Monday, November 24, 2014


The other night at the dojo, sensei had us pair up closest in rank, do an assigned kata, give comments, then have the person doing the kata give themselves comments based on self-evaluation.

In my pair, I watched first.  I made a comment on her posture in a few moves, then about how she was making a lot of "noise" in stomping about as she moved.  That note wound up taking the rest of the class...

Essentially, I wanted to know why she was making loud stomping when she went through her kata.  There are some actual stomps in the kata, but if the intent behind the move doesn't have a stomp, why stomp when moving?

I asked her why she stomped on the non-stomps.  Her answer was "because it feels stronger."  I then asked her why did it feel stronger?  She didn't have an answer.  At our level, that's a really bad response.

Before getting to that point, though, I was asking her why she was stomping loudly in some moves but not in others.  Her reply was to say, "well tell me which moves should be loud; I don't know."  It was really missing the point and eventually sensei came over and was able to phrase the question better for her.

Granted, understanding a technique in karate means something different than understanding a technique in taiko, but it comes down to body mechanics in either.  But her comment tonight - which she repeated several times to me - made me think about the techniques we do and take for granted.

Why do you do the motions you do?  Maybe the surface level is "because that's how I was taught", but is that really enough for you?  Are you content not finding answers and being a passive learner?  When do you take your learning into your own hands and ask yourself questions about how and why you do the things you do?

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