I rode the ZenCycle over to Berkeley last night for Kyudo Class. My condo complex had it’s monthly meeting so I took advantage of that and cancelled my Kung Fu class to attend Kyudo since they were meeting in the club house.
I pulled up in time to catch someone near the door to let me into the Shambala Center where the Kyudo class is held.
It was a small class tonight. Some of the regular senior students, well most are regular senior students to me being a new kid. Most are nice, I say most because, one acts like I’m invisible unless there is something she needs to say to me, like those mats go there, never just a simple hello. Hmmm I am a classmate. Not doubt a carry over from my Kung Fu training, we train together, we are family, more so proper behavior/manners for a senior of the clan…different mind set Japanese, Chinese… No matter, I am not there to socialize…Chisaii koto, I digress…
Onisan Hans was there. He was out my last visit. He was my guide into basic training and is always helpful. While we were changing into our Hakama’s he said something about Kyudo and Zen after I said my Job is “Zen” practice. He said I have found Kyudo to be most “Zen” when it is just being it’s self. ( there are different sides/states to Zen) Not when it’s like something. I took to mean, in it’s natural state the total act, art of Kyudo is Zen, not Zen like. Unlike the meaning what some people term Kyudo as Zen archery. It is not really “Zen” it is Archery done with Mindfulness, which is a state of “ Zen” and the full act of shooting mindfully, the blending of the the bow, the arrow, your stance, your breath, your draw, your focus , the total of it centered and mindful, the being at one with the wholeness of it, is “Zen” ( any of that make sense?) No seperation from the bow, arrow, self, target, ki. With that mindset, any archery is “zen” archery. As I have said the same of doing Tai Chi , Kung Fu, Sailing, even Jamming with a Band. On the other hand, I could be wrong 🙂
As always beginning meditation. Rinsing the spirit, cleaning off the road dust. Purifying, centering. “A shower for the spirit” nice phrase!
On to practice. We have a saying in Tai Chi, that it takes, 10 yrs to understand the basics…In Kyudo there is the 10 yr grip. That is what Lucy correct me on tonight, also Onee-san, the speakless 🙂
So while working on being mindful of each step, my draw ( a full lesson it self, from last time), my arm position, I’m now thinking about how to make this grip work. I was told I am holding too tight ( my grip) on the bow. The proper grip allows the bow to turn/rotate in one’s hand upon release of the arrow. My sense tells me to grip more when I feel it shift. Wrong, maintain control but let it spin…difficult. Mentally I get it, but not phycially. Like Push Hands in Tai Chi. Being soft, yet controlling at the same time. A this point to me the grip is not natural feeling. I know, I know, I need to do enough to have it feel natural. That goes with out saying, duh! 🙂
I asked Oniisan to take a couple of photos for me. That helps me to see where my errors are, also something to post heheh. He was kind enough to stop his training to do so. While in the process pointed out my errors in shoulder and arm placement. Helpful to pinpoint where I need to focus my training efforts.
This will be a long road to travel. However I am in no hurry, I have no goals other than just to do it. Another form of “practice” And that brings it back to Zen…