Monday, November 7, 2011


Lately I've been thinking about teachers and teaching.

In karate, I have a sensei and usually one or two senior students (sempai) that can tell me what I'm doing wrong when they watch my technique during class. Instant feedback. I can also go to either one of them and ask, "what should I be doing when I do this?" They'll give me the "correct" answer, but also their take on why it's that way plus any nuances they've discovered. I feel like even though I put a lot of thought into my karate, they can fill in the blanks of the stuff I haven't figured out yet.

Then we come to taiko. I always considered Roy and PJ to be my sensei, although we don't use the term in the group. It's not that sort of vibe. But when I had something lacking in my technique or had a question about the whys and hows, they would be who would give me the "answers" as best they could. Although Roy and PJ are still around, they're not at our practices and it's taken me a while to realize...I don't really have a teacher anymore!

It's a weird feeling. Does it mean I'm the teacher now? Does it mean that I can't learn things from the current people in charge? Would it be different if Roy and PJ were still active in the group? Lots of questions abound in my head.

Of course I listen to the current leaders of the group, but I feel that instead of "instruction" I get "feedback". I think it's in part due to being a senior member that doesn't require a lot of attention, as well as me being in the group longer than they have. It's not bad by any means, but it's definitely a different feel. I've always been a huge proponent of learning on your own, but now I find that it's a necessity for me where it used to be optional or supplementary.

What about you? Who do you rely on currently to make you a better artist? What happens if they're no longer available? Are you developing the ability now to help you grow later on without them? It can be a scary thing to think of yourself teacher-less, but better to plan for it now then to deal with it unprepared...

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