View Full Version : budo and drumming

11th October 2003, 05:41
There have been a lot of posts about music and guitars recently. How about drums? I am curious about finding a rhythmic connection between martial arts and drums. Escrima, wing chun and tai chi push hands are obvious. I've read that capoeira stylists must learn berimbau and other percussion in addition to fighting skills.

Are there any drummers with insight or experience here? What are some concrete ways that good rhythm aids training?

John Lindsey
11th October 2003, 07:35
Well, in the old days soldiers they didn't march off to war listening to a guitar playing :).

Two of my favorite drummers are in the Foo Fighters...

Great subject, and I bet we will get a few drummer jokes too...

Prince Loeffler
11th October 2003, 09:48
Originally posted by John Lindsey
Well, in the old days soldiers they didn't march off to war listening to a guitar playing :).

Two of my favorite drummers are in the Foo Fighters...

Great subject, and I bet we will get a few drummer jokes too...

Sure John,

You what you call someone who hangs out with musicians......

A drummer , of course..:D

11th October 2003, 12:34

Try some Taiko-music. It is really impressing thunderlike drumming. One good Taiko group is Kodo, check that out.


11th October 2003, 12:53
just to add to my previous post...

You propably have seen the movie Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger. During the first night fight sequence you can hear really good taiko-drumming on the background.

The whole soundtrack for that movie is good too...


11th October 2003, 13:53
hi cyber,

i got not experience in drum but i know some drummer, i think it improve willpower and energy (ki). see the japanese women playing taiko with as energy as men? i think it can also improve hip movement (taiko only)

as for me flute improve my meditation and breath control, so i would say it is so for the woodwind instrument,

the string instrument improve sensibility, but its not obvious for instrument easy to play like guitar, i have met a violonist who got such energy in the hand that many internal martial artist would like to have :)

11th October 2003, 23:32
Funny you should bring up drums?

Couple a weeks back, when there was a gathering at Smithville by the Leni-Lenape local tribal clan, the four or five drummers who kept or changed the beat were simply fascinating.

I don't know about the crowd, but half the time I watched the drummers as the head drummer would signal to change tempo, rythym, add salutory beats to the dancers, or cause breaks in the drumming. It made me think of the drumming cermonies that come around every so often on the learning channels.

Pretty neat.

You know there is a whole story behind the drum used for cermonys and how they are made?

Maybe another thread.....

Mike Williams
12th October 2003, 12:43
How do you know when a drummer is at your front door?

The knocking speeds up and he doesn't know when to come in.



12th October 2003, 15:49
I was told yesterday at the gym that "you can't break a drummer's fist." I don't know if it's true, though :)

Taiko's much more than the music. I think a group visited Helsinki a while ago..hmm.


Joseph Svinth
12th October 2003, 22:23
Boxing is a percussive activity; listen to the sound on the bag, of the skipping ropes. Jack Johnson moved to Jelly Roll Morton. Sonny Liston moved to Night Train. Mike Tyson moves to rap. Etc.

Stick fighting (to include kendo) is also percussive -- besides the sound of the feet on the floor, listen to the sticks as they hit. You listen to the sound, and you usually know if the hit is solid or not. The musical "Stomp!" will give insight into this.

You can literally hear the era of the boxer (and probably kendoka and karateka) by listening to the sound of the feet on the floor and the hands on the bag or makiwara. Thus, traditional Okinawan karate has an entirely different rhythm and sound (samisen, probably) from its modern derivatives, with their fusion or rap beats.

This is where taiko comes in. See, for example, http://www.taiko.com/resource/history/thundering_takata.html :

"Oguchi [a pioneer of modern taiko drumming, ca. 1947-1950] found the old music rather monotonous and humdrum, and over the course of several performances at festivals and gatherings, he used his experience and technique as a drummer to increase the number of drums used and add new rhythms that gave the piece more musical appeal. Many of those who performed with him had only limited drumming technique, so Oguchi hit on the idea of dividing multiple rhythmic patterns among them. And so, half a century ago, the Osuwa-Daiko group and the modern taiko ensemble were born."


