Date Away the Pounds: Taiko
Sometimes you and your man can get into a rut. Saturday rolls around, you get takeout at the same old place, maybe stream a movie on Netflix, and pass out on the couch by 11.
You just want to bang a drum to get his attention — hey honey, let’s try something different!
So why not break up the routine by banging on drums together? Why not try taiko?
Taiko — Japanese drum performance — combines elements of martial arts and music performance into a fluid dance. Usually, five to 20 players gather to play taiko of varying sizes with sticks called bachi. A time keeper with a higher-pitched drum sets the pace. Drums range in size from four feet in diameter (generally those ones stay put) to about a foot in diameter, similar to a snare drum. During the high-energy performances, each player jumps from drum to drum in a rhythmic, kinetic way.
“It’s a very physical art form,” said Tom Kurai, director of the Taiko Center of Los Angeles. Unlike western drumming, “you’re using your whole body to play taiko.” He said playing is often more of a leg workout than an arm workout. Players are taught to stay on the balls of their feet, to be more agile when moving from drum to drum.
Plus, it’s a great core workout, since taiko emphasizes movement from the core and focusing on your breathing. “We’re expressing our energy through the drum, energy which comes through the center of our body.” Not to mention it’s an excellent stress reliever. “Taiko is a form of loud meditation,” said Kurai, who’s also a Zen Buddhist priest.
And because a good performance requires that the drummers work together, taiko can strengthen the bonds between people, including couples, Kurai said. Even though it’s a musical performance, he said taiko is closer to playing a team sport where many people can play the same position, rather than a band, where everyone has a more specialized role.
Interestingly, although taiko might encourage some to hit the drum hard and keep their bodies rigid, “The more fluid and more relaxed you play, the more powerful you are,” Kurai said.
So get your rhythmic groove on. It might help in, um, other areas of your relationship that require rhythm!
xx, The FabFitFun Team
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