhile or just waiting in general.

2) I then tried to make sure my understanding of poi always preceded my skills.

Essentially I sought to understand the way the poi moved in ways I could not yet do by applying some of the things that I DID know and trying to work out if something was possible... sometimes I'd find it out wasn't, but a lot of the time I'd find out that one thing, applied differently is something else I knew about already, thus further building on what I knew about poi.

This is understanding that every advanced movement in poi is simply a construction of several other quite simple CONCEPTS applied in a specific way and when applied in a different way become something else.


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aston
aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2007
Total posts: 4061
Posted:A good approach. I should try it. tongue2

'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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Such
Such

Rancor
Location: Right Here
Member Since: 17th Sep 2008
Total posts: 253
Posted:There is no poi...






Just circles smile


Human

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:So, essentially:
"Don't feel....think"

wink


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:Think before you feel. Think about what you feel... then later you might not have to think. That reply was way too quick. Damn it, have to get off HoP. Oh god, too hot to sleep.

I did want that to begin discussion though.... so Durbs, you're on now, what're your thoughts on the matter? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? smile

I'm just trying to help filter some knowledge down... even if we blabber on jibberish, there'll be something that will help someone out there.


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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:Hmm... not only that but its not about "just thinking and not feeling" a lot of the time the only way to actually get something is to feel it... but in order to increase awareness of what there is out there to be felt then you've got to think about it.

To learn it you really do have to feel it, its a separate step.

I should have included this, but didn't because I was focussing on the step in which the knowledge freshly acquired should immediately be reapplied in different circumstances either in combination with other knowledge acquired or in new, hypothetical situations where you can begin to test the boundaries of your new knowledge in your mind, whether or not your skills will allow you at that point to delve into it... soon enough your skills will allow you to.

Thinking like this leads to steady progression as far as I'm aware. For those in pedagogical circles I guess you could refer to this as inquiry based learning...

Learning in which the student is directed in their knowledge at first and taught the ways in which to dissect information put in front of them, later learning how to form a hypothesis, devise an experiment and then finally analyse the data.

In poi these steps are simplified somewhat... "What if I swing the poi round here like this? If I can do it there like that, does that mean I can do it here, like this?" And later into more complex thoughts along the lines of "If this means I can do that, and that means I can do this, then theoretically... this should be possible..."

These steps apply to learning rather than performing or just playing. Though playing can often include a lot of this aspect anyway... but thats just the way I play, I guess.


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NathanielEverist
NathanielEverist

enthusiast
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 20th Aug 2007
Total posts: 315
Posted:Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_SonThink about what you feel...

You hit the nail on the head with that one, it's all about body awareness, you should read the book "Awareness Through Movement", but none other than Moshe Feldenkrais.

I've had people comment on my rate of learning too, although it has slowed as my interests branch into other areas as does my practice, but I find the majority of people who do poi for years with little progress either:
a) Don't practice
b) Don't practice the right things
c) Get stoned way too much (although I tend to do my best spinning after a few, at least I feel like I'm doing great spinning, I probably look retarded to others)


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AlienJon
AlienJon

enthusiast
Location: Everywhere
Member Since: 7th Mar 2002
Total posts: 290
Posted:My take on it is that there is a feedback loop or cycle that I go through, from intuitive/feeling to analysis/thinking, eventually coming full circle:

I get in the zone with the skills I presently have, and flow. As I flow, I may be inspired to explore new variations using my current mental model of poi understanding. Or, the flow may lead to new flavors of current patterns, as I augment the current pattern based on a mood or music that I'm flowing to. This eventually leads intuitively to discovering entirely new patterns.

I may be able to understand the new pattern based on my current mental model of how I understand poi. If so great! Or I may not know exactly what I'm doing or the full implications, so I think about it and visualize it, even figure out how to 3d model it. At this point I can analyze what is going on and update my mental (and 3d) model of poi spinning. This leads to tweaking parameters and thinking up new patterns, before I can do them.

I then practice these new patterns until I can do them, and start to integrate the ones I like until they are effortless.

I then Flow some more with the new repertoire of patterns and new mental model of poi understanding... and the cycle repeats...

