We've been hard at work preparing for the coming Japan Fest demo! This is an important time, not only for our school, but also for the students who are participating. Much can be learned from demo practice. Here's what one of our senior students has to say about it:
"A demo shows off and supports your school. Hopefully this brings your school positive attention. It may even help out the community, but isn’t it just a bunch of fake things acted out on stage?
In the demos I’ve done, real techniques were done. They may have been slowed down, performed precisely, with large movements, longer pauses, so the audience may see what is being done. Slowing down, practicing large precise movements in itself is a good way - possibly the only way - to learn techniques. But there is some acting for the demo.
Yes there is acting... is that a bad thing? Are there lessons in the acting, beside the repetitions and practice? I think so. The acting helps one understand how a technique should affect an Uke. You should see and feel the head move, the spine twist, the weight shift, and the structure fail. Once you understand the Uke’s movements, even in a large showy way, you can start “acting” in those ways. This way you can move to ameliorate any harm of an attack by “acting” and moving slightly out of the way. “Acting” to draw in your uke, match and blend into their attack, take them off balance, lead them into a poor position, to trap your attacker and still look innocent to all witnesses. Acting is just another tool to help shinobi get home.
Hiding your intention is one of the things you can learn and practice getting ready for a demo."
Regardless of whether you like or dislike demos, you can always learn new things if you keep an open mind. Great insight!