Monday, January 9, 2017


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Stand on one leg, lift the other, and close your eyes.  (Wait, read this first, then close your eyes...)

If you keep your supporting leg stiff, you'll probably find that it's not only harder to keep your balance, but requires a lot more work to recover it.  If you instead drop your weight, let the knee bend, you should be able to stay balanced easier, and when off-balance, it should be less work to keep from falling over.  Stay stiff for a minute, stay loose for a minute; how do you feel at the end of it?

Now it's not that you're likely to stand on one leg and close your eyes while playing taiko, but I see a lot of people who keep their lower body/legs still and stiff.  If your balance is harder to maintain with stiff legs in the above example, if you find that your legs are more tired after a minute, can you see how that's what you're doing when you're in kata/stance and stiff?

It's not even that you have to move a lot, or be bouncy, or anything on the other extreme.  You can be still, but loose, with practice.  Having good balance can be rewarding on its own, when you're moving, spinning, jumping, even just shifting your weight.  But having good balance also means you're being efficient with your posture, your alignment, your muscles, etc.

Considering it's not something most of us think about, balance is one of those tools that can really accentuate a taiko player's toolkit - or be the one we need really badly as we're falling down...

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