Kyudo no Unko mada kuso desu… part II

3 11 2009

Before I go into more, let me do a bit of review, let’s take a ride on the “way back machine” to my beginning contact with the NorCal Renmei. There are basically three Dojo’s here in Nor Cal. By my first contact, I was told, if I could not commit to every practice session then he ( the sensei) did not want to be bothered because after 10 yrs (or whatever) of teaching he was tired of repeating himself to people who could not remember. Nice! Very impressive instructor, reeks of warmth and a fine example of Shin Zen Bi…not!

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Next, I go by to see another Sensei ( 2 of 3).  I spent the afternoon practicing with him. He seemed nice enough. Helpful. However when I ask him via e-mail about the requirements for a kyu (which is one step above nothing) ranking, I am totally ignored. Ok, not really a big deal, but… that did not leave me with a good impression…made me feel blown off,

Ok, next school. I ask about visiting a class. I am told because my email address has “Zen” in it, I would be better off going to another school ( were I first  started Kyudo) because they ( his school) teach the True Budo form of Kyu-do. None of this shoot for enlightenment stuff. I should look elsewhere I’d be happier. I went to visit anyway. Later i was told, by the main Sensei they already have two or three new students and there was no time for another, maybe next year.

On Page 9 of the Kyohon * this is the Bible for the AJKF) it states:
Kyudo is not simply a way to create well-being and train the body, but a way to bring enhancement and cultivation to your life… we, as practitioners of Kyudo, who are expected to master such virtues as discipline, modesty, gentleness, self-restraint, and reflection through the shooting, can realize these qualities in our own life.

hmmm, I seemed to have missed this in my contacts so far…

Ok , on to SoCa. The So Cal group was very welcoming. It was a most pleasant change from the other contacts. I spent the weekend practicing with them at several venues. They were pleasant. I enjoyed the added “Zen” touches from the Sensei. However they had internal issues, which I will not go into and there was an internal split somewhat later. One of those somewhat common Martial Art things…anyway the “Zen” Sensei is basicly a Ronin from the Renmei Daimyo …sad.

But wait… there is more. I found out later there another chapter of the So CA Renmei Group. I never met this Sensei however I did read some of the correspondence to one of my Tanuki bothers, which was not very heartening about the open-mindedness of the very “serious” members of the AJK who says “We are more serious about AKR Kyudo and making sure that it is practiced accordingly.”…Wow!

“When one door closes …another opens”

At this point I am pretty feed up with the Renmei in CA. I figure to just practice and  give up any thought of joining, testing, the like and if need be do things the long way once in Nihon. Shortly, I am contacted by a friend who says. Well I told you about the BS there, I figured it was best to let you find it yourself. There is another way. The Kyudo Alliance is about welcoming people and advancing the Art of Kyudo without the Political Unko. Also via them you can test , go to Japan to train whatever, because the head of the Alliance is the highest ranking Renmei member in the states. You can attend seminars, whatever including the upcoming one in January. You will still need to join a group, but that can be worked out. Shortly after I receive an email from another Ranking Sensei who is also a founding member inviting me to train at his school and attend seminars. He too is concerned about the current stat of affairs with stateside Renmei and says I am welcome to train with his group. He also states that the Senior , the leader, the Highest ranking State-side Dan is a breath of fresh air. Wow! finally The lotus blooms. I am delighted and amazed.

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The Lotus flower in Chan /Zen is a symbol of purity, enlightenment. The Lotus itself is considered special as it grows out of filth and muck to bloom into a beautiful flower that has risen above the yuk and muck.

but wait there is more.

Meanwhile, after the big let down from the letter from the SO CAL person about how closed the upcoming seminar was and feeling their superior attitude, I had written to the Sensei I had practice with one afternoon in Nor Cal. I asked him about training with him reguarly, he was my final hope for Nor CAL and the Renmei entrance…I thought. He is now the President of the Nor Cal Chapter. I asked about training with him, now that I was located closer to him and had all my equipment, ( I did not before). I was not expecting to hear from him once again, like the last time. However I figured, why not give it one more shot. I was not too surprised when I did not receive an answer for a day. However I was really shocked this evening when I did receive the answer that I was welcome to come train with him! Whoa shock! another Lotus

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So things have sorted out. The Lotus Flowers have risen from the muck.

