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Mental Overload
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Todd Frederick
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PostPosted: 2011-04-01, 03:58    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

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Having been doing shakuhachi for only a year or so, I find the more I get into this the more confused I become...it's mainly with all the Japanese terminology, the different schools or methods of playing, the types of music and so on. I would like to find some kind of simple guide that explains all of this to one who knows very little about the history and background of this instrument. Rolling Eyes
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x moran
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PostPosted: 2011-04-01, 04:50    Post subject: Re: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Todd Frederick wrote:
Having been doing shakuhachi for only a year or so, I find the more I get into this the more confused I become...it's mainly with all the Japanese terminology, the different schools or methods of playing, the types of music and so on. I would like to find some kind of simple guide that explains all of this to one who knows very little about the history and background of this instrument. Rolling Eyes


Best book to start is Christopher Yohmei Blasdel's Shakuhachi: A Manual for Learning. If you can only have one book, that's the one for the most information packed between two covers.

Serious shakuhachi study may not _require_ learning Japanese, but it's really useful.

Having willingness and patience to learn about Japanese culture is something everyone can do, but it's daunting all the way around.

Start with the Blasdel book. Be patient.
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2011-04-01, 07:30    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Let me know more specific what confuses you because you are not the only one - at all.
Is it more the history and the diffusion of systems (the different schools and approaches)?
Or is it more the Japanese terminology of the playing itself?

The reason I ask is that I am trying to put something together to help at our Summer Schools... so it will be great for me to know more. Smile
Hope it is ok I ask.
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Todd Frederick
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PostPosted: 2011-04-01, 16:30    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Kiku,

To be blunt, what prompted me to ask this question was a comment you made in "The Museum" about playing "Tozan."....

"The creator of this forum is a Tozan player!"

When I see terms like Tozan and so many more that I can't remember, communication with the novice player is lost.

I'm suggesting a guide, a small book, chart, pamphlet or whatever is needed as a basic introduction to the essential shakuhachi terminology and what these terms mean. I can't even remember the name of the basic set of tunes for zen meditation...Honkyo... or something like that.

Sorry, but I'm just not up there in the high level of this beautiful instrument and don't mind sounding stupid...that's how I learn...asking "stupid questions"

I think a very simple guide would help or a link to one if such already exists.

Thank you, Todd
Very Happy
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Jeff Cairns
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PostPosted: 2011-04-01, 16:38    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

The dilemma of 'ronin' learners is that they don't understand that it's important to accept the teachings of one school and one teacher of that school at first at risk of falling in the abyss. In Japan, this is not a problem. One meets a teacher, starts lessons and continues in that way relatively unaware of other teachings and trains of thought until much later when the idiosyncrasies of their particular method are well under the hood and it's relatively safe to venture out. Strangely enough, even this rarely happens. Then what of the ronin learner? How can they cope? It is constantly suggested by those who know better that the perils of the ronin life are hidden and many. Searching for a guide and mentor is the first thing one should do. Once found, accepting that teachers word, despite what might have come before is only wise. It's true that you won't be a well rounded player until much later in your career, but you will save a great deal of time in the process. If your interest is to play the 'universal flute then I suggest you pick up something easier, but if you want to learn the shakuhachi then heed these words....a real living, in-the-flesh teacher or one on skype. Books are good for supplementary use, but as a primary guide, they aren't much help. The problem is that the learner doesn't know what they don't know. Do without many of the frustrations and get a teacher.
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De Fouw
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PostPosted: 2011-04-01, 20:23    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

del

Last edited by De Fouw on 2011-07-13, 12:08; edited 2 times in total
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Jarle Jivanmukta
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PostPosted: 2011-04-01, 21:49    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Interesting question. I have played for 8 months appr. and don't know much yet.
My thoughts and opinions on this:

This is a common problem for a lot of people with "western mind, trying to learn eastern "stuff", be it yoga, buddhist practice, or whatever.
The best solution: Find a teacher, trust that teacher and focus on what that teacher is asking you to learn.
Accept that there is a lot of shakuhachi stuff going that you might never know about.
More important is to deepen and refine what you are learning than to know about this and that.

