Training has started, the real deal, now that my stuff is here. The plan is Monday/Weds/Fri are Kung Fu at the local shrine. This Monday I started, not really started because I have been doing that before. However now I can add in a weapon per session. Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Shaolin/Mantis and a weapon. The getting up at 6:00 am is out, winter is creeping in and I hate it. More so in a house with no heat per se. So it is up at 7:00 am now, at least it is light, morning Meditation then out to the shrine. I am sure I will miss some days, like when it is raining, but that is ok. It is all for me anyway. One good thing about this season is I do not have to be feeding or repealing the mosquitoes much longer.
Tuesday I started my Kyudo routine. The plan for that is Tues/Thurs/Sat this will be a challenge. Not so much the training three times but the commute. In order to do this I need to ride the bike. I did so today, it is about a 2 hour ride one direction. Not too bad on my legs but my knees did hurt for a time. I am guessing it will get easier as I do it. Thurs was my second trip. One of the Sensei saw me, and asked about it, everyone was shocked I was bike riding that far. Yeah, I kind of am also, but since i can not afford the train fare and I want to train ( same spelling different meanings, this is why English is hard), one does what needs to be done…yosh.
The ride itself is not bad, there are only a few slight hills and some interesting areas to go through. I found a couple of recycle shops, I love theses kind of places. I also stopped at a nursery and got some info on a red maple for my garden. It looks kind of funky in this picture but pretty live.
Back to the biking to class, it will mean leaving at 8:00 am on Thursday to arrive in time for class. The other days I can arrive as I please. Tuesday I went, they were surprised to see me. Perhaps because I arrived almost an hour later than most or because it was not expected For me to be there. No matter. I went in greeted those there and set about to practice. The Kaisho came over and checked out my Yumi from the states and gave it the ok. I was surprised that he helped me with my Daisan and tenouchi as I was just planning on practicing. He gave me some pointers, then went to lunch. I stayed and went through those things.
There was another man there who watched me. When I practiced on Kiza he came over and gave me some corrections, how to kneel, how to stand, my neck position, also on my bow and breathing at various points. Also he told me when I draw I should not be using my hands or arms but my elbows. Interesting that he told me this after he asked my Dan, and where I received it. Maybe it was too much info for a Shodan.
I also asked his opinion about the draw weight of my Yumi. He thought it was good for my level at 15 or so Kg. He added that at San-dan /Yon-dan I should be using a heavier Yumi. I said I have a 18k, he said that would be right.
He also inquired how long I would be in Japan. I told him as far as I know I am here for good now. The last thing he asked before leaving was when are my practice days. He nodded and said he would see me then. I guess I have been taken under his wing.
(update) I found out later this person is a another Sensei. I heard someone say His name with Sensei behind it. It is always a good thing to listen and be respectful to everyone, you never know. At least until they show you otherwise 🙂
I went to class this week as I said, via bike I also went in on Sat. there were different people there. I was hoping to see Yamashita Sensei, but he was not there. Another Senpai was there, he was preparing to leave when I showed up. He was helping another beginner as he was leaving and noticed me watching. He came over and showed me some pointers. I had planned on just practicing that day, however he gave me some advice so I listened. This was a busy week on corrections. I feel like a beginner again and like when after I had been teaching Kung Fu on my own for a while started training with another “Uncle” on Tai Chi, Basicly I started again from the bottom up. Here again is the case, I have no problem with it, I feel it is important to have a firm grip on the basics. My Sempai after a few corrections to my Tenouchi, Hikiwaki and Kai and had given me the ok, said I should go to the Mato. I declined and stayed more on the Makiwara. I feel it was worth it, I think I finally got the hang of the correct form and performance. Tuesday will be the test when some of the Sensei are there and watch. Either way it was worthwhile to bike in for the extra training. Something that could not have been done at the Shrine Kyudojo.
Even if nothing else has gone to plan with coming to Japan, at least the Kyudo training part is on course. When testing times comes I will be prepared with more than just making hit…yosh!