I decided to partake in the Matsuri Crasher Battles to improve on my own taiko playing as an individual. One aspect of my playing I felt needed work was the basics, particularly my left stance slant-style playing. I have always heavily relied on my right side but am continually striving to find ways to strengthen both sides of playing. When I heard about the 10 format, it seemed like a great fit to accomplish my goals. I was able to play slowly and focus on my kata while additionally working on timing.
When planning the solo, I wanted to integrate Matsuri rhythms particularly the ‘kara kat kat’ end-line and have the solo progress in rhythm and movement. I also hoped to work on timing and have the audience involved. This created the concept of the ‘kara *clap* kat’ not only help me keep rhythm, but also involve the audience who knew Matsuri. Working with Kris, I was able to create patterns that fit the clapping base beat.
From creating one set pattern, I was able to repeat it 3 times and work on 3 different forms that progressed musically and in movement from section to section. My first section was left handed stance, simple rhythms. The second section utilized a form similar to that I learned while playing taiko in Japan. Lastly, the third section had more complex patters with my right handed stance.
Each section pushed my skill level for a different stance and utilize progression. The 10 structure really made me think of “ma” and where my body, arms, bachi, and expressions were. It also helped me listen better and not rush or speed up the tempo.
Good luck with your Matsuri Battle and I hope these words/this post was helpful!
Video and composition released under the Free Art License 1.3.
Thank you to the members of Jodaiko and TaikoMotion for a fun workshop this evening! We focused on playing slowly, and what the challenge reveals about basic form.
Thanks to Aki for the help, to Alex for the ride home… and Stephanie, I love you!
miles today: 45.3
total miles: 160.2
highlight: Beethoven’s Eroica by the San Diego Symphony.
I made it to San Diego! It was a delightful day of scenic riding interspersed with stops at vegan restaurants. My appetite seems to have caught up with me so I picked a good day for hot meals.
Unfortunately, at about mile 15 today, my rear wheel started making a bit of a grinding noise. I’ve heard something similar when I had a broken axle. The bike shop owner said, “If I take it apart, it will only go back together fixed, and I’m not confident I have the part.” Me: “Would you ride it to LA?” Him: “Nope.”
So my return trip will likely be bus or Amtrak. I’m disappointed to not try my first 70+ mile day… and my painstakingly tailored maps go to waste! But I’m stopping while I’m ahead. This has been an absolutely wonderful way to travel. New rule for workshops: distances of 150 miles or fewer, ride!
miles today: 63.7
total miles: 114.9
mood: Satisfyingly tired.
highlight: The portion of Old Pacific Highway that’s been converted into a beautiful (and wide!) bike path.
Riding through San Onofre State Park was nice, and making my way through the military base was fine. I’m not sure whether it’s because it’s day two, or because 60 miles is really different than 50 miles, but I’m much more tired today. Nothing hurts in a bad way though, so a long night of sleep should set me right.
Assuming everything goes well, I’ll reach UCSD tomorrow afternoon, then continue south to downtown San Diego to see Joshua Bell with the San Diego Symphony. A reward for another 60+ mile day!
today’s miles: 51.2
total miles: 51.2
mood: great! Slight elbow soreness but otherwise okay!
highlight: Cashews and mulberry snack in the bath after arriving at hotel. Food tastes amazing after a long ride!
I’m relieved my self-printed maps are working fine. I used Google maps with “bike” routing and carefully tweaked the turn-by-turn maps to help me with the easy-to-miss bike path intersections. Printing the pages two per side, double-sided, also keeps the total sheets down and makes the papers easily foldable for a back pocket. It took hours to prep the trip but I think it’ll prove worth it. Hopefully tomorrow will be as smooth going!