Sucks Manor has a sub-basement…
Another day at Kyudo. I went in earlier than usual. A few surprised faces greeted me. I had not been in that early in a while. I thought to practice Tai Hai with a group, however no seemed to be doing it and I was the only one with a Kimono. After greetings I went to the side changing area and went through my routine. stretching, some Zazen, then changing. Also I just watched the shooting . I heard one of my Sempai say something about how long I was taking to change or did I disappear. I was not in rush and wanted to observe the shooting. I remember Nogami Sensei once saying something about part of learning is to watch then practice. There is a name but I always forget it.
After a while I came out. It was close to lunch time, many were making ready to leave for the day or for lunch. Fine with me I could have some space to practice, without interruptions on what I was doing wrong. I stalled for a while, whilst the masters chatted and such. Finally I went on the floor. As i step out to do a formal start, the lingering floor people made way for me and I was followed out by 5 Sensei who were going to watch. Oh, great I thought, I was hoping to avoid this. Oh, well, it is on! I went through Risha without incident. Mostly because I reviewed it off the floor and got a few adjustments before hand. Ok, so on the floor, only thing said was about how many steps to take, which I had been shown wrong before, but I was already on to that. Anyway, I hit one, missed one. Hmm oh well. There was a little discussion, but mostly quiet and everyone went to lunch. I continued shooting, not well, one hit out of four after the next hit and then miss set. I felt it was going to be another sucky day. I was still trying to make the corrections I got the other day. I had a semapi take a few pictures so I could tell where some problems were on my own. These turned out to be handy later, when another Sempai/sensei was telling me of some correction I needed.
My morning shoot continued to suck, to new levels of suckness. As it turns out the basement of my suckness has a sub-basement! My left tenouchi started falling apart. Good grief, so much for the Shinsa I thought. Oh well, thankfully for my goal of passing at Banpacku, my first dojo, the summer and fall Shinsa are there. So I still have a chance later of making my goal.
I continued to practice. The group returned from lunch, I practiced a bit then sat for a break and just watched. There was some discussion, then i heard my name. Ohh boy, what is up now, I thought. I got a going over, my right tenouchi was wrong, my draw angle was to shallow, not pushing enough with my left and over all too tense. I was trying to hard, yeah, thought that myself. Also, I was asked about the weight of my Yumi. I said 14. The head Sensei said, what came out to, the right hand does not hold/draw 14, not does the left, it is balanced out between the two. Ok, I got it, I was putting too much effort in the right hand. Also I was told my right thumb does not hold the string, it is relaxed, my middle finger holds the string pressure. Both myself and another Sensei said ehhhhh!? Yes, The head Sensei explained. He also dug out a book to show me, I am not sure if it was a Japanese Kyuhon or what, but it had good diagrams. I got what he was saying. The right hand tenouchi I was using from the Shibata school was correct with a modification. Also I was told, do not do the snapping finger turn the wrist thing, it throws my elbow off. Soou ka! Make a larger Hikiwaki, but not with my hand, with my elbow. Another thing, beside opening my chest more, was my right hand and forearm should not be straight as I was trying to do, there is a natural curve, that should be maintained from Dai-san. Let the elbow do the work and relax both of my hands more. Don’t do archery, do Kyudo!
I worked at it for a while. My planned three hour practice, turned into four. I wanted to have this info somewhat logged in the mind/body data base before leaving. Before everyone left , and I was alone. I was checked again by the Renmei head. 80% better he said. Yokatta, I thought, I thanked. Another Sensei came back in later from the gym. He checked, and also said better than before. Again I express my thanks, he left, I practiced.
Slowly my hits rate improved. As it neared the four hour mark for my practice day. I hit four in a row, and called it a day. I figured better to leave the sub-basement of Suck Manor climbing up rather than Slipping into Darkness. Great song, but not a good place to be.
Yeah, once all of this stuff come together, I will be awesome, until then. I will be rooming at the Your Kyudo Sucks Manor.