I went back to Banpaku Kyudojo today. This was my last week in the area and I was looking to see Nogami Sensei before we left to our new digs ( home) . I wanted him to know I have been practicing also to get some feed back from him on my shooting and form. The last two times I have been there he has not. Today was cooler so I figured he would come by.
I got the usual friendly greetings from everyone, perhaps a bit more so this time as they know me by now, I am a local. I was over in the markiwara area when I saw Sensei come down the street. I was the first to greet him when he entered. He smiled upon seeing me and said something I did not quite get, but I know it was good. Something like, it is good you are here to practice or something like that.
I continued to stretch and practice on the makiwara. After a while I was called by one of the Renshi to join them and the others in front of Sensei shooting.
I messed up a bit on the edict of the first shot. I knew one did the full Tai Hai at Senshinkan on the first shot, but I did not know here also, I thought so but was not sure. Now I do. Anyway Sensei had me at the first marker in front of him. I went through the steps, I thought I did fairly well. I missed my first shot by a little. On the second shot he told me to straighten my left more. Turn the elbow out instead of down. My shot would be better. I did, it hit center! He smiled and gave me the two thumbs up saying, San-dan, Sandan no problem! I had another small correction on my exit it was just a bit short.
I was off to the side drilling the arm thing when I was called in next to Sensei. He had me put my hand on his belt at his stomach. Then we went through the 8 steps showing me where to breath especially in Kai and Hanare. I bowed and went to practice that.
After a while I was again called by the group to join in. Full Tai Hai. I was asked did I want to be first, Omai? Ehhhhhhhhh?!! They laughed and said the middle is better? Hai ! I said and off we went.
My second round was not as good. Sensei said something wile I was shooting, I did not quite get, but i think it was correct your arm. My first shot was bad. The second, I corrected sooner and did the breathing, I was in line with the center but just a bit low on the aim. Still not bad I thought. Oh,yeah that is when I got the correction on coming forward more before turning. The first time I was already in front position.
So a few moment of practice I was called up again by Sensei. This time he had one of the Seniors go through the whole Tai Hai from the beginning and gave me corrections. Bow from the hips more, not the head. Keep my Yumi and Ya in line when moving, kneeling, standing. On Hirakiashi my knees were off. I found out later from another head Sensei speaking in English, said I should not move my right knee when doing Hirakiashi. Lifting the left is ok but not too much, but the right should not move. Once I did the turn I was adjusting both. I spent the rest of the day working on that and bowing and exhaling on my shot. Note: I just looked at the Kyuhon it says move the right but do not move the left…great! Controversy
Not having practiced anything the last week and half I was running out of steam. My legs where getting weak. Such is the importance of keeping up my Tai Chi and Fu practice daily, keeps my leg power up. It has been too hot by the time I have been getting up, also the mosqutoes have been a great turn off. I got some new oils in this week to mix up a batch of repellent. The peppermint oil alone has not been working that well. Now I have oils of Catnip, peppermint, lavender, and citronella. I will make up my own blend. I may smell kind of weird, but if I do not get bit, it is ok. I can wash afterwards.
Anyway, my legs were getting weak toward the end. The group took a break I continued to practice and stretch my hip joints. I need to start back with my yoga in the a.m. on a regular schedule. There is more to Kyudo than just shooting, as there s more to Kung Fu than fighting. Sensei sent someone to fetch me to the break room for tea. I was given something that was red like Hibiscus, but tasted like apple cidar vinegar. It was iced. If I not used to drinking Apple Cidar vinegar it would have been weird. Well it was still weird but in a good way. Along with that we had some chocolates. This is the difference between Banpaku and Senshinkan, the group. I have not been with all the groups there as they have many different times for meeting. Still I doubt if they have this type of gathering, it is a different kind of feel there.
I decided on the way home, even after we move I will come back from time to time work practice with this group and Nogami Sensei. It will be a bit costly so it will not be often. Hopefully the Universe will provide me with some work income, then at least I can visit every couple of months. I certainly want to come again once before I test in Nov…Yosh!