The first shooting of the year at Kishiwada. I attended last year, but it was different this year. At least the beginning. This caught me off guard at first….
However, before I get into that, it was a cold day. Not extreme , but cold. Most people there had dressed for the cold and some continued that flow even into the dojo, which is inside. It was interesting to see the people bundled up. Me who can not stand cold, I had layers upon layers, including my feet which had on heavy socks and my tabi. Silk thermos, dogi, plus kimono, yeah I was ready.
I planned ahead today and wore my kimono to the Dojo, on the train. I covered up with my long coat, so not to draw too much attention. This way I did not have to change at the Dojo, which is not a big deal , but it made life simpler showing up ready to go.
Things started with announcements and a couple certificates given out, a new 6th dan and a new Sensei. There were also a bunch of small awards for points, but I had no idea what that was about.
After the opening Sharei I was expecting to have a regular tai kai style shoot. Wrong, it was more at first like a Shinsa, with five shooting at a time. Oh boy! I had to think fas i had not learned the standing form as yet , and I was unsure of my knees could handle it. Making things worse I was ochii!! 😦 last n my lineup. I watched and thought. Then I noticed there is a classmate who does the standing form. I watched her carefully, afterward I questioned her and practiced. I am thinking, it is a good thing this is a low key event. I came across the Kaicho in the hall ( on purpose) I questioned him further as a way of review from what my sempai had told me. He went through it with me, then said something about checking with someone. Turns out he got the sempai from earlier to coach me on the floor as did the Tai Hai. Yokatta, it was not bad though, I did ok. It was easier being last so my timing was not so critical! Yokatta! I have a month or so to perfect it now before the spring Shinsas.
Anyway, I hit one of my two shots. Not great, not bad, unless I was testing, but that is another story. See that my shots hit on the center line, both of them , one was just way to high. So there is progress but improvement is needed…still…for a long time, always actually even the Senseis take guidance to improve.
After the Tai Hai shot, came the small target. A piece of diamond-shaped wood, placed closer to the shooter. When hit it breaks and sprays silver something in the air. Kind of mess, they put paper on the floor under the target and stand. I missed both of those shots. One by not much, but that does not really count. As Yoda would say, you hit or you hit not. I hit not.
Next up was the bingo shoot. This is interest and hard. The gave an explanation on something about the scoring, however I had no idea what was going on. There was one spot that was marked that I gathered was a big deal if you hit. I just went up and shot with my group, afterward Yamashita sensei said something as I was coming off the line, that sounded positive, but I had no idea. I was quite surprised later to find out my group had won something. Not first but second place I guessed. The first group called up got the pick of the prizes. Sets of Ya, ya cases, misc. I chose a bamboo Makiwara Ya. My first win at anything. This could be a good omen for starting the Kyudo year!
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