Monday, October 19, 2015

Question Everything: The little things.

When you bow into the dojo, bow to start practice, bow to each other, what are you thinking?

When you make a pose at the beginning or end of a piece or form, what are you thinking?

When you kiai, what goes through your head?

Do you do the motion because you're taught to do the motion?  Because it's what you've always done?  Do you kiai because it's expected?  Is that all there is to those actions?

The things we take for granted are often great places to learn lessons:

- Where's your weight when you bow?  Where do you bend?  Are you hunched?  Do you stop halfway or bounce?  Where are you looking?  How would you teach someone else to bow?

- Take a pose you hold in a song or a form.  What are you supposed to be embodying?  Did you just execute a counter-attack?  To what specific point?  Are you supposed to look strong?  Relaxed?  Are you tense in weird places?

- When you kiai to support a soloist, does your body language support the intention behind the kiai?  Are you giving that same feeling when not opening your mouth?  Do you think about when your kiai falls in a song or just let it go whenever you get a breath?

When you explore the little things like that, you gain two things:  One is the ability to analyze things easier, quicker.  The big things become little and the little things become second-nature.  The other is the ability to make informed choices about your movements, your energy.  To shift, to tweak, to make changes when needed.

It's too much to try to look for all of the little things, but if you take one song, one form, or even one single aspect for a little while, it's manageable.  It's not "sexy" or exciting as far as drills go, but it can pay off in spades down the line!

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