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The Weave is a great three ball juggling move. Its sheer brilliance is down to several factors. For a start, it takes one of the nicest moves, Columns with a Carried Ball - which looks easy, and really really isn't, and adds to it something which is relatively easy and looks impossible. The effect of the combination of the two is a boggled-audience: something which jugglers like, on the whole. The move is, essentially, a one-handed one: the second piece of brilliance, then, is that you do it with one hand half the time, and the other hand for the other half; you swap between the two.

Okay. Juggle a column with your right hand: use two balls, one in the middle of your body, and the other on the right side. As the right ball goes up, the middle one comes down, is caught and thrown. The right hand goes to the right, and catches the right ball coming down; it throws it straight back up. Nice and simple. The left hand, however is doing this: as the middle ball comes down, the left hand goes over it, and under the right ball. It then goes around the right ball as it is coming down (leading with the back of the hand - hard to describe: do it - it'll be obvious), and heads back towards the left of the pattern, under the middle ball, which the right hand has just thrown up.

You could just keep going - throwing the columns and weaving the left hand in and out. It can be far flashier, though. Practice this until it's comfortable. Now practice it with the left hand throwing the columns, and the right hand doing the weaving.

Tricky stuff now. You need all three balls. Throw a column with the right hand and weave round it with the left, carrying the third ball. When the left hand gets back to the left of the pattern, grab hold of the far right ball with the right hand, launch the left ball on the left side, straight up (in a column) and carry the right ball across over the middle ball to loop the far left ball. Throw the middle ball back up in its usual column routine, but this time with the left hand (the right's still carrying). Bring the right hand over the far left ball as it's coming down and bring it under the middle ball on its way up. Catch the far left ball, and, when the right hand gets back to the right side of the pattern, launch the ball it's carrying up to start the right column off again.

It is insanely difficult, and it requires a great deal of practice. Arms are crossing each other, carrying balls and doing weaves. It also makes great demands on both hands - I have great difficulty making the left columns accurate for the right hand to weave through (as I'm right handed). But it's great fun - and incredibly impressive to watch when it's done smoothly. I don't make any claims to be able to do it nicely, and I've been practising it for years. But, as I've said elsewhere, I'm a really slow juggler.

The Weave is also a name for one of the two most basic and valuable tricks possible using double fire poi, the other being the the butterfly. Visually, it is a snakelike pattern, resembling an infinity sign. It is one of the most versatile tricks, as it can be shifted into any spatial plane around the body. Planar variations include behind the back, reverse, between the legs and behind the head, and more complicated variations on the pattern itself include the 5-beat weave and the butterfly weave.

Now, while most everyone can more or less intuitively pick up a set of poi and swing them in parallel circles, the weave seems to make doctors and seven-year-olds, alike, antsy and nervous.

For real quick reference here, poi are weights on the end of chains. Fire poi is when those weights are ON FIRE. So one poi(or fire chain) is going to consist of three parts: Finger-loop(usually consisting of nylon webbing or leather, can be single loop or double), chain(anywhere from nylon or cotton cord, to stainless steel wire to honest to goodness heavy chain) and weight(could be a bean-bag, tennis ball, or kevlar wicking). If this sounds good, you want to check out poi, fire spinning and fire spinning chains.

If you want to learn poi, my strong suggestion is that you grab a pair of long tubesocks, and stick tennis balls in the toes. Grab the ends of the socks. You are now holding an excellent set of practice poi. Because you're going to be hitting yourself a LOT. If you are less of a masochist, another sock stuck in each toe in place of the tennis ball works as well. Or, you know, a tiny stuffed animal, ball of yarn, and so on-be innovative here. Just try to avoid soup cans.

My first lesson in poi, and the way I learned the weave are as follows.
Pick up your set of poi and attach them to your hands comfortably. If you ignored my suggestion above and ran out to buy a nice shiny expensive set of ribbon or windsock poi, an easy method to hold them is to take one finger loop between index and middle fingers, with the poi hanging, and palms facing the sky (or ceiling if you don't keep a lot of breakable possesions ). Take the loop sticking up and fold it over the ends of your fingers. This should leave you with a snug fit that will not constrict so much as to deprive you of sensation in your fingertips. The poi should now always stay on the same side of your hand as your knuckles.

From here you want to try to cross the poi. If you've ever played double dutch jumprope, you've done this. If not, the idea is to wait for the poi to reach the high point of their circles, and as they begin to come down in front of you, cross your arms. Try to sustain the circles on either side of you while your arms are crossed. When you manage this, try to uncross them.

Begin swinging the poi in circles from back to front over your shoulder (the forward direction). Try to keep the poi going at the same speed and in parallel circles all the time. You want to keep the circles perpendicular to the ground, and equidistant.

Next, try to syncopate the rhythm of the poi, so that although they are still spinning at the same speed, one weight is at the top of its circle at the same time as the other is at the bottom.

Now, remember a couple minutes ago, I asked you to cross your arms. This time you are going to cross them again, but this time you need to stagger each arm. So pick an arm, doesn't matter which, for reference, I'm picking "right". When the poi attached to your right arm reaches its peak, move your arm to the left side. As it is moving over, the left poi should be hitting its peak, and you are going to pass your left arm to the right side.

Good job. Now for the hard part.

Drop the poi for a moment. Now pretend you're an AWESOME DRUMMER!!!!! Find a table, and put your hands on it, shoulder-width apart. Imagine that there are two circles on the table, one under each hand. (If you have a set of bongos, even better.) Cross your hands, right over left. Hit the left bongo with your right hand, then with your left hand, And bring your left hand out of the way to the left so you can hit the left bongo with your right hand one more time. Now bring your left hand over to cross your right hand. Now hit the right bongo with your left hand (it should be on top). Then hit it with your right hand, then your left again, and bring your right hand over to cross. You've just done one cycle of the weave (pre-poi of course). Practice this pattern a bit, until you feel really comfortable, then pick up your poi and give it a shot. After this point, it's practice practice practice

Good luck!

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