Taking Giant Steps

“I was shooting for something different. Like, some of my influence was John Coltrane — I played the sax, as well. So listening to him play and the different rhythms that he had: I was trying to write my rhymes as if I was a saxophone player.”

—Rakim

‘Silly Instrument’ by Ana

If you only look at other people or ideas in your same field for inspiration, never looking outside of that particular field, your ideas will be limited to the ideas that already exist in your field. This is fine if your aim is merely to add to or augment ideas that already exist in your field, but if you want to do something entirely new, if you want to change your field entirely, you must look outside, where others in your field have never looked before.

This does not mean that all ideas from all fields or ideas mix well. Not all so-called fusion is inherently good. The work you do must still hold within it the essence of what it was or is intended to be, bound together by the integrity of the structure that defines it as belonging to your particular field. It is possible for an idea or a creation to become so abstract that it is useless.

To someone, your music must still sound pleasing, your food must still taste delicious, your art must still be moving, your writing must still be inspiring, and your product must still be useful. The form must have some function. The point is that we should be willing and open to receive inspiration from anyone, anywhere. Before we can be effective creators, we must first be humble observers.

“As in life, so too it is in budo. As in budo, so too it is in life.”

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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