In North America, traditional wrestling and stick fighting drum songs are generally African or Afro-Caribbean. However, in Europe, also check the Romany/Traveller/Gypsy, Muslim, and Sikh communities, where analogous drum songs (and stick and wrestling games) exist.

There are both women's and men's songs, and for wrestling and stick songs, my advice is to ask the drummers and teachers about the men's songs. The best time to see and hear the music live is during Festival. (Festival = Carnival/Duesshera/Muharram, Winter Solstice/Christmas, etc.)

For a discussion of all this in a Senegalese context, see http://ejmas.com/jalt/jaltart_Jensen_0103.html . BTW, "sabar" is pronounced like you're from Boston. In other words, it's "sabah."


Finally, for a book-length discussion of all this in a Western military context, see McNeill, William H. Keeping Together in Time: Dance and Drill in Human History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995). See also Geoffrey Parker, "Parade-ground practice," Times Literary Supplement, June 14, 1996, 26 and John Keegan, "Marching in time through history," Times Literary Supplement, July 12, 1996; and the follow-up letters to the editor in Times Literary Supplement dated August 2, August 9, and August 16, 1996 .

Prince Loeffler
12th October 2003, 22:34
Originally posted by Mike Williams
How do you know when a drummer is at your front door?

The knocking speeds up and he doesn't know when to come in.



Hilarious !

24th October 2003, 04:29
Drummers... They have been always more than respected on those circles, they had been treasured and protected, without biasing they have the storms inside them and the atavic roots of humanity.

Take a look at any serious Music Academy, you can find people there that plays EVERYTHING , amazing! from military rithms, Jhon Bonham bare handed solos, Neil Peart sets, Jazz, African and Asian rithms to Master Tito Puente.

For you to give courage to combatants you have to be really valiant...die playing tambor, pipe or fulía, very old stuff... I dare to say that the spirit of these people have not an inch less than those Samuray or whatever you wish to name.

Have you tried to do 4 things at the same time while singing?

Do you know whats going to happen if you teach these people to spar? the ll beat the sht out of you... :D they rule the tempo, the contratempo, the sincope.
This is an alegory, not necesarily true.

Ive seen many drummers playing and like in every other things theyre very different one from another, but in their commitment they are the same they are simple outstanding, always al punto, no mistakes, they re the base.

All I can say here is long life to drummers...!!

Manuel Ch. A.

Ian McDonald
24th October 2003, 06:29
I have seen rural village (kampong) demonstrations of Malaysian Pentjak Silat where there was the Gamelan orchestra along with a few other instruments, mainly drums and sticks. The orchestra is a series of tuned bells and gongs, really a great sound, especially at the hands of experts. You see them at wedding feasts and various times of ritual importance. During a combat, whether real or for the gods, the orchestra sets the rythm and pace, slowly and deliberately at first. As the fighters start the combat, they generally summon their strength and power, using breathing and tension...moving around in various postures, circling slowly. Meanwhile, the Gamelan and drums are beating out a constant melody (recognizable if you listen for it) As the pace of the fight increases, the orchestra follows the moves of the fighters and actually augments the (somewhat surreal by torchlight) scenario just like an old time piano player at a silent movie. Reminds me of a Grateful Dead(ly) jam. Very cool.

So not really drums and martial arts, but one example of the intimate connection people can feel to the Vibration.

24th October 2003, 07:30
Yep, sometimes they use the taiko drums at embukia. Kind of neat too. Adds atmosphere.

There is a Taiko dojo in San Francisco that is really cool. They sometimes make their own drums and have them custom made. The training there is just as much budo as "painting" or "calligraphy" is.


27th October 2003, 15:29
Percussion is everything in capoeira, and it's amazing how the music can change the emotional condition of the fighters. I've been to afro-brazilian religious cults wich seems to apply the same idea.

Is it just me, or some of the positions of taiko drummers are old martial arts stances?