There is a piece from the Tao Te Ching that I can not recall right now, but it sorts out to, after being in the dark , you are more grateful for the light.

The path gets interesting from here…

to be continued

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14 responses

3 11 2009
Rick Matz

I dislike martial arts organizations because it seems to bring out the worst of everyone involved. I think 1 teacher, 1 school has made more sense over time.

You have so many choices for kyudo! The nearest kyudo dojo to the Detroit area of which I am aware, is near Indianapolis.

3 11 2009
Zen

Indiana & Minnesota are the only ones I know of up that way. Yes I am lucky with all the MA selections here. it is a blessing for development.

There are people who have trained at a distance with a school, then started there own clubs in their area still helped by the main club/group. There is a group growing in South America that began that way, as did the Southern groups in the States. Someone goes to a seminar to learn the basics, then practice, practice ,practice. the get aid from videos and the like from their instructor, more practice, another seminar an so it grows…
Like everything it is easier to have help right there, but…in this age of technology, where there is a will…

Yes, M.A. Organizations, start with the best intentions, but many times go off track. Ego’s can be our great demon to combat in life.

5 11 2009
tokyobling

Wow, it seems you Americans really make thing unnecessarily complicated. In Japan (where I have done Kyudo) things are much more easy going and open. Good luck on finding a place that has the atmosphere but not the attitude!

10 11 2009
Mark

Hi,
I can see why you find all this frustrating. You are full of enthusiasm, you want to throw yourself into Kyudo. That is all great. I read some of your previous posts about you trying to contact dojos and it strikes me that you push too hard. You turn up and tell them all how you’ve done this and that and all the things you know, how you have your own bow…
Try taking yourself back a little.
Remember these are not paid teachers they are practitioners who give up their own training time to help you.
If you come with too many expectations you will most likely be disappointed.
There are many reasons why people try Kyudo – and most don’t persist with it and anyone teaching knows this only too well. Those who teach see many students come and go again.
Students who think it is all about THEM and their fulfillment and some sort of Zen experience are usually the first to go. It just takes too long to get there. You have to enjoy the sport and the practice and simply drawing your bow. If simply drawing your bow is not in and of itself a thrill that makes the thing worth while and if you are looking for some sort of “outcome” from the training you will probably be disappointed.
People on a quest who think they already know what it is all about are often hard to teach. They are not open and the teacher has a battle to get them to accept instructions or corrections because “they feel, for THEM…” it is like this or like that. I am not suggesting you are one of those, just that teachers come across students like this time and time again and if they asses you to be one of those they will be skeptical.
I am preaching! Arghhh! I wasn’t going to do that. It isn’t my place…
Well, there you go, my enthusiasm got the better of me – happens to us all.
Anyway, so teachers judge prospective students too – like you judge them – and some become cynical over time (as you have?). Maybe that is wrong but that is how it is (and how it always was). The teacher student relationship is a very delicate one. Each has their expectations and each looks for a sympathetic character. If either party feels they are mis-matched it doesn’t work.
People who have invested a lot of time and energy in the sport over many years just feel they have a right to choose and you do not necessarily have a right to demand… They are just as passionate as you and they are basically amateurs as well so can’t be judged by the standards of what a textbook teacher should be. They do this for the love of it and are under no obligation to anyone.
Anyway, I am glad you found a place you feel happy to train. I did not mean to criticise you, by the way, just to be clear. I like your enthusiasm and dedication and I like your blog.
I just thought you should try and understand those who teach. You are asking a massive favour of them to commit to training you and they WILL judge you before they commit to it. Many have dedicated their lives (their spare time at least) to the sport and they do not respond well to pushy people who already know it all because they read a few books or people who are on a quest for something the teacher can’t relate to. There are many reasons people practice Kyudo, Zen is one but for many who study Kyudo purely as a sport it is a distraction. It is too esoteric for them. Then for some it is the key reason they do it. You have to find someone you click with. (no pun intended – as you explained “clicks”…)
Anyway, Kyudo is a wonderful sport and I do wish you well with it and I hope you don’t take this comment the wrong way.
Regards,
Mark

10 11 2009
Zen

Wow Mark,
Thank you for the excellent comment, That has to be by far the longest I have ever gotten.