I have been a yogateacher myself, and have seen clearly how the attempt to understand everything about yoga for some students becomes a hindrance to penetrate deeper in the practice.
Things that are being practiced will be analyzed, systematized and understood in relation to what this and that teacher or school or article is saying. The practice will be from the brain and not from the spine or the heart. This practice will not deepen.
The proper knowledge will come if needed, or if not needed it is only chitchat, politics or egotrips or academic reductionist mentality which might be contradictory to what the practice is about. Then don't waste time on it. Some scriptures in yoga even insists that the right student will manage good even with a bad teacher.

These are my opinions (even so I buy the books, read the forums and so on.....:-)
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GalinaSG
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PostPosted: 2011-04-01, 22:48    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Jarle Jivanmukta wrote:
wrote some

Food for thought. Thank you, Jarle.
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David Earl
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PostPosted: 2011-04-02, 00:34    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Jeff Cairns wrote:
The dilemma of 'ronin' learners is that they don't understand that it's important to accept the teachings of one school and one teacher of that school at first at risk of falling in the abyss. In Japan, this is not a problem. One meets a teacher, starts lessons and continues in that way relatively unaware of other teachings and trains of thought until much later when the idiosyncrasies of their particular method are well under the hood and it's relatively safe to venture out. Strangely enough, even this rarely happens. Then what of the ronin learner? How can they cope? It is constantly suggested by those who know better that the perils of the ronin life are hidden and many. Searching for a guide and mentor is the first thing one should do. Once found, accepting that teachers word, despite what might have come before is only wise. It's true that you won't be a well rounded player until much later in your career, but you will save a great deal of time in the process. If your interest is to play the 'universal flute then I suggest you pick up something easier, but if you want to learn the shakuhachi then heed these words....a real living, in-the-flesh teacher or one on skype. Books are good for supplementary use, but as a primary guide, they aren't much help. The problem is that the learner doesn't know what they don't know. Do without many of the frustrations and get a teacher.



This point is so good and should be included in the top 5 shakuhachi points of all time. It is very difficult if not impossible to play this instrument without instruction from a teacher. Even a lesson here and there in person or via Skype is so very helpful.
thanks Jeff
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2011-04-02, 07:47    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Todd Frederick wrote:


When I see terms like Tozan and so many more that I can't remember, communication with the novice player is lost.

I'm suggesting a guide, a small book, chart, pamphlet or whatever is needed as a basic introduction to the essential shakuhachi terminology and what these terms mean. I can't even remember the name of the basic set of tunes for zen meditation...Honkyo... or something like that.

Sorry, but I'm just not up there in the high level of this beautiful instrument and don't mind sounding stupid...that's how I learn...asking "stupid questions"

I think a very simple guide would help or a link to one if such already exists.

Thank you, Todd
Very Happy


Hi Todd

Thanks for this. Now I understand much more and surely a list of terminology is probably a good idea so people have the chance to navigate around the shakuhachi world. I think it is fair for the novice beginner who is trying to gather information to try to understand the shakuhachi world before perhaps choosing a teacher or something like that. So thanks for your input.

Meanwhile, komuso.com is a good source of information as Kees suggested and the teacher/approach advices are good to think about too.
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Dun Romin
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PostPosted: 2011-04-02, 21:18    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Smile And mind you well Todd, there's no such thing as a stupid question, just continue to ask, and Ask, and ASk, and ASK.
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Erin
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PostPosted: 2011-04-03, 03:32    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

I think Jeff and Jarle have explained it well. My experience has been as they described. By committing to one experienced and skilled teacher I have gradually been introduced to the world of shakuhachi in a way that has given me a point of reference from which to survey the tradition and provided me with a reliable and patient expert who can answer my many questions. I can't imagine wading through the various traditions of shakuhachi and even the various styles of instrument itself without the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher. It makes sense that, on your own, things would seem very confusing at times Todd.
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Todd Frederick
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PostPosted: 2011-04-03, 22:48    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Thank you for the link to komuso.com and your helpful comments and suggestions.
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Todd Frederick
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PostPosted: 2011-04-03, 23:00    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

Just checked out the Komuso.com site...very good. I have lots of reading to do !!!
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x moran
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PostPosted: 2011-04-05, 05:49    Post subject: Mental Overload Reply with quote

De Fouw wrote:
In the meantime, a lot of information not concering one's playing abilities can be found here:
http://komuso2.com/top/index.pl


Kees here has the right idea if you want the info free, online, but you have to put a lot things together by yourself as it's organized like a web site and not a book with a beginning, middle and "end".
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