Published by ShawnKinley on

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The Game of distraction and Focus

I discovered this game from students when I was in teaching in Tokyo. I’m not sure where it actually came from or who created it. Whoever it was… they were cruel! (Let me know if it was you!)

It’s a crazy little game. It’s a little elegant and a little stupid. It contradicts how many improvisation teachers want to deal with Failure. This game screams out our mistakes and we can scream right back in fun. It’s a good game to practice our relationship with failure.


ORIGIN: Japan (unknown)

BENEFITS: A crazy quick shot of energy, Practice with focus, Dealing with Stress and Failure.

# PEOPLE: Groups – 5 or more

GOAL:  Be the last to survive a barrage of annoying distractions while repeating a simple series of actions.


  1. Stand in a circle.
  2. The FIRST person salutes with the (left or right) hand to their forehead and says “AH!”

    PAY ATTENTION TO THE DIRECTION OF THE FIRST PERSON’S HAND WHEN THEY SALUTE… The direction of their fingers points to the next person. A salute pointing RIGHT gives control to the person on the right. Pointing to the left moves the direction left.

  3. The SECOND person salutes with their left or right hand at THROAT LEVEL and says “SO!”

    AGAIN, PAY ATTENTION TO THE DIRECTION OF THEIR FINGERS. The direction of their fingers points to the next person. Saluting to the RIGHT gives control to the person on the right. Saluting left moves the direction left.

  4. The FINAL person in the series claps both of their hands together and aims them to anyone in the group while saying “KA!”  
  5. REPEAT these three actions beginning with the person who was just pointed at. AH SO KA!  AH SO KA! (Remember, the person who goes next is determined by the direction of the salute for AH and SO. The clapping hands chooses the next person for KA!). Do this a few times.
  6. NOW THINGS GET CRAZY-  You are probably making a few mistakes. That’s normal. When a mistake happens, EVERYONE, TOGETHER, IN UNISON points at the person who made the mistake and yells (Together, everyone, in unison) “YOU ARE OUT OF THIS GAME!
    Ohhhhhhhhh – it’s so harsh but… that person isn’t really out of the game…)
  7. The person who made the mistake steps outside the circle and distracts the others. They might be saying Ah So Ka out of time or finding other non-contact ways to break everyone’s concentration.
  8. Eliminations continue until the two final survivors are left.


  • A salutes -fingers at forehead height and says AH! (They’ve chosen to salute to the left)
  • B, standing left of A salutes at NECK level and says SO!. (They also chose to salute left. The turn moves on to C)
  • C Yells KA! and claps his hands together aiming at K across the circle.
  • K starts with AH! again. K salutes -fingers at forehead and says AH! (They have saluted left)
  • L –standing to the left – salutes at NECK level and says SO!. (Pointing RIGHT which moves it back to K)
  • K – wasn’t expecting it, get flustered and salutes and says AHHH!!! by mistake. (they should have clapped in someone’s direction saying KA.
  • EVERYONE sees the mistake and together yells, “YOU ARE OUT OF THIS GAME
  • K steps back and circles around the group saying AH KO – Sa KA, SO! (or whatever) and is proud of herself for causing others to make mistakes.
  • And so it goes!

TEACHING TIPS: In the beginning, Practice the “AH SO KA” pattern with everyone doing it at the same time, to get their bodies used to the actions and words.

Practice the game without eliminations for a little bit 

Introduce the eliminations.

Make sure you get everyone to pay attention to the mistakes. Mistakes are easily missed when people are concentrating on their own survival and fail to see what others are doing.

Encourage everyone to be in sync  when they point and say “YOU ARE OUT OF THIS GAME!”

When people are circling and distracting the inner circle, tell them not to yell into people’s ears and no physical contact or being mean spirited.

IMPORTANT: It’s fun BUT don’t play it for too long. AND don’t play it when people have headaches. It can overwhelm people. It’s a little insane but a lot of fun. 


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