Back at it…from Zen – Now


Back at it…from Zen 2 Now
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From Zen...

 
After the Shinsa, I took a break from Kyudo, mostly because I had to do a boat delivery and there was no reason to continue “code red” training. This lasted, the break, about a week maybe A week and a half. I could have gone a little sooner but my spirit was not there. I needed to re-center and step back for a breath. I went to a couple of open shooting, training sessions. I did poorly, but it did not matter. I did get some tips, suggestions, adjustments from a couple of Sempai Sensei on some small things. Still Feeling xtreme, self-furstration, at the same time mentally philosophical about current skill level. Doing all those “Zennie” things to lift, un-attach, re-balance.
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The was a major regional Tai Kai last week at the Osaka Castle Park Dojo. I was not feeling it! If I had not promised to be there I would have not gone. I ended up not going back to the Dojo for my Takeyumi, instead, choose to skip going back to the dojo for it and used my Bamboo/fiberglass hybrid. I figured I was shooting badly with whatever, Bamboo or Glass or Carbon will not matter. I am the issue not the equipment. 
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This is the first large local TaiKai of the season, there was a big turnout, so it seemed to me. I noticed different jackets around, the main give away to the “others”. Like I believe this one belongs to “Black Arrow’s” old dojo.
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The weather was on the cool side but not too bad. Standing next to the heater was still nice. I did ok overall with a couple of long sleeves shirts on under the dogi, including silk thermos. Toward the end I put on my thermo vest. I was more sleepy than cold though.
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I was up late the night before trying to recover my iPad from the new IOS install. That was a mini nightmare. I did lose some data in the process, including my shooting log from the beginning of the year. However…
All of that is another story…
I digress…
 
Yes, the weather was bearable. This is my second time doing this TaiKai. There I am guessing were about at least a dozen dojos in attendance. At my group’s meeting before the start there was discussion about the tournament, lineups, etc. I did not understand most of it. The was one part I think I understood for some reason, it was when Kaicho said let’s not be concerned with being #1, being #3 will be good! Everyone laughed.
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I mostly hung out for a long time. The good shooters at my Dojo, went first from our group. They did, ok, not outstanding but ok. I went on the third round of our group. I hit 1 out of four, however so the Kaicho from our school. Ok, I did not feel so, “the only one sucking in the group”. I had company. 
 
After lunch, which I, for a change this time, ate with the group in the changing room. I had one other turn on the shai line. I did terrible, again, only worst, no hits. Very close misses, but still misses. Oh well. No surprise from me. Overall it was a sort of fun day. Hanging with the group, grabbing some pictures. Cheering on our people when they hit. It was like a real high school/team sporting kind of feeling , but on a lower, dignified sort of way. Still there was one guy a senior sempai, who was also managing our group, he was pretty Loud with his approvals. A kind of pleasant surprise, from an adult group.
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So yeah, my shooting was a bust for the day…”some days you are the windshield, somedays the bug”
 
I did get some good shots from my camera, at least I was making some hit shots with that. Here is a link to some other shots from the day at Osakajo no Kyudojo.
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Which reminds me, if you wanted to see the pictures from the Kokokuji Zen Temple pilgrimage, and have not, here is the link.
 
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2 Now:
 
I went to the Dojo today, and yesterday. I practiced, tired to put my mind back on the training track. I got some guidance of a couple of things, I am still struggling with. The struggle continues, again very low score. From memory the lowest of the year, or at least the second lowest. I have pretty much given up any short term fast improvements, this will be a major training effort to raise my skill level. I am even considering skipping the next Shinsa, perhaps two, whatever until I can feel more confidant. I should have at least a consistent 60% hit rate. Less than that is running on luck.
 
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I went to Kimono training class today. They have started this recently. Sato Sempai is heading it. She is now a Sensei this is her platform. Good since Watase Sensei stopped having his formal training class. Today was my first attendance. It is also attended by some from the Shrine Dojo. I am still somewhat startled by the closeness of the relationship, between the two dojos.
 
I watched as the group today went through Shari: 1 mato, three shooters, 1 mato four shooters. I could only watch as my knees could not take the strain. The group did however did go through Shinsa TaiKai. I got to practice and correct my timing, a very good thing.
 
