Kyudo n LA…Zanshin

23 07 2009

Now after a few days have past, my knees have stop aching …so much! The Chinese Jow today really helped for this mornings Zazen.zanshin

As when completing a shot one reflects on the arrow, the travel, one’s body, what was right, what is in need of improvement, the form and the formless. I’m there…

It was a great trip, visiting old friends and new ones. Learning much… As much as I like to shoot, it was great getting so much info. Good stuff about shooting better in form and spirit was priceless, and well worth, the not-shooting time. The LA Kyudo group is an experience worth having more than once. Yet, like love it is better to have it at least once , than not at all.  The Meditation, the chanting, the Tea breaks, the form and the formlessness. Although holding to the form, the formless is also embraced, respect is given equally. I was there to learn form, but the formless was also taught. Yin/Yang… Which in turn helped the form. The Sensei said when he watches for corrections to make he at times looks at the empty space in the form. Space between hand and shoulder, for example. Upon hearing words about space, and emptiness shifts my head into graphic designer/photograher mode. Then over to the Tao Te Ching, the usefulness is in the empty space in the bowl. comes to mind.  ‘To understand light, one must experience dark, to understand the form, understand the formless. ( ohhh my brain hurts)  Although Kyudo is NOT Zen, it IS also Zen, it was helpful to hear and see the connections in Philosophy and application.

The only thing I would add to the training, as in what I said about our classes in the north. That is some type of Physical warmup/Qi Gong type of drill is needed. There is still the transition gap between, moving from mind to body, stillness to movement. I saw the Sensei do some movements that were very like something we do in Motion Chan. He said at the time, if one can do this, one can shoot. The movement itself would be a great warm-up, transitional drill for the physical action of shooting. However no one did it, well except him, when using it as a explanation of mechanics. I thought that was a perfect for getting the blood and chi to the parts needed for shooting. As well as help with lowering one center. It seemed very Karate internal like.  There was another drill that was done. I’ll call the virtual shot. Where after Meditation everyone stands and goes through the motions of shooting , but without equipment. I think here, before doing that, is the spot to insert that warm-up, that would complete the transition and give “respect” to the body, muscles, bones, nerves. There is preparation of the Mind and Spirit, but not preparing the Body… Ch’an is one, not two

It occurred to me that “Kyudo” itself is on the line of Yin and Yang. That point on a drawing of the Tai Chi symbol that changes from one energy to another.  Or perhaps better said, fully embodies the Principles of both Yin and Yang. Stillness and motion, One’s feet, legs are in a stance,  lower body is firmly grounded, yet there is movement in the upper body. It is a true heaven and earth blend when shooting.

Having someone communicate in images that I can relate to was wondrous for my slow mind to grasp. Not just in words but images that came with the words, holding a sword, Yin/Yang, non-duality, hanging from heaven, expanding Chi.

Ling Sisuks, often says, practicing your Tai Chi will help your Mantis , will help your Shaolin, I understand the truth in that and now fully grasp Tai Chi will also help my Kyudo. Rooting, Alignment, Breath, Balance, Flow, Stillness, Focus, Expanding the Tan Tien,  I have often said when people say, “you do so many different things”. I respond, not really they all are expression of the same thing. Kyudo is not Zen but it is another expression of Zen.

Now for an addition to my own personal Kyudo quest… find a local place I can shoot, more than once a week or once a month . Yet …It is beneficial to know how to practice shooting , without shooting. using formlessness to practice form. That is a very Ch’an concept…ne!


Side note: I wondered why it is my posts on Kyudo get the most hits. I am even surprised that something I wrote years ago still gets a large amount of play/hits. I was never ego filled enough to think it was my writing. LoL! I figured it out the other night. There are really only two blogs that write about Kyudo. There are lots of blogs on Kung Fu , Tai Chi, Zen, etc, but for the most part just  JW of Kyudo the road less Traveled and myself consistently write on our kyudo experiences. It would be nice to read some others. We Kyudo players are still a small group in the big Dojo of World Society. There are a large amount of Kyudo players in Europe. Perhaps one if them will step forward.




One response

3 08 2009

Love that image…fascinating….

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