Over the weekend, I had the honor of being included on a list of photographers asked to attend a local women's martial arts training camp.
This is a long running event and my photography teacher is part of the team that pulls off this amazing training event every year.
As I am still a *very* amateur photographer, this event tested every single one of my limited abilities for taking clear and decent photographs of powerful ladies in action.
I've never been much of a martial arts kind of gal myself, so being a part of these classes, taught in many cases by world renowned instructors, was enlightening.
Oh the kicking! The hitting! The breaking chokes. The takedowns.
I found myself spectating much of the time, forgetting to use that picture-taking tool in my hand for its intended purpose. It was that intense!
But for all of that, I have to say, the class that made the biggest impression on me was the Taiko drumming class, taught by a lady named Ikuyo Conant.
This tiny woman took FULL control of a class full of strong powerful martial artists and had them drumming their hearts out.
These ladies were out on a cool Sunday morning with roses in their cheeks, whanging away at the drums and laughing. They were all having the best time. Some of the most muscle bound and rather serious women were shaking their groove thang and laughing like school girls.
It was not only a joyful place to be, it was a joyful thing to photograph. The "energy in the room," so to speak, was overwhelming. I laughed along with them. I cheered when they made it through a sequence with nary an error.
After watching Judo, Wing Chun, Tai Kwan Do, and other ancient (and potentially rather violent) arts, I found that Taiko was head and shoulders above the rest as the class I most want to take.
I'm ready to shake the maraca's that the good lord gave me (oh wait, cross culture reference there...whoops) while I beat hell out of a drum.
I haven't yet processed all the photos from the weekend, and I don't have permission (yet) to post photos of participants, but here is a quick snap of Madame Conant doin' her thang.
And oh yes, the rhythm got a hold of me, too!
: shake shake :