Monday, June 4, 2012


How easily distracted are you at practice?

In karate, I see people looking around after finishing a motion or even worse, during.  While waiting for the next count, when sensei says something to the class, they often take that opportunity to relax.  These lapses in concentration are more insidious than they know.

You're more likely to get hit by something that you don't see, so why make it more likely to happen by looking away?  All they have to do is continue to look forward.  And when they relax a bit while someone is talking, it's like they've convinced themselves they need that break, when really they don't.  So it becomes a crutch of sorts.

The above examples don't apply so much to taiko, but the idea itself does.

Focusing on the task at hand, such as a song or a drill, is easy enough.  Maintaining that focus is less easy.  It's having a constant dialogue with yourself and being forced to address the flaws in your technique.  Granted, you'll also notice the good stuff, but that's not hard to deal with.  It also requires energy to keep a constant focus, but like learning how to stay in a basic stance, practice makes it easier and easier.

If that's not enough, imagine being on the instructing side and having people you're trying to teach looking away.  Are they bored?  Do they think the drill is too easy for them?  Why aren't they trying to find something to improve on?  Maybe they don't care?  Don't give us those questions by losing your focus so easily.

There's also the social aspect to this, where someone cracks a joke or makes a side comment.  Sure, most of us do it, but are you aware of how much you do it?  Is it because you can't keep your focus steady?  How do you think it it impacts on the concentration of others?

Actually, that's a really good point I want to emphasize.  Maybe you don't think your lapses in concentration are a big deal, but how much do they affect others around you?  Are you setting a good example?  Are you distracting other people?  Would others say you have good focus or bad?

We're not robots; we have to choose to be "in the moment" to concentrate on a task.  Like any skill, it takes practice.  Can you keep that focus throughout an entire practice?  If not, why?

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