Too much help?

Perhaps sometimes there can be too much help…

Tired again today, I took the train to the Dojo. I was close to over doing the bike this week with the heat. I had planned on taking the train to my temp gardening job, but, I rode the bike. It was not bad, but yesterday and today my legs are spent. 
I arrived at the Dojo, there was no one there, zero. I am surprised and pleased. Finally I can get some uninterrupted, focused practice. I got the key from the office, a first for me. Everyone knows me so not a biggie. I opened the store room, got my equipment and set up the mato for one. Whoohoo!
I made myself ready , I thought I would also get in in a few pictures and film a bit so my friend in CA could critique me in English. No sooner than I settled in I hear noises. A person from the office has come in with two people. He asks me something which I have no idea is. All I understood was “daijoubu deska?” I figured whatever it can not be much of a big deal so I say ok. It turns out it is a girl and her mother, they are interested in kyudo and wanted to watch me practice. Sigh…so much for my peaceful practice.
I went on about my business. I had purchased a new pair of Ya. Seems to me they flew higher than my old ones. Or maybe it is me. Anyway no hits from them. For that matter not much from the old one either. I am working in some corrections from the other day with the Sensei. Change something, change everything.
A short while passes, very short about two shots and a Sempai shows up. She asks me to put up a couple more Mato when I go retrieve my ya. I comply, and go back to shooting.
After my next set, I am told I am shooting low, reason is because I am leaning toward the mato, I need to stay centered. I have heard that before. I make a mental note to adjust that more. Also I need to open more at Hanare I am tending to close up. Yup another reminder, this is why my shots are on the right of the mato. Helpful!
Next she wants me to go through Tai Hai with her. Of course I say ok. (do I have a choice ) Afterward I get an OK! Yokatta! Even though I feel there are a couple of points I need to refine overall, I am comfortable with it. I have for the most part incorporated the corrections from the other Sempai(s) (is there as “s” if pural?).
Yatta! Ok, back to shooting, I work on staying centered. Sempai watches then gives some pointers. after asking about my shoulder. She shows me the chart on the wall. Seems I have been focused on keeping my arms, both of them level at at the same height in Kai. However it is not so, the left is a little high, and the right is a little bit low, once in Zanshin they are level. Hmmm ok. Helpful. Also I am told I am “pushing” with my right too soon, I should start my hikiwaki with my left “pull” then follow with the right, then as I am coming out of DaiSan balance them out and stay centered. Wow, helpful, but a lot. Easy to say and understand, hard to do. I am also suppose to do Hiwaki from Daisan at an angle not come direct down the side of my face. Something the Kaicho said.
Another Sempai is also there he arrived shortly after her. After I am done with another set of ya he says, something about do not be so short with my Zanshin. Everyone that knows I am testing is helpful, but how do you process and incorporate all this. Maybe this is why there are less details covered in the states, only what is needed for the next test level. More of the big picture then work on the details later. Kind of the western school system these days. 
I noticed that with my Kung Fu practice around Sisuk as well. Even if I am just out cruising through practice, working on something, I am corrected, called on for over looking some small thing leading up to that application, movement or something.
So can one get too much help, hmmm. I guess. If one gets in the habit of sliding over things, leading up to whatever it is your focus is on, makes one forgetful, and sloppy when it is needed. The word mindful comes to thought. Full completion of one moment (action) as perfect as possible before moving to the next. So yeah, I can not work on a good, Dosukuri if my Ashibumi is lame. Shifu says of do a thousand kicks and you will understand the correct way to do them. Sisuk says, why do a thousand kicks if 900 of them are wrong. Correct it in the beginning. Both are masters, styles Philosophies are different. So yeah, I guess it is better for me to be corrected now, getting the help, even of it upsets my practice plan. So when I shoot 1000 ya or 100, 80% will not be wrong. The time I lose now correcting some small point can save me time later…rational thought.
So can there be too much help…
Like most things in life, yes and no. One needs to be on the correct path, with the correct form. however one still needs time, focus, internal study to make it all come together. 
This post may not make sense to anyone but me, just doing some musing.
On the other hand…I was told by this same Sempai that it looks nicer if I wear a white inner glove with my Yukake rather than the black dragon print I have…
Perhaps that starts getting into the too much help area.
count down…t-minus 2weeks
Oh Flash: Today is the one year anniversary of leaving Mexico for Hawaii. What a long strange trip it’s been.


5 thoughts on “Too much help?

  1. I know the feeling. When I get confused by too much advice I try to focus first on the things that are earliest in the process, so entering the dojo, say, or the various moves before even getting to the sha-i. They set up the rest, so it makes sense. And then within shooting, of course, use the order of the hassetsu. So ashibumi first, etc. It really is true (in my experience) that if ashibumi is off, it will have subtle effects on everything else.

    The thing about the teachers is that they take the long view. For them it’s not the test that matters but the way you shoot. Both you and they are after something deeper, after all. To that end, for better or worse, I should say that the idea of hitting once to pass san-dan isn’t really gospel. It’s just a rule of thumb. I’ve seen people who missed both arrows pass, while other people who hit the target with both arrows failed. So the way you shoot matters more, and that may be why you’re getting so much help. In truth I think the attention is often a sign of respect. Teachers seem to recognize when someone is making a genuine effort, and so make extra efforts themselves to help. I don’t know if its true of all teachers/sempai, but I’m convinced that it does happen.


    • Konnchiwa, So da na! I have heard of people hitting, friends actually and have failed. Then another friend was really upset, because in Tokyo someone passed to San-dan without hitting and he was failed another time for not hitting. So yeah, seems like the hit thing is a default they are looking at something more overall.

      I am grateful for the attention I am receiving. Especially since it is from many not just one person. It makes me try harder to not waste their efforts. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, sorting, prioritizing, implementing…remembering. I started writing notes. A couple of the advanced Sempai got a kick out of that.

      • Yeah, I agree it’s hard to get advice from several teachers at once, because you do feel like you should put what they tell you into practice right then and there. The trouble is that sometimes you get conflicting advice! Sometimes I use WordPress as a way to organize it all. Trying to write a (semi) coherent posting forces me to think things through more.

        As for writing notes, yep… me, too. Otherwise I know I’ll forget. Then I review the notes before the next practice.

        By the way, when exactly is your test? The 15th? I ask because I’ll be going to one as well on that day. Good luck to us both!

  2. So far I have been lucky and received no conflicting instruction. I have been dreading that happening. I thought it had but it was my not understanding. Writing a post does help organize one thoughts a nice thing about a blog. Sort of like teaching, if you can explain it clearly to another then you have it. At least in your mind. Understanding is easy , doing is hard.

    Yea, june 15th, ganbarimasho! 🙂

    You are testing Hanshi 🙂

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