DrumBeat News Vol 8 No 3: Put Some Ki in Your Drumming

Tiger Bill Talk

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Back already? I guess you’re wondering why so soon? The fact is that I was quite a bit late getting last month’s newsletter out due to all of the website changes. But, barring any unforeseen catastrophe, I will normally be posting a new newsletter in the first week of each month. This one is actually on time!

So what is this Ki in Drumming stuff all about? Well, if you’re into the martial arts you probably hae heard of Ki. If not, it’s pronounced ‘Key’ or ‘Chee’ (depending on the style of martial art) and it represents the life force that can be generated and controlled through the practice of martial arts. I apply Ki not only in martial arts but in all areas of my life including my concepts of Tension Free Drumming.

Flash back to my performance at Bruce Aitken’s Cape Breton International Drum Festival: If you click the previous link you’ll notice that I opened my segment not by juggling drumsticks but by juggling some Kali sticks, which are basically weapons of the Filipino Martial Arts. I did this to demonstrate how martial art warm-ups can be ideal for warming up your drumming muscles. After my performance, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a large number of audience members were also martial artist-drummers. So not everyone in the place thought I had lost lost my mind by putting on a martial arts exhibition at a drum show!

Speaking of martial artist-drummers, you probably know that the late, great Buddy Rich was a martial artist but did you know that the great Louie Bellson (who passed away last month) was a martial artist too? I believe that is one of the reasons why he was such a great drummer.

During one of our drumming workouts Louie brought up the fact that he studied Aikido, which is a Japanese martial art that literally translated means Ai (harmony), Ki (spirit) Do (way of). In brief, students of Aikido (and many other martial art forms) are taught that your life force (Ki) is centered in your abdomen and radiates from there. Louie said that he applied that principle every time he played his drums. He also said that he never said anything about it to his students because, as he put it, “Could you imagine what they would have thought if I started talking about life force coming out of your abdomen way back in those days, before most people had ever heard of martial arts much less of Aikido?”

I understood exactly where he was coming from and I knew that the reason he shared it with me was because he knew that I was into martial arts and would understand. That and the fact that it was then the 1970s, more than a decade since Bruce Lee first turned the world on to the martial arts!

I also realized that Louie’s study of Aikido was the reason for his incredible positive personality, which emanated from him like a beacon as I said in last month’s Video Recollection of Louie. Just after his passing, one of my site members sent me a YouTube video of one of the last filmed performances of Louie taken in 2008. And, although his performance behind a big band was no longer what we have become used to seeing from him, when you realize the fact that (aside from his age) he had been battling Parkinson’s Disease for many years – it was a true miracle that he could play at all!

I am certain that what helped Louie remain as functional as he did, right to the end, was his knowledge and application of the principles of Ki, which he learned from Aikido.

A student recently asked if he needed to study martial arts to be able to learn my Concepts of Tension Free Drumming and I said that it was not necessary. And although it isn’t, it certainly wouldn’t hurt. And the side benefits of studying a martial art and the principles of Ki, go far beyond its application in drumming! Ki has the power to reshape your entire life. Google it and check it out for yourself.

What Contest Winning DrumHeads Are Saying…

From: tim ironmonger
Subject: contest winner

hi tiger bill just received my dvd anton fig in the groove that i won on your contest site and it is a great dvd with x-lent ideas and tips.. and i have been playing for 40 years (i started when i was 7) and still get excited to learn new ideas to drumming thanks bill cheers tim ironmonger

(Note: Above quote used with permission.)

Congrats to the Winners of Last Month’s Contest!

And a Huge THANK YOU! to the following sponsors for donating the prizes:

ALFRED PUBLISHING Led Zeppelin Mothership Drum Transcriptions Book
HUDSON MUSIC John Blackwell Master Series DVD

Enter My March Contests for Your Chance to Win One of These Cool, Valuable Prizes!

