Thursday, January 1, 2015

What should you be working on?

We had a belt test in the dojo a few weeks ago.  In the higher ranks, the judges will ask you questions near the end of the test, after you've tired yourself out.  Often these questions are targeted at things you've just done that the judges want to focus on.

As one of the judges for this past test, the questions I wanted to ask one particular student were "already taken" as it were.  So I wanted to get a sense for where his mindset was.  I asked him "what do you think you should be focusing on at this level?"  His answer wasn't quite what I was hoping to hear; it was more about specific techniques rather than concepts.  In hindsight, I should have been more specific in the asking.

But it's a question I want to ask all of you now.

If you're pretty new to taiko, this isn't a good question for you, yet.  As for the rest of you, look back to when you started and what you struggled with.  Look at your journey and the new ideas, the new concepts you had to implement.  Now look at where you are now.  What should you be working on?

Don't think of the new song you just learned or the cool pattern you've been drilling.  Think instead of concepts, ideas, challenges.  Think of where you've come from and how you can continue to make progress.

This is a question that can be difficult for people who rely on others to tell them exactly where to go next.  However, it's an easy question in that there are multiple "right" answers, depending on the person.  Maybe you should work more on flexibility, and wrist snap, and staying in tempo...but if you only think of one of those areas, you're still "right"!

\So what should you be working on in 2015?

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