I am grateful for what you have said and will take it you only have the best of intentions. I have found that as great as the e-communication is it is still lacking, and limited to what peoples understanding, interpretation of what was written. Not being able to take in the real life persona of the person involved limits things.
Here is my only problem with what you said : ” I read some of your previous posts about you trying to contact dojos and it strikes me that you push too hard. You turn up and tell them all how you’ve done this and that and all the things you know, how you have your own bow…”

Yes I did contact this and that Dojo, but I do not tell them I know this and that, only and ONLY if they ask. Even then I down play it, because I do not know much, and do not try to or want to come off like I do. Being an instructor myself I find that to be a big turn off.

However, I do understand your point, thank you for sharing it. It does give me something to look closer for in my own behavior.

_/|\_

10 11 2009
mark

Hi again,

I am terribly sorry if I upset you.
Not much good at making friends with my fellow Kyudoka… : (
That wasn’t really the point of the comment.
Anyway, I did not mean “YOU” so much as “one”. It was kind of more general.
As you rightly said I know very little about you and it is not my place to judge at all.
I did not mean to suggest you leap down people’s throats with your knowledge, etc. I am sure you are more centered than that.
Still a teacher would try to read you somehow, find out what drives you, what you are looking for. They’ll get an impression….
You mentioned, I think, that you wrote, introduced yourself and told the guys there where you were at so to speak and I guess from that alone maybe they made their decision. Maybe they looked at your blog. Who knows?!
Anyway,…
They shouldn’t be deciding on the basis of one meeting, an email, or whatever.
I agree with you on that.
They should not decide for you at all actually.
Where I train we welcome all and give everyone a chance to try and experience Kyudo. Very few stay and sometimes you are surprised who does stick with it.
We don’t drive people away we actively try to recruit people and we can’t find enough that WILL stay. That is in the nature of a sport like Kyudo, often expectations are too high and patience too low so people get frustrated with it.
Some teachers “preselect” those they consider suitable – mine don’t and I am thankful to have people to train with who are so open and generous.
Not all teachers are.
So anyway, I agree with much of what you say and your local groups do sound a bit odd – not open enough and too quick to dismiss someone just because he doesn’t fit their exact expectations.

My earlier comment I was not a criticism of you so much as just me playing evil’s advocate a bit to make the point that most teachers give a lot of themselves and often put up with a lot. They are not the guy from the local water board whom you pay through your taxes to do a job and of whom you are entitled to expect service of a certain quality.
You also teach you said, so you know, I’ve taught too (not Kyudo)… so that was just in defense of teachers… don’t write them all off too quickly.
You would not believe what people we get turing up at the dojo for example… all sorts of opinions and expectations, – martial arts fans, manga fans, japanophiles, students of zen, archery enthusiasts, hunters,… then… one person feels for her the bow should be held in the right hand, one sees no reason to bow, one can’t kneel, one wants spirituality, one wants sport, one doesn’t do exams,…
Everyone has tried something before… as I said archery, meditation, martial arts,… everyone has been on-line, bought a book, seen it on TV… and consequently all have expectations.
Here in Germany we also have growing divisions between Heki and Shomen style Kyudo but that is a different story.
You’d have to be a saint not to occasionally go “not another one…!!!”

Anyway,…

Once again sorry to upset you by making unqualified presumptions about you.
Sorry also about the long comments. I don’t actually have too much time on my hands – despite appearances… it is just once I start I do like to write in proper sentences. Also I don’t get much opportunity to write in english so I try to make the most of it ; )

I’ll leave you in peace now.