I decided today, I would continue with the adjustments everyone is telling me. Some of which is just a little at times contradictory. I will also make an adjustment on my targeting. As in unless I really twist my left arm/elbow down, which I have been told is wrong, my ya hits left of the Mato. I shifted my sighting more to the left today. It made a difference. Is that wrong if my form is correct, to make an allowance for the nature of the Yumi?
I will see over the next few weeks how that works out. I have about 3 wks to decide if I will skip the next Shinsa. I am really leaning that way. Wait until the Sept Shinsa…wonder what the iChing has to say about that question. Give me something to meditate on.
fall 7

Q: Should I skip this June Shinsa?

Hexagram 57: SUN
THE GENTLE (THE PENETRATING, WIND)
Consistent correctness turns every situation to your advantage.

The image of this hexagram is that of a gentle wind dispersing storm clouds. A wind that changes direction often, even a very powerful one, will disperse nothing – it only stirs up the sky. The wind that causes real change is the one that blows consistently in the same direction. There is an important lesson for us in this example.

When faced with a difficult problem to resolve or a goal we wish to achieve, we often are tempted to take striking and energetic actions. Though it is possible to achieve temporary results in this fashion, they tend to collapse when we cannot sustain the vigorous effort. More enduring accomplishments are won through gentle but ceaseless penetration, like that of a soft wind blowing steadily in the same direction. The truth of the Sage penetrates to us in this way, and this hexagram comes now to remind you that this is how you should seek to penetrate others.

The advice given to you by the I Ching is threefold. First, establish a clear goal; the wind that continually changes direction has no real effect. Second, apply the principle of gentle penetration to yourself; by eliminating your own inferior qualities you earn an influence over others. Third, avoid aggressive or ambitious maneuvers now; these are rooted in desire and fear and will only serve to block the aid of the Creative. The desirable influence is the one that flows naturally from maintaining a proper attitude.

In your interactions with others, bend like the willow. By remaining adaptable, balanced, accepting, and independent, and by steadily moving in a single direction, you gain the clarity and strength that make possible a series of great successes.

THIRD LINE

When your insight penetrates to the source of the problem, do not dwell on it. The ego will become entangled. Simply make the necessary correction, and persevere in it.

SIXTH LINE

Sometimes the inferior enemy cannot be identified. Do not struggle, but quietly return to improving yourself. In this way a good result can still be obtained.

 

 

 
Hexagram 29: K’AN
THE ABYSMAL (WATER)
Flow like pure water through difficult situations.

The image of the hexagram K’an is that of water: water falling from the heavens, water coursing over the earth in streams, water collecting itself in pure and silent pools. This image is meant to teach us how to conduct ourselves in trying situations. If we flow through them, staying true to what is pure and innocent in ourselves, we escape danger and reach a place of quiet refuge and good fortune beyond.

K’an often appears to warn of a troubling time either drawing near or already at hand, and to counsel you not to fall into longing for an immediate and effortless solution to the trouble. When you become “emotionally ambitious” – when you cling to comfort and desire to be free of the currents of change in life – you block the Creative from resolving difficulties in your favor. What is necessary now is to accept the situation, to flow with it like water, to remain innocent and pure sincere while the Higher Power works out a solution.

It is not that you should not act now; it is that you should not act out of frustration, anxiety, despair, or a desire to escape the situation. Instead, still yourself and look for the lesson hidden inside the difficulty. Correct your attitude until it is open, detached, and unstructured. Abandon your goals and stay on your path, where you proceed step by step, arm in arm, with the Sage. 

Those whose hearts and minds are kept pure and innocent relate properly to all events, understand their cosmic meaning, and flow through them with the strength, clarity, and brilliance of pure water.

from the I Ching, or Book of Changes: A Guide to Life’s Turning Points, by Brian Browne Walker
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Hmm interesting…meditation 
 

 

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吹禅 – The Kokokuji Pilgrimage

The Kokokuji Temple Pilgrimage

 

