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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Polynesian Slings
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Message started by bigkahuna on Nov 24th, 2005 at 12:44am

Title: Polynesian Slings
Post by bigkahuna on Nov 24th, 2005 at 12:44am
I just did a quick search of the holdings at The Bishop Museum in Hawaii. They have in their collection about 200 sling stone made of limestone, shell, coral or basalt. Most of these are elliptical or egg shaped. They also have about a dozen slings from all over the pacific. They all are made quite similar out of cordage made from coconut fiber, with a very thin single plaitng and an  open pouch. They only show two pictures of the slings. The first one is Artifact #C.05923 and the second is Artifact #C.06169. You can view both of these by going to the Bishop Museum Website. Evidently slings were quite popular in the Pacific.

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by Willeke on Nov 25th, 2005 at 12:42am
Can you give us a link, please?

Willeke

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by bigkahuna on Nov 25th, 2005 at 1:47am
Hi Willeke! The site is    http://www2.bishopmuseum.org/ethnologydb/closeup.asp?ARTNO=C.05923         That is just the way it is printed across the bottom of the picture that I printed out from their web site. Hope it helps. :)

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by Willeke on Nov 25th, 2005 at 3:01am
Thanks, it did work.

Willeke

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by bigkahuna on Nov 25th, 2005 at 3:36am
;)

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by CanDo on Feb 20th, 2006 at 9:43pm
thats an awesome sling, love the simplicity. looks like the point at which the cordage was doubled over to wrap back into itself is used as a 'slip knot' for an adjustable (or circulation cutting, depending on how you look at it) finger loop.
or am i horribly mistaken?

good find!

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by Matthias on Feb 21st, 2006 at 12:07am
Nice!!!

It looks like it CanDo. I prefer fixed loops for the reason you descripe, but allowing a sliding fit also changes the relative lengths of the cords, which can be hassle as well.

Pretty minimalist design! Except for that giant bead... I've never tried using anything larger than a small knot or flat tab on the retention end, and big grippers are rare in artifacts as well. I know a couple of us have used chunky releases though - I'll have to try one one of these days I guess.

Matthias

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by slingbadger on Feb 21st, 2006 at 12:07pm
Wow, I had heard of coconut twine before, but didn't know that it could look so smooth.
  Coral as sling shot? OUCH :o

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by Douglas_The_Black on Feb 21st, 2006 at 3:17pm
wow imagine having a newbie get hold of that sling. When they go to do an overhand the bead could smash right into there leg :o


Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by slingbadger on Feb 22nd, 2006 at 12:49pm
 I still have a scar (and dent) on my shin from a similar incident. Everytime I teach someone about slings, I point it out to them.

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by AjlouniBoy on Feb 23rd, 2006 at 5:52am
I find the whole "open pouch" concept fascinating.  It lends new meaning to the term "thong."  Seems you need very uniform ammo to match the pouch.  The design must be good or it wouldn't  have been developed all over the world--and used by so many members at slinging.org.  Certainly the place to start as a newbie braider.

Aack, to think I buzzed right by the Bishop museum... this goes right to the top of the list for any future Hawaii trip.

This is truly a beautiful simplicity of cordage and wood.  

Looks like something that would crack coconuts of any type--plant or animal.

Thanks for the post & link.

AjlouniBoy

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by bigkahuna on Feb 23rd, 2006 at 6:10am
My pleasure ;D

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by Kukhri on Mar 20th, 2006 at 7:39pm
I've found another Hawaiin sling specimen that might interest you.

http://www.olohe.com/weapons/maa.html

As to the topic brought up earlier about a slipknot cutting off the circulation of your finger, I don't think it would bother a Hawaiin fighter. Their fingers were well conditioned through the practice of their unique fighting forms, as well as work around the village. I'd expect their digits to be alot less sensitive than ours.

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by CanDo on Mar 21st, 2006 at 12:53am

wrote on Mar 20th, 2006 at 7:39pm:
As to the topic brought up earlier about a slipknot cutting off the circulation of your finger, I don't think it would bother a Hawaiin fighter. Their fingers were well conditioned through the practice of their unique fighting forms, as well as work around the village. I'd expect their digits to be alot less sensitive than ours.



Amen to that. I just read in article about Chinese martial artists who condition their hands to become as hard as iron. They punch steel each day, and break bricks with their finger tips. The final stage of training is punching through heated (very high heated) iron filings with their finger tips. Eeek.

The other issue is getting the sling back off. I've had to cut constricing string off of my finger before (no soap or oil around).

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by siguy on Mar 24th, 2006 at 7:05pm
for the conditioning, they would start with stuff like bowls of sand and rice.  they would graduate to stuff like gravel, steel, etc.

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by english on Mar 28th, 2006 at 9:17am
"Iron Palm".  Yes.  It is an interesting idea.  Some iron palmists decide to break the fingers in their hands so they will heal back stronger than before.  The first step is actually not to hit things - you start by lifting weights with your hands to build up the muscles, not just in your arms, but the hands too.  This gives you greater control, so you can relax the muscles and therefore - this being the theory - feel less pain.  Then you crush fairly hard  beans in a bag with your hands, in whatever style, and use that later as a warm up after all the beans are crushed and you've moved on to wood and eventually iron.  The hitting is not only "good" for the hands - it should increase your pain threshold overall also, so that the pain based pressure points don't work.  Also, it is important that you have an "Iron Palm liniment."  Basically, this is a solution that you soothe your hands with after you've been hitting things.  I plan to give this a go, using willow bark and some other herbs, but I'm not in a hurry. Besides, I have some important exams soon, and I don't want broken fingers in an exam.