If you are ever looking for a friendly place to train, Bavaria is worth a try. You would be most welcome. We’ll have to convert you to Heki Ryu that’s all ; )

Best regards,
Mark

13 11 2009
Zen

Mark, since I am back here I’ll address something that you missed on my post. My email to the Sensei only said:

” dear ____Sensei,
I would like your permission to visit your Dojo and watch a class. Would this be possible?”

I was told yes, then later I was told, when I only thanked him for the permission, and said “I’ll see you then” he replied: “Oh, I see you have the words “zen” in your email. I think you would be happier somewhere else” We are more serious about the true way” ( hahaha this is different more serious person)

IS this saying too much, being pushy , over doing it?

I do not think so and I’m pretty sure most people would not.
Anyway, over all we are of the same mind, just a bit of misunderstanding, perhaps due to my poor writing and communication skills. Thanks again for your post. peace
_/|\_

12 11 2009
kyudoka

But wait… there is more. I found out later there another chapter of the So CA Renmei Group. I never met this Sensei however I did read some of the correspondence to one of my Tanuki bothers, which was not very heartening about the open-mindedness of the very “serious” members of the AJK who says “We are more serious about AKR Kyudo and making sure that it is practiced accordingly.”…Wow!

Why is this taken so negatively? I am lucky to be part of a Kyudo group in the US where the teacher will enthusiastically train anyone who is sincerely interested, but he is also very serious about teaching AKR Kyudo correctly. To me, this simply means the teacher does not make up their own style to suit their own skills (or compensate for something, perhaps, they struggle with or don’t understand).

I think in this case you may be reading too much into this… I would not be so judgmental without having met or attended the practices. You are also taking this perceived rejection too personally… isn’t it an ancient custom to turn down a student a number of times before accepting them?

13 11 2009
Zen

well, mystery writer, you maybe correct. I do tend to take things too personal. I have a overly sensitive personality flaw. Part of my artistic nature. or…
i know more of the full context of this and in order not to write a whole word by word detail I just put the part that stuck out. Like what the media does when reporting stuff and writing headlines. Also, it was not directed at me, but at/in reference to another Sensei. Let’s look at this a little bit deeper, who are they to say they are MORE serious than another Sensei? Are the Baptist more serious about being a Christian than the Catholics, just because their interpretation of the Bible is different. Jews more serious than Lutherians about the old Testament? Muslims more serious than Christians about God? The Renzei Sect more serious about being spiritual than the Soto sect. The Renmei more serious about archery than Heki-ryu Bishu Chikurin-ha? My Sensei or elders in Kung Fu never say our school is MORE serious that blah blah school. They say, this is our way , that is their way. There is something to learn from everyone, this may not be right for everyone, this is just our way of Kung Fu. Their mind is not expressed as being closed by saying , we are MORE serious. This is however my opinon, just as the post was and yours was.

Anyway going beyond that you are correct in your assessment. Thank you for your input. It is great you have a wonderful instructor. I am not saying these people are not good instructors. I am stating my impression wrong or right. Just as you are stating your impression of my impression 🙂

Interpreting words, is like the finger pointing to the moon…

Thanks for the comment. _/|\_

13 11 2009
Zen

Whoohoo, I have not gotten this much comments since I wrote about my impression of teaching at a certain Sailing school on my By-Sea blog. hahahah. So that is what it takes. 🙂

14 11 2009
mark

Hi (again!),

quite a debate you kicked off there ; )
shall we keep it going for a bit… ?

As I tried to explain – maybe as english is not my native language I sound too direct. We are all passionate about the sport and that is a great thing.
So thanks for providing this platform and sorry if I am occasionally rude – it is my passion not a lack of respect to you.

There are so few people practicing Kyudo here in the West it should be something that fees like a community not a bunch of exclusive “clicks” (to use your term). You use the term “brother” to describe fellow Kyudoka so I have a feeling you agree with me.
We really can’t afford to be snooty to one another, can we.
People should be open.

Still, teachers, especially those who don’t charge do get to choose their students and not the other way round.

And, well, how do I put this,… the “zen” thing and the rejection from your email alone…
So,… ok I did not want to say this before but it probably does boil down to your particular school of Kyudo.

