Monday, April 11, 2016


One thing I really appreciate about both taiko and karate in my life is that they've taught me to be in the moment.  Present.

In karate, it's of course important in a partner drill, but even when doing basics or forms, this translates to taking in information and not being distracted by it at the same time.  In taiko, since we mostly play as an ensemble, you often have to constantly be doing something and aware of it at the same time.

This sense of being present can manifest as not letting my gaze travel to the side to watch someone else's form, not letting the mistake I made last time affect my confidence this time (because that was in the past), or maybe even allowing myself to enjoy the technique/pattern I'm currently doing and not thinking about what comes next.

Being truly present to me brings a condition of calm, relatively so when we're dealing with arts that involve repeated striking and loud noises!  If you're worrying about making mistakes, you're in the future.  If you're lamenting the mistakes you made, you're in the past.  There's definitely some skills that are required to be able to stay calm-ish, things like reaction time and mental acuity.  In other words, being able to process things and react quickly means you make less mistakes and have less issues in the past, as well as less to worry about coming up.  Also, in taiko, the more you're able to be present, the more your true self can emerge.

It is possible to be very present and overwhelmed, however.  Going back to what I said earlier, it's possible to be aware of lots of things and become over-burdened trying to process it all.  If that's something you struggle with, all I can say is you have to find priorities and learn to ignore the rest, as hard as it might feel at first!  Over-thinkers and perfectionists may have the most trouble truly being present, being at peace with whatever may come.

I credit being trained to be so much in the present with my ability to not get flustered at mistakes, to enjoy the feeling of the technique, to be able to focus on making improvements I want to work on, and to mentally "step back" and analyze my techniques as they happen.

Mind you, it's not always easy, and it's not always the state of mind you want to be in, but the more you're able to achieve this frame of mind, the more likely you are to find yourself in control when you need it the most!

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