This is the month of my 1 year anniversary of formal Shakuhachi lessons. I had been loosely planning a trip to “Mecca”, The Kokokuj Zen Temple where supposedly the Komuso monks started with the basket head-piece style thing.
It says so on the plank in front also shoyu sauce started at this place.
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I even though there were some last minutes life hassles I was dealing with, family and was up most of the night with computer issues, I went on the journey anyway. I packed a lunch, my serious camera, Smartphone, iPad, Shakuhachi, and my gift from many years ago a Handmade Native American Walking stick. Made by a member of a California tribe. I started to bring it on the boat with us to Japan, but changed my mind later.
The weather for the day was good, not hot, not cold. It was I thought to be a three hours train trip, however after LZ researched it is just under a two hr trip from us. I was pleased about that. 
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The train trip was pretty much effortless. The train people were helpful with my passage a couple of times without even asking. One guy seemed happy to practice his English. So I had a fairly simple train trip to a very small town in Wakayama. After getting clear directions I started on the 15 min walk to the temple. I was surprised how big it was. 
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I had my lunch, which i brought with me, at the foot of the temple. After walking up to the main gate from the road I stopped just at the foot of a large staircase and main gate entrance. I had yet to see anyone. I walked in amazed at the size of the grounds. I looked into a couple of places, where i thought there would be people but there were none. I limited my walking into buildings but still explored freely.
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I settled on to a little spot over looking the backside of the grounds. I was near a Kuan Yin statue, and I was overlooking a pond garden in the yard. Very peaceful spot! I only made a few notes, not really playing a song, while I was there. Just mostly the “Roe” note. Next year, I will play something off to myself on the hill overlooking the complex.
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Today mostly I explored, sat, looked, took pictures, marveled. It was interesting, in a historic sort of way. As I was leaving I decided to take a few pictures with the Shakuhachi at the main temple, which housed some Buddhas. I had seen only three people there my whole visit and they had just left.
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Afterward I packed up and was leaving another group of three guys were entering. Konnichiwa we all spoke.
I stopped for one last Moment of the vibe and a small glass of plum wine.
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It was a good trip, I did lose my sunglasses, bummer but only a small one. The walk back to town was easier, as it was mostly down hill now. I stopped and took a few pictures at an old bus stop or something. It looked more like a scene in Mexico than Japan.
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There was a woman with her small daughter there hanging out. Konnichiwa the woman said, and smiled, as did I. She did not seem the least bit shocked to see me there. Nor did any of the few people I encountered there and at the train station. A taxi driver waiting for a fare, did find me very interesting to watch when I first arrived..
 

I will do this again next year.

 

I may post a link to the photo blog, later so if interested, check back

 

Owari

Ahhh, the ordeal is over. As I expected I shot bad. Some would say because I expected to, I did so…whatever.

The day started off at way to early a.m. for me to do the two hour train trip. I got there in good time to get a good locker slot. I met up with my Sempai who has been taking this YonDan Shinsa, maybe 6 times. This is my third. The last time I was here with him he got two hits and still did not pass, as did another woman from the Shrine Kyudojo. She was also here again. Testing. I had old company.

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The Shinsa started with the usual formally. There was a Nana-dan doing the opening Shari. He missed both shots. Next was a line up of Four more Nana Dan and one Ryokudan. One one made a hit both rounds. Hmmm I thought.

My time was not until the afternoon. I had a long wait as it was only 9:00am.
I sat. I studied, I napped, I ate. Just before my written test I went outside to do Makiwara. Then I discovered the nice Bamboo Ya I won, was too short for my draw. Hmmm I thought, bad sign.

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OK, written test started @1:00. I went in, got my seat. I checked my Japanese and English question paper against what was being wrote on the board. I was good. The head Sensei came over to me to check, if I was OK. We went over the question, and I was good!
The written part was the easy part. Always is, for me.

A short wait, then the SanDan meeting. There is always a lot being said, I usually have only a small clue. This time I figured to record. However this guy was pretty casual, and made jokes. I did get him saying, relax, something something because of the slippery floor, but nothing like what others had said before.  So much for that idea.

My Sempai made sure I understood, where my shooting spot was as Ochii, and how to back off the line and where to go afterward. That was kind but, I had all that covered, the shooting is my issue.

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OK, my turn. My first time doing Resha, there was a guy in front of me also dong it. I was relaxed as the last, I could just watch, remember, and follow. That part was cool. Later I got to watch some others doing Resha as well. I am no longer nervous about that! Yatta. 