Having said we can’t be snooty I’m going to do exactly that and air my very own prejudices….
Nothing like a lively debate is there… ; )

And YES, you can shoot me down in flames over this…

Chikurin-Ha, while it is an ancient and most venerable school, is regarded as something of a “MacKyudo” by many.
The way Shibata sensei promotes and – dare I say – sells Kyudo (and bows) to the West has brought the whole school into disrepute.
In ANKF Kyudo you do not call yourself “sensei” until you have the rank of renshi. In Germany there are only 5 out of 1200 Kyudoka listed, in Japan about 4.000 out of 130.000.
When I browse the web for Kyudo links I keep seeing clips of Shibata Kyudo students and their teachers.
Mostly these are blown up performances of people shooting in full Kimono often with assistants. There is always a huge build-up and everything is done with much artifice only to culminate in a release that would make a 16 year old high school girl blush. I watched one “sensei” just last night, after release he held the bow by the to-section about 4″ above the grip. You only normally see THAT with the YouTube kyudo girls.
And why do so many wear protection on the bow hand?! Do they all shoot 27kg bows?
I am not saying I can do better – I can’t – but you don’t see ME on YouTube doing “ceremonies”.

My point is that Shibata Kyudo to many in the sport is a leisure product tailored to the needs of westerners.
Progression is too fast, you read xyz started studying Kyudo in 1994 and by ’98 they are an instructor. In 4 years!
In ANKF kyudo you can hope to achieve the grade of renshi after about 20 years.
But then, if you are selling kyudo courses people expect to walk away with a “golden rainbow in their heart” (as I read just a few minutes ago), or at least a title.
People who go through the slow and rigorous ANKF system with regular examinations to uphold its high standards often regard Zenko Kyudo as somewhat worrying.
Well, that is their right too, is it not.
Maybe my impression of Zenko Kyudo is wrong – I can only base it on what I read on-line.
And actually, I have nothing but admiration Chikurin-Ha and Shibata Kanjuro himself. I am sure he means well and just tries to bring Kyudo to the West. Maybe he diluted it by trying to make it accessible. I don’t know but I welcome anyone who promotes the sport. He is an important figure in the sport and must be admired and thanked for his efforts.
There may be those who are “more serious” but have they done as much for the sport or reached as many people?
They had a chance to reach you Zen and blew it.
So what does that make them?

Regards,

Mark

Another long comment – sorrrrrry!
and I always regret pressing the “submit” button as soon as I have and think gosh I didn’t just say that…!! Still here we go again.

15 11 2009
Zen

Ok, mark, you seem like a decent guy. Let me break this down for you…

“There are so few people practicing Kyudo here in the West it should be something that fees like a community not a bunch of exclusive “clicks” (to use your term). You use the term “brother” to describe fellow Kyudoka so I have a feeling you agree with me.
We really can’t afford to be snooty to one another, can we.
People should be open.”

This is exactly what I am saying. If people here in the states have to jump through, Old world, Japanese ask three times, or sit out in the rain for 3 days Shaolin temple stuff for things they are paying for they will say, Screw this! This is why Kyudo is so small here in the states!

“Still, teachers, especially those who don’t charge do get to choose their students and not the other way round.”

I never said these were free classes! Membership, dues, fixed donations whatever you want to call it runs $35-$45, this is paying! It is not free! I have sent people to another school who have come to me for Kung Fu lessons. ONLY after by their own words have shown my school is not for them.

“And, well, how do I put this,… the “zen” thing and the rejection from your email alone…
So,… ok I did not want to say this before but it probably does boil down to your particular school of Kyudo.”

AGAIN I said nothing about my school or style, what I was looking for, where I had studied, that I wanted enlightenment NOTHING. I only said “may I watch your class?”
Hmmm ok, this type of right of the bat rejection, based on a word, not facts, or my statements is the same as rejecting someone on race or origins. Like a Japanese who reads a German name and says, you would be happier somewhere else, because Germans can not learn Kyudo. This is NOT the way to promote an Art that is suppose to show, Shin, Zen Bi . or the way to get others to enjoy path a great art. If the Japanese had this attitude about it would not be n Germany, France, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, or the States.

