10 Tips to Nail That New Move

Pedro & flag poiAdmit it, you’re stuck. There’s at least one move you’ve been having some serious trouble with. Here are 10 ways to nail that new move.

1. Break it down
Every move in prop manipulation can be broken down into a series of simpler moves. For example, if you’re working on a trick that requires movements with both hands, try one hand at a time until the movements feel ingrained in muscle memory. Then try bringing the two halves together.

2. Watch a tutorial
Since the birth of YouTube there’s been an explosion in the quality and availability of tutorials. Get clear instruction streaming right to your computer screen. If you find that tutorials are a really effective way for you to learn, you might consider looking into online classes.

3. Check out a demo
Perhaps the move you’re working on doesn’t have a tutorial or the ones you found are unclear. It helps to find a video where the move is being executed expertly and comparing the movements to your own. Use a mirror to help Identify what you are doing differently from the video.

4. Slow Mo
Many online video players including the one on Juggling.tv have a slow motion toggle. Slow down the movement to see the intricacies of each element in the trick. A good visial understanding will help you replicate it.

5. Watch Yourself
Both mirrors and video can be useful for helping you connect the way a movement looks and the why it feels. This is especially important in isolation work. My personal favorite while traveling is to use the isight camera on my Mac or when playing outside, the reflection in glass doors and windows. Your shadow on a sunny day makes a great mirror as well.

6. Mime it
If you can’t seem to get the move with your prop in motion, set it aside and walking through the move. Miming the movement without the prop will activate your muscle memory. The motion will feel more intuitive once the prop is reintroduced.

7. Visualize it
The ability to imagine scenarios that have not yet happened is one of the things that make human beings unique. When you imagine an experience, it lights up many of the same areas of your brain that are active when you actually engaged in the activity. Imagine getting a bad paper cut; you cringed a little, and this is because imagining the experience is real to parts of your mind.

Visualization often used in gymnastics. Athletes spend part of their training imagining the routine and how each step feels. Routinely walking though troublesome moves in your mind will allow you to take advantage of this mental hack. You can read more about the power of visualization by visiting this link.

8. Be a puppet
If you have access to someone who knows the move, ask them to “manipulate” your body through the steps of the trick. Moving through the trick’s pattern activates your muscle memory. When on your own with your toys your body will have a much easier time hitting those pre-set targets. Knowing how your body should move makes it’s easier to feel what you are doing incorrectly.

hooping it up9. Sleep on it
As we uncover the secrets of the brain, neuroscientists discover that sleep is crutial to memory and learning. Sleep allows your brain to process the experiences of the day during through “Non-REM sleep”. So while your eyes are closed and you’re resting, parts of your brain that were lit up during your attempt to nail the behind the back weave will be active. As a result you learn while you sleep.

On this note it’s important to get a good night sleep as often as you can just as a part of healthy living. Read more here.

10. Change toys
Most prop manipulators play with multiple toys. Since many moves can be done with more than one prop, if you are stuck on a particular move, why not try with a more familiar prop. For example, you might find that the corkscrew in hooping becomes easier once you walk through the move with poi. Also try a bigger hoop, a shorter set of poi or heavier balls. Switch it up and get a fresh perspective.

We all hit a wall eventually. It’s easy to stick to the moves you know and fall into a lazy pattern when moves that seem impossible dampen your spirits. Stop, breathe and remember to celebrate all the incremental improvements. Good luck.

5 Signs You Might be a Prop Addict

In this lovely community of ours there is a tendency to become a little addicted. Here are a few ways to tell if you or someone you love is a Prop Addict.

  1. You spend what is clearly too much time watching prop manip’ videos on youtube, even know you are replaying one in your head, focus!
  2. When in a dollar store you can’t help yourself from playing with things, when people start to notice you are only further encouraged
  3. When dancing without your toys you notice yourself not so subtly miming your favorite prop moves
  4. Nice days are accepted as complete right offs for playing with toys in the park, often forcing you to complete projects, work tasks or school assignments between the hours of 11pm and 3am
  5. Whenever being introduced to a new prop your first natural thought is “I want one” and your second is “can you light it on fire?”
prop manipulation

Image by Jeff Rodier

Does this sounds like you? Let me know if you can think of any other symptoms.

Daniel Musashi: Martial Arts Meets Dance

Fascinated by the martial arts from a young age, Daniel Tamagi discovered their merit as a form of dance and self expression rather than a fighting style soon after being introduced to the flow arts in 2005.

Immediately addicted to not only the practice of prop manipulation, but the culture surrounding it, Daniel quickly sought out others who shared his passion of spinning.

He is an active member of the prop spinning community, and is the founder of Sound & Motion, a fire and prop performers club at the University of Alberta.Specializing in staff and sabres, he now performs under the stage name FloWarrior as he works to establish himself as one of Edmonton’s top fire performers.

Daniel joins us at Light and Motion this year to teach some amazingly unique and innovative workshops including.

Sabres Workshop

This workshop will introduce you to the basics of saber manipulation and challenge students who already have experience. We will focus primarily on single saber spinning, covering techniques involving throws, forward and reverse grips, and body movement (flow). Some special attention will be payed to the physics and geometry inherent to this prop, and how it relates to other disciplines such as staff and poi. If time provides we will also explore some double saber techniques.

Also teaching at Spin Milk March 26th and 27th 2011
And Spin Out June 17th to 19th 2011

Amazing Fire Artists at Md. Sultan

Simply mesmerizing, this video makes me want to go out and practice. Wow!

Title: 新年快乐 – Happy Lunar New Year! (fire poi, staff, wand and fans)
Description: Here’s our Lunar New Year fire video that we shot at 凤山寺, a gorgeous temple along Md. Sultan Rd, thanks to the generosity of the folks at 新加坡南安会馆.

This video would also not be possible without the creative workings of Shawn and Momo. You boys are the world’s best BFFs ever!

And finally, a huge nod of gratitude to my dear poifriends Chweeie and Mimi. You kids keep me burning every time we spin. :)

Enjoy the video and please feel free to share it with your friends and family this festive season!

Happy Lunar New Year!

Enter the year of the Tiger!