--Photo by Nwardez
Taiko drummer, Isaku Kageyama, has got a great blog going about his thoughts and views on taiko and beyond. He recently wrote an article about the running and its relation with taiko.
"Too many amateur taiko players hear about these groups (Kodo, Ondekoza) running and say, "Oh if I run a lot I'll become good at taiko." No, if you run a lot, you will become good at running." -Isaku Kageyama Official Blog
Is Isaku Kageyama right? Absolutely. No matter how much you run, your drum technique won't get any better. At the end of the day, it's practice that'll make your taiko better, and there's nothing that can replace it.
But, don't let that dissuade you from running!
There are things that running (and working out) will do that translates directly to taiko. I'll touch upon the physical aspects here.
1. Improve your fitness
Running, when paired with a healthy diet, will help to increase your metabolism and burn calories. This also means more lean muscle and less body fat.
This combination (less fat, more muscle), makes for a surprisingly big difference. You simply move better. And quicker. Your body feels lighter and you last longer doing physical activities (including taiko).
This is essential for more physical taiko playing styles. Extra fitness helps when playing styles such as "Yatai-Bayashi", "Odaiko" or "Miyake" for longer stretches of time, without falling apart while doing it. No matter how good your technique, without fitness training, you'll hit a roadblock when you want to add that extra mile to your performance.
2.Improve your appearance
Taiko is as visual as it is a listening experience. The arms swings, the leg movements- these are all a part of the music. When people come to a taiko show, they don't stare at the drums. They come to see the performer and his/her movements.
The performer's body is as much a part of the performance as the music. So all the more reason to get fit and look better. Those photos of toned odaiko players wearing fundoshi? Consistent running and working out will make you look like that too..!
But again, as said before, running can't replace practice. Finding a balance between the two is key. Keep on drummin' (and running)!