+Alien Jon


+Alien Jon

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NathanielEverist
NathanielEverist

enthusiast
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 20th Aug 2007
Total posts: 315
Posted:Originally Posted By: AlienJon...as I augment the current pattern based on a mood or music that I'm flowing to.

...even figure out how to 3d model it. At this point I can analyze what is going on and update my mental (and 3d) model of poi spinning. This leads to tweaking parameters and thinking up new patterns, before I can do them.


Augmentation, modeling and the tweaking of parameters... If I didn't know better I'd swear you were a poi robot created in top secret by the U.S government.

But on a more serious note, I just got back inside for a good jam, and I was wondering why my means of learning have changed so much. I used to focus on a specific move or move group and practice it until I learnt it. I find myself far more easily distracted, and just wanna play around nowadays until I find something interesting.

Pretty much what you just said describes the way I'm progressing far better than I could've myself.


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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:No, Jon was actually created by the Australian government, they kidnapped Matt Terry and forced him to help them... Jon is actually the most advanced creation of project poibot to date.

Jon is actually an acronym... it stands for Jovial Object Nudger.

Anyway, I guess the thing that has come out as being most important here is that no matter what your method... the best way to actually achieve your results is to focus your practice in a positive way, including both the actual cleaning up and attainment of technique as well as a creative use of that technique.


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NathanielEverist
NathanielEverist

enthusiast
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 20th Aug 2007
Total posts: 315
Posted:Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_SonNo, Jon was actually created by the Australian government, they kidnapped Matt Terry and forced him to help them... Jon is actually the most advanced creation of project poibot to date.

Jon is actually an acronym... it stands for Jovial Object Nudger.

Anyway, I guess the thing that has come out as being most important here is that no matter what your method... the best way to actually achieve your results is to focus your practice in a positive way, including both the actual cleaning up and attainment of technique as well as a creative use of that technique.


Wow, that does explain a lot actually, and at least I can rest assured that our tax-payer's dollars are going to a worthy cause.

Very well summarised too, at the end of that last paragraph I was kinda like: "Yeah, yeah that's right".


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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:Bump, just because I think its got some nice practice tips from different perspectives as well as unveiling AlienJons true form.

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Gresk
Gresk

stranger
Location: Cyprus
Member Since: 27th Mar 2009
Total posts: 13
Posted:I think that, taking into account the thoughts of those who have already posted, in essence there are indeed fundamental principles that can be applied to learning anything. Of course in this case...poi.

I am one of those (you's) who are unfortunately blessed with the knack of being able to learn practically anything very quickly, the problem I find is that unless something really really keeps me interested then it falls to the wayside once I have achieved a self-set goal.

With regard the learning quickly I firmly believe that the application of a technical foundation is paramount. I too seek to learn the fundamental principles behind something before I begin to actually attack the learning phase.

Then, with regard the falling by the wayside comment I have to maintain the goals and keep making new ones consistently to remain in 'the learning bug' phase. Without goals we all lose interest, the dry spells become more frequent and eventually you end up stopping altogether. (Hrrrrm I should apply this to quitting smoking and it might work lol)

Just my 2 cents - Good topic though smile


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keb84
stranger
Location: nottingham
Member Since: 18th May 2009
Total posts: 10
Posted:I played with my poi tonight and did a couple of things that have convinced me that I'm now starting to interpret the feel of the poi, and not just doing it based on visual clues.
It was good fun, and I'd recommend it to others!

I did some really fast spinning, so I couldn't really see my hands! This was just out of curiosity, to see how fast I could do the weave!

The other thing I did was spinning with my eyes shut.


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aston
aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2007
Total posts: 4061
Posted:Eyes shut is amusing until you forget that they are shut and try something hard. wink

'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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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:Open or shut doesn't matter to me. I don't use visual cues unless I'm working something out I've never done or want to do something with a lot of precision. (eg, line isos, I can do them, but the poi might not quite be as together as they should be..)

I wouldnt think you would either, aston, since you also use heavier poi.


