I just returned from Okinawa a couple of days ago. I was on a working adventure. It is slowly being posted on the sailing site, if you are interested. If not, that is why it is separate. I made it back in time to attend the first Tai Kai at Kishiwada kyudojo for this year. I did not know what to expect, it was different and a long day. Interesting, educational, and fun.
I was told it would be only Kishiwada people there, but at the end I found out there were a few others. Ok so this is what went down.
I arrive at 8:00 am, because I figured I did not make the Sat meeting so I would get there early in case I needed to be of help or find out info, whatever. We were told to be there at 8:30. However the doors did not open until 9:45am.
When I arrived the first of anyone. I waited off to the side. Slowly people arrived. I sat, I watched, I waited. Watase Sensei saw me over to the side and came over asking about my paperwork for the upcoming Sandan test. LZ had prepared it the night before and he was expecting it. It looked in order. He took it and went back to the group. After I made a toilet run I came over near to the group and stood. A woman saw me and came over, Konichwa, she said. We are waiting over here, please come join us. Having an invitation how could I refuse. I moved in closer. I went over to where my in-class helpful Sempai was and spoke with him. He gave me the run down on the Tai kai shooting order, and some misc info. Shortly afterward we went in to the dojo.
Everyone changes, gets numbers and prepares. I make my way through the process easy, not even having to say my name at the sign in table as I am recognized there by someone I did not know, who found my name and gave me my number, with out me saying a word.
Opening ceremony is gone through and I wait on the sidelines for the action to start. I hear some numbers of my group being called so I head up to the staging area. There I find out that my helpful Sempai is the number next to me. I also find out I am Omai for my group! ehhhhhhhhhh,Oh snap! Sempai gve me a quick run down. It is a standing shoot with four arrows, so not complex. Several groups of three. Ok, I can do this, I have to, no choice!
Sempai is behind me in the line up, giving me directions. Ok, wait, wait, now go. Big help he was! I missed hits on the first couple of rounds. Which is what I expected. I was not there to win, just to learn and be part of the group. We had three rounds of four arrows. After the first two sets, rounds, I noticed I was hitting in the center of the target area but just below it. I decided to reset my focus point on the last round. I encountered Yamashta Sensei at lunch he asked how it went. I told him my finding, results.. He said it is because your right arm is dropping to low still in Kai, as I told you yesterday. Also your left is dropping in Hanare.
So after lunch on the final round I make a point to adjust my aim a little higher and to keep my right arm a little higher. I am no longer nervous about the nature of the Tai Kai, I focused on my shooting. As my Sempai said. Only think of where YOU are, what you are doing. My next two shoots are hits. Bam! bam! My last two are just off the edge. If I had opened my chest and arms just a little bit more or adjusted just a hair to the left I would have gotten all four shots. Still I was pleased with the two. I feel more confident about the test next month with this info today. I will be focusing on hitting over the next month.
Now I am ready to go home. I am tired. I was up late and up early to get here. However things were not over as yet, far from it in fact. Next up was a bingo game, Kyudo style. It was a team shooting game. You, the group won with four in a row, hots on any direction. It was interesting and hard! However also kind of fun.
When I was not shooting or preparing to shoot. I watched from the sideline, there I found myself often sitting in lotus position dozing off. I was running low on stay awake power. It was kind of funny, everytime I thought things were over and I put away my glove there was another round of something.
The last event was shooting at small Mato. I was not there yet with my aim, so I just did my best and let it go at that. As I said I was not there to win. Finally things wrapped up and it was done.
I made a point of staying behind as a hosting member to help with the cleanup since I could not help with the setup because of my teaching kung fu on the setup night. It was good I did so and did not just leaving, although tired and sleepy. There was a Kishiwada group photo, there was fruit giving to the club members and also I know there were unspoken points made by me being there and helping clean up.
It was a good day, long, but good and worthwhile on several levels. I have a month to prepare for the test. I am feeling better about my shooting, draw, etc and my shoulder is not hurting. Yatta!