So we’re now well into January and it feels like the end of the start of the New Year. And for many it will be the end of their grim health and fitness related New Year’s resolutions.
If you’re one of those people who is struggling to stick to a tough training regime, many be it’s time to reassess things and find a hobby that’s actually fun. If this notion has got your attention may I suggest giving some thought to learning poi.
Poi is a form of performance art which involves swinging around weighted objects which are attached to cords (these tethered objects are also known as poi). It’s usually done with a pair of poi: one for each hand. A variety of different objects (including glow-sticks, LEDs and Flaming wicks) can be swung around in a whole host of complex patterns and manoeuvres. The overall effect can be visually stunning, but don’t just take my word for it, check out the videos below.
While many cultures have developed forms of dance involving swinging around objects, modern poi is generally considered to have evolved and taken its name from the traditional form of poi developed by the Maori people of New Zealand. Among the Maori poi was traditionally performed by women as part of larger performances involving dancing, singing and Haka.
Poi was introduced to the Western World by travellers who had admired in in New Zealand and decided to try it out. It was widely popularised over the internet as online training resources and communities encouraged people to get involved.
Mastering poi will take a significant amount of time, patience and practice. However, getting the hang of a few of the basic moves should only take a couple of hours and even they can look pretty impressive.
If you want to learn you’ll have to start by getting your hands on some practice poi. There are many online stores where you can buy them, but it is easy enough to make you own. There are a variety of different ways to make poi; one of the easiest is to poke a couple holes in opposite sides of a tennis ball, then feed a length of cord through and tie a big knot in the end. For added comfort you might want to tie a loop in the end you’ll be holding.
Once you have a couple of poi the best way to get started is by reading a few online tutorials or watching some training videos on the net. The website Home of Poi has loads of excellent training resources and You Tube has stacks of poi training videos like the one below:
Once you get started, you might just find it quite addictive; just remember to give the dangerous stuff like fire poi a miss until you’ve progressed to a pretty high level of skill.
What kind of objects would you like to swing around on the end of a bit of cord? Let us know in the comment box below.
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