Kyudo: Progress in small steps…
I have not been able to get in as much Kyudo time as I would like, however…
I have gotten in some mato/ yumi time. Since getting my new Bow, little by little I have been trying to correct bad habits. It is a different kind of mind set to think of what one is doing wrong rather than where one wants to go…Getting sucked into the dark side, the desire for rank.
A classmate of mine, we did San-dan shinsa together. She did not pass, I did, I felt bad for her at the time. She is my dojo sempai, although she says I am her Tai Sempai since I have been overall training longer. She trained, practiced for another 6 months before going back to retest, instead of three months which is the default. Then she passed! Another 3-6 months passes. I am 2nd trying for YonDan. I ask her, when are you doing Yondan Shinsa? She says, I am not ready, I need more training. I watched her put in the effort and starting winning at Tai Kais, placing upper levels in others Tai kai. It is over 1 yr now she enters a YonDan shinsa, her first and passes! Sugoi! I am so happy for her. I have other sempai testing for YonDan, who has failed all this yr., impressive for her to pass on the first try. That says a lot about her effort.
Ok, so she is YonDan now, I am so happy for her! Another sempai has been testing for Renshi for the last year, she passed finally. Another joyous moment. Another Sempai who has been testing YonDan just before I started is still trying to pass!! Perhaps in the spring together. It is interesting to see the attitudes of those who fail. There were several upper ranks for 6 dan that failed, the attitudes was “oh well another time”. That is sort of the attitude oveall. Really the most logical. This is not life and death. It could be a metaphor, not real life and death. It should be enjoyed and not take so serious.
There are not many I have seen shoot that really impress me. I have two sempai who impress me with their shooting. Like a redwood tree in stance, and accurate ! The other day after Yamashita sensei helped me with some pointers and he had left one of these Sempai said he would help me if it is ok. He is a sempai I tested san-dan when he was testing YonDan, now he is Go-dan. Even Yamashita Sensei uses him as an example on position. We are sort of buds. He said I should come drinking with the group after a Tai Kai sometime.
So this sempai had watched me shoot from behind, when everyone else had left he came over. He broke it down for me. My tenouchi should be firmer on the base, and yumi placement better, and my thumb was a bit off. I was looking at the wrong part of my hand for the Jumongi, he changed that. Then on to my release, I should not just open my fingers, he showed me the correct way. Next my angle of release with my right arm was off. I needed it to travel on the same line as the Ya. Everything needs to be on the same line. My right elbow was going too far back and to the side. This is why my Ya hits are the in same spot just off the edge lower right of the Mato. Not balanced, something Yamasta Sensei had said about my Draw. I was out of balance coming out of Daisan, which was not in balance, trying to get in balance, instead of getting balanced in DaiSan and staying there. I did not have much time to practice this other than a couple of shots to set it in my head what to practice.
The other day, yesterday in fact I went in. After some friendly chatter with those who passed and did not at the recent Shinsa, I practiced on what the Sempai and Sensei had told me. First two shots hit!, as did most of the shots that day. Still a number of misses, as I made adjustments, but yeah, my hits where up. My misses where not clumped all in the same lower/side spot, like before.
It felt like a good practice session. I feel like a breakthrough happened. Combining what Semapi and Yamashita Sensei had said made difference.
Now I need to refine those points clean up my act. That should bring my hit avg up from 35-40% to 60-70%. I will feel better going into Shinsa with that percentage. I have three months…Yosh!
I have lost my status as the Osaka Area Kyudo Gaijin! 🙂 My former classmate, sounds like he is settling in well in Suita. I expect he will be showing up at some Tai Kai once he gets full comfortable and his Japanese KyuDo re-set.
Things are in motion for Nagoya this spring. LZ has spoken to the head sensei at Kishiwada expressing my wish to attend both the local Shinsa and the seminar. Sensei says he will find out what I need to fill out file , etc. Also my need to learn the standing form. I am going to embrace my knee demon. He says it will be difficult to learn, because to the timing to watch with others. Hah, one of the main things I do, Music, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, even sailing, when working with others it is all about timing, harmonizing.