I get this question a lot: what is the ideal length for my poi?
I took the time to write out an answer to someone on Instagram this morning (if you’re not following me, you can on my PoiPriestess account or if you’re into Mandalas, on my PoiPriestessMandala account ) and thought I’d share it here.
The ideal length of poi is subjective based on a lot of factors. One factor is the context in which you’re spinning. I don’t spin contact balls becuase the weight is too much for me and tires me out, but the longer they are and the heavier they are, the more challenging they become over time. This, unsurprisingly, is impacted by the size of your balls! All sexual innuendo aside, a 100mm head is much larger than an 80mm head and the weight to length ratio will feel different as a result. Once again proving the age old adage that #sizematters. 😉
There’s other practical questions too: are you going to be using fire? If so, will you be doing buzzsaws or other inside plane work? If so, do you want to have to wrap it up or not? If you want to wrap it up, how many times? This can make a real difference when unwrapping later if you have to loop a couple of times around your hand. If you are choking the poi up with a wrap around the hand to make it shorter, what might also be relevant is the thickness of your leash as compared to the size of your hand, especially if you have to wrap multiple times and you have a small hand.
And then there’s things like your general endurance and strength which are impacted by the weight of the poi and also will likely change over the years as you have more spinning experience under your belt. This can also show up in your ability to convey the energy from your center radially out through the poi such that you keep the tether taught for all the tricks. Some people have integrated a sort of sloppy tether into their style which is fine if that’s what you want to do — and translates, on a practical level, to a longer leash. If you prefer the crisp look of a straight leash from the handle to the head, then you’ll maybe need to shorten it if you can’t keep it up. (Or, get some Poiagra (viagra for poi!) 😂)
Injury is an important factor to consider as well. This could be shoulder, neck, back, arm, elbow, wrist, hand and or even other body parts. I have used a lot of different lengths over the years and my current poi is 8 inches shorter when I’m not doing tosses than when I am because I have issues with my grip strength caused by my tendinitis so I anchor the leash around my hand by default and let it go full length mostly just for tosses.
All of that said, I would say the ideal length, ultimately, is what feels right to you as an individual. Unfortunately, no one can actually tell you what will feel good and you’ll have to suss that out over time.
I suggest practitioners start with the length of their arm and then shorten it if they can’t keep the tether taught for most of their spinning and elongate it if they want to slow it down a bit or have a sloppier look to their tether as part of their style. And then, from there, experiment until they find what they like. 🙂
Have any questions? Contact me and I’ll see if I can answer them for you here on the Temple is Poi blog.