Thursday, May 17, 2012

Question Everything: Weight

No, this isn't a post about what you think.

Weight plays a larger role in taiko than most of us think of.  This holds true for any art that involves a lot of movement.

- Where is the weight in your feet when you play?  Is it in the heels?  In Shotokan karate, there's a lot of motion generated on the heel, so this doesn't mean being on the heel is a bad thing, but does tend to lead to being "dead-footed" if you're not aware of where your weight is.  Is the weight in the balls of your feet?  If so, are you transferring weight or just being "bouncy"?

- Do you allow your bachi to have weight?  Are you letting their natural weight add to the strike or are you keeping them stiff in your hands?  Are they too light or too heavy for you?  How much weight (choke) do you have in your grip and how does that affect your strike?

- Is there weight behind your strikes?  If you use strength to strike the drum, are you over-hitting?  How much do you allow or deny gravity to generate power for you?

- How do you shift your weight when you move your feet?  Can you identify where your weight is centered at any given time?  Does your weight move you or do you control where it goes?

- Does your ki have weight?  Are you projecting with intention that carries through the back of the audience?  Do your kiai have a physical presence to them, not just with volume but with genuine purpose?  Are you *acting* or *feeling* when you perform?

Thinking about weight in these terms can really make you re-evaluate a lot, but that doesn't mean you have to start from ground zero.  Just be aware of what you do now so that you can change if you want.  Awareness brings growth, if you let it.

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