Kyudo – Way of the Bow- Day I

24 02 2007

It is lunch time as I write post this. Also it is day 2 but I’ll start from yesterday. Everyone is out at lunch but me. I brought my laptop and lunch so I’m staying here as the temple guard it is very cool they have wifi here in the Meditation center. How cool is that! I’ll start this now but may need to finish it later depending when the group returns.

It was to be long day on Friday. I took the day off for the Kyudo seminar this weekend. Friday is day one.

I take the BART train into Berkeley so as not to deal with traffic and parking, it was a good move. I had a peaceful trip in and got to read some of my sailing book for my tests in April.

shambala.gifThe Shambhala Buddhist meditation centeris located just down the street from UC Berkeley and a couple of blocks away from the downtown BART station. It is about a 10 min walk. Perfect for a little cardo before class.

I was one of the first to arrive, so got to check things out first. The people that were there greeted me warmly and made to feel welcome (unlike the Berkeley Zen center as I have said ). Slowly others showed up, there was a lot of pleasant vibs among them. I found out later, many only come once a year, or/and come from afar to this event which has been going on for several years. This was the first year new people/beginners were allowed to attend. Great timing for me as I wanted to give this a try in Japan and it was doubtful I would be allowed to without some background. So I should hopefully be able to get a couple of shots in while we are in Osaka.

After all the greetings and such, we got started, first off was some Zazen/meditation for 30 min. It was an easy sitting, I have grown very comfortable with 30 min. I did my HeartChan/Zen style, it was good to get a long practice in. After the sitting, the seminar leader talked a bit about Kyudo, and the “Zen” sense of it thathall

was present in other things areas of life. He use a poem about a person in a wheelchair as an example. It told of the oneness, the timing of the person how they moved their wheelchair, how they timed themselves to the rhythm of the wheel flow. Entered into a state of Zen with their chair. We as archers wanted that same state of oneness when shooting.

After a short Demo by one of the senior students we beginners started. There is an amazing amount of formality with the opening for. I was expecting some, but this was more than I thought. Far more than just shooting the preparation is a large part of things. Our first lesson was on just how to walk correctly.

The next part of the lesson was on , opening, the stance, the grip, arms position , shoulders. Then on to putting all that together into a set of movements, all of shootingwhich were to prepare to load the bow with the arrow. That was the morning lesson.

The group went to lunch, since I had had my lunch with me. I walked over to UC Berkeley and sat under a tree and ate and did some reading. It was a good day to be out, the UCB campus is peaceful. However they did have some loud music coming from somewhere, not was not Rock , but perhaps Alt. It was ok, but not my type so that put a bit of a down turn on the energy for me.lunch

Once back at the center, there was a small lecture and Demo on how to do a formal sitting and prep for a formal demo. Then we had a tea break.

After our break it was back to more lessons for the new kids of which there were only two, myself and one other guy. Our next lesson was on how to put on the shooting glove and the ceremony form that went with that, so we could handle the arrow with that added factor. From there it was back to the hallway for how to load the arrow and go into ready position to begin the ready to pull position.

Whewww, no shooting today just foundation. I was surprise at the amount of pre-stuff. I was glad to be doing this at a seminar to get a lot of ground work at once. When I saw the girl do the first demo I did not think we were going to shoot until Sunday the last day. However the word is we will shoot on Sat. (today) after some more foundation stuff.

So ended day one, it as tiring a bit, because of new muscles being used and very uncomfortable body positions. Seemed like they designed it to see how uncomfortable one can be a still shoot an arrow. If you could over come the weird body sense and become “one” with the arrow and hit the target then you were good. Perhaps like if you could over come the uncomfortableness of life, the suffering you could achieve enlightenment. But you had to go beyond the suffering, feel it, but do not attach yourself to it, become one with it, but go beyond it and shoot (live).

After class it is a trip home for dinner then off to Kung Fu with Sifu. It was my monthly Friday session. We practice, talk and eat. I am learning The Late Master’s ( Sigung) taichi Sword form from one of the seniors who runs the San Francisco School. One of the topics we went through tonight was how one learns to make the trade off of loss of power when getting older. Using the power of the other person to your advantage and returning it to them. Eg: the harder they punch, the harder the get hit by using that power they sent against them. We also spoke of formalizing traps and disarms into a format that is easily passed down to others within our system. Brian who is the son of one of the late 8th generation elders spoke on practice with whip chain. Also the 3 elements needed to win a fight, of which good Kung Fu was the last.

It was a good, long, well spent day.

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