A work in Progress.
The other day I went to the Dojo, it was kind of late in the afternoon, so I ended up for the most part practicing alone. Just working on some basics not really a lot of things just a few small things. Little by little I could feel frustration creeping in. It started slow, like when you can feel a cold starting as some little tingle in your throat or sinus. By the time everyone left, I was getting fairly dishearten about my lack of real progress. I know on Kung Fu we have what we call plateau in training, that one reaches and really has to struggle physically and mentally to get over, out of. knowing this did not help, I no way would stop as some do when training, but I was still feeling less than motivated. The Kaicho was ready to leave and asked me to close up things when I left. He then asked me when I was leaving , which was just about 30 min later. He changed his mind about leaving and turned his attention to me. He watched me shoot and gave some small normal corrections. Then after a bit he told me where i was in major error with my Dai-san to Kai. My Dai-san was not setup enough, mostly it was my left arm position. I was not turning, twisting my elbow outward enough. I needed to line my thumb and the muscle on my forearm better. I had my elbow downward this was causing my Kai to collapse somewhat. He went on to explain more and show me better to make sure I understood, then watched me shoot more. It did not solve everything but it did help my not dropping my left so much when shooting and also my yugari. He also said my right elbow was being pulled behind me instead of direct back in line with the Ya. Ok, so I had a couple of items to focus on. I felt a little better as my shooting improved some. Not a lot but some, I did now have something concrete to work on, inside of guessing what I was doing wrong. I practiced some, then called it a day feeling somewhat better.
A day went by and I returned, this day was the day when the Renmei head is there, W. Sensei, plus the Kaicho. It was somewhat slow, by the time I arrived. Many were making ready to leave. I was told about an up coming TaiKai in Aug. It is at the Kyudojo that would not allow me to join. It will be weird to go there again. I found out also one on my favorite Sempai, the guitarist, that is his Dojo. Ehhhh! Well, whatever, maybe it was true about not taking any new members, and not that I am a Gaijin, hmmm whatever. Kishiwada is better for me anyway so it worked out for the best…still it will be weird going there. I have shot with several of the members at a couple of TaiKai’s elsewhere. As I have said before the one woman is always friendly, the others, not so much. Whatever…
So yeah, most left shortly afterwards, the Kaicho checked me over again then he also left. Now it was just me and the head Sensei. He gave me some points to be aware of, showed me the wall chart, explained what I was doing not correctly. I made note of what he was saying, and made the effort to comply, it was not easy. How does one turn / twist right forearm but not the hand when doing hikiwake. I tried, and tried plus the other stuff. Sensei left after while and I was alone with another Sempai who just came in. I shot for a while then pulled the plug and went home. Not happy , but not depressed, sort of netural.That was earlier this week. Today, Sunday I went in again. Kaicho was leaving but he took the time to remind me of what we talked about. He is a really helpful person. The Dojo closes early on Sunday around 5:00, it was 3:30 about when I started. It was my plan to do my two hour practice, however, being tired and knees hurting, I changed it to one hour. There were only a few a couple of people there at this time, those two left and were replaced by another two. I spent the first 30 min on the makiwara. I figured to do without the distraction of thinking of hitting and just work on form and those matters. Afterwards I worked on TaiKai and holding Kiza. Even with spending everyday on some Kiza practice I do not feel any stronger. That makes me sad. I can do it, but I can not hold it, if I hold it long as possible, standing is a chore, shaky …sigh. I ended up shooting only six arrows, I thought it was two that hit but upon gathering them it was only one, two were rim shoots…sigh.
More and more I am thinking to wait and just practice until next year. Work out these issues, be certain of my skills and feel ready. After all it is all on me, my trip.
“Before Zen chop and carry wood, after Zen chop and carry wood.” Or is it chop wood and carry water…whatever.