“Having said we can’t be snooty I’m going to do exactly that and air my very own prejudices….
Nothing like a lively debate is there… ; )
And YES, you can shoot me down in flames over this…
Chikurin-Ha, while it is an ancient and most venerable school, is regarded as something of a “MacKyudo” by many.”

When in Japan, I was asked by a Renmei Grandmaster, who was my teacher? I said I came from Shibata’s style. He replied, Shibata is a Bow Maker, not a Kyudo Sensei. Then he went on to give me private lessons for the next four hours and a demo by his senior students. This is the difference. Had he said oh, your with that “zen” group you will not like it here, please leave. I would not have known there is another face to Kyudo. I would not have wanted to seek out this path. I would have went away thinking, the same as I do about some of those I came across here. Closed minded, elitist person/group.

“
The way Shibata sensei promotes and – dare I say – sells Kyudo (and bows) to the West has brought the whole school into disrepute.
In ANKF Kyudo you do not call yourself “sensei” until you have the rank of renshi. In Germany there are only 5 out of 1200 Kyudoka listed, in Japan about 4.000 out of 130.000.
When I browse the web for Kyudo links I keep seeing clips of Shibata Kyudo students and their teachers.”

Let me be clear about this, Cow dung by any other name still stinks! Shibata Sensei group also has some Crap that stinks. I did not say ONLY the Renmei does! There are goings on as stated in the FULL post in both the groups, not just Renmei. HOWEVER if one wants to Practice Shibata -Sensei’s style, he/she just has to ask to join and watch a class and join! No BS! They can try it, if they like it they stay, if they do not, they leave. Simple! Stinky garbage is stinky garbage, no matter if it is green or red,

“My point is that Shibata Kyudo to many in the sport is a leisure product tailored to the needs of westerners.”

Yes this maybe true, but how many have enjoyed the sport , that would not have tried it if not for his way. The same with Karate, Tae kwon Do, Kung Fu, whatever.


”People who go through the slow and rigorous ANKF system with regular examinations to uphold its high standards often regard Zenko Kyudo as somewhat worrying.
Well, that is their right too, is it not.”

I never said anything is wrong with that!!!! My Kung Fu Federation does the same, BUT. Someone who wants to learn, the door is open!! They are given a CHANCE to learn, to study, to see for them selves if this is the Tao they want or can handle. They are not shut out , because they studied Karate, they are of another race, they are not put aside because they also learned Muy Tai or have a T-shirt that says, Tae Kwon Do rocks or give peace a chance!


”Maybe my impression of Zenko Kyudo is wrong – I can only base it on what I read on-line.
”

My impression of the people I am talking about is due my encounter with them!!!!

“And actually, I have nothing but admiration Chikurin-Ha and Shibata Kanjuro himself. I am sure he means well and just tries to bring Kyudo to the West. Maybe he diluted it by trying to make it accessible. I don’t know but I welcome anyone who promotes the sport. He is an important figure in the sport and must be admired and thanked for his efforts.
There may be those who are “more serious” but have they done as much for the sport or reached as many people?”

Where is your point here, you are going back and forth, making a circular argument?!!

“
They had a chance to reach you Zen and blew it.
So what does that make them?”

It makes them stuck in a mindset that does not promote the art, but trap it in a “private, click, good ole boy limited growth bubble”. Which is what I said in the beginning. B.S. by any other name still stinks! NO mater if it is Chikurin or Renmei. Or put another way…
I am talking about the dirty stinky finger pointing to the moon, NOT the Moon! They can be the best teacher in the world, but their finger is dirty, I am not saying everyone in the group has stinky dirty fingers, I saying those that I came across had stinky fingers! If the smell is not so bad too you, ok or the other guy or Joe blow, that is fine. But to me, there was not much Shin, Zen Bi

Peace

17 11 2009
mark

Hi Zen,

thanks for the full reply.
My knowledge of Kyudo in the Us is limited which is one reason why I read your blog so thanks for taking the time to explain.

