Weird Science :: Written Posts

Free Poi Class!

The studio I teach at has moved from Takoma Park to Silver Spring and we're celebrating the move by offering a week of free classes, including poi!

This is a great opportunity for rote beginners to get free instruction to start them on the road to the playful and challenging world of object manipulation. If you've been wanting to learn or have learned only a couple tricks and would like to learn more, this is the perfect chance!

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A few updates

Hey, all!

Those of you who've been crusing through here the last couple days have probably noticed the addition of a few items. After Sphericulism went down and then returned, I grabbed a copy of Rev's Manifesto so I could continue to read and be confused by it and a few recent queries from friends for copies of Cyrille's Geometry document from last year, I stuck up copies of both and added a couple other writing on poi theory that I thought kicked ass or that had influenced me a lot. Hopefully in the future I'll be adding additional documents into this section (Charlie's 9-square Theory perhaps?). If you've got a suggestion, hit the contact box and tell me what you'd like to see mirrored here.

Also, I added a rating feature to my videos and blog entries. There's really no great reason for that aside from the fact that I'm curious what people are digging on. Thanks to all the folks who've used this site since it launched a couple months ago. It's nice to have a home and to have people visit you there :)


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Awesome diagonal planes tutorial

Over the weekend, Zan posted an excellent tutorial video on diagonal planes, those bizarre bits of techery that came out of EJC this past summer. Zan breaks it down in such a way that it'll help you figure out how to keep your planes straight, some very basic diagonal transitions, and how to execute some pretty mean-looking turns with them. If this stuff intrigues you like it does, me give this vid a gander:

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Bring on the Blogs!

Times are getting exciting for those of us who love poi blogs: there are two new video blogs in town that I'm all about. First up is an Israeli poi spinner who seems to be taking inspiration in equal parts from both the European school of float/pendulum/contact poi spinning as well as the American unit circle schools of thought to create some of the cleanest technique I've yet seen (read: yes, I'm totally jealous of this guy's form ;). PoiBoi's latest blog can be found below. I highly recommend visiting him on YouTube at and seeing his other vids.

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Poi symmetry: why my hybrid theory is full of holes, Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about the many holes that had been poked in the theory of hybrid construction I posted a few weeks ago, among which are its incompatibility with any timings other than split-time or same time and the fact that it can't account for a static spin versus extension hybrid. Thus begs the question of how exactly we can define hybrids in a way that is extensible (ie, that works at any size shape we can image).

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Poi symmetry: why my hybrid theory is full of holes, Part 1

A couple weeks ago I posted a video conjecturing a new framework for understanding how poi hybrids are constructed--namely that they are examples of poi motion retaining multiple combinations of timing and direction. I've had a couple holes in this theory pointed out to me and I've come to see additional holes myself, so I'm putting together a breakdown of why my theory was flawed as well as laying the groundwork for a new theory based both upon this feedback and my own explorations.

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Musings on hybrids and soon to move

So I know there's been comparatively few updates recently and this has been especially frustrating given that some updates have disappeared in the past couple days as I've tried to work out why my blogger account has stopped feeding videos to my iTunes feed.

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Things that make you go HOLY #$&@ing SHIT!!!

If you're not familiar with Mel, the ubertechy spinner from Russia who exploded onto the scene about four months ago with his "Me and my shadow" video post, you damned well should be. At 20, he's a more accomplished poi spinner than most people I know in their mid-to-late 20's are.

Now he's posted a couple flow videos and they are a treat to behold. This is his performance at the recent Fires Festival and it features some of the most beautiful tech/flow integrations I've seen this side of Alien Jon or Zan.

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Anatomy of a poi intensive

After a long weekend of moving, I managed to get an hour and a half to focus intensely on some poi running up to Burning Man. Here is the breakdown of what turned out to be one of the best practices I've had in a long time:

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Spherical or plane-bent CAPs?

