Thursday, November 17, 2011

Start vs. finish

What are you more focused on when you do a technique, the initiation or the destination?

My assumption lately is that most people are thinking about the end of a technique. For taiko players, this could be the actual strike on the head, or the end position of a movement. For martial artists, this could be where the punch or kick stops. This isn't necessarily an inherently bad thing, but as I've come to realize in teaching, people are much more aware of what they can see than what they can't.

In karate especially, I constantly tell people to remember what their feet and hips are doing, because it's the first thing to go. They can see their arms and hands all the time so it's easier to focus there, but below their field of vision, yikes! It does happen in taiko as well when people start with the lower body to provide a base, and that base goes away quickly once the drumming begins.

Lately in karate, I've been thinking less about the end of the technique or the execution, and more about the initiation of things. I know how where point B is, I even know how to get from point A to point B. So now I'm exploring that initial motion from point A, where everything begins.

It's led to a very different perspective, one I'm still digesting.

When I used to step through with a punch, I was more thinking of throwing my hips into the attack, lining up the body correctly for support upon impact, and maximizing power through speed. However, when I started thinking of the punch as something that might need to hit someone hard inches after starting it, I found that I threw the technique much faster, much harder. From there, it was simply a matter of continuing the momentum through the step and to the destination. It wasn't easier or harder, but a shifting of effort.

Turning that perspective to taiko, I'm just now starting to experiment with how that concept translates. Instead of thinking about the strike or the motion of the strike, how does the initiation of the motion affect everything else? Do I get more power with it? Is that power what I want?

On top of all that, there's the whole realm of moving I haven't thought about as much either. If I focus on the initiation of a movement, how does it affect pivoting, turning, shifting my weight, etc.? I've got a lot of homework to do...

It's good to analyze and experiment with your technique, but it doesn't always mean you'll find something that you can use. Even finding what doesn't work brings you one step closer to knowing what does!

1 comment:

  1. I think that practice and experimentation are as much about discarding what doesn't work as finding what does.