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Saturday, September 8th, 2012 at 5:37:43pm UTC 

  1. )*(-)*(-)*(-)*(-)*(-)*(-)*(
  3. Learning How to Spin Poi
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  9. Introduction
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  12. This guide will get you started on learning how to spin poi.  But first, why should you bother to learn?  Poi is, at its heart, a performance art.  However, you need not have to perform in front of people if you don’t want to.  Instead, treat it as a leisurely activity that is more active than video games but less active than paintball.  It is a learned psychomotor skill, and to me, a great way to be more in touch with bodily movement.
  14. Learning a psychomotor skill is a great exercise in exercising “mind over matter” and can put you in a relaxed state of mind while learning how to flow.  Zen-speak aside, you’re swinging socks full of rice around your body and hoping they don’t hit you in the balls (be careful with the butterfly) or tangle together in a knot as you attempt a new move.  After enough practice, you’ll reach a point where tricks just “happen,” as they are engrained in your muscle memory. 
  16. Suddenly, your mind clears. You begin to spin in a meditative state.  Music plays in the background as you effortlessly swing the poi around your body, transitioning from one move to another, reaching from the safe repertoire of moves already mastered to those just out of reach.  You’ve just had your first “flow state”…like a jogger’s high, only a lot less painful to achieve (unless you mess up the butterfly).
  18. If you’re a physical person in touch with your body, it’s my hope that you’ll take to this even more and enjoy the art of building coordination, rhythm, and muscle memory. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t, but we won’t know until you try, right?
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  22. Getting Inspired
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  25. Here are a few videos for inspiration (The titles are working YouTube titles if you just want to search those instead of using the shortened URLs):
  27. •     “When Circles Dream Remix: Beautiful Poi Dancing” -
  28. •     “Amazing tricks: new catch ups, 3 poi and 4 poi spinning…” - - shirtless Russian tech poi…enough said.
  29. •     “16 YR Old master poi performance…” - - poor video, but the kid is good.
  30. •     “Yuta @En fire festival”
  32. Inspired?  Well then, let’s get started learning and practicing!
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  36. Learning the Basics
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  39. Lucky for me, Nick Woolsey and his crew at* have put together an awesome series of video lectures on learning poi!  This is really great, as it saves me a lot of time putting a video playlist together:
  43. *Note: I have no affiliation with PlayPoi or anything; their videos are just really helpful to learn.  And Nick Woolsey is a really great performer who is well accepted in the flow arts community.
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  47. Staying Connected
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  50. There is a vibrant and growing flow community at Home of Poi (, with tons of videos and resources for self-learning. Also, check out Play Poi ( and check to see if there is a fire/flow arts retreat in your area at (Facebook group page).
  52. Finally, Reddit also has subreddits on poi and the flow arts!  Of course they do. Reddit is like Gaia.
  54.     /poi   (see also the related subreddits on the side nav, such as: /firearts, /firespin, and /flowtoys)
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  58. Final Thoughts
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  61. Just make sure you practice the moves outlined in the videos nice and slooooooowwww.  The faster you spin, the LESS you are in control, as momentum takes over.  Also, wrap the poi once around your hands to shorten them--this is necessary for some moves (e.g., buzzsaw) but it can also help you learn a trick easier.
  63. Happy flowing!

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