Swords n Arrows


I brought my Chinese swords into the Kyudojo the other day, to show one of my Sempai who does the Japanese sword drawing thing. He is a Godan. I always forget the name of the art. He brought in his Japanese swords. One was the real deal and old one. Serious steel. He showed me a few moves. I in turn showed him how they would be handled in Kung Fu, Taiji and Kali. He was impressed, he says I am dangerous. I laughed. Of course in real life, it has to do with the speed and the person not just the technique.It is interesting becoming closer to my dojomates. I found out another sempai (sensei). Is a Shorin-ryu kempo Sensei as well as a Shakuhachi player. He is a serious type. Sometimes, I thought he did not like me. However then I noticed he is somewhat reserved to others not of a long time standing as well, even some who are. That is his style. He has though given me help out of the blue and said friendly things and even even smiled…Once. He is the one who told me he taught Shorin-ryu. So yeah, he is just one of those reserved types.



So, my practice I am just at it, just doing my thing and the head Sensei gives me a correction, as well as a couple of others who are giving me direction. It is very helpful, but sometimes too much. I can not just work on one thing when I get three of four things said to me that need to be corrected. They are looking at the big picture of my development, I am just trying to get through my practice today of one item. Of course one can only bow, and say thank you and try to make the correction. It is really really nice when I can come in and everyone else is leaving. I can just practice without adjustment eyes other than my own.
I finally found out what the board on the wall with a bunch of names in Kanji means. I happened to see my name , which was quite a surprised. I at that point guessed it was a member board. Still I questioned a sempai. He said it was just that, it also showed the ranks of the members. That part I did not figure out, so it was interesting. I knew I was not at the bottom of the totem pole, but was surprised to see just where.
Another thing checked the other day was my Yumi draw weight. I noticed my hits drop a lot after my first shots usually. I figure, felt it was I am getting tired. I brought in my home practice Yumi which is only 13 k, to work with that some. I can hold my kai and form longer whilst making checks and adjustments. My regular Yumi is only 15.5 kg. I do not think it is that much, but I can sure feel the difference when holding Kai. I would do Shinsa with the lighter one, if it was not so ragged looking. Drawing my 15.5 is not the issue. I can draw more and have, but holding steady in Kai is the issue. Maybe I just need more form adjustment, or my strength is the issue. It is said I should be shooting with the bones, not my arm strength. So I guess my form is still not correct, therefore I fizzle downward after the first couple of shots…usually. Perhaps I am just not ready for the next level yet and need to just back off , slow down and develop more.
Well for now, I am just going to bed, and tomorrow is another day of practice. I will stay the path and let thingS unfold as they will.
Some days you are the windshield
Some days you are the bug
…Dolly Parton.
Next day…
I went to the Dojo today. When I first arrived everyone was at lunch, however all returned before I had a chance to change and start. No matter. I chatted with a couple of Sempais about meeting up again at the coffee house near us for another musical Jam. Then was on FB setting it with my band. All systems are go with that, my Shakuhachi Sensei is also attending, it should be fun. Once that was done I was ready for some Kyudo. I shot a few times uninterrupted. Just trying some things. One of Sempai checked my left Tenouchi for opening my hand to get the spin. Which is a No-no. One of the things I had been working on, not doing. I got the ok. I am better with that, I am starting to get the hang of it, as long as I focus.
Next the Kaicho is preparing to leave he comes over and changes my right hand tenouchi fingering. That made a big difference in feeling comfortable. Slowly slowly I was almost alone, only one person a kid. I was able to just shoot and shoot. I checked my body alignment and lowered my sighting point as most of my arrows were going low, that made a difference. Another change, at least something I paid more attention to was making sure my Daisan was set better, also turning my head more so I would not have to once I was in Kai, which always throws me off target. All that helped. Another thing I started to experiment with was breath. If I exhale sharply upon release it threw my shot off. Like doing “faJing” with a TaiJi strike. Exhaling smoothly gave me a hit, to at least closer to the Mato and a smoother release.
I noticed I felt less tired after a couple of hours than usual, when I setup in Daisan high and aligned better going into Kai. So yeah, part of my energy effort was fighting the bow with my strength instead of using my body frame. The Kaicho has told me several times I have too much tension upon release. I should be relaxed, elegant. Another Kyoshi has told me use the Yumi power, not my own. Finding that balance of pushing, holding tension, and relaxing is Musugashi ( difficult). I suppose a lighter Yumi would help, however it would not help understand the technique, or find the balance. Perhaps even making one lazy. I ended up staying for 3 hours instead of the usual two.
Tomorrow there is a mini workshop with the head Sensei, which is held monthly. I have not been attending since I see him on my regular day. However tomorrow I will attend. They deal more with the full TaiKai in Kimono not just shooting as the regular sessions. I will get as much preparation as possible. It will not be from lack of effort if it is another no pass day at the Shinsa. Anyway, it will lay better ground work for the next one. Three is the charm as they say in the States.

2 thoughts on “Swords n Arrows

  1. I guess we’re both struggling. It makes sense to use a lighter bow to get the form right. If the bow is too strong you have no choice but to use more force in the draw, and that can throw you out of alignment, which means you need more energy just to hold the misaligned form, and things get weird when all those forces are released.
    Also in the past I’ve had that problem where the left hand opens at the release. I even used slow-motion video, trying to figure that out, because it wasn’t intentional. Sometimes it’s a habit that develops when people are trying to get yugaeri, but it can also be caused by shape of the grip, and not being a good fit for your hand. Sometimes if the grip is too wide, for example, the force of the bow as it rotates in your hand at release can cause the hand to open. In my case, I found that changing the shape of the grip from one that is relatively flat on the back (the part facing you in kai) to something more rounded was a big help.

    • Ne! Slowly the opening the hand thing is going away. I found the main problem was i did not have the Yumi set proper against my palm. I was holding mostly at the top point of my palm, not both top and bottom. Also the rotation of the thumb upward helped. Amazing how the small things add up. The full palm also helped with stopping the Yumi from kicking out upon Hikiwake. Due to holding with just the top fingers. Slowly slowly slowly.

      I am trying out the new breathing pattern today…hopeful it will help with stablity.

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