As for my shooting. The worse if any Shinsa since coming to Japan. My San Dan I hit both, first Yondan 1 hit, and a very close miss, next YonDan Shinsa, a hit and a far off miss. This time both missed cleanly. OK, maybe that is good, I have reached the bottom! Now hopefully the upturn.

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another dojo mate, going for san-dan

The real disappointment of the day. I figured on not passing, I was OK with that. I planned once I shot and miss I will leave and go to the Kyudo store to get the tape on my Ya changed to something I really liked instead of settling for the mistake that was given.

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I left as planned, I stay stay to see my Sempai miss his first shot, kawaii-so. Well, we will be together again in the Summer session. OK, so I take the train ride to the shop, plan, drop off the Ya, get a small bag for the cover end ,then go to Subway for a veggie Avocado wrap. I walked the 15 min to the shop and it was closed!! Now I was bummed out!  😦

I headed for Subway, at least that worked out.

 

 

Conformation


It’s official

 
I am sooo frustrated. I have been tracking my shooting on my iPad. Watching my numbers go up and down, looking at patterns. Today it really hit how much my kyudo sucks. Last month for 300 shots I had 41.33% ( 124 hits) , this month for 301 shots I have 36.54% ( 110 hits) I am major depressed. My shinsa is tomorrow, and instead of getting better I am getting worse. The big deal is not the passing so much as my getting worse. When I took my San-dan shinsa, I hit both shots, when I took my first Yondan shinsa, I missed the second shot by 1/2 in. I have gone down hill since then, even with more practice. Perhaps I look better doing everything as I am told to correct…but my hitting sucks. I can not seem to lock in a consistency. I am trying not to adjust my targeting to my faults, instead I am working on correcting my faults…I think.
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Well I have no expectations of success for this round, even the next, perhaps I will just skip that one and not waste my money. I did have a Sempai tell me, I was doing good to make San-dan in 6 yrs of study. She has been doing Kyudo for 13 yrs and is just somewhat recently a Go-dan. Still it is not the passing or failing, it is the feeling of not improving. Sigh, pretty burnt out right now. Perhaps I over did the training, everyday almost for two weeks at 3-4 hours at a time, plus time spent before that. I hate testing, I will be glad when this is over. It is the mind gymnastics thing which is the most tiring. Well anyway, this too shall pass. Everything is temporary in life, joy, sorrow, love and happiness…life.
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I am going to the Dojo again today. I need get my Yumi, I will do a few shots whilst there, but only for 1 hour. Enough is enough, time to step back a bit.
 
After the Shinsa I will be off sailing for 24 hrs after that, doing a boat delivery. Then some music events up coming, and a 1yr anniversary Shakuhachi solo pilgrimage to a Kumoso temple. Finally Kyudo will take a back seat for a while. I can get a break from obsessing over some approval, and just shoot to shoot. Simple, pure is a good thing.
 
 

Balance


Balance is life,

 
One thing that Kyudo, Tai Chi Chuan, and Chan/Zen have in common is balance. Harmony of life, living, eating, etc. nature is balance. Living well, is balance. 
 
 
 
I went to Kyudo yesterday, it was a fairly good day. I did not do great, but I did ok. I started out good, slipped some, then again good, still by the end of the day, I had shown some improvement. Looking at my score tracking record, there has been improvement, slow steady over all. Some days somewhat sucky, but they balance out. So overall I felt good about my practice. What had been bumming me out of late, is not so much the thought of not passing the Shina, but that I was not Improving. I will pass the shinsa at some point as long as I keep improving. For some time I felt like I was stalled, even back sliding. Now I see some improvement I am ok with whatever happens, I will do my best. 
 
Yesterday, today and tomorrow, I am free to practice or do whatever. As I said yesterday I went in to the dojo, practice some 3-4 hrs. I even got in a trial Resha run in a Shinsa setting with my sempais. I only had one correction which was my step back after my first shep was too large.
I changed my string for the Shinsa. I am using a hybrid now, that is a new direction for me. We’ll see how that works out. I also found out the reason many of the seniors are in training mode is the big event in Kyoto in April. Not only is there a Tai Kai but advance level Shinsa as well. Now to figure out which day to go. If I can get a cheap enough ticket I will go two times, once to watch the Hanshi’s shoot, then for my sempais.
 
