Those things really can hurt.

So a couple of weeks ago I’ve made a blogpost about all the fabulous things you can do as a bellydancer with poi. Remember that post? Fire poi, LED poi, sock poi, all sorts. If you have missed that post, you can find it here.

The beginners set I ordered
The beginners set I ordered

That day I instantly had to order my own. So I started browsing a bit on the internet and found some youtube video tutorials on what to do and one of the things they tried to teach me first was; make sure to hit yourself in the head a couple of times because once you know how it hurts, you’ll also know what not to do.

Silly advise, right? Sound advise too, or so I found out later.

With all that in mind I bought a beginners set from

Yesterday I was having a bit of a bad, emotional day. I went home and called the boyfriend. Basically I begged him to go get me food from the stores because I just wanted to go home and cry my atypical depression away into a pillow. When he got home, with pizza and quiche, he patted me on the head and reached into his bag with a smile on his face. “This should cheer you up,” he said and he kindly gave me a post package. My packages are usually delivered at his work, because nobody’s home during daytime.. and the cats don’t know how to unlock doors. Which in itself is a good thing!

Anyways. I opened it and blimey was he right; finally my brand new LED poi had arrived. Through the tears and sobs I managed to force out a smile and for a moment the world had some purpose again. A couple of hours later I felt a little better again, through eating some quiche and much couch-calming-therapy. And I decided to give it a swing.

My poi, my poi, my lovely new poi!

Now, I’ve never handled poi before. I just read about it and saw some instruction videos. I began spinning. Soon it became dark and I could actually spin with the LED lights on, which was amazingly cool. I kept concentrating on not hitting anything in our relatively small, crowded livingroom and tried not to hit myself in the head too often. Of course I hit a lamp (it didn’t break), a table (the poi were still okay) and my knees quite a few times but none of it really mattered until I HIT myself in the HEAD with the METAL bits! Oh god, I thought my head was going to burst right then, right there. It didn’t but I could’ve sworn I was going to have to make due with everlasting scars and deformation. They weren’tย joking when they said you needed to know about the pain. I know very well what not to do now and I’ll be looking out to find some cloth to bind around these hinges because that’s not anything I want to do again.

But hey you know what? I practiced with my brand new LED poi. And they ROCKED. It cheered me up to practice with them; I felt real good for the time the spinning lights captivated me and it felt quite nice to do something that pretty. So absolutely worth it ๐Ÿ˜‰


16 thoughts on “Those things really can hurt.

  1. Fire poi have gotten much more elegant over the years – and safer. The ones used in Australia about 15 years back – were chains with a piece of metal tube and kevlar wick. All fine when things went well – really bad when they didn’t. The chain could wrap around you and lock and since they were on fire and the metal was hot….. well some people did get scars and lost a lot of hair when it locked around the neck. Consequently I was too chicken to try them (my sister was really spectacular with them though). Still have my old fire staffs in the shed somewhere. Might be fun to try poi again with a safer option but as you say a bit of bruising is inevitable. Keep us posted how you go.

    • Oh dear me, no I wouldn’t have dared to try those either.. I might want to try fire poi once but that’s in a far future when I feel confident trying them. That’s why I got LEDs. Faaaar safer.

      Then again it’s not a very common practise here in NL to do anything with poi. There are people who know what they are because they “once saw it on the tellie” but other than that.. maybe in the big cities, but not here in the countryside cities ;p

      So maybe I wouldn’t dare it because I’m not too accustomed to it? But I’m going to bet it’s about being scared ;p

      How immensely cool that your sister was that good with them, she must be one helluva daredevil ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      • Fire twirling was relatively common where I grew up. I live in a rural area that is a bit alternative so that was one of the things people did.
        My sister doesn’t think of herself as a daredevil but her other hobbies have included downhill mountain bike racing and high rise window washing so…

      • You know, where I’m from we don’t even have hills. We once went to see the biggest waterfall in Holland, which was a whopping 15 meters tall. It was a slow stairs, made of -bricks-. You read that right.

        Your sister would laugh herself silly.

  2. Interesting read. Never heard of poi. I *might* need to read further in your blog or do a quick Google search. It sounds pretty tough though, and super cool!

