Thursday, November 22, 2012

Future mistakes

At karate we occasionally do a “line” drill.  This is where a column of people (attackers) face a single person (defender).  The closest attacker attacks, gets blocked/evaded, gets counter-attacked, then goes to the back of the column.  This rotation goes on for a while.

When we had the head of our organization visiting us a month ago, he said that the defender should have a particular mindset during this drill.  Instead of dealing with the attack then resetting for the next attacker, the defender should deal with the attack and be ready – hungry, actually – for the next attacker.  It’s sort of a “come on, who's next?” sort of mentality.  It changes the role of the defender from passive to active.

Odds are you’re going to get hit sooner or later.  His idea was not so much to make us into unfeeling warriors but to not let the result of the exchange linger and to be more than ready for the next attacker.

In taiko, mistakes can be minimized through practice, but they will happen.  If there’s a section in a song that trips you up, instead of dreading the next time, try looking forward to it.  Wait, why would you do that?

Take any potentially tricky part as an opportunity to get it right.  The alternative – and default for most people – is to think of it as something to dread.  And if you dread it, odds are you’ll continue to make a mistake there, creating a negative feedback loop.

In effect, the passages of a song are the “attacker” and you are the “defender”.  Here and then you make a mistake and get “hit”, but you have to snap back into position and be ready – be hungry – for the next opportunity.  You may get “hit” again and again by the same tricky passage, but you make it a self-fulfilling prophecy if you always expect it to happen.

Granted, if you get hit 28 times in a row, you might need to step back and figure out what to work on – sequence, chops, timing, movement, etc.  Making mistakes in a passage that you know is very different from not knowing it!

Maybe the idea of “combating” your mistakes is a bit too aggressive for some of you, but try to at least have the mindset that it’s not fearing your future mistakes, it’s succeeding at future opportunities!

No comments:

Post a Comment