So today, I had given some thought to going in again to the dojo and putting my nose to the grindstone. I have been thinking about TaiJi principle as of late and Kyudo, as one can tell from my last post. Part of that Philosophy is yielding to overcome, relaxing under pressure. Like one must do when in Kai, so I decided not to go to the dojo. I would get in some balance. After my morning Chan Ding ( ZaZen) I went and work in my garden, weeding, cutting, a little replanting, feeding, cleaning. Getting some things ready for spring planting. It was a good choice. Reconnecting with the earth, re-grounding with the earth element, physically, mentally, Spiritually. 
 
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Afterward, I went over to the Shinto grounds for some Taiji and Fu practice. After a round of TaiJi, and Hsing-i, I felt much much better. I threw in a bit of Mantis for good measure. Ahhh. I felt like my old self. I returned home. 
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I had sent up Makiwara shooting stand before I left. So my next thing was to get in a few rounds of working on my draw and basics without the pressure of a mato. Excellent choice for the day. LZ is off out of town with her sister. So I have the peace of the place to myself, internet Jazz with dinner. Some Shakuhachi practice and a little reading later on then to bed.
 
Tomorrow in to the dojo early for a half day or more of practice. Then I am scheduled for working the two following days. Next week I have only one day of work, which is doing some gardening for the sailing school owner. After that it is a week of intense Kyudo training
 
 
…Yosh.

Comparing Principles: Tai Chi – Kyudo

I had been going through my old blog re-reading some posts. I came upon this from 2010. I did as the title said a comparison of principals. Another Tai Chi/Kung Fu, Karate instructor ( who studied Kyudo) got it right away. A Kyudo instructor ( who had not studied,  Tai Chi/Kung Fu or Zen) who I knew, did not get it and belittled my effort. His reasoning was somewhat because Kyudo is not a hand to hand combat art, he said. Well the same principles are used with Tai Chi weapons as well. Perhaps he did not know there are also Tai Chi swords, and staffs. Kyudo uses a bow, and one makes that bow and arrow,”part” of self, an extension. Tai Chi Chuan uses weapons as part of self an extension. Our failure to communicate was not a surprise as we are in disagreement abut the “Zen” and Kyudo as well. It is always interesting when someone who has not studied both arts, poo poos ( puts down) statements concerning the two, made by someone who has. There is a saying that many people do not listen to understand, only enough to reply. This it seems was the case here, he did not read to understand, but to make a comment. Saying that some parts where the same but other things were different, so one should/ could not compare…sigh. No matter. Some people choose to see the commonness of things, others choose to see the UN-commonness of things, things that separate us vs things that join us. My point here is that there are enough sameness that help to solidify ones foundation by drawing from other training ( cross-training is the “in” word now) without reinventing the wheel. A strong foundation is needed, building a house or growing a tree. If the same Soil, nails, mortar, bricks, compost will work, for both, why go buy new same stuff from a different store .

So lately with the reading of Black Arrow blog and some of his insights from seminars and other statements statements about breath and Tai Chi, as well as some conversations I have had with my local Sensei, a Kyoshi, and finding a recent article about “Song/Sung“, I have decided to repost this. I find it just as valid zen, as now (word play) :-). Perhaps more so since I have more experience to speak from now and refined it some:

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Just so I’m clear in the use of my saying Tai Chi-Kyudo (taikyuku-kyudo) and I do not get nasty comments about making up a style.

I’m not talking about a style I’m only referring to the same principles. I have been told many many times in the past by my Shifu and kung fu “uncles” to understand the Principles of what I am learning in Praying Mantis or Tai Chi, adapt my movements, techniques to the Principles, universal principles. In the study of Kali my teacher, D. Inosanto speaks of the principles of movement, principles of “human” movement, the angles of attacks, I should not to be lost on the weapon. I saw a clip recently about Okinawan Karate, and the universal movements and balance of man. The same movements done in different arts as what was being shown by this person doing Okinawan Karate. The “Principle” made the technique work, not the style or name. Sort of like the finger pointing to the moon thing.
Below are listed the 10 basic principles of Tai Chi Not all of them match up exactly nor at every step with what one is doing in Kyudo but most do at key points. The internal Principals are what is important. Here is a general comparison, if you can relate good, if not, not my concern:

Tai Chi Principles

1.) Head upright to let the shen [spirit of vitality] rise to the top of the head. Don’t use li [external strength], or the neck will be stiff and the ch’i [vital life energy] and blood cannot flow through. It is necessary to have a natural and lively feeling. If the spirit cannot reach the headtop, it cannot raise.

