Wednesday, October 10, 2007

get closer...

A drill I often do with students is to start off doing forms without a count, with the expectation that they move together. Typically, the responsibility for keeping the pace falls on the shoulders of the most senior person. They in turn must take into account the ability of the class and determine the best speed.

From there, what I sometimes do is move everyone together a little closer, so there is less space on all sides of them. Two interesting things happen from here. First, the students need to move together better. Second, the group stops watching each other to stay in time, and starts just moving in time.

When this happens, I put the students together shoulder to shoulder and about 1 foot in front and behind them. The group moves together as one, much like the phalanx formations of olden days or SWAT teams on our modern police forces. The wrong step can kill everyone.

In the dojang, it usually means someone gets punched in the head. But the same lessons are learned. It's an interesting thing about the martial arts. It is one of the few solitary activities that are often done in large groups. We're not a team in the same sense as an intramural soccer team, but I'll bet that my group has far more solidarity, built by a sense of cooperation and looking out for one another.
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