Friday, July 30, 2010

The Study of Shodo

Shodo, much like a martial art, is studied for a variety of reasons. For most, it's the learning of “how” the Chinese/Japanese kanji should be properly brushed. This is basically a “mechanical” reasoning to it's study. For some, it's a more “mental” pursuit, the study of Shodo requires a “bit” of an “anal” attitude (leaning towards the “perfectionist”) especially when one considers all of the minute features of execution required for many of the strokes, and kanji. Another, is one of a “meditative” (reason) means. It can often be used as an “escape” from one's daily concern's, and allows one to focus on those (many) “details” that are a part of it's practice, and (thereby) “escape” the daily stresses that one may have
. The study of Shodo requires that many minute details of it's practice are adhered to. Contrary to the commonly held believe, it is not necessary that the practitioner (of Shodo) be versed in the language itself. It is very common for a “shodoka”(one who practices Shodo) to be illiterate of the language itself, yet be competent (if not “adept”) at the art of “Shodo”. As one continues with it's “practice”, a student will (naturally enough) “learn” to recognize many of the kanji, and become familiar with their meanings. That doesn't equate to being “fluent” though, it only means they have become “familiar” with the meanings of (some of) the kanji.
I've had numerous student's, who were “artists”(by “hobby”, and/or “trade”) and would begin to study with me, only to “quit”(usually out of frustration with the requirements of it's execution). They (the one's who “quit”) would insist on performing the strokes, in the (or any) manner “they” wished to do so. I found this “odd”, seeing as how it's fairly popular for an artist to study with another (“artist”) to learn their methods of painting. I'm not sure if they viewed it as “beneath” them? (because they equated it to only being a form of “calligraphy”?), or if it was more difficult than they initially believed. “I”, quit worrying about it(long ago).
For my “present” student's (the majority of which are “martial artists”), It's study(“Shodo”) is mostly “mechanical” in nature. It's taught as a requirement for their kyu rank advancement. There's numerous correlations to the practice of a (their) “martial art”, and those will be shown/illustrated, but “their” study, will focus upon the mechanical execution of performing the strokes/kanji themselves.
For the most part, this blog will do likewise (focus on the mechanical execution of the individual strokes).

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