25 05 2009

Sanmi-ittai means the unity of the three essentials…Body, Spirit, and Bow as one body

Today (Sunday) was very cloudy and chilly, at least here on the island. Out in Vallejo it was a perfect day for Kyudo, or pretty much anything, it was just a nice day. On the Island today it was cold, I spent the major part of the morning warming up next to the fire, Not just physically Spirit, Body, Mind. Reading , Meditating, some light Yoga.

sunday am

I headed out to Kyudo practice for the afternoon. It was a quiet day there with just three of us, a casual practice. My main intention, focus for me  for the day was to test my draw on the bow. While working on which pattern of Shaolin Chan/ Chi Kung drills to work on with the group at the Genjo-ji retreat. I discovered which of the Heart Chan Motion Chan drills really are the same motion as the Hikiwake ( the draw) in Kyudo. I was right with a small bit of adapting. Now  I understand the drawing motion with the Yumi ( bow) much better now and the muscles in use and focus on them.


I had been asked ( because of my demo and last blog post) which Shaolin drills would work on helping those who do Kyudo enhance their practice. I went through a couple of set of drills , like Ba Duan Jing ( Eight Pieces Brocade) and some from Heart Chan, and found what I think will be a good combination for helping connect the Body , Mind, Spirit. Making the transmission a link from sitting meditation to Shooting and fill that missing gap I persive in Kyudo training. They are a combo of stretches and Chi Kung (Qi Gong), That will help center, ground, stretch and communicate beater with the body points that are used in Kyudo which we use in Tai Chi and Kung Fu. What I think is very cool and I am pleased that I found how all thee levels connect with Tai Chi /Kung Fu/Kyudo.

I was reading in the Kyudo manual ( Vol one – Shaho, principles of shooting ) about how there are considered three, items ( elements) of importance for doing good Kyudo, making a good shot.

1. The body

2. Spirit and mind

3. The Bow

In Chan we consider there are three parts to our makeup or three levels to our being ( so we train on three)

1. Physical ( Kung Fu)

2. Mental ( Meditation)

3. Spiritual ( Chakas)

It’s it interesting that in Christian thought there is also the trinity

1. Father ( God – the Universe – Heaven – Tao)

2. Son ( Us, the earth life, Mankind)

3. Holy Spirit ( Chi , Ki, , breath of God)

Makes you think does’nt

I digress.

I was surprised to hear that one of my Onii-san’s from RSD wants to study one of my Chinese arts with me to help his Kyudo. He was not quite sure how it would help and I tried to expalin (not every well at the time). As Kyudo has three princials which need to unite to have a “good” shot , we have the same in Kung Fu. In Kyudo it is Body, Spirit ( and mind), Bow. In Tai Chi -Fu it is Body, Spirit, Mind. I consider mind and spirit different aspects, but in Kyudo they do not. In Kyudo they consider the Bow as a seperate element, I do not. That was a small sticking point ( matter of confussion)  for Onii-san when I was explaining, Anyway it is a small matter.  I think the Kyudo three should be and are the same  Body, Mind, and Spirit. because, as in Kung Fu when we hold a weapon ( eg: Sword, Knife, Staff,  the YUMI)  it is no longer considered something seperate, it is now and extention of the body and used as such. Just as the flying Ya is and extension of the Shooter’s KI. So yes, whoever came up with the Spirit/Mind being the same and the Bow being seperate was in error, or the problem came in translation. In my opinion this is true and that of Shaolin Chan principals. Oh yes, so back to the subject. In order to have a "good" shot you need these three principals/elements in harmony, In order to have a "good" life you need to have the three Principals ( levels/elements) in harmony, in order to have "good" Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Karate, Tennis, Surfing, Dance, Sail, Golf, whatever  you need to have those three princials in Harmony. So my point is, training to raise merit on one level helps all things ( activities) that need that level ( which is all ready) as well. The better you are in touch with your Body and Ki ( Chi) from Tai Chi -Fu training ( which has a lot of that) the better and easier you will be able to tap into that for Kyudo, Sailing, Golf. Somewhat like the 5 element theory. Wood, supports Fire, Fire supports Earth , etc. Meditation supports the Mind and Spirit, Chi Kung and Motion Chan supports the body and Spirit, Kyudo ( Kung Fu) supports the Meditation and Spirit…In all things we are interdependant.




4 responses

25 05 2009
Inner sailing…SANMAI-ITTAI. « Zensekai II – By Sea

[…] post . I just finshed a post on the ..”by land” blog having to do this this topic SANMAI-ITTAI., relating to Kyudo, Tai Chi , Kung Fu etc. I mentioned there that it also had to do with […]

27 05 2009

You have brought up some good points. I have in my notes that the yumi is in fact an extension of the body. When we do ikasu, we are enlivening the yumi.

In one place the Sanmi-Ittai says “stability in using the bow”. Most other places, it just says “bow”.

I need to ask Sensei about this. Like I said, you have brought up some good points!

Many thanks!

28 05 2009

I think I understand this, but I’m not sure I can explain it. Gonna give it a try here…
Page 22 in the Kyohon discusses technique and spirit braided into one rope. I suppose here this includes the mind as well because they include it on pg 24 in regard to the Raiki Shagi when speaking of spirit.
Sanmi Ittai is also discussed on pg 25 in the explanation on the Shaho Kun. And if you look at page 47 it mentions Yumi o Ikasu.
Now while I can’t find it it the kyohon, I know from class and my notes that when we raise the yumi 10 cm off the floor, we are doing this in order to enliven the yumi.
As I see it…The yumi is not an extension of ourself until we add the body and the spirit. Once we have Yumi o Ikasu the “Three Essentials” ….the body, the spirit (mind), and yumi are united as one body.

I’m still wondering why it says “Stability in using the bow” on page 24 and just bow on page 25 and elsewhere. Maybe this has to do with the first line of the Raiki Shagi that brings up “right inner inention” and “correctness in outward appearance”… without these I suppose there is no stability… just brain storming here.

Did any of that make a bit of sense?

btw Nice post…
Thanks for making me think about this sort of thing!

8 06 2009
Rescue on the Estuary…all in a day’s work. « Zensekai II – By Sea

[…] knots and what-knot with them. We then took an early lunch, afterward I gave them a lecture on SANMAI-ITTAI. At first the Lawyer looked bored then he started paying attention. When I explained the body part […]

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