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duvan
duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany
Member Since: 13th Nov 2002
Total posts: 249
Posted:sometimes it doesn't matter to me either but I have a hard time doing a lot of body movements with eyes closed.

it does make a huge difference to the audience though especially if you use a blindfold
Non-Https Image Link
smile


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kith
Object Manipulation Student
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Member Since: 2nd Apr 2008
Total posts: 20
Posted:Between AlienJon and Gresk, you have most of my response to your question.

Some things to add though:

I find that my not physically playing with my poi goes a long way towards my being able to do ... whatever particular thing i'm trying to do.

As a means of interpreting the world around me, and experiencing (hopefully) the fullest of what this life has to offer me, i've done extensive work with my unconscious mind. I've developed a system of placing priorities of focus within the uncobnscious workings in the back of my head, so when i'm not thinking about poi in my daily, it's in full swing in 'the back of my head'.

Something that helps people who have a knack of learning things more quickly I have found, is that whether they know it or not, they are able to more directly interact with their unconscious mind.

Have you ever noticed how fully focused you become on whatever specific thing it is that catches your interest? By totally immersing yourself in the experience, you can more fully integrate with it.

Every decision, every future action or thought you have in your life is based upon every single thing you have experienced before it. Some people are better at others of keeping track of what those past things were, or at least remembering more fully the important ones.

People that tend to pick things up more quickly then others also tend to like so-called 'odd' things, like esoteric knowledge, or just random things that other people wouldn't know. (mostly because they didn't look...laziness is the great destroyer)

I spent a good many years very (i mean very) actively trying to re-program my instinctual reactions across a broad spectrum of situations, from facial expression down to the best way to throw yourself over a cliff (and not get hurt). You don't have time on the way down to think about what you want to do, it's either act automatically to a random situation, or be hurt.

(a moment for clarification - 'cliff' in this situation refers to 30%-45ish% grade at a height not more then 100 feet. Preferably hill surface is made of loose shale, and your speed at the beginning should be as fast as you can run. Depending on where you are from, that can be a huge cliff, or barely a bump on the landscape.)

This mental work has translated to poi really well, and this is what I mean by not playing with your poi helping you:
Sometimes you get to burnout. If you are too physically, consciously involved with something, by immersing yourself so totally in it that little else exists, then you will hit a saturation point.

Worry not, for this is not the end. By saturating yourself with it to such a degree, you can now wander off and do other things, while keeping it alive inthe back of your head. Come back to it a week or 9 later, and you'll fall right back into it. Not only that, but you'll find your planes are cleaner and the moves are more natural - this comes from the constant unconscious work in the back of your head.

I've found that I can drop it for months at a time (which doesn't happen anymore - but used to up until about a year and a half ago) and pick up (rusty at first) more strongly then before.

The longer I spin poi, the more it becomes life to me. The concept of poi in relation to my life becomes more inextricably entwined as the days pass. Maybe in another thread sometime i'll go deeper into this, but for now suffice to say that it applies on a spiritual level as well as all the others you probably think of.

People too often seem to ignore the mental aspect of this, and focus solely on the 'physical practice' part of it when they talk about how they 'get better' at poi. I believe this thread is a great way to raise awareness of there being much, much more to it then just swinging some weight around on a chain for an hour or three. (or spinning a staff or whatever)

Working into that mental discipline, i'd like to touch back onto something from the very first posting in this thread:

Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_Son
1) I first became very good at finding time to practice whenever I could throughout my day... 1 or 2 mins wherever I could where otherwise I would simply be doing something less worthwhile or just waiting in general.


This is the most important part of moving the 'poi practice' back into your subconscious. By doing it just a little here and there, you stimulate all the thought necessary to make it happen. This keeps it fresh in your head. By doing this as often as you can, like he said - a minute here, two there - you keep your mind focused on it when you aren't thinking about it.

Using poi requires a significant amount of thought, the breakdown of which may or may not be outside the scope of this thread. Unto itself, that is a big enough subject to sidetrack this thread, which I think would be a shame. Maybe we can get into that one somewhere else. (I won't have the energy for it after this post - bedtime for me)

In this instance though, I think the essence of your question is 'do you like to learn?'. A lot of people are interested in learning, but, like Gresk said, things easily fall to the wayside. For most people, you have to find ways to keep it fresh, or to keep your interest. One way is to consistently challenge yourself. Another, like I said above, is to leave it alone for a little while.