 The sling in the first link doesn't look like it's been braided.  I'm sure it has - in fact, I know it has - but it looks twisted.  In any case, I love these simple slings... Especially knowing they come from Hawaii.  Seems to bring a bit of Pacific cheer every time you make and use one.

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by TechStuf on Mar 28th, 2006 at 2:03pm
It seems obvious that the polynesian sling as shown was used for the slower casts associated with short to midrange accuracy exercise.  I can't fathom what that bead would do to my index finger after a distance launch.   This is the reason I make my leather release tabs so small,  I've found that below a certain mass, they will not bounce back and bruise the index finger of my sling hand.


Regarding the Iron Palm technique.....I'm almost surprised that anyone still devotes themselves to it.  Speaking from experience....it's a fool's gambit, which severely detracts from the finer dexterity necessary for many a much more productive hobby and comes back to bite you later on.  I'm 'only' 38 and wish I'd never even heard of the  high kick, shishinken, shi-tanken, or the iron palm.

Somewhat ironic, it is, that some wish to earn the tiger's paw and end up later in life only being able to use their hands as paws, due to the inherent damage to the finer circulation in the digits,  crippling arthritis being foremost among them.

The truth in fact, is that the iron palm, like so many other ego induced defeatist strategies, has been proven time and again, to provide very little bang for the buck, so to speak.  


This is not to say that some of the legends afforded it, are not based in fact.  Just that such facts are, in the greater sense, trivial ones.


In our modern era,  practicing the art of leaning forward with one's head between the knees so that a lightning strike might enter the derriere and pass down the legs to the ground and miss the vital organs, would prove a more productive defense strategy and more likely to prove necessary than braving the 'thousand needles' torture of simply typing at the keyboard as a result of preparing for a moment that, should it ever come, would hardly prove satisfying.

Besides, no matter how punitive a measure is taken to 'harden' the hands and fingers......they won't come close to the stone resolve of a simple Yawara or Kubotan key chain, one's elbow, or any number of other more sensible tools for blunt force striking, than the, by comparison, delicate components that make up two of our most useful appendages.


English,  I implore you to pass on the iron palm.  Let's face it, Your ego can never be as large as mine once was.   And that is the dubious essence of the Iron Palm.


Peace,


TS


P.S.  How weird is this.....above when I typed "Shi-tanken" without a hyphen....an automatic "cuss check" must have activated because the word was consistently modified to read:  "Nutsanken".  Only after I hyphenated it, did it read correctly.  lol

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by funda_iucunda on Mar 28th, 2006 at 4:18pm
Let me come back to the sling again!

The polynesian sling in the first link is amazing. Its simplicity reminds me on the typical balearic slings as well as the open pouch.
I started slinging with a sling of that type braided of 6 flax strings with an open pouch. It worked well. The balearic slings usually don't have a bead (as far as I know). Braiding a longer one I once decided not to cut the off the release end which had become a little bit too long. Instead I formed a knot like that polynesian bead. The advantage of such heavier release end seems to be that it would not wrap around itself or hamper the projectile. Especially lighter projectiles like tennis balls can easily be distracted when the released end looses rapidly its momentum.
The advantage of a knot is that it will not hurt the slinger as a wooden bead might do.

Does anybody know exactly the material the polynesian sling is made of? Somebody mentionned coconut fibre. This material is a little bit stiffer than flax, so I suppose it would not wrap around itself so easily as my flax slings do, especially the longer ones.

By the way, the open pouch does not require ammunition of a normed size. One can use any usual sling ammunition if it's only big enough for not slipping through the pouch. However, normed ammunition is better for acuracy. For protection of the pouch I sew leather around the cords. That avoids the slipping of ammunition, too.

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by english on Mar 29th, 2006 at 2:16am
(Sorry, funda_iucunda)
 Yeah, it seems like I should not proceed with this idea.  Iron Palm does sound slightly stupid, I suppose.  And besides, when would I need more strength in my hand than I already have?  Against boards.  And as Bruce Lee says, (lol), "Boards don't punch back."
 
 Back to slings:  it could be that the fibres are Olona fibres.  This is a plant with a fibrous bark, like that of nettles or fireweed, but growing about 7 feet in height.  Or indeed, sennit coconut fibres, "coir", is also a definite possibility.  But considering Olona was once used as currency in Hawaii, and that it was specially grown in plantations, Olona does look quite likely.  Then again, the coconut is called the "the tree of life" in most Polynesian cultures.  Could be either.  Looks like coir to me, though.
 

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by bigkahuna on Mar 29th, 2006 at 2:55am
According to the Bishop Museum, the slings are made of coconut fiber.

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by english on Mar 29th, 2006 at 12:37pm
Coconut fibres it is.
 You know, I want to do my PhD at the university of Hawaii.  Good Chinese department.  Can't beat the location.

Title: Re: Polynesian Slings
Post by TechStuf on Mar 29th, 2006 at 1:15pm
My youngest sister lives in Kahului, Maui.  She (perhaps unintentionally) rubs it in my face with practically every email!  I'm this close to flying out and starting a beach hut business.....

I think I'll call it:  "Maui Haole's Slings and things".


English, I hope you'll stop by the hut to sling a coconut!


Seriously though,  I hope you get to do your PHD (Piled Higher and Deeper...lol) at UH....someone here should be so fortunate as to investigate the new facility going up at Kapolei on west O'ahu!


TS

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