( Kyohon: The upper body should be held correctly with the neck erect.)

2.) Sink the chest and pluck up the back. The chest is depressed naturally inward so that the ch’i can sink to the tan-t’ien [field of elixir]. Don’t expand the chest: the ch’i gets stuck there and the body becomes top-heavy. The heel will be too light and can be uprooted. Pluck up the back and the ch’i sticks to the back; depress the chest and you can pluck up the back. Then you can discharge force through the spine. You will be a peerless boxer.

( Kyohon: Focus spiritual energy in to the legs, hips and abdomen. D0 not put power in to the chest and shoulders.)

3.) Sung [Relax] the waist. The waist is the commander of the whole body. If you can sung the waist, then the two legs will have power and the lower part will be firm and stable. Substantial and insubstantial change, and this is based on the turning of the waist. It is said “the source of the postures lies in the waist. If you cannot get power, seek the defect in the legs and waist.”

( Kyohon: The center of gravity of the whole body is placed in the hips. Placing Spirit in the center of the whole body, ” This means you must arrange the stability of the spiritual  center of the abdomen (Tanden) which is located in the center of the physical body. Every movement should be supported by the hips The hips are the central  part of the body. Unless the hips are stable the balance of the body is lost and movements will become disturbed)

4.) Differentiate between insubstantial and substantial. This is the first principle in T’ai Chi Ch’uan. If the weight of the whole body is resting on the right leg, then the right leg is substantial and the left leg is insubstantial, and vice versa. When you can separate substantial and insubstantial, you can turn lightly without using strength. If you cannot separate, the step is heavy and slow. The stance is not firm and can be easily thrown of balance.

5.) Sink the shoulders and drop the elbows. The shoulders will be completely relaxed and open. If you cannot relax and sink, the two shoulders will be raised up and tense. The ch’i will follow them up and the whole body cannot get power. “Drop the elbows” means the elbows go down and relax. If the elbows raise, the shoulders are not able to sink and you cannot discharge people far. The discharge will then be close to the broken force of the external schools.

*This was a hard part for me in Kyudo, keeping the elbows up and out, it goes against all Tai Chi training. ( new: here I had problem in the past, but now It is still somewhat the same , the elbows are still somewhat sunken, the arms are curved, the elbows do not stick out and up but are curved out yet still down, eg; in Ushiokoshi  ) However it is a different art so the nature of the critrion is different and as one must be able to flow from hard to soft, Yin to Yang, adapting to the nature of the weapon in use, this must be considered as well, not just one point. One the other hand, I have been repeatedly told drop and relax the shoulder when going into Kai.

6.) Use the mind instead of force. The T’ai Chi Ch’uan Classics say, “all of this means use I [mind-intent] and not li.” In practicing T’ai Chi Ch’uan the whole body relaxes. Don’t let one ounce of force remain in the blood vessels, bones, and ligaments to tie yourself up. Then you can be agile and able to change. You will be able to turn freely and easily. Doubting this, how can you increase your power?

The body has meridians like the ground has ditches and trenches. If not obstructed the water can flow. If the meridian is not closed, the ch’i goes through. If the whole body has hard force and it fills up the meridians, the ch’i and the blood stop and the turning is not smooth and agile. Just pull one hair and the whole body is off-balance. If you use I, and not li, then the I goes to a place in the body and the ch’i follows it. The ch’i and the blood circulate. If you do this every day and never stop, after a long time you will have nei chin [real internal strength]. The T’ai Chi Ch’uan Classics say, “when you are extremely soft, you become extremely hard and strong.” Someone who has extremely good T’ai Chi Ch’uan kung fu has arms like iron wrapped with cotton and the weight is very heavy. As for the external schools, when they use li, they reveal li. When they don’t use li, they are too light and floating. There chin is external and locked together. The li of the external schools is easily led and moved, and not too be esteemed.

