Losing can be winning.
I have said this before as told to me by a Kung Fu uncle. Of course how you take it matters and is the deciding factor if it is winning or not.
I went to the dojo today, Sat. My plan was to spend most of the day there in practice and meditation. When I arrived it was still crowded, it was early afternoon. I was not feeling especially sociable really wanting to work. I spoke to everyone, a bit more to certain sempais and went over to the changing area. There I sat, stretched, a bit of meditation, and changed. Slowly I made my way on to the dojo floor for my first shots. As I was about to shoot, I saw someone heading to the mato area to retrieve ya. I gave a moment pause, should I wait or shoot. I choose to shoot , but had already lost my focus so missed big time, big TIME! Sigh. Oh well. The next shot after the retrieval break was a hit. However I was not all there, the next several shots I missed, it was about one hit out of each four.
I took a break, chilled, or rather warmed, because it was cold today. Cold and Rainy, I stood and sat by the heater. Watching listening, eating chocolate and cookies left out by someone. Then shot more. The Kaicho gave me a correction. I hit, then missed, then hit two in a row. It was getting late in the afternoon. I had been at it for about 1.5 hours. People started leaving, I sat near the heater and just sat. Again watching , listening, observing. One senior Rokudan asked how it was going, said it sucked, I need more practice. He laughed and looked at my score and said oh this good here. I said yeah, those two only, the rest suck, so more training is needed. He gave me a cookie. 🙂
More people left, I worked on my Risha(?), soon I was alone. I went back to what I wanted to do when. First arrived, start from the entrance on the floor and do it like it was the real thing. Steps, bow, turns, steps, breath, knock, cover the knock, raise high, expand the chest, the lats, push, details, release…Bam, hit, step back, wait, step forward, focus, details, daisan, large pull, expand, push, bam, hit. Again, hit…again hit…again hit. Next a miss, then a hit, next a miss, then again hit. Ok, I am capable, and I understand what I do wrong when I miss, so there is progress. Now, I need consistency. I think that is the biggest frustration is not knowing what you are doing wrong. Without that you can not correct. One is just doing the lucky shotgun effect.
One of the things with Kyudo, the Japanese style of teaching and the language barrier, is one does not know when you are improving, other than by hitting the mato, taking exams and doing TaiHai. You do not hear, you are improving, looking better, this is good but this part needs some work. You can not judge your progress by how you learned in a form, because there are only eight steps. You can not judge by sparing, applying a technique on a partner, because it is just you and the mato. You hit or you hit not!
I still do not get the nobiai thing, uniting the expanding point part, thereby causing the release. When I hit, before that in Kai, I am going through a mental check list of what. Have been told, release here, have this cross, elbow down, expand these muscles, relax here, push there, cross this, dot this i, snap finger to release do not just open fingers…maybe that is why I have no consistency. I have not gotten the spiritual release thing. I think it is more I am not in balance, alignment somewhere, however what do I know, almost nothing. I am just a toddler.
Anyway I am feeling better today, now if I can just refine what I have, without a new correctional change. That is the thing that throws me off, the correction is for the big picture, I understand. The climb up the mountain, I am still trying to make it to the foothills from out of the swamp, crawling. I understanding the reasoning. Just as I understood the reasoning, when learning Karate I was taught to punch one way as a low rank, then after getting a Black belt I was told to punch another.
There is a Chinese saying about tasting bitter before one can taste sweet. That is in the same flow as losing can be winning. If I did not have such a bad shooting day the other day, perhaps I would not have been motivated enough to understand the flaws causing that lousy day of shooting.
Which brought to mind another question is it better to go into this shinsa or any thing confidant you will do well, or uncertain, but determined to do your best? I think a combination of both, but where is the balance point?
Well anyway I am just rambling to myself here writing this, just sorting out my thoughts, clearing stuff up, organizing for the next training session. Everyone has to take their own steps to walk the path. This is just a review of what and how I am dealing with my self-made mental games. If you have been through this, you may think it is amusing, having been there, if not been there, but are there ( here) it maybe sort of sort of comforting to know you are not alone dealing with the madness on the lesser walked path. If you are just reading about my trails and tribulation, enjoy the laugh. I you are I in the future looking back, seems silly now right?!