Once upon a time, not that long ago I wanted to start Renmei Kyudo after, when in Japan I was given unasked for private lessons by Nogami Sensei, a Hanshidan. Something that is spoken of as unheard of in the States. That level of mastery helping even a San-dan much less a non-ranking pond muck from an outside school, and not being at a seminar.
I looked around and found a Dojo near me, I asked to come visit with the idea of joining. I was denied. Reason being I could not attend every Sunday because of my job. This was a reflection on my committent to learning Kyudo. Call again when I can commit I was told, we can talk then.
I looked elsewhere. I contacted another school with a high ranking Sensei. I was told by the contact person, I would not really fit, theirs was a real martial art school. This was based on seeing the word “zen” in my email address. Since he was not the head person I went anyway to visit, thinking, this is rude, but maybe just a test. Afterwards I was told, a new student was just enrolled, the Sensei’s teaching quota was full, try another time.
I looked elsewhere. I joined another school run by a somewhat rouge Sensei. That year I went to Japan to attend a Seminar. I passed Shodan and won third place in the Kyudo World cup.
Now back in Japan I have visited three different schools. At each one I have been welcomed warmly to join. I will be scheduling a another Dojo visit this week. I expect no different with the welcome. I even have an advance introduction from Nogami Sensei to a high ranking Sensei.
The numbers of the US Kyudo membership is low. Not wanting to post like a hater I ‘ll just say without mention of other things… Somethings make you go hmmmmm….Just saying.
I will be joining the Kashida Shrine Kyudojo…Yatta!
They are a small club, the farthest south in Osaka. Something about 20-30 members, many of them old. I was told there about 20 active members. This Dojo is about a 10 min train ride and 10 min walk from me or about 30 min via bike. I was told there are no formal classes at the moment but there are several Renshi and higher ranks attending regularly, I will have no problem with getting guidance.
There is a small yearly membership fee to join the Dojo which runs from Oct to Oct. Since I am starting now, I can attend free (other than a small use fee of 3.00 a visit) until Oct. At that time I will need to join in order to test in Nov. I will be able to take the written test in English. I was planning to start practice today , however with the monsoon upon us and needing to use public trans, walk to and from the station, the dojo mostly open. I followed my Feng Shui school’s advise for those of the year of the Tiger today and mostly stayed home.
I will still be visiting the other Dojo where I have an introduction from Nogami Sensei. It is the only indoor Kyudojo in Osaka. I think it will be good to speak with the head Sensei there, that way I can have another connection and a place to practice that is warm in the winter. I do not have to join the group in order to practice there, just a visiting day fee per hour. So I will be all set soon. A home club, plus a visiting location out of the elements and contacts in high places. Success often comes from, perspective, timing and who you know…Yosh!