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 At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: Shyft 
Date:   03-27-02 06:40

Being new to not only the CJing community, but to juggling in general...I'm going to ask a stupid question ;).

What is a poi? and what do you do with one?
Same for diabolos....I've seen them in II's catalog...but can't figure out what on earth you'd use it for. Looks like a demented yoyo..anyway, help?

Curious happenstances aboud, and all hell breaks loose.
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 Re: At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: Shyft 
Date:   03-27-02 06:41

Curious happenstances ABOUND, and all hell breaks loose. ;)
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 Re: At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: remy 
Date:   03-27-02 07:33

poi are a traditionally hawaiian toy (sometimes called "poi balls") which are played with in pairs by spinning them around the body bin patterns--when lit on fire, they are used by fire dancers--a good source for a more complete answer--especially concerning fire poi--is're fairly easy to start out with, and you can take them to as insane a level as you want or keep the patterns as simple as you like. You'll see them all over, on any sunny day, being played with in grassy areas. they usually have flaggy tails or else are tennis balls (or glow sticks, if it's dark and crowded) on strings--when used for wire, they're wicks on chains or wires
hope this helped ya...
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 Re: At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: Klas 
Date:   03-27-02 08:27


A diabolo is an ancient chinese toy, originally devised and used over 4,000 years ago. It has since developed into a very skilled art form, that is very easy to learn, but very hard to master. To use a diabolo (as pictured right) you need a pair of sticks which are joined by about 1 metre of string. The diabolo is placed on the string, and the sticks held, one in each hand. By moving your hands up and down, the diabolo starts to spin, and you can begin to perform tricks. Welcome to the wonderful world of diabolo!

Klas, googler
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 Re: At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: Klas 
Date:   03-27-02 08:28

Correct link is

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 Re: At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: Klas 
Date:   03-27-02 08:29

One more try :)

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 Re: At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: Ferret 
Date:   03-27-02 14:40

There is strong evidence that poi originated in the Polynesian islands, and was later brought to Hawaii. I have to check my sources but it is believed to have originated as nothing more than a convenient way to carry Rea eggs over long distances and to tie them up in a tree away from scavengers while the hunters slept. It consisted of nothing more than a handle and vine, attached to a quickly weaved, tight fitting, basket that held and protected the precious egg. One basket for each egg. If you don't know what a Rea is, it's a Big flightless bird. The eggs are about the size of a soft ball, and they are anything but soft.
Legend has it that on a trip back from an egg gathering expedition a few of these egg gatherers were attacked by something that no one wants to be close to, and in the Polynesian islands that could be a whole host of animals, and one brave soul decided that sacrificing one egg for the life and safety of he and his friends was worth it and promptly started spinning this vine and egg contraption at said attacker. Apparently it worked quite well and the brave defender, succeeded in not only saving the party but killing the attacker with this improvised weapon. Believe me when I tell you that you don't want to be hit in the head with a Rea egg spinning at adrenalin induced speed.

As tribal people are apt to do, it soon became a new tool to keep them alive, and only warriors were allowed to learn the art.
Since most creatures are afraid of fire, this was later factored into the weapon. Although by then I would think that they had stopped using Rea eggs for something less precious, that would burn brightly as well.

The Japanese have a similar weapon that is called the meteor, but the Polynesians were extensive travelers and traders, in the early times and brought their culture to a number of countries. I'd lay odds the Japanese got the idea from them.

The yoyo is also an early weapon used by the Philippines to knock monkeys out of trees.
It was used to great effect, although they were much larger than today's toys.

Necessity is the mother of invention. And eating and staying alive is a Strong necessity.

You can give any weasel a ball........but The Ferret will bring it to life.

