I have said this before, it was told to me by one of my Kung Fu family, and Uncle working with me on push hand drill of Tai Chi. In order to see what you are doing wrong you have to lose, give way, yield. There is a Taoist saying about yielding to overcome. Same idea…
These days I am up against the challenge of passing my YonDan Shinsa. Beside training on shooting, I am working with bring the mental aspects of my other art and some of the physical into training. My shooting has been really sucky lately. I have accepted that I am obviously not ready, however I continue to train just to give it my best shot. Well shots in this case. It will be a training mission.
Somewhat like doing push hands with my Sisook ( uncle) knowing I will not win, but I am making small steps in learning. So in this case I found a couple of things falling into place, my Hikiwaki improved. Not so shallow as before, when I arch early, forearm and hand relaxes able to draw with my elbow. Today, I may have made a bring break through thanks to a Sempai Sensei. We share musical interest besides Kyudo so we have a deeper connection. He helped me correctly tie my Kimono and Hakama. That was a big deal, now I dress like I know what I am doing, mostly sometimes. my knot still needs work.
So the Kaicho has been telling me relax my Hanare, someone else perhaps Yamashita Sensei was telling me just to move my forearm. Today it made sense and it clicked. Both Sensei’s said yes that is it. My Semapi Sensei told me I was twisting when I released. I found when working on not twisting, instead of tighting to stay in place not putting so much effort into staying in place. My right arm did not go straight back and over. It just opened to it’s natural curved open position. My shot when straight. I asked the Kaicho, I do nt need to extend my arm so much upon release. He said no, natural position. yatta! Now my shot where hitting center of the mato but still low. Still that was an improvement They where going low and to the right. Good grouping, but alway low and to the right. Now hitting low and center.
Sempai Sensei watched me again he said, you are not holding the ya parallel to the floor, you tip is own. Change your aim point on the Yumi. I lowered it, it helped but I am still a bit low. My time was up before i had to chance to find the sweet spot. However, I went home feeling encouraged instead of frustrated and bummed out as I have been for the last few training days.
I am not going to let my mind go crazy…at least until I can test this out. I am putting in as much time as I can over the next couple of weeks. I will make a good show of myself. There are three or four other San-dans doing Shinsa that I know of from our school. Two of which tested when I did Sandan. All of them are on their second, third or fourth trial at Yondan. Yondan is a big step. I know people in the states and elsewhere, who tried for years. Some of whom are still trying. Outside of Japan though it is a once a year shot. I will have a worthwhile practice run at the working of a Yondan shinsa, where to be, when, and the steps. Beside being more complex than in the states, the dojo it is held at is opposite our home dojo, we step in with the right foot, leave with the left., 😦 Anyway It is nice I only have to wait a few months to have another go at it. Either way though I am making progress, and that is what is really important. One step forward is still one step forward…Yosh!
Beside all the testing stuff, this will be a much more fun experience with my dojomates, now that I am more connected and there is a fairly large group of us going. The following Sat. It is a Taikai our Dojo vs, Osaka Castle Dojo. This will be my first TaiKai outside of the school. If nothing else the Shinsa will help my shooting for that challenge.