This tutorial will walk through how I made my podpoi puppyhammer. I'll talk about materials, alternate ways, measurements, and knots involved.
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Step 1: What the Heck Is a Puppyhammer??
Chances are, if you're reading this, you saw someone whipping a weighted rope around their bodies, and you had to learn the magic. Puppyhammer is a relatively new "flow" prop, attributed to Charlie Cushing of Lanternsmith. It's basis is in the Chinese Meteor Hammer, an arms-width chain with heavy copper weights on both sides. Incorporating poi at the ends of the Meteor, the overall length was increased to something reminiscent of a rope dart. So, Puppyhammer = Meteorhammer + Poi.
This has also been called a crowhammer.
If you already spin poi, most of your moves will transfer over (minus throws). What you will gain is moves from Meteor and Rope Dart disciplines, as well as having what feels like really long poi!
As for the name, Charlie refuses to tell the tale, so use your imagination.
If all this sounds great, then let's get you a puppyhammer!
Step 2: Gather Your Materials
I made my puppyhammer from a set of podpoi, and have retained the original cords so I can quickly change them back to poi as I wish. There are a few other versions you could choose.
What you will need, is:
- I would recommend a soft poly rope, especially if this is your first go with this prop. I got told that shibari bondage rope was good to use, turns out this is soft poly rope.
- This rope is going to spend time on your skin, especially at the back of your neck. If you want to practice, choose good rope.
- You don't want a lot of stretch in the rope. I didn't at least, maybe you do. Choose to your preference.
- I used 5/16" rope. My next one will be a bit fatter, and I'll taper down for the ends using fisherman knots, or use chains. More on this later. 1/2" rope might be nice, but choose on your preference.
- pod poi work awesome for this. You may eventually want to add weight to them, but the lack of debilitating impact really helps with training. And, lights!
- tennis balls and washers will work too, cover them with socks if you want to do this
- beanbags, rice filled socks, contact spheres, any of these will work
- copper weights, this is NOT for beginners
- we will tie these into the rope
Step 3: Upper Nodes
Pupperhammer measurements are a very personal thing. This is a rough guide to how I sized my first hammer, you may want to iterate as you find what works for you.
- Start out with at least 12 feet of rope
- Find the midpoint of the rope and set this behind your neck
- Mark the first node points where your shoulder meets your chest
- Create a u bend in the rope with a few inches above (towards the middle of the rope) the mark the you made.
- Loop the rope tightly around the bend, winding down to the bottom of the loop. Plan for 5-10 loops, enough that you can find them while spinning. This will vary based on the thickness of the rope. It will look like a noose.
- Pass the end of the rope through the loop at the bottom of the knot (noose), and pull tight. This should bind to create the node.
- If you twists the coil around the bend, it helps to create a cleaner, tighter, less sloppy bind
- Do this again on the other side. Before pulling this side tight, make sure it is where you want it on your chest.
- Once sure, pull tightly on both sides of the line to set the knot. You now have your upper nodes
Step 4: Lower Nodes and Connection Points
The lower nodes serve as handles and guide points for your hands, as well as connection points if you are using chains or thinner rope for the head lines.
- put the rope behind your neck and set the upper nodes to your chest where you like them
- wrap the rope down between your arm and body, behind your tricep, crossing down over the forearm, and guide the rope through the hand.
- repeat this on the other side
- extend the hands out, and mark the rope where there is slight tension in the rope as it is outstretched. These are the locations of your lower nodes. Imagine that they will serve as handles, sort of, and mark them accordingly.
There is a split here based on what you plan to do with your heads. I will describe what I did to use chain.
- create a double bend in the rope where you want you handle to be, this will look like an "S"
- if you want chain hooks directly in the line, slip them on the lower loop before binding.
- you can also use a quicklink here. This offers the most flexibility, but isn't the prettiest.
- wrap the rope around the double bend at least 6 times, I would say up to 12 is fine
- pass the end of the rope through the loop (noose), and shimmy the bind closed, creating your handle with your connector on the end
- wrap the rope and check the distance in your hand. It should fit comfortably, and have slight tension in extension
- I like the knot to be in my hand, where the head of the chain will be at my fingertips
- you may need to retie (a few times) to fix length problems
- once one side is good, tie up the other side the same way
- you will likely need to shimmy the knots and retie a few times until you get the distance right, and equal from the middle.
- attach your chains
- a starting distance is to have the end of the poi head equal with your elbow if hanging. You can adjust this any ways you like. This is roughly the same as when spinning poi, so adjust to your taste.
- trim everything up, and give it a whirl!
If you plan to tie the rope directly to a sandbag or similar, use the same steps as tying the upper nodes.
If you plan to splice in a smaller rope to the poi heads, use a double fishermans knot. This will also create a pretty decent handle node.
Step 5: Attaching to Podpoi
personally, I chose to use chain to attach the heads to the meteor. To do this:
- open the pod
- remove the silicone o-ring
- split the top open
- remove the poi tether
- switch in you chain/nut/washer combo
- close the case
- put the o-ring back on
- optionally close the top of the pod with a tri-ring or rubber band
you could use flow cord here instead if you wanted, and just have the knot and washer holding the poi on. If you did this you could also tie a double-fishermans instead of using chain hardwear, but then you might not have a swivel.
Step 6: Wearing Your Puppyhammer
to walk around, you can wrap the puppyhammer up onto your body. Holding the hammer at the ready, throw the weights behind you over your shoulder. Move it to the other side of your head. The line should wrap your bicep and cross behind your back, while leaving you freedom with your arms. To use just throw it behind you and it will fall to the ready.