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The essence of taiko is not only the skillful playing of percussion instruments, but also the discipline of mind and body in the spirit of complete respect and unity among the drummers. It is also the ultimate challenge of reaching the point of unity of the drummer’s spirit with the drum.
WAZA – Tanaka sensei believes in preserving the oral tradition of passing songs on through words. Taiko songs are not learned through a notated score. Playing taiko is an act of communication. By speaking the song, the spirit of the song can be conveyed. Ultimately, the sound of the drum must communicate this spirit. The voice is also used extensively in performance. Throughout the song, the voice is used for encouragement, communication and expression.
KARADA – Physical strength and endurance is important. Dojo members repeat basic drills over and over. However, strength training is never separated from training of the spirit. “When you have played with all your strength and you feel tired, that is when you can truly begin to play, tapping into the energy deep within you,” teaches Tanaka Sensei.
REI – Basic communication always begins with a greeting. Students learn the importance of greeting their instructors and each other when meeting or taking leave, with an energetic “Ohayo gozaimasu / Konichiwa / Konbanwa” or “Arigato gozaimahsita.” Taiko students always bow to their teachers and when entering or leaving the dojo, a place of study and discipline. The bow and the audible greeting convey appreciation and respect. The attitude is vital when approaching the drum.
San Francisco Taiko Dojo Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka~
The mission of TDI is to promote the traditional Japanese cultural, educational opportunities, and physical fitness using and performing with taiko drums. Our name, Tomodachi Daiko, means “Friends of Taiko Drumming.” It is also our mission to extend friendship and bring awareness of cultural diversity and traditional arts to our audience. Taiko drumming, a traditional Japanese art form dating back thousands of years, showcases unity in song, movement, and spirit with its power and energy. TDI teaches manners, respect, and self-discipline that is at the heart of Japanese culture while building taiko families and friendships that last a lifetime.