More Tweaks, Tai Hai, and Straw

Sooooo, last week, at Kyudo, more tweaks. It is an on going process, re-learning, changing, adapting, correcting. I am thinking my Tenouchi is improving I have not gotten any corrections on that in almost almost two weeks. More of the points I needed to correct are starting to feel less weird when doing them. So that must mean progress. I spent less time on the makiwara the last two visits to the Dojo, still not full focused on making a hit, but doing all the parts right up to the release then seeing how far my aim is off. One of the major things about studying in Japan vs the states is details here. This weeks corrections included. holding the Ya, so that when walking they are not only angled in line with the Yumi so that virtually they end at the same point, but also keeping the feathered ends together when holding. Also hands location on the waist and angle of the bow and string when holding and walking. Details, like in Kung Fu it is knowing the details that make one good. In watching someone perform at a demo or something one does not have to watch the whole form to know if the performer is any good. One ( with knowledge ) can tell from the few opening moves. I heard the same said about a kyudoka, how one enters the Dojo a Master can tell if he is worth watching…Details and Spirit. It is good my testing is a ways off with all this reshaping I am undergoing…no complaints, it is a good thing.

Yamashita Sensei is in charge of the Kyudo program at Osaka castle I believe. If not in charge he does teach and lecture there for sure. He is the Sensei that Nogami Sensei spoke with about me coming to Kishiwada Dojo. I had been unable to met him so far due to bad timing and his schedule. He called us the other day and spoke with LZ. Saying he has been very very busy, but usually comes to Kishiwada on the weekends. He said heard I had been coming in and just wanted to contact me. He told us there was a Tai Hai on this coming Sat. he would be there. If I was coming we could meet.
I made arrangements to attend on Sat. The weather was good and I had the day to spend. It was an all day event, so I could ride my Organic Powered Eco Friendly Human Transport Vehicle (OPEFHTV). After a mild breakfast I headed out. I noticed right off how the Ride was different without my equipment. I had gotten permission to leave my gear at the dojo the other day instead of carrying it every time to practice. So yeah I am officially in now at Kishiwada. Other than the ride home without it this was my first trip going. Having tires full of air and no equipment really makes a difference on the ride over. I did not check my travel time, since I had plenty of time to get there, I just cruised.
Once I arrived I headed up to the Dojo it was packed. I did not know where to start,as far as finding a place to watch. After a few minutes of just taking things in I asked. The person looked a little surprised by my question on where to sit to watch. She in turned asked someone else, who asked me to wait while she asked someone else. Before the answer came, another person saw me who knew me and said something to both of the other people and I was immediately asked to follow. Once I step inside right away I encounter Yamashita Sensei who introduced himself. I did the Hajime thing and then was lead to the judges box. I was surprised at that, I was expecting a spot in the corner over to the side.
Shortly after Yamashita Sensei came in and we chatted for a while. He seems like a very nice person I like him. I did not get all that he was saying but I did get most and we communicated and I felt relaxed. He pointed out a few people thought where good with their shooting and Tenouchi since I said I needed more Tenouchi work. He also gave me a few hints on my arm when going from to Kai. Straight but relaxed, no tension in the elbow, but straight.
He went about doing his thing after a while I watched and took pictures. I was surprised to see that he and the Kaicho also competed, and in the same group next to each other. Kaicho shot a little better. I also spoke some with some of the others I knew there. One sensei about cameras, and photography since he brought his equipment as well for photos. It was kind of interesting having visited three other dojos that i knew some people from four Dojos, attending. Including one girl from the Shrine dojo who was pleased to see me and waved from across the room. I went over and spoke to her and said ganbatte!
One thing I noticed about the tournament here was that it was much more relaxed than I had expected. I have only been to two really. One in Japan in Tokyo, the big one and one at a seminar in the states. I did not enter that but drove the visiting Hanshis there from their hotel and hung out while they watched and talked. Anyway I did not have a lot of experience with Tourny’s and thought things would be more formal like testing. Over all things were relaxed. I decided once I get to a comfortable place with re-training and can start hitting again. I will join some of the local Tourny’s just for the heck of it and mixing with folks. 
At lunch time I walked around the area, there was some event going on at the park across the street. I walked over to check it out. They were also on lunch break so not much to see, but some folks were hanging out enjoying the day. I wandered around and took some shots before heading back inside for the afternoon shooting.
After everyone had shot and were getting ready to make the awards, I said Osake ni and excused myself to head home.
I took my time on the trip home. I stopped at a local shrine, also stopped at the local Home Depot/hardware kind of place. I was so pleased to have found it, Yatta!
I found just the piece I needed for the shooting platform for my home Makiwara dojo. Good timing, the straw bale I order arrived also on Sat. It is not as firm, packed as I hope for, but I think still usable. I picked up some wire to re-wrap it some and make a bit of modification for my needs. I am hopful to be able to do some home practice soon. 
Also the ceremonial New Year 108 Ya event is up coming. Even if I can not do the whole 109 it would be good to participate in the spirit of unity.
For those you do not know what I am talking about on the 108 Ya. It is a Buddhist tradition to ring a bell at a shrine 108 times for the 108 sins. My sempai at RSD came up with the idea to shoot 108 arrows on New Year as our Kyudoka ceremony equivalent as practicing ZenHeads. It seems now our tradition has taken hold with at least one Zen priests who teaches Kyudo, Dojos, perhaps some other dojos as well.



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