Monday, March 10, 2014


Could you do an entire practice without saying a word?

For most of us, myself included, probably not.  If you're giving instruction, you're answering a question, you're giving a kiai, or telling someone where something goes, etc., you need to talk to people.

But how much more than that do you need to do?  How much do you do?

If you've read my early posts, you know I talked about this kind of thing more often.  I'm bringing it up because I've been shushing people in the dojo more lately and it's on my mind.

During partner drills, when the focus should be on the drill, chatter is wasted energy and lost focus.  I totally understand when people need to say something for safety or clarification; that's not chatter.  When people are in the back of class while other belt groups do a kata or drill, the idea is to keep quiet and respect those who are drilling, not to take a break and chat with friends.

So I thought of the question, how much practice can you get through without saying anything?  How much do you talk during practice, and how much of that takes away from what you could get out of it?

Now I know most groups allow some friendly banter, and most people have it.  But it can be too much especially when it's a habit, when it's distracting the people you're talking to, or when it's distracting others around you.  I try to keep myself in check, but it's not always easy for me to always avoid chatting to someone next to me just because they're there.  I'm human.

So the next time you start talking during practice, ask yourself, are you talking for the benefit of someone?  Or the benefit of the group?  Or because you feel more comfortable filling silence with words?  Or because it's just...what you usually do?

I also know that talking can lead to more camaraderie, bonding, and a sense of community.   So to eliminate it from practices is harsh.  Still, are you aware of how much of it you do and when it would be better to hold off?

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