Monday, August 25, 2014

What I learned at the WTKO Training Camp, part 6

continued from part 5 

6. Tension is easy.

I've said it in countless posts in my blog before, but it was nice to hear it reinforced over and over again during the camp.  Ubl-sensei said, "Tension is easy, relaxing is hard."  How true is that?

It's easy to tense muscles, but it's harder than you think to relax them.  One drill I've learned/done for taiko is to lift your arm straight up and then let it collapse freely.  I am still surprised when I have people try it and see how many of them can't let their arms fall limp.  They either don't know how much tension they're holding or they're not comfortable letting go of it.

When we get really tired or are pushing our limits physically, tension is going to happen.  But the more you can stay relaxed until that point, the better your technique and the further you can go before tension sneaks in.

7. Know the principles

Amos-sensei said this one, and talked about how you can lose yourself in the principles of technique once you know them.  When you're there, you can actually enjoy how everything feels.  One might argue this is contrary to earlier points in this series, about finding enjoyment in new chapters - but there's a difference between being too comfortable and being able to enjoy when the fundamentals are solid.

I liken this idea to someone who focuses on fundamentals vs. someone who focuses on learning songs.  The former is more likely to have a core system that can help them no matter what song they're learning, while the latter might never feel quite comfortable or may encounter new parts that they struggle with because there's nothing to inform them of how it should feel.

There are different principles, depending on your art.  For taiko, your group will have its own principles.  You could also argue that there are some overall principles for taiko.  There are even general principles for movement and for rhythm.  Can you think of some principles that you would be well-off following?  And do you?


Overall,  there were a ton of things to absorb from those four days, and this was just a small taste of what I felt I could put across that related to taiko without going on and on about kicking and kata and watching people getting punched, heh.

I hope you find some of this useful, even if it's not new information to you.  Sometimes hearing the same thing said in a different way can have a lot of impact!

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