Kyudo Day II

25 02 2007

Day II at the Golden Tiger Kyudo School seminar. I liked the name of this branch. Being I am born in The Year of the Tiger, feels like fate to me to be attending this. The second day is over I finally got to shoot. So before I go into that lets back up some.Fomal

Today as yesterday started with Zazen for 30 min. I find that Gong that is used to end the session is too harsh sounding. It does not just bring you out of meditation , it Jars you out of meditation. the sound I find is too sharp…however maybe that is just me. Today the leader Don, read another poem for the talk. It had to do with a aged woman who needed help seeing the doctor, however she still had dignity, even the sisters who helped her added dignity. I’m not fully sure what he was saying here, but it had to do with form and showing dignity even though you feel you have not done your best shooting, but giving your best… I think.

Next another demo of a more formal shooting, starting from a mat through the shoot then returning. as if giving a demo in front of judges or some people of rank and regular observers. Then we were asked what did we see in the shooter of ourselves, what habits, etc. One of the things he was saying about when watching another shooter, is to see ourselves in them, they mirror ourselves. Their strong and weak points, which in the realm of Buddhism, there is no you or I there is only we, us. My strengths or yours and everyones, my weakness are everyone weakness.

YumisNext time for the greenhorns to review then learn how to cock the Yumi ( bow). We returned back to the hallway to practice, first timing our opening with others, so we were in sync and we could do a group shoot with others in harmony. Hans Sempai, our instructors explained about the feeling of oneness when doing it in time with others, the feeling of group harmony. To me it was the same as the flow of chi when doing Tai Chi with a group. It is much stronger when with others adding their chi to the area than just your own. The Chi that is generated in a group is like supercharging your own. So I was right with what he was saying through from a different view.

Next up is going through how to grip the bow, properly. Unlike a western style bow the Japanese Bow is suppose to turn in your hand once the arrow is released. So the grip can not be too tight and if too loose one will have no control. It should be held mostly with the little fingers ( same as a mantis grab ) and thumb The arrow and string pulling hand also needs a special attention paid to it. It is not really griping the but chambering the arrow and the string. Interesting enough both hands are held in a also most “mantis” position, something I’m use to. After a few times of practicing that, it is time to draw, the bow.

Raise, turn, raise the bow with hands in position, above eyes to hairline level, arrow still not pointing at the target. Then push and pull bow, hands still high, finally lowering hands as separation nears completion. Hold and breath, though they did not say anything. To me it is like, “sung” in Tai Chi, move completed, breath and relax, then extend and release.

We did a few dry runs, with no arrow, with no bow, someone resisting, like a human bow. Then it was show time. It is now fairly late in the afternoon. So after a day and a half plus, we are finally ready to join the line and shoot.

HanI was planning to let the other guy go first, but somehow I got positioned to be first up. I was a bit nervous as Lucy the head of the Bay Area school, the one putting this on, was going to be there, looking for errors. Han from the side lines is saying,”make me proud” oh, great pressure. Ok, I settle, breathe, call up my Shaolin training, and relax. I start the sequence, taking a breath where if feels right, and a moment to center, before going to the next section. Loading the arrow, breath, everything is set, turn the head, chamber the bow, breath. I exhale relax, and raise the Bow like doing Tai Chi so my breath and mind raise the bow not my arms. Now in position I again “sung” before beginning the draw. Breathe and draw, the arrow feels a little off of position with the right hand so I twist the hand a little to secure it and complete the draw. I remember reading in the book, Zen and the Art of archery on is not suppose to let the arrow go, it is suppose to go when it’s ready. So I relaxed, took a breath, extended my arms and centered more, the arrow flew, VERY cool! For the most part it felt correct. My release and position was corrected a bit by Lucy in the after shot position, but it was good. Next some direction on recovering the arrow and time for my second shot. Though in some ways I did better on my second shot, others I did not. The arrow almost got away before I was ready lucky my Shaolin skills felt it happening and were able to react in time to save the motion and make the shot. Then I was done. Whewww.

The other guy did not do so well, could not get any shots off. He kept dropping the arrow. Even after I had waited out of line, then got back in line and did another round he was still trying to get his first successful shot off. I though he would have been much better since he said he had a class before. For me it was just extending my Shaolin skills to adapt to another weapon, perhaps that was the difference. Seeing what was similar not what was different. People should treat each other like that…




2 responses

12 07 2013
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Superb blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on
everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Kudos!

20 07 2013

Thank you for your post. sorry i have been quite busy and forgot to respond to your question.
I would suggest that you start with a fre platform, to get the hang of things, then if you so chose as others have done, move to a paid venue.

Best wishes

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