A third, and really good option, is to find a partner. Find someone else who is interested in it, and see if you can meet up from time to time to hang out and play with it together.

People are social creatures by nature, and by placing 'poi' as a means of communication between yourself and another real physical person helps on so many levels I know I won't cover them all. One for instance before I move on:

-Competitiveness. People like to compete with each other, it comes from a basic survivial instinct. Even in friendly interaction, theres still the thought of 'I did that a little better then him' or 'she did that a little better then me'. These thoughts are not bad, and are primal and hard to ignore. Work with them, and treat them in the right context, they will help you greatly.

But more then just swapping some videos over the internet, or talking about it through a message board or chat program, you need to actually physically interact with another person, to really have chosen the third option. If you don't then it's not the same thing, and while helpful, is actually option 4.

There's also option 4, which if you are reading this, you are doing. Option 4 is interacting with other people on a non-physical level. This helps you to keep your interest, because you know other people are interested in what you are doing (poi, staff, whatever) but isn't as good as actually hanging out with a real person. Still, information exchange is great over the net, and anyone willing to put forth the effort can educate themselves as much as they want.

Which works us into option 5, education. Learn whatever you can about it. Read all the dry boring technical stuff, and read all the fun bouncy stuff too. Then go study physics, and the laws of inertia and motion. Think about what else relates to poi, and study that. Learn everything even loosely related to poi, and you will find that you can make more informed decisions on what you should train next, or how to move on to the next step.

Or even just how to move your shoulder the right way to give your arm another quarter inch of stretch behind your back on the other side. Who knows. You won't unless you look smile

Something else that helps me keep my focus on poi - and to give me an excuse to make time for it:
-Exercise. We say this from time to time, but exercise is important, and poi is a physical activity. I can make the excuse that poi IS exercise, which it is, but I also figure I should add poi to other exercises too. So far, i've started to spin my poi while I do my (semi-daily) run, and it's fun to have to duck branches and stuff as I run through the woods.

I've been working on a fun push-up poi exercise, but now i'm startiing to get off-topic so i'll leave you with that.

What helped me get to a point where keeping my interest has become a non issue, is to do all of the things mentioned above, and then relate poi to my life on every level possible. In many cases it was easy, and it hasn't actually been a method of forcing it. I just started to realize how poi, the concept of and such would relate to my life on different levels, sort of like an awakening of awareness. This is hard to explain, I feel the words I am typing are not doing this justice. Maybe I can revisit this with better wording to convey the idea better.

This whole thing is circular, so feel free to re-read it out of order, it'll help it make more sense to you on other levels. One last learning trick i'll throw into the thread before I sign off.


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MikefromGlos
MikefromGlos

Hitman
Location: Gloucester England
Member Since: 10th Jul 2006
Total posts: 985
Posted:***deleted***

oppss

EDITED_BY: MikefromGlos (1259532040)
EDIT_REASON: delted


he he i am mike the amazing gloscircus person who is mike.

Officaly an exception to the Poi Boys are Girls Thing

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Sister Eleven
Sister Eleven

owner of the group property
Location: Seattle, WA
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2009
Total posts: 1277
Posted:I know this is an old thread, but I'm bored and want to comment on something. Really that's more or less the only reason I post... but I digress.

Since the end of July I've gone from never having touched poi before, to teaching tricks to people who have been at it for way longer than me. At the jams there are a few "prodigies" like me, and the newer people always ask us how we got good so fast. Unsurprisingly, our answers were largely the same: we find about two hours a day to spin, and always have poi in our hands or on our minds.

I think obsession is the number one asset to learning anything quickly and learning it well. Some sort of conceptual framework (at a minimum an understanding of the physics of orbiting bodies, in the case of poi) comes in as a close second. Raw talent is a relatively minor third that won't go very far without the others.


p|.q|r:|::s|.s|s:|:.s|q.|:p|s.|.p|s

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