Thursday, August 28, 2014

Competitions - The findings

About a month ago I wrote a post HERE about taiko competition and that I wanted to gather some data on the subject.  I wrote up two surveys and asked taiko players to answer the one that fit them better - one for those who do compete, and one for those that don't.

I'll start with the analysis, then post the data below so as not to bore the people who don't care about the details.

For the 49 who answered the Non-Competition survey, only 33% said they'd seen a taiko competition, and 43% said that they wanted to compete in one.  That leaves 67% who had not seen one and 57% who did not want to compete in one.

Pride and purpose were the least valued reasons why people wanted to compete, while having a shared goal, skill increasing, and curiosity were highest.

Concerns about their group's skill level was the least valued reason why people did NOT want to compete, with concerns over the taiko community and the spirit of cooperation being the highest.


For the 31 who answered the Competition survey, 82% said they enjoyed competing.

89% of the responses said they did 0-2 competitions a year.   61% of respondents said they spent at least 50% or more of their training preparing for competitions.

Winning, recognition, and pride were the least valued reasons why people enjoying competing, while skill improvement, a tangible goal, and positive community impact were the highest.

Morale loss on losing and diminishing "thrill" were the least valued reasons why people did NOT enjoy competing, while wanting to focus on non-competitive things and personal stress were the highest.


Overall, for both the Non-Competition and Competition participants, it was 50/50 as to who competed in other things vs. those who did not.

A large majority (70%) of those who answered the Competition survey had only played with one group.  That number was much smaller (49%) within the Non-Competition survey.

There was only slight difference between the two surveys in how long participants had been playing with their current/primary group.  The range of the Competition survey was mainly within 3-5 and 10-15 years, while in Non-Competition it was 5-10 and 3-5.

As for how long participants had been playing taiko in total, for the Competition survey there was a larger concentration at 5-10, then 15+.  For Non-Competition it was at 3-5 then evenly around 5-10 and 10-15.


We can make some inferences based on this data, but even I will admit it's a very small sample size and many people answered the survey incorrectly or incompletely.  But it's a start!

So if I go by the data, It's definitely a minority of people who are interesting in seeing and/or participating in taiko competitions.  Would seeing competitions open their minds to the idea?  The data doesn't answer this, but from personal experience, I would say no.  Those who do compete seem to enjoy it rather overwhelmingly, but spend a majority of their time preparing for the few competitions they do.

Competition itself doesn't seem to be the issue here, since both groups compete in other things in equal amounts.

We could try to say that there are more people who've played longer that don't want competitions, but because of the small sample size, I'd be wary of this.  It would be interesting to see if the younger crowd or those who have played for less amount of time (0-5 years) are more interested in taiko competition.

So what can we learn from this?  A lot, if we keep an open mind - but it has to go BOTH WAYS.  There will always be people who do not want to have competition in taiko and trying to tell them that competition helps this or benefits that just makes them dig in their heels all the more.  There will always be people who truly want competition in taiko and trying to tell them that competition hurts this or harms that just makes them more fervent in their beliefs.

It's a lot like politics - those with the loudest voice are the most heard but often turn people off from the actual discussion of the subject.  Both sides have valid points and I think there's a lot of opportunity for sharing and understanding.

Personally, after all this collection, I feel like I know more about why people feel the way they do, but I'm still neutral.  The NA taiko community seems to be naturally resistant to the idea of taiko competition as a whole, so it's probably a moot point.  What will happen to that resistance in 10, 20, 30 years from now when there's a new generation of leaders, and perspectives on things have changed?  And for those that are comfortable in a culture of competition, will seeing how other groups view cooperation be a changing factor?  Or something more practical like how much time could be spent on other areas?  I guess we'll have to see, but in the meantime, maybe some good discussion is in order!