CLICK HERE for a chance to win On The Beaten Path: Metal – The Drummer’s Guide to the Genre and the Legends Who Defined It Book/CD by Rich Lackowski, courtesy of Alfred Publishing

CLICK HERE for a chance to win Russ Miller’s Arrival Behind The Glass DVD/CD 3-Disc Set, courtesy of Hudson Music

Note: You must live in the USA or Canada to be eligible to enter these contests.


In honor of my new Drum Shop opening and of my birthday this month (I’ll be 18 years old again?), I’m running some special deals on books, CDs, and DVDs for half-price and less! These are all new products that are overstocks and quantities are limited, so check them out before they’re gone. One Time Special Sales on DVDs, Books, CDs.

And please note that my new drum shop has an online Chat feature where you can reach me directly with product questions you may have. If I’m not online, just leave a message and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Featured SOLO SPOTS!

Tiger Bill’s Video Drum Lesson: Increase Your Speed Around the Drums: Part 3

Click the link above for another follow-up to my new video speed drum lesson. This lesson represents the 60th free lesson I have produced exclusively for DRUM! Magazine online. That’s exactly five years worth of monthly lessons and I’m looking forward to the next five! Visit the DRUM! Magazine Website and check them out along with the rest of the DRUM! Magazine info!

And while you’re at it, click this link for More Tributes to the legendary Luigi Balassoni – I mean, Louie Bellson!

Tiger Bill’s Latest Bottom Line Reviews

On The Beaten Path: Metal – The Drummer’s Guide to the Genre and the Legends Who Defined It by Rich Lackowski from Alfred Publishing.

John Blackwell Hudson Music Master Series DVD
*** An updated Review of Russ Miller’s new Hudson Music DVD/CD 3 Disc-Set coming soon!***

Join Us for Fun Drum Talks!

I’ve got the hottest Forums on the Web and the safest, most educational no-nonsense ones too! My Forums are frequented by the greatest bunch of DrumHeads on the planet and they are totally free, so why not join us for some interesting talk?
Click Here for Your Free Forum Registration and join in the fun today!

DrumHead Central Forum

Click Here for DrumHead Central the forum where you can view or post questions about drummers, drums, drumming, and gear! Check it out by sampling some of our recent topics below.

Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson Trade Licks Great stuff!

Louie, Philly Jo, Shelly, and Irv. Now this one’s real Cute!

Drum Gear Review by Forum Members

Click Here for Drum Gear Reviews the forum where you can view or write a review on drum gear that you love or hate!

James Walker Reviews Diril Jazz Cymbals. Check them out.


Click Here to tell us all about you! The forum where you can post all about your drumming self including videos, photos,and whatever else you’d like to share with our other Forum DrumHeads!

Welcome TrekDrud97 to the SiteSay Hey to a Sax player turned Percussionist!

Mallet Percussion Forum

Mallet Percussionists this Forum is for YOU! View or post any questions you have about mallet percussion and our in-house expert James Walker will help you.

4-Mallets on a Drumset?. Have you ever tried this?

Thanks For Taking The Time To Check This Out!

If you have any feedback on the new format, please post them in the comment section that follows.

If you’re already registered as a free site member, you will receive a monthly email letting you know when the latest newsletter arrives to keep you informed of our latest contests and other drumming related items. OR, if you prefer, you can simply subscribe to my RSS Feed and you’ll never miss a thing! Just click the previous RSS Feed link and you’re good to go.

Between monthly newsletters, I will be blogging regularly about various topics of interest to DrumHeads so please bookmark this page and/or subscribe to the RSS Feed. Your comments, positive or negative (I take them them as constructive criticism!) are always welcome.

Until next time:
Take care, have fun, stay loose, and I’ll see you online!
Tiger Bill

Check out these other sites, when you get the chance:
TigerBill.com – For Free Expert Drumming Advice
TensionFreeDrumming.com – For Info on my Tension Free Drumming Concepts
DrummersWishList.com – For the lowest prices on the best gear and lesson books/DVDs/CDs


  1. janjer1 March 9, 2009
  2. TigerBill March 11, 2009
  3. Kak October 11, 2014
    • TigerBill January 20, 2015

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