( Kyohon: In addition the mental and spiritual energy should be focused in the region of the abdomen just below the navel and the chest and shoulders should be relaxed. )

7.) Coordinate the upper and lower parts of the body. The T’ai Chi Ch’uan Classics say “the motion should be rooted in the feet, released through the legs, controlled by the waist and manifested through the fingers.” Everything acts simultaneously. When the hand, waist and foot move together, the eyes follow. If one part doesn’t follow, the whole body is disordered.

( Kyohon:When standing , sitting, and moving forward and backward it is most important to keep the form of the torso in every movement.

It is very important to take care with the use of the eyes , as the condition of an archer’s mind is reflected in his concentration and the direction of eye movement.

The way is not with the bow, but the bone, which is of the greatest importance in shooting, this means that when you are going to shoot, you must not lose youroverall awareness and become preoccupied in just manipulating the bow and arrows, but remember that shooting effort shouldalso be made with your muscles and bones.

“Placing the Spirit in the center of the whole body’)

8.) Harmonize the internal and external. In the practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan the main thing is the shen. Therefore it is said “the spirit is the commander and the body is subordinate.” If you can raise the spirit, then the movements will naturally be agile. The postures are not beyond insubstantial and substantial, opening and closing. That which is called open means not only the hands and feet are open, but the mind is also open. That which is called closed means not only the hands and feet are closed, but the mind is also closed. When you can make the inside and outside become one, then it becomes complete.

( Kyohon: After having acquired the right inner intention and correctness in the outward appearance, the bow and arrow can be handled resolutely.)

9.) Move with continuity. As to the external schools, their chin is the Latter Heaven brute chin. Therefore it is finite. There are connections and breaks. During the breaks the old force is exhausted and the new force has not yet been born. At these moments it is very easy for others to take advantage. T’ai Chi Ch’uan uses I and not li. From beginning to end it is continuous and not broken. It is circular and again resumes. It revolves and has no limits. The original Classics say it is “like a great river rolling on unceasingly.” and that the circulation of the chin is “drawing silk from a cocoon ” They all talk about being connected together.

( Kyohon: All movements depend on timing. During movements we must choose timing which is neither too slow or too raid, nor too light or too impressive in quality so that the balance is timing disrupts the movements.

In the performance of shooting, this division in to eight stages should be regarded from start to the finish as one complete cycle, in which there is no separation .

10.) Move with tranquility [Seek stillness in movement]. The external schools assume jumping about is good and they use all their energy. That is why after practice everyone pants. T’ai Chi Ch’uan uses stillness to control movement. Although one moves, there is also stillness. Therefore in practicing the form, slower is better. If it is slow, the inhalation and exhalation are long and deep and the ch’i sinks to the tan-t’ien. Naturally there is no injurious practice such as engorgement of the blood vessels. The learner should be careful to comprehend it. Then you will get the real meaning.

( Kyohon: The fundamental form should be carried out naturally, observing the correct manner and courtesy. There should be no separation but a harmonious unity ( spirit, body and bow) that produces Truth, Goodness and Beauty of Kyudo through which the personality and dignity of the archer are expressed.)

There is much more, but I’m tired of typing, nor do I wish to write a whole book. At least not right now 🙂 This is just a little FYI to give you an idea of the sameness in many of the Principles. A way to relate to what I’m saying about Tai Chi – Kyudo, like Zen Kyudo is more than just being calm of mind when shooting or finding Enlightenment. And just a quick note on that, people have used the sound and playing of the Shakuhachi to gain enlightenment so yes, Kyudo can also be used as a path to enlightenment. Tai Chi-Kyudo is not just about moving slow and being meditative, or me making up a new art style…

 

siting Kyudo

This post was for those who eyes/minds are open enough to see. If you do not, are not open, fine. I don’t care. I respect your beliefs, and will not come to your house trying to change your mind or convert you…Perhaps you stand on a different spot on the mtn with a blocked view.
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( Kyuhon: The upper body should be correctly with the neck erect.)