- 49 people replied to Non-Competition.
     - 1 response said they wanted to compete, but then answered both sections.  I kept the data in.
- 31 people replied to Competition.
     - 11 were incomplete, only answering a few of the 10 questions.
     - 3 responses said that they liked competing, but then answered both sections.  I kept the data in.

- Non-Competition: 65% were from the USA, with 2%-10% each from Canada, South American and European countries.
- Competition: 68% were from Brazil, with 23% from the USA, 6% from Canada, and 3% from Japan.

(For the next set of answers, a Likert-type scale was used.  1 was the lowest score, 5 was the highest.  The numbers displayed were the average scores for each category.)

- Non-Competition: 67% had not seen a taiko competition before.
     - Of those 33% that had seen a competition:
          - 3.94 "I was entertained."
          - 3.81 "I was impressed by the skills/level of competition."
          - 3.25 "The competition made me want to see more competitions."
          - 3.14 "The judging was fair."
          - 2.94 "The competition made me want to compete."
- Non-Competition: 43% would like to compete, 57% would not.
     - Of those 43% that would:
          - 4.47 "It would give my group a shared goal."
          - 4.47 "It would increase my/my group's skills."
          - 4.47 "I am curious to experience a taiko competition."
          - 4.21 "It would increase my/my group's visibility."
          - 4.05 "I feel it would impact the taiko community I play in positively"
          - 3.95 "It would bring me/my group group a sense of pride."
          - 3.89 "It would give me/my group a sense of purpose."
          - 3.47 "Winning is a motivating factor for me."

     - Of those 57% that would not:
          - 4.25 "I prefer a spirit of cooperation vs. competition."
          - 4.00 "I feel it would impact the taiko community I play in negatively."
          - 3.83 "It would upset the dynamics of my group."
          - 3.63 "I have no interest in competing."
          - 3.53 "I don’t feel my personal skills are up to competitive levels."
          - 3.50 "I don't like the pressure associated with competing."
          - 3.11 "I don’t feel my group's skill are up to competitive levels."

 - Competition: 82% said they enjoyed it, 18% said they did not.
     - Of those 82% that enjoyed it:
          - 4.31 "It brings people's skills up."
          - 4.19 "It gives me/my group a tangible goal."
          - 4.19 "It impacts the taiko community I play in positively."
          - 3.88 "It gives me a sense of purpose."
          - 3.81 "It brings recognition/pride to our group."
          - 3.73 "It brings recognition/pride to myself."
          - 3.56 "Winning is rewarding."

     - Of those 18% that did not enjoy it:
          - 3.80 "I want to focus more on other taiko-related things."
          - 3.44 "It brings too much personal stress."
          - 3.33 "It brings too much group stress."
          - 3.33 "It impacts the taiko community I play in negatively."
          - 3.29 "Judges are biased/not qualified."
          - 2.67 "Losing hurts morale too much."
          - 2.56 "The “thrill” of competing fades."

- Competition: How many competitions does your primary group do a year?
     -1          1          2          3          4          5+
     25%     39%      25%     4%                    7%
- Competition: How much of your group's training goes towards competition?
     -10%      10%      20%      30%      40%      50%      60%      70%      80%      90%      90%+
      21%                     4%      14%                    7%       7%       18%      11%      7%        11%

- Do you compete in other (non-taiko) competitions?
                           Yes       No
Non-Comp.:          49%    51%
Competition:         50%    50%

-  How many taiko groups have you been a member of?
                         1          2          3+
Non-Comp.:         49%    36%    16%
Competition:       70%    20%    10%

- How long have you been playing taiko with your current/primary group?

                         -1          1-3         3-5          5-10          10-15          15+
Non-Comp.:         9%         20%       22%        27%         11%          11%
Competition:       5%         20%       30%        10%         25%          10%

- How long have you been playing taiko in total?

                         -1          1-3         3-5          5-10          10-15          15+
Non-Comp.:         0%         4%         20%        40%           9%          27%
Competition:       0%         15%       30%        20%         20%          15%

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