In a world of everyone ( well many) are out for themselves, it is more common to run across jerks, the rude, the self-centered, those with big ego and the corrupt. Our current state of the economy and housing market attests to that sad fact. I am always amazed and pleased to find people out of the norm who do something just out of kindness. Even more so when it is directed at me…That is mind blowing as us ole Hippies used to say.
I felt the ( Sunday, yesterday) was going to be a good day. I said so on Twitter, I did not know just how good, so much that I would be moved almost to tears…yeah that serious. Not tears like Boo hoo, tears like Miss America , OMG I can not believe it I’m so happy…
It started out as pretty much as any day it was however cold. I discovered a few things early in the morning. 1. I had new neighbors, 2. They liked, Persian ( Iranian ) type music, 3. They liked it loud. Oh well I thought perhaps they are just enjoying the new day of move in and they will be more considerate later, or perhaps they just do not know how loud it is. I went on with my day, making a note to self, to be sure to get up early to do my morning meditation in the future, even on the weekends.
Part of my morning was spent watching some egrets in the marsh hoping to get a good shot of them taking off. It was unusual to have 6 of them all in one spot. They remind me of Japanese cranes. So I waited, and watered my plants, and waited, admired my Japanese maple, and waited. I got a couple of shots but nothing off the hook great. Some times it goes like that. Just like the trip can be about the Journey, the moment can be about the wait. Or since this is a Kyudo post, the shot is about the form not hitting the target (so much at least). I once read a good book by a Zen priest photographer, who said much the same thing about Photography and waiting for the shot to show it’s self…I digress
My big thing for the day was a trip over to Raccoon Crap Dojo to do some Kyudo practice with the guys. I do not hang with many guys and do sport type stuff and those I find I relate to are usually weird like me, Musicians or Martial Artist, artist the like. The RSD group are a nice couple of guys, besides being my Onisans. I was out last month and keeping to my new plan of going at least once a month, it was now time. I missed last Friday do to some volunteer work I promised to the Lake Merritt boat show booth, so this time it was on for sure. My first time going out during the day, so that was something new as well.
The guys had put in a new floor so I was looking forward to seeing that. When I saw it I was amazed at the difference it made. It gave the place a whole new feel, much more official, we could even where our Gi’s now. It was a nice job. I was told some else was to join us. Then the big surprise was dropped. My Onisans had gotten together and had me a Yumi made. I was beyond shocked, pleased and honored. I really was moved, I did feel my eyes get misty I was so surprised. I had been wanted my own Yumi for quite some time. Having one’s own Yumi is like having one’s on sword in Kung Fu. You are not serious training until you have your own weapon to connect with. Beside the fact this was not just another Yumi this was balanced and colored perfect. It was also made by someone who learned from the Bow Maker of the Emperor of Nihon and one made after years of doing his trade. I was beyond touched.
Now as cool as all this was, there were other surprises in store for the day as in the opportunity to attend this year Kyudo/Zen retreat at the Sonoma Mtn Zen center. That is where I went last year fro the 4 days retreat and baked on the mountain top in the record heat. I had not expected to attend this year. But the door was opened all I had to do was walk in…
But wait there still more. Oniisan says there is someone else coming today. This person turns out to be someone familiar with the style done in the All Nippon Kyudo Federation (ANKF). He was a student of the man I went Sunnyvale to study with one Sunday, but could not go back, because of the distance and lack of owning a Yumi. He also knew another instructor I thought was a jerk and I felt vindicated when he said he also, with out me voicing it first.
Anyway,this guy spent the day with us and started showing us the “Imperial style” of shooting which is what they do in the All Nippon Kyudo Federation (ANKF). Our current style is based on the Warrior style. He offered to teach me the ANKF way. Which means at some point I could in fact test for some rank within the Federation and be accepted as knowing what I am doing in Nihon when I go back…Say it with me… Very Cool! … Desho!
Ok, the shooting Sunday, was different in that we did the ceremonial style shooting as a group. both Kneeling and standing. The kneeing was painful and took some will power I really had to “Ganbaru” a few times. However the mental “sense” of it was more intense it really felt like coming out of meditation when the shots where done and we bowed out. As painful as it was I liked it. I’ll need to practice that more, more knee time. Ok, so I’ll need to really make the effort and get to the RSD twice a month and also study my book to get these terms down so I can test at some point…Yosh!
Oh yeah, So what is Haru Hime…
My Oniisans have names for their Yumi’s, Darth Vader, Anakin, Big Bertha ( or something like that). I was thinking at first…Takezo, or Kansuke, but the Yumi said “dude no” baka wa anata desu, …it liked Haru-Hime. “Spring Princess”
“Kyudo is meditation. The main point of kyudo practice is to polish your heart, deeply. When someone hits the target, you can sometimes see happiness. In kyudo, you cut this happiness. That’s merely the enjoyment of ego. Whether you hit the target or not, whether you have a beautiful form or not, is not the true measure of your practice. In kendo, karate, judo, all these forms of fighting training, victory comes from cutting someone else. Kyudo is completely different. You cut yourself, your own ego. In this way, we can begin to create a peaceful world. We can make a big international WA, a circle of peace the whole world over. That is victory!” — Kanjuro Shibata XX, Sensei