Friday, June 5, 2009


Before you read this post, check out the Prelude with Ryo Shimamoto here.

And, here I am bringing you a drill that I have trouble with myself--again! You may know that the two most common ways to play katsugi are on a diagonal angle and then horizontally, with the drum across both legs.

Focus: Balance, Form
Watch For:
1. Don't strike the drum or think about striking the drum. Be aware of your stick placement, your grip and where your body weight lies.
2. Even though it may seem boring to practice, it's important to be able to move between these positions without the drum swinging out of control. Repeat this drill until you have control over the drum.

Let's practice switching the drum between these two positions before we aim to strike simultaneously. Starting in the basic position taught last week, the drum stays anchored on the left thigh. From there, move the left leg forward and wide so that the drum's center is lined up with your body's center.

Because the place where the drum is anchored on your thigh just to the left of the center of the drum, you must compensate for this by placing the left foot on the floor, slightly in front of the right leg. So, while the drum is directly horizontal across your body, your left leg is front and the right leg is back. Keep that right leg planted in the ground.

Last week I talked about having most of your weight forward when playing in a slant form. You'll notice in the video here that my weight doesn't seem to be shifting out of my right leg. When you're playing both styles back and forth, this keeps the drum from moving around. If you're settling in to play in the horizontal style for a while, then let your weight center and ground yourself.

Notice that the right hand moves with the drum, keeping the stick's point at the center of the drum head. The left hand switches to the left side, aiming to keep the point at the center of that drum head. We'll explore further next week how to get that stick to the center and how the grip of the left hand should adjust.


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