Forums > Beginner Poi Moves > Struggling with backward split time

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NivlacNZGOLD Member
1 post
Location: New Zealand

Ok, I am really starting to feel like a bit of an idiot here... I'm slowly improving in various tricks but no matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to get a basic backwards split time happening. Forwards is ok, 3 beat weave working well, corkscrew, windmill, etc all going ok... but when it comes to backwards split time I manage maybe 2-3 beats before I end up either reverting to same time or one side (usually left hand) spinning a lot faster than the other.

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions that might help? (yes... the obvious one is to keep practicing, and I will, but if there's anything else that may help then I'd love to hear it)


DurbsBRONZE Member
Classically British
5,688 posts
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Firstly, do it slowly - and say, either in your head or even out loud - "right, left, right, left,right, left etc."

Try and go as slowly as you can, whilst keeping the poi taut, and maintaining the even timing. Then build up the speed little by little.

Essentially, the slower you go, the greater the need for accuracy, but the easier it is to be accurate.

Depending how you learn, you might find it helps to watch your reflection/shadow too.

Mostly, don't worry about it smile
Tight timing takes a while to get and an age to master.

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Spinner of poi
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ecaBRONZE Member
197 posts
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA

It helped me to learn split-time by bouncing my hands up and down... Left up/Right down, Right up/left down.

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cjgeislerGOLD Member
7 posts
Location: Indiana

I'm having the same problem. SERIOUS issue when learning the reverse 3 beat weave. Doesn't it just frustrate you to no end!?

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way.

1 post

I am right handed. I dont know about yall, but i have to work twice, sometimes 3x as hard with moves on my left hand, or left side of me. Everything is just so out of whack on that side that it takes my brain longer to grasp whats going on.

A great way to really feel how split time feels is start doing it with a butterfly. Personally, open butterfly feel more natural and easy to do (left string clockwise, right counter clockwise). When you do a butterfly in same time the poi will pass each other at the top and bottom. When you do it split time they pass at the sides. You will have a much easier time keeping your planes straight doing the butterfly while you are trying to understand the rythym and muscle memory of split time. Hope this helps a bit!
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TeamoGOLD Member
Almost again
124 posts
Location: Finland

I suggest the same thing I'd usually do, which is to try it with just your arms without the poi. Do big extensions with your arms straight in the outwards split-time motion on a wallplane.

Specifically note the 4 main focus points that exist in the split time figure: Your arms should be next to each other on either side, and the should form a vertical line when they're infront of you (just like in the forwards split-time butterfly).

Take it as slow as you have to. It will really get the feeling of split-time opposites into your body instead of just your brain. When you can do it with just straight arms without thinking about it too much, make the movement smaller, with less shoulder action and more elbow action. Also make the movement faster if you feel like you can. Then add your poi. Again, you can start out with extensions and work your way down, until your only really moving your wrist and fingers. All the while making sure you have a good split-time happening.

If you have a good rhythm sense, and nice way to keep your split-time in check is to count off the beats out loud, if you have to. It's easy to count the beats when the poi are at the bottom of the circle, because that's when they give your hand a small tug. In a good split-time, the rhythm should be a steady "left-right-left-right-left-right"...etc.

If getting the rhythm that way is still causing you trouble, just try making sure that your poi go through all the 4 focus points.

To really have control over the timing, try other timings besides same and split time (after you have those two down well, ofcourse). Quarter time can be useful and pretty in some situations.
You can try to get into quarter time from a butterfly. In same time butterfly, the poi form a vertical line in the places where they meet, in split time the line is horizontal. In quarter time the line is diagonal. So there are two kinds of quarter time, depending on which way the diagonal line is leaning on.
An easy way to get the hang of the rhythm is to count to 4 and have the beats at the 1 and the 2(hence, quarter time). The rhythm for the downbeats should be
"left-right-3-4-left-right-3-4" (or optionally "right-left-3-4-right-left-3-4")
Quarter time looks pretty for example in same direction CAPs.

Sorry for going a bit off the original topic. I just wanted the post to have a bit more substance to it, and not be basically a copy of the post I made on getting down the reverse TTN. Because the methods for getting down both can be very similar...

Warior DrakeSILVER Member
The Dragon Professor
203 posts
Location: New York, currently homeless, USA

looks like everyone's already said their part but I don't think extra advice can be a bad thing, just take it at your own pace

Try it without your poi first, finding something to compare or visualize it with will help you immensely

For simple old backwards split time think about the really cheap "dance" move were you circle your hands in closed fists. Do that forwards and backwards, that's split time same direction. Now pull your hands apart but keep moving in reverse, straighten out your arms until they're on your sides and and make big backward circles with your hands in split time and over time bring it into smaller circles.

Now try it with your poi, you should have no problem jumping into it.

Everything in poi is muscle memory, I'm sure if you ask anyone who's been spinning for a week or more to rotate their fingers in opposites they can do it without thinking, ask someone who's never picked up poi and it'll confuse the hell out of them until they've got the practice down.

Don't let your world end with you

p.s. No, just in case you're going to ask, I did not misspell Warrior, its supposed to be like that.