Plateau on Nunchaku


It's been awhile since I typed in my own Flow Journal.  But I thought I'd share how it's going for me.

Lately, I've felt like I've hit a barrier with nunchaku and cyr wheel.  It happens, and I know these things come in phases.  With nunchaku, I've been doing a bit of performances lately, so my mind locks into what I know.  I think it's safe for it to do so, and when I'm done performing, I can go out and explore less stable moves.  With cyr wheel, I don't know.  I can't seem to throw my balance any further than I already have.  I'm missing something and I think I need a teacher.

So I've been focusing a lot more on other props.  Especially sword.  I've really been enjoying single sword techniques.

I'm thinking about shifting my focus soon.  Instead of working out new ideas, I'm thinking about creating a very intricate choreography that will challenge my skills in a different way.  

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Ken Hill

Owner of Flowtricks. I love spinning!

7 Comments

  1. I know you’ll make it through Ken. I’ve only broke through my wall in the past months by using the internet for the first time to look at other chuckers out there (took me long enough to get that idea). I had people like you and some other great Flowtricks members to inspire me. However, I didn’t have a wall like you have, as you have such a large dictionary of tricks and self-defined style, while I had just not ventured out to see more.
    Since my own evolution was almost solely due to you and your style, I don’t have any advice, but what I might suggest (who knows, maybe it’ll get some gears turning) is looking at techniques and styles only known to poi flow? Like the ball on a string type has so many interesting moves such as pendulums and tangles. However, I’ve seen you build a bridge between both arts to bring it to chucks in many creative ways. What kind of staff/wand moves could also be adapted?
    Maybe a different style of chucks would serve well too? Matt Emig for example has his unique style of Stiletto Chucks which are a pair of speed chucks fitted with little daggers at the end. They give a great effect to closing the pair and incorporating intimidating stabbing attacks.
    On the topic of Emig, he’s more invested into speed and spins (as well as many modern performers in the XMA scene) and maybe messing with a pair of speed chucks with only 3 chain links and no room to hand/wrist roll would unearth some strengths that only a brilliant guy like you could find. Hyper style with speed chucks would be absolutely insane!… and dangerous haha.
    I just had another thought of things to try: double chucks, throwing one and switching the other to the other hand before catching? Double throws?
    I only ever looked at your nunchuck stuff haha, but I like the swordplay you do, and the other props you play with, such as that interesting butterfly staff you made recently, so I don’t mean to limit it only to chucks.
    It’s no surprise to me that you’re at a barrier, because I haven’t seen anybody as good as you. But you’ve broken the laws of physics with some chuck moves I never before could have thought were possible before I came across you on YouTube.
    You’ll break through this, and you’re sure gonna blow my mind all over again like when I first discovered you!

    1. Hahaha, thank you Devin! Those are some fantastic suggestions. You’re very right! I could probably learn some new poi or perhaps some double staff techniques and it might be able to open a new door for my nunchaku.

      I appreciate those kind words too. I’ve definitely hit many plateaus in my time. I sometimes, I just spin, even if I’m uninspired. Eventually it dissipates. I think right now, I’m performing so much – my brain automatically connects to the stuff I know I can do so my natural flow is safe for shows. But I definitely would like to explore the art deeper. I feel like it’s an endless rabbit hole.

      And thanks again! You’ve inspired me and I’m going to discover some sweet new variations soon!

  2. I like your idea of developing intricate choreography to find new challenges, i think that route has almost no end to it, utilizing theme, story and character concepts into flow would be really fun. It could also help audience connect to the movements on a deeper and more emotional level. Turn tricks into visual communication of thought and broaden the scope of personal flowart. Its something I have been thinking about alot since picking up the chucks again

    1. It’s great, Jay! I feel like…working on communicating this art can be a life long experience, even if we don’t learn a lot of techniques. Just the way we showcase and present it can be a 3d artform in itself. Also, if I can choreograph something complex, it will help me sell the chucks to clients. Double bonus. 🙂

  3. When I was in Las Vegas earlier this year I went to this show called Cirque de Soleil Naughty Ball. It certainly was hot, sexy, and humorous. All that aside, there was a performer in the show who used not one, but two cyr wheels at the same time. Fucking impressive to say the least! Not to mention that he was working within a tight space at the front of the stage which protruded outward narrowly. Part of me was in sheer awe, the other was taking notes on how he manipulated his flow tools. He made constant use of pushing off with his free hand–more specifically, using his fingers for control–on the ground to help stabilize his flow while inside the wheel. All I could think was that he must have smashed his fingers millions of times before mastering that skill. He had incredible strength and athleticism for he often only held on by one hand as he worked. His control was insane, leaving one wheel to spin vertically while working with the second one, only to move back to the first–all while keeping both in motion the whole time. Each wheel stayed in its central position unless he moved them himself; it made me think of tai chi in regard to sinking one’s weight to a fixed position. This thought was definitely reinforced by the use of his fingers as stated above; using the tips of his fingers as individual points to sink the weight and serve as push-off points. Put another way, he was holding on with the heel of his palm while his fingers guided the wheel as they made contact with the floor. I am so glad I brought my blind cane with me. The staff there were nice enough to not only guide me to my seat, but moved me so close that I could see all these details I have just written about. I hope this post has given you some insight into upping your cyr wheel game.

    1. TWO at the same time? Holy cow…that’s definitely Cirque hahaha. 🙂 They always got to take it up a notch. The truth about most of us cyr artists is that we smash our fingers very few times. I’ve done it twice, and it was because the wheel slipped out from under me. But I can’t imagine two… That’s insane!

      To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever be great with cyr. It’s the opposite to my nature. I am deeply grounded, triangular, steady and great with my hands. Cyr is somewhat opposite in nature. It’s locked, always rotating, and most of it is actually in the hips..but it’s a constantly shifting force. It really feels like the opposite of martial arts. Where we could close in, with cyr, you fully lock out and open up.

      1. Been a while since I’ve been on here. I have never spun cyr myself so I can only offer up observations and comparisons to things that I do know. I disagree with your take on it being opposite to martial arts. The core muscles are where much of one’s power and control come from; that is, provided one can ground/sink their weight when they torque their core. This principle is THE ONLY way to get power out of styles such as Wing Chun. I recommend looking into tai chi specifically for weight distribution exercises. I add them to my mobility training because this blind man can’t see all the sighted people with their faces in their phones until after they’ve run into me. Smartphone zombies… For them it’s like running into an albino brick wall, for me it’s impromptu body conditioning and weight redistribution training. While tai chi may not be an effective self-defense or as a sport martial art on its own; the emphasis on whole body conditioning and generating force from any part of the body from any angle can be applied everywhere there’s motion involved in an activity. That shit takes time (years!) to develop and when you compare the effort involved to that of a few months of boxing, it’s no wonder why MMA is so popular and kung fu is perceived as outdated or otherwise ineffective in a fast-paced, instant gratification culture.

        ANYway, back to the wheel. This guy was expanding his body to fill the ring as well as contracting it like it was a circular trapeze, climbing to the top and wrapping around the outsides of the rings as they spun. It was easy to make that connection because there were other performers using trapeze in the show. I was really glad to have brought my monocular along to see the details up close.