With starting back to work for the Silver center I did not get a chance this week to go into the Kyudojo on Tues and Thursday. My days now have switched, but also there was a Typhoon this week that threw my timing off as well, I passed on going in on Thursday because of the rains, Friday, I could have gone however, I needed to use the non-rain day to work on Yoh Sensei’s yard. This pays for my Shakuhachi class. Anyway I went in on Sat and Sunday. I did some repair on my Yumi this week also and wanted it to set well before using it. Ok, so I went in Sat. It was hot! There was some people there, but not a lot. I went in sort of early because I wanted to attend Zazen that evening. Which is another post after this.
Sat. at the Dojo was good. Yamashita Sensei was there, as normal, he gave me pointers. Over all my shooting was good for the most part. My average is still 50% not great, but ok. The repaired Yumi held up well and shoots ok.
It still looks funky , but not as funky as it did with the black tape. So it is usable. The Kaicho and Yamashita Sensei looked it over. I explained why I was using it and they nodded. Only thing said was I needed to add another wrap of bamboo, so that the number of bindings is odd not even. Some kind of Japanese tradition thing or maybe superstition. Wakadimasen.
So my lesson from Yamashita Sensei was, how far to raise my arms in ushiokoshi and the amount of bend and placement in Daisan. Also I was adding too much twist to my left arm in Daisan which caused my shoulder to raise up. I spent most of my time the rest of the day working on that. Another thing he showed me was the principle of Nobiai, by having me push my finger into his chest without out using force, just expanding.
Sunday I went back. At first it was just me and one other person. I brought out a tube holder for my ya and just shot. I did not even put on my full Gi, as others had done on Sat. I came in just after lunch most were packing it up to leave as I arrived. After a while Yamashita Sensei shows up. At first he says nothing, other than greetings, that is his way, I could feel him watching quietly. He changed clothes and after a while came on the floor and gave me corrections. My right arm was better however. I still had too much tension in my shoulders. I worked on that for a while. I did not put much effort into hitting just form. He told me at this stage the number one thing for me is getting the technique.
Another thing brought up was I had way too much tension in my left shoulder starting at Daisan. I needed to relax it more. I was pushing to hard. The Kaicho had told me before I needed to push more in Daisan , however I guess I was overdoing it causing my shoulder to lift and tighten. Another item was I was not balanced on my hikiwake. I should be lowering/expanding my shoulders, chest evenly with a small lead on my left ok. I was pulling right, then pushing left, then right, etc. instead of dropping and expanding both shoulders evenly, balance. My plate was full on what to work on.
But wait there more…
He explained and showed me how and where my Jumonji is in Kai and Zashin. I thought it was rigid and perfectly straight. However he said no. It is a relaxed cross. My shoulders should be level and straight, but not my arms. Elbows are not out and locked, out but with the natural curve they have. That was a big revelation. This post is mostly to help me remember what I was told.
In Daisan my right arm is in line with my body side line. Relax my left shoulder in Daisan and maintain that into Kai. Push expand from the shoulders and back not the hands and arms. From Daisan lower shoulders and expand evenly, balanced. My right hand is just at my ear line, wrist is not locked straight, but as if there is something it is resting on. Right elbow is not inline with my shoulder, and bicep , it is just below them. Both hands should be relaxed. Expand out from the body, but do not push with power causing tension and lift in my shoulders, expand and relax. I am sure there is something else I am forgetting already. However, repeating repeating, is not only the learning process but the teaching process as well.
On another note. There was a guy there another Sempai I see him and his wife, I guess she is, from time to time. I think they are part of the group or they come to practice. Anyway, Sensei tells me he is shooting Yumi made in Kyoto by Shibata XXI. That is the son of my first style’s leader. However what is the trippy part that made me sort of feel like a wimp is, the Yumi the guy is shooting with is 30k!! I was given permission to hold his 26k. I could not even open it more than an inch or two. This guy ( in Kai) was shooting the 30k time after time like it was nothing. Whoa!
Another something today was, I asked another Sempai was he attending the TaiKai next week at the Jhinger (shrine) dojo. He said yes. I told him I first went to that dojo when I moved into the area and tried to join. I was told no. He said yeah, that is a small group and they want to keep it that way is what I got from his Japanese. Ok, I felt better it was not me personally that was rejected Be a foreigner. It is the way of the Dojo. I said, well it is ok, Kishiwada is a better place anyway, so Yokatta!