Thursday, January 21, 2016

Answer the question

What's the question?  You tell me!

I was thinking about how I learned so much simply through having to teach.  This happened moreso in karate than through taiko, but it definitely happened in both.

Things I felt very comfortable with were questioned, and from people who genuinely needed/wanted to know.  "Why?" and "how?" came up again and again.  Sometimes, the answer was easy, because I had asked the same question in the past myself.  But often, it was a question that made me reconsider what I thought I "knew" or have to come up with a different way of explaining the answer.

I guarantee you that answering questions will make you a better student/instructor/artist.  So how do you get asked those questions if you don't teach students or classes?  Simple.  You ask them of yourself.  How do I move from here to here?  What angle should my arms be in?  What demeanor should I have at this point in the song?  How do I generate power when I come out of this movement? I'm sure you can figure out dozens of questions in this manner that will range from a couple of words to a more thoughtful explanation.

As I would in karate, going through move by move of a kata, you can do move by move of a song, anticipating the questions you might get.  You might find some questions that you aren't sure of yourself, so you ask someone who knows, and you become better for knowing.  You might find a better way of answering a question than the answer you personally received, or multiple ways to approach it.  You might find that you get stuck on a concept you thought you "knew" but are now unsure about, causing you to seek a deeper truth.

This whole idea is simply a variation on my Question Everything mindset.  Instead of questioning what's given you or what you take for granted, question from the viewpoint of another, who's learning from you.  What would you ask, and how would you answer?  Time spent here won't pay off in the end, it'll pay off right away!

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