The past few weeks in my video blog, I've played with the concept of taking our current understanding of elliptical CAPs and translating them into 3-D shapes. I dubbed the concept "spherical CAPs" but I'm now starting to question if it's either accurate or actually descriptive of the concept. Here's why:

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Vulcan Tech Blog: objects in flight

Not as heavy on poi, but still hella fun to watch. Noel, Greg, and Jordan transferring balls in square patterns is probably my favorite moment of this video.
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The pain and joys of airwraps

I have a confession to make: I never learned airwraps when I began my journey into poi. It started out as just kind of an embarrassing secret I hoped nobody would ever notice and then I started running into guys who could do things with hyperloops that made me break into a cold sweat and run and hide inside large wooden objects.

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Music to spin to

While the vast majority of the time I'm spinning, I'm either doing so to improvised sessions by drummers or canned music that's been selected by my fire performance troupe, I frequently find that those rare opportunities when I get to put on my own music for a solo performance are some of my best.

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Do you know the math of CAPs?

A thread on Home of Poi asking for a definition of CAPs has turned up not just an interesting history of the concept, but the most comprehensive mathematical description I've yet seen of the move. I don't pretend to understand much (or, really most) of the mathematics in this post, but I'm considering it a moral imperative to educate myself and figure out the mathematics of poi (mainly because I suspect it has major implications for concepts like Alien Code and antispin flowers).

Here is Zaltymbunk's description:

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Plane-bending with CAPs

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Plane bending: the future is here!

G is the best poi spinner you've never heard of. I'd never heard of him before heading to Firedrums back in April and seriously I was blown away by him. While most of us have dabbled in plane-bending at one point or another (beginners plane-bend unintentionally all the time), few have taken it to the jaw-dropping extremes G has. Essentially, every stall is a zero point that can be used to transition to a different plane. All of the bizarre plane-bending combos I've been working on in the past few months have been inspired by his work.
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Experiments in body mechanics

I spent a good long time in my poi practice session today playing with the way my body shifts its weight as I spin. Teaching in a dance studio, I'll freely confess I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder due to the fact that poi sits so uncomfortably in the middle of dance, juggling, martial arts, and street performance that alas it seems to be none of these as well.

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No, I regret this isn't an entry on Warren Ellis's landmark sci-fi satire comic book series (I'm still figure out a way to make it apply to poi ;), the title is a great excuse to give it a plug. The planetary I'm talking about is the system by which planets rotate around a solar mass and create systems of compound elliptical orbits.

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Adventures in body mechanics

Now here's a bizarre problem for you: how do you correct the way your body is built and moves?

At about the age of 12, I lost the arches in my feet and spent 15 years with orthodic insoles in my shoes, avoiding running long distances because they would cause my knees to swell and lock up for days. Needless to say, it kind of sucked.

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More footwork vids!

So apparently a trend has begun of doing videos for poi footwork and now the godfather of poi, Nick Woolsey has posted one describing how he does his whirling dervish-style footwork. Special guest-stars include Burning Dan and Alien Jon!

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Wildfire roundup

Back from Wildfire and lots of videos are popping up...mostly from Christian and myself. Helpfully, both of us recorded a couple lesson sessions and noodling. Here are some of my favorites from the weekend:

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Today Wildfire...tomorrow the world!

I'm off to Wildfire today for what looks like a full docket of awesome classes. I'll have my camera with me, so expect lots of footage of the East Coast's answer to Firedrums. If you're there, I'm teaching weaves at 9:30 tomorrow morning, pendulums at 4, and flowers bring and early tomorrow morning again at 9:30.

Hopefully the forecasts of buckets of rain for this part of Connecticut are exaggerated :-P

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Polyhedron Flowers

A combination of stuff inspired this--first, in pursuit of a unit sphere, I've failed miserably to find a construct that would fit the requirements of it, but many of the experiments I've worked through in the process have proven interesting in their own right. One such example is the 3D pyramid pattern from my last video post, which I suppose is technically a triangular tetrahedron. Taking Cyrille's law that all poi polygons should be symmetrical with two poi, I've been working out ways of using plane-bending and stalls to achieve this end. Here are a couple results:

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MCP on 3D spinning

I posted my blog entry on a 3D unit sphere on my facebook profile and got a really interesting and insightful response from MCP. Check it out:


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Slo-mo Poi

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