a step is a step

step is a step, sometimes a step back is as good as a step forward. Perhaps even better at times, so one can reflect, correct and like an arrow shoot forward. Same as in “Sometimes when you lose, you win”… Todays Zen thoughts.


So the other day I had a lesson in Kyudo which I had posted. I thought I was about to make a big break through. I found this set of videos to confirm what I thought I was learning. They were somewhat helpful with that and very helpful on other ways. So I practiced what I thought I was doing wrong. Today I went to class…
Well my first wrongness was not so wrong, but what I thought was right was wronger than my closer to right, wrong, but still wrong, wrongness. In short I went to far. Ok, so I need to find the middle way. I had the chance to work with Yamashita Sensei again today. I am going to start making a effort to attend Sat classes. It seems like his schedule is back to where he is there on Sat. again. He was not for a while. I feel a real connection with him, maybe because of the introduction from Nogami Sensei we have a Sniq. Maybe it is just him and me, anyway, I like him also the Kaicho, both make a point to help me. With them even though they do not speak English for the most part I get what they are saying. Well I mostly kind of get what everyone who helps me is saying for that matter. Ok, so I digress.
Y. Sensei moved my arm through the path it is suppose to travel, thereby giving me a better sense of what I am suppose to do. He also checked my Yumi strength and said it is good even with a weak shoulder, lighter would not be good. I just need to draw proper. Anywho I have a better idea now, just doing it with a Yumi is the challenge.
He did give me a correction on my right hand which I can make stick. I was losing my Jumonji on my draw. I was thinking I needed to keep my whole arm in this line , but it is my thumb and the string that need the focus. No tension in my arm , just enough in the wrist to maintain the Jumonji, but not extend the tension into the hand, and arm. Keep the alignment let the glove and alignment hold the string not my hand power Maybe poor wording, but to non-Kyudo readers it does not matter, and to Kyudo readers, you already know. Anyway pull with the elbow out and down, my hand should travel along my eyebrow level. Once elbow and arms level then pull outward with elbow. Pull with the right elbow, push with the left. Stay centered, expand from the center, open like a ballon. This is the combined lessons of the Kacho and Y. Sensei. Advance readers know this, this is repeated here for me! Written to mind program myself. Still to “understand is easy, to do is hard” .
Most of my time in class today was spent on the Makiwara and “air” shooting and drawing. I did do the mato for four shoots. All misses of course. Making major changes in form always changes the end travel of the Ya. Sometimes for better sometimes for worse. Depending on your perspective.
The end of all this just confirms I still have a ways to go. Even with the half step back I took a bigger step forward in understanding. Now to change that understanding from formless to form.
My friend also living here is the same Dan as me. I will need more work! He has been hitting the mato a fairly good ratio, better than mine. He took his fourth try at San Dan this week. He missed any hit at the test. He will try again…”desire for the prize corrupts the skill “…Zen

When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
he goes blind
or sees two targets
– he is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize
divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting
and the need to win
drains him of power…Chuang Tzu


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