My new obsession is fire-twirling or rather staff-twirling with the occassional additional complexity of fire at either one end or both ends.

There are three problems of movement involved in staff-twirling:
– moving the staff in one hand, both hands, interchanging from hand to hand around various parts of the body and moving the staff using the body itself (contact) (ie focusing much more on the technicalities of staff twirling). The staff can also be moved as a spear (ie twirled on one end instead of the middle) which adds another dimension of complexity.
– moving the body with the staff as an accessory which may include different stances, leaps and rolls (ie focusing much more on martial arts kata or dance movements)
– making an overall pleasing pattern of both staff movement and body movement taking into consideration the additional factor of fire (if present) (ie combining both body and staff twirling movements either in longer form kata or dance patterns)

My drill these days is:
– warm up,
– practice mastered techniques in isolation (as an extension of a mindless warmup) moving into mastered longer form patterns, work on techniques not mastered,
– free form improvisation where i attempt to merge mastered techniques and newer techniques into longer form patterns
– staff-isolation where i slow the movement of the staff as much as possible. I use this as a warm down as well.

There are times during twirling when my movement is so intuitive around the momentum of the staff and the level of thought is so low that it rivals meditative focus. I used to juggle for this reason but juggling has much less room for incorporating the entire body in a dance and so is limited in how immersed one’s body (and thus mind) can become. For that reason, an hour just flies when I practice and at present, it appears that a couple of hours is my natural limit. At present, I would like to practice every day but I’m lucky to get in two sessions a week. And of course, I also need to meditate as well which in theory also requires a couple of hours daily.

I’m starting to think that maybe a 3-4 day meditation/staff-twirling retreat would be a great idea.

4:30am wake up
5am – 6:30am sitting meditation
6:30am – 8am breakfast
8am – 10am movement drill
10:30am – 12:00pm sitting meditation
12pm – 2pm lunch
2pm-4pm movement drill
4:30pm – 6pm sitting meditation
6pm – 8pm dinner
8pm – 10pm Fire circle – free form movement

Maybe next confest.

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