Monday, February 10, 2014


In taiko, there are often spots where a performer (or performers) are still.  Sometimes this is a pose before or during a song, other times it's just standing in a spot before the song starts.

For many, it's hard enough to stop moving during a song.  It can leave one feeling exposed and vulnerable, especially during a solo where all eyes are on you.  It's often the mark of a confident player to pull that off well.

What I'm talking about here is more than simply stopping the big motions - or even the small ones.  I mean being aware of the tiny, fine motions that make a subtle yet important difference.

If you stand up straight for a minute, you might not think you sway at all.  But record it, play it back on fast-forward, and see if you're not surprised how much motion is there.  It's about awareness and balance.  More about the former than the latter, though.

In karate, you're often holding poses between counts.  There's also an intention of purpose that you're expected to develop, which makes you aware of where parts of your body are.  Where's your center of balance?  Where are you looking?  Is your eye focus shifting in those seconds of stillness?  Is your intention radiating outwards from your body or are you just waiting?  So many little things to be aware of...

Maybe you stand at the drum before a song starts.  Are you looking around with your head or your eyes not knowing when to start?  Or are you trusting peripheral vision?  Are you casual with your posture or are you keeping your body elongated, alive?  Watch others on stage during these moments and ask yourself what you like seeing.

This can make someone over-think things, but with practice (like anything else), it just becomes the norm.  To some groups, it's really not worth the effort, and that's totally fine!  But if as an individual, you want to find things to work on, this is an often-overlooked skill.

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