    What ever floats your boat to set your day right again; some people think I am crazy for getting up at 5 AM to run 10 miles before waking up 4 kids and 2 dogs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You go girl!

    • Heheh, I don’t think you’re crazy for doing that Dorien! I think that’s quite admirable; I don’t think I could do it. Getting up early isn’t one of my strengths ;p

      Thanks for reading and considering. Further down in my blog you’ll find more info about other belly dance props but there’s also a general explanation about poi, if you’re interested. Enjoy, I hope you find what suits you ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I have never heard of poi….perhaps because I am not well versed in belly dancing. I will share your wisdom and I am most happy your day turned out better ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you Anita! Poi aren’t actually part of the belly dancing history so much as that belly dancers sometimes just like to use them as props in their dances. Poi were originally imported from New Zealand and first practised by the Maori’s ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Kittie, thank you so much for letting me know you appreciate it, that’s lovely to hear. Good thing that pain was good for something!

      Same wishes go out to you; have a lovely weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. You might want to get some practice poi for learning new moves, then try them out of the LED poi once you’ve gotten more used to them. Practice poi are usually bean bags or foam balls on the ends of strings and they hurt much less if you hit yourself.

    The first time I tried spinning some fire poi, they were unlit and a friend suggested just trying it out to feel the weight difference (they are much heavier than practice poi). I was still a baby beginner, only spinning for a few weeks and I hit myself in the back of the head and had a huge knot. It hurt so much! I didn’t try fire poi again until years later. I tried them unlit and felt fine, so I tried them lit and it actually wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, but I only did moves that I knew very, very well.

  5. Also, those are some cool looking glow poi you have there. I haven’t seen that kind before. Do you spin them in the net bags? If so, you could probably make your own practice poi by taking out the LED balls and putting some bean bags in there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Jade, thanks for your advise! Heaven knows I can use everything I can get at the moment! The poi I got are practice poi and indeed they’re spun in the net bags. Good plan filling them with socks or other soft bits when I get too tired of it.Thanks ^^

      They -are- actually quite squeezable though, it’s only when the metal bit hits you (which it isn’t supposed to) that it hurts this much. Hit a couple of lamps already and nothing broke just yet so they can’t be too bad, right?

      But I can imagine hitting yourself in the shins can get annoying, so I’ll keep in mind the netbagfilling-option in mind.

      I think the metal tidbit happened because I didn’t let the poi “swing out” but instead jerked it over to make it stop spinning. I’m currently assuming that if I just don’t make awkward jerks with them, I’ll be fine.

      This weekend I had a couple of quick spins at the dance school I’m attending classes at. Much more spacious and I was able to try out a couple of new moves. I managed to spin them separately in different directions which felt like quite a victory.. Now I’m trying to figure out how to spin them and then turn whilst I keep spinning. Gotta go in the opposed direction but these poi aren’t cooperating just yet.

      I would’ve been terrified if I’d have to start spinning with fire poi already. Not in this way; I’d soon have my hair and clothes singed to shreds. Do you still spin fire poi?

  6. Oh, I see! I guess my practice poi don’t have many metal parts. They were homemade by my first poi teacher so I have never seen any like them, nor I have I bought any other practice poi.

    I remember when I first started spinning poi, I got pretty good at dodging because they got out of control a lot, so I was constantly moving out of the way. It almost felt like I was going into battle against the poi. It was also pretty funny that when they would get too out of control, I would scream and and try to run away, which never worked because they were attached to my hands. Lol. I’m sure it was amusing to watch.

    I am still spinning fire poi, but I don’t get a lot of opportunities to do so. Hopefully this summer I’ll get more chances. It’s really fun.

    Good luck on the turning! I’m sure you will get it pretty quickly. Having more room definitely helps. I try to practice outside whenever possible. It’s much easier to spin when there’s nothing to hit.

    • Yep, this summer we’re going to update our garden.. there’s a big fat tree that needs to be removed; only have a 5×3 garden and with a tree in it, it kinda gets small real quick. I wish I could see you spinning! ๐Ÿ™‚

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