Keep 'em Roll'in
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 Re: At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: Peregrine 
Date:   03-27-02 17:22

a couple of things....

poi the word comes from the Maori people of New Zealand and means "ball" and refers to the implement which consists of a ball on a string or cord, which is swung. It is done by both men and women for increasing flexibility in the wrists whether for battle (which is really done with staffs) or for other tasks like weaving etc. Today it is mostly done as a symbolic dance by women, and really bears no resemblence to the "poi" which westerners tend to do with streamer poi, fire, or glowsticks. It involves a lot of bouncing the poi off body parts to rhythmically accompany the song. the moves, like hand gestures in hula represent specific words, actions or emotions.
for a video of traditional poi see:

don't know about the egg thing but anyway they used to have Moas (big megapode bird like an ostrich or emu, theyre extinct now, all thats left is kiwis) in New Zealand not Rheas which are in South America.

poi may also originate from the making of the food poi which comes from taro root, which is wrapped up, tied to string, and then bashed against a rock to pulverize it.

the use of fire poi is relatively recent (last 30 years or so, forget the exact date) by maori performing groups wanting to add something different to their performances. probably inspired by samoan fire-knife dancing. a good book on the subject is
The Rhythm and Life of Poi by Ngamoni Huata which doesnt really tell you haw to do it though it will tell you history and how to make traditional poi out of flax.
and of course theres always for the modern incarnation of it....

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 Re: At the risk of sounding foolish....
Author: seb 
Date:   03-28-02 04:41

peregrine.. are you from New Zealand? you seem to know a bit about it
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 yes, but...
Author: remy 
Date:   03-28-02 11:23

okay, that was quite detailed :)
the interpretation I've given is only based on the lessons I recieved in the fifth grade--every female in my entire public school class, being in hawaii, had to learn "poi balls" in order to escape fifth grade. this is what we were told--so this is what I recite :)
..and the term "poi" is decidedly hawaiian, reffereing to the icky pasty stuff.
thanks for the info :)
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Author: remy 
Date:   03-28-02 11:32

okay, that sounded WRONG. I wasn't meaning to sound demeaning or anything. what I meant:
1) all aspects of hawaiian culture can be supposedly traced back to polenesian roots, hawaii being a polynesian settlement. the poi which we practice as jugglers is most closely related, as far as I was told (new zelanders aside--I'm in hawaii, so I'm sticking with what I'm supposed to know), to a modern hula implement known as the "poi ball". This hula implement lacks streamers, fire, etc., but some of the patterns are very similar. Another hula implemet which uses a similar base of movement and probably contributed to the modern poi ball swinging is a feathered disc called the 'ili'ili.
2) poi CAN mean the icky pasty stuff, although it really doesn't have to--honestly, poi wasn't made by bashing roots agains the ground. it was poinded using an implement similar to a very blutt, big-bottomed mortar and pestel. so I trust the new zeland interpretation on this one...
sorry for the awful post above, hope this clears up any misunderstanding and general ill-will--I try to be as careful as I can when posting, and that one just sucked.

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 Re: er...
Author: Peregrine 
Date:   03-28-02 13:53

well the bashing the roots against the ground thing might be sort of legendary too :)
im not from new zealand, but i lived in Australia (in us now) and just been doing poi for a while; but its the fiery kind not the traditional kind. I have a pair of traditional ones too, and have friend who knows some dances she learned in a kapa haka class in NZ and let me tell you its really hard to learn to purposely hit yourself when you've spent all your time learning to avoid the poi...and then sing at the same time! *gack*

and i still suck at contact too :)
*back to lurking*

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 Re: er...
Author: remy 
Date:   03-28-02 19:45

he he--the hula poi has no hitting yourself in it :) that's fortunate as a whole classroom of fifth graders with poi balls trying to hit themselves and sing would be really really outta hand :)
oh--don't bash your own juggling! (bash--no pun intended, i swear...)Everyone went through a stage of REALLY sucking, and we all have stuff we aren't happy with still. Reminding everyone of that fact is just wasting your breath :) (he he--just like I'm doing now :) ) --breath that could be well used to get out and practice so you don't have to be embarrassed anymore :)
best of luck!
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