My first full-program taiko performance was a good experience. I wasn’t all that nervous, I think in part because I had gone to aikido class earlier that morning and had been put through the paces of a surprise 3-person freestyle. During the performance, I went from one piece to another just as we had practiced, without feeling jittery, and with only a few mistakes.
The audience was very enthusiastic and appreciative. In the interlude when people are invited to try hitting the drums, quite a few came up, and the enjoyment they got from both playing and listening was infectious. By the end of the concert, in which the group performs a piece that involves dancing, we performed with such glee that I truly felt such joy twirling around and chanting. We received a standing ovation at the end.
After the performance was over, several people came up to me and had asked whether the group also trained in any martial arts. I’m the only person in the group who still actively trains, so I mentioned that I practice aikido. These folks had noticed some similarities in the way we strike the drums to certain attacks. To me, though, there is something about the way the group as a whole moves together with the rhythms that makes it seem more like aikido than karate.
In the next two performances coming up, I hope to focus a little more on accuracy, though.