Thursday, February 13, 2014

It's not about them.

I was watching a kumite (sparring) video that featured our organization's head sensei and noting the speed, precision, and intention of those involved.  I also watched for the differences between them and myself - because of the huge skill difference - and was hoping to learn something.

I heard secondhand about something that same sensei said in regards to this kind of kumite.  In essence, if the other person is better than you, you're going to get hit.  Period.  If you worry about it and tense up, screw up your posture, or adjust your technique poorly in anticipation, you're still going to get hit, but you're also not going to get any better on top of it.  In other words, it's not about them, it's about you.

So when you perform, are you worried about what the audience will think of your performance?  Or are you going to focus on using the tools you've been given to do your best?  Which of those two options do you think will help you become a better player?

Are you thinking about how other players solo better than you and you can't compare?  Or are you having fun expressing yourself in time to the music that the ensemble is providing for you?  Which one do you think will have a better outcome?

When people ask me how to gain confidence on stage, I tell them a lot of it comes from simply doing things a lot, because it means you gain confidence in your skills.  As long as you worry about what other people are thinking during your performance, you will never gain confidence.  It's good to reflect later about how something might have gone, but in that moment - just play, and play from the heart.  Confidence will follow!

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