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Polynesian Style (Read 3570 times)
StaffSlinger
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Polynesian Style
Oct 11th, 2008 at 11:23am
 
I'm doing a bunch of research on slings in the Pacific, for an article for Slinging.org.  Along the way I came upon this 1820s description of a slinging style I thought I would share separately.   This is quoted from quotes in the Occasional Papers of the Bishop Museum in Hawaii. 

Rev Wm Ellis wrote  Tour Through Hawaii. published in London, 1828

In Southern Polynesia (not Hawaii)  “The sling was held in the right hand, and armed with the stone, was hung over the right shoulder, and caught by the left hand on the left side of the back.  When thrown, the sling, after being stretched across the back, was whirled around over the head, and the stone discharged with great force.”  They were, he said, powerful and expert marksmen, and the stones when (as was general) thrown horizontally four or five feet from the ground, were seen with difficulty, and often did much execution."

In another place, he notes that the Hawaiians slung their stones with great force and precision and were supposed to be able to strike a small stick at fifty yards distance, four times out of five. 
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #1 - Oct 11th, 2008 at 5:34pm
 
You may already know this but Gonzo808 is a Hawaiian and has posted some material on the history of slings in Hawaii. Perhaps you could contact him and compare notes.
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #2 - Oct 11th, 2008 at 8:39pm
 
Thanx.  I will get in touch with him.  I lived in the Marshall Islands for a couple years, and have contacts with Anthropologists and Ethnologists from your part of the world north to Hawaii; but every contact helps.
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wanderer
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #3 - Oct 11th, 2008 at 9:54pm
 
You might find something in the journals of Wallis and those who voyaged with him around that part of the world before Cook. You probably know the paintings (in the pictures section of the site) of their encounters with the Polynesians, where slings came as a bit of a surprise.

I think lengthy accounts were published by the Hakluyt Society, but I've never managed to get to see them.
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David Morningstar
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #4 - Oct 12th, 2008 at 3:49am
 
The description of the throw is again irritatingly vague. It could be read as having a single helicopter rotation kinda like the Byzantine style but it makes no sense to start by stretching it behind like that.

What makes most sense to me is what Tint shows at 45 seconds here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDdqaUkPevo
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #5 - Oct 12th, 2008 at 8:36am
 
David Morningstar wrote on Oct 12th, 2008 at 3:49am:
...it makes no sense to start by stretching it behind like that.


You're not pulling it towards your left back; but rather holding the bullet firmly on the left side and applying pull with the right.

1.  Concealed "cocking" of the sling for a fast flip from a vertical spin...
2.  The stretch 'lifts' the stone above head level quickly for the helicopter power spin(s) and throw.  Having tried it; I suspect they may have often used just a single around the head spin.
3.  If you have a very long sling, you can carry it loaded and ready to go; and get it spinning very quickly

Makes at least as much sense to me as the left hand holding the pouch forward, one-legged windup and pitch of the Greek style video I saw of Dave Taylor.
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winkleried
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #6 - Oct 15th, 2008 at 11:35pm
 
StaffSlinger I sent ya an article on Hawaiian Sling Stones I had on my harddrive.

Marc Adkins
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #7 - Oct 16th, 2008 at 8:07am
 
check out tints mega video - he uses that style for a throw in that.
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #8 - Oct 17th, 2008 at 9:03am
 

From http://rsnz.natlib.govt.nz/volume/rsnz_11/rsnz_11_00_000710.html

Quote:
Captain Wallis, who discovered Tahiti in 1767 (two years before Cook first visited it and New Zealand), was fiercely attacked by the Tahitians, who surrounded his ship with “a fleet of more than 300 canoes, carrying 2,000 men.” On that occasion (when Wallis was in danger, and only saved by his big guns), the islanders commonly used powerful slings, with which they did some execution even in a ship of war. Captain Wallis says:— “The canoes pulled towards the ship's stern, and began again to throw stones with great force and dexterity, by the help of slings, from a considerable distance; each of these stones weighed about 2lbs., and many of them wounded the people on board, who would have suffered much more if an awning had not been spread over the whole deck to keep out the sun, and the hammocks placed in the nettings.” Their bows and arrows, however, they did not use on that occasion during the fight. Further on Captain Wallis adds:—“Their principal weapons are stones, thrown either with the hand or sling, and bludgeons; for though they have bows and arrows, the arrows are only fit to knock down a bird, none of them being pointed, but headed only with a round stone.”*

Sydney Parkinson, who was with Cook on his first voyage, gives a drawing of the Tahitian sling (Pl. 13, fig. 1), and a description of it. He says:—“Their sling is about four feet long, made of plaited twine, formed from the fibres of the bark of a tree; the part which holds the stone is woven very close, and looks like cloth, from which the string gradually tapers to a point.”†


There is a lot of information here on missile weapons of the Pacific islanders.
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StaffSlinger
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Re: Polynesian Style
Reply #9 - Oct 17th, 2008 at 9:34am
 
Thanx David; been there - both electronically the other day, and in person a couple years back.  The NZ and AU museums and libraries on line are good sources.  I also have Antro/Ethno friends out there doing some digging for me into Micronesian and Melanesian slings.
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