Monday, January 13, 2014

Isolation by parts

The other night in karate, we partnered up and watched the other person do a single kick over and over and over.  The watcher could tell their partner to slow it down, kick higher, stand up straight, kick from a stance, break it down into sections, etc.

The goal was two-fold: to have your technique analyzed under a microscope, and to observe what your partner was doing so as to be aware of possible issues in your own technique.

A kick I thought I had a good grip on was picked apart - not in the kick itself but all the other parts.  None of it was really new, just things I had neglected or forgotten about.  And this was just one kick of many, one technique of LOTS.  Oy.

So how to apply this to taiko?  You might find that you can tell a lot by looking at a single strike, but often that's not enough.  Take a short - and I mean short - section of a song and have someone watch you or watch them.  Do it over and over with different parameters.  Try it on the left side to see if the same issues show up there.  Do it one strike at a time.  Do it really slow.  Do it really fast!  Change things up to isolate any issues that might be there.

Isolation is something you can even do on your own, in a mirror or recording yourself to watch later, or sometimes just by doing it over and over and doing some mental checking-in.

The more you do this as a drill, the easier it becomes to spot things in yourself and others when it's not isolated.  It improves your critical eye and body awareness, two skills that are invaluable when growing as an artist.  Try it out!

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