Kishiwada Monthly meeting – July – TaiKai
As the title says, every month my dojo has a monthly meeting, there is also a club Tai Kai at this time. I have not been in a while due to other commitments, however today I was free. I was unsure about the time so I went in early. I figured I would spend the day or most of it practicing. I needed some intense practice. So I was there at 10:00 when the dojo opened. The Tai Kai started at 1:00.
I got in a few rounds of pitiful shooting, I did not let that upset me, I was there to work through my issues. The only way to do that was by doing it. Slowly people started coming in. It was nice to see some people I have not seen in a while, besides the regulars. Yamashita sensei also came in. I was surprised and pleased to see him.
I continued to shoot a bit, and took a break. Sensei came over and gave me a correction. Do not push the yumi from your arm or hand. Push from your shoulder, from your body, you hand(s) should be totally relaxed. This is why you are opening your hand on release of the arrow. Ok, easy to say hard to do. But it did give me something to work on.
After a while I recalled something the Kaicho was telling me, I was coming down to straight from Dai-San I needed to angle more. I watched a few other people shoot including Sensei. They did not seem to be doing that as much as I was trying to do. Some did not seem to be doing it at all. So I asked. Sensei said that my body and the Yumi come together, from pushing out with the elbows, flating the back, opening the shoulder blades ( something Zacky Chan was saying on his blog “Black Arrow” ) it was kind of a complex explanation, with hand motions, diagrams, words , touches. Another thing easy to say (sort of) hard to do.
The Tai Kai started, my first round I hit one or two, not great but ok. Next round a hit zero. I was trying to bring into play the corrections. Usually that throws everything off and it did. The rest of the cycle with four arrows I hit zip or maybe one. I had the Kaicho, Watasei Sensei and Yamashita Sensei all say something to me, about why I was shooting poorly. Each time I knew why as well. Mostly too much tension in the shoulders. The Kaicho is alway telling , relax, relax, flow, be elegant. Sigh. I am pretty sure I need to use a lighter bow. That way I can really focus on my form and not how much I am pushing or need to open more the Yumi. My 13 kg Yumi really looks shabby, but with it I can work on relaxing, expanding, etc, without worrying about collapsing under the Yumi pressure, and maintaining tension. Relaxing and maintaining tension are at odds right now. It reminds of trying to do circular breathing. One must hold pressure (somewhere) exhaling to blow, but relax to inhale.
So yeah, I got a lot of good tips today from the TaiKai, and more and more I keep sensing, I am not ready for Yon-dan Shinsa. In a way backing off from that, is like shooting with a light Yumi. it takes the pressure off and lets me work on better form.
I thought after everyone had done thier four arrow shots and made two or maybe it was three rounds. The day was over. However no. We had another shorter cycle this time with one arrow. Surpisenly I hit and ended up in the finals. I did not make it past that but it was a nice spirit lift.
It was a good day at the dojo, hot, very hot, but good. After two years being there, there are a few of the regulars I can mini chat and joke with, that also adds to the pleasure to be part of the “Wa”