Monday, May 12, 2014

Beginner's Mind, part 3

I've mentioned before that Beginner's Mind can be taken outside the studio, outside the class, but now I want to look inwards into the classes themselves.

Let's hope you believe in the idea of Beginner's Mind, first of all.  You enter the dojo as you normally would, but then when does Beginner's Mind take affect?

It's easy to start it when you practice/play; you can think of any number of details to work on.  Things like form, technique, ki, etc., are something any of us can take advantage of.

But what about before that?  When you're prepping the equipment, can you improve on that somehow?  Maybe you help tie drums before you play - can you find something to improve on each time you do it?  Better pulling technique?  More efficient stand-building?

Still, how about even before that?  Do you do warmups before you get to the drums?  Stretching?  Can you approach that the same way you would approach practicing on taiko?  You want to get more flexible, I would assume.  Or maybe you want to get stronger - or both!

Wait, what about before even that?  When you bow to each other or bow into the dojo, can you improve on that technique?

Now, I hear the question a lot of you probably had while reading that: "why would I want or need to improve on my bow?"  Ah, thank you for asking!  It's not that the bow itself will prove helpful, even if you somehow perfect it, it's having the mindset that even the small things matter.  If you can make yourself look at everything as training, then you can extend Beginner's Mind to so much more than just hitting a drum.

Some people may find that exhausting.  Others may feel it takes the "fun" out of the art.  As for me, I like knowing that while I'm working on the big things, I'm trying to make sure that the little things - the gaps in between - are getting pushed up, as well.  It makes me that much stronger of an artist.

So where can you improve that you've not thought about before?  Even more, what happens when you do?

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