I have a slightly provocative (and convoluted) style of making an argument I know – so thanks for bearing with me.
I think it is brave to write publicly about yourself in the way you do. We do kind of feel we know you a little and we care so people comment on your posts.
I agree with you on many points but then what is the point of just writing two lines: “oh yeah they all suck….bla bla”
So I make a broader argument.

My point about Chikurin-ha, Zenko, Shibata if it wasn’t clear was this:
I have misgivings about what Zenko as an organisation does. I have no problem with Shibata himself or Chikurin-ha.
As I said that I am not proud of my prejudices regarding Zenko. I do regard their teaching as lacking in emphasis on the actual shooting.
I see their members perform on-line, always with a magnanimous Shibata sensei looking on so one assumes the these clips are official.

Still, I drew the comparison between ANKF kyudo and Zenko and asked who reaches more people.
I am with you in feeling the sport should be open so I actually think Zenko is a good thing. Ok they charge but then in the US you tell me they ALL do.
At least Zenko are open to all and building up an infrastructure.

The reason why Kyudo is doing so well here is because it is organized within the german sports clubs network (same as athletics, swimming, handball,…). We pay about 50$ per annum for it – that is membership of my club and the german federation. There are regional and national seminars and competitions which cost about 20-30$ which just covers hire of the venue and the catering that is laid on by the organizers.
It is all very open.

THAT is how it should be and that is the reason a little country like Germany has 1200 kyudoka and the american kyudo renmei has 240 members (in 2005).

In any group there will be differences of opinion and those who have reached a senior position feel themselves confirmed in thinking their way is the only one.
We have rivalries here too but at least there is a unified network and there is a strong link with the ANKF who send trainers and judges to the seminars and examinations.

So, do you really think it boils down to race?
I gave a number of more or less spurious reasons why someone might reject you – you refuted all of them.
That really would suck!! if that was the reason certain clubs won’t accept you.
I know racism is alive and well in many parts of the US so I can well believe it.
If that is the reason you are absolutely right to protest and shame these people publicly.
You made the point about a japanese guy saying to a german guy … etc.
Well, as it happens… they did.
I just recently read an interview with Kurosu sensei. He declares Kyudo is an innately japanese sport, calls it “japanese movement-culture” (my bad translation) but basically makes the point the sport is inatey and exclusively japanese and has no international future.
K. sensei comes to Europe to teach several times a year but regards it as a cultural exchange – maybe more a chance to educate and show off than an attempt to bring on independent European Kyudo.
He laments the change from JAPANESE judo to JUDO for example. Judo as an olympic sport is no longer japanese judo and olympic Kyudo for example would no longer be HIS Kyudo.
So prejudice exists there too.
Many like to humour the poor old gaijin in their interest for Kyudo especially if we try to be polite and act impressed with anything sensei says and does, but deep down there is a belief that we can NEVER really get it right.
Hence also the need for Japanese examiners at examinations above Kyu grades.
Anyway, Kurosu sensei has a very informative blog too:
http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/kuroken3147

and if you’d like to see him shoot (K.sensei in black and the only german Kyoshi at the back):

Anyway, I wish you all the best.

Mark

17 11 2009
Zen

Ah Mark, Sooner or later this will all be worked out. Somewhat like shooting, isn’t it, one keeps at it with what they think is the correct focus, intention but the Sensei says yeah, good but…
Hahaha

Ok, here we go…

“Ok they charge but then in the US you tell me they ALL do.”

No they ALL do not. The one or two I was speaking about do. The one that said I would be happier with the “zen types” does. The person who I will be studying with does NOT charge. There are others, but I was making a point. NOT ALL are free as you were implying.

“So, do you really think it boils down to race?”
No, I DO NOT. I said, that the judgemental attitude based on a preset notion was the SAME AS judging someone based on their race, greed or color. There are many people here who teach who do not give a Rat’s Arse about race. I do not think my rejection was about race at all! I was using that as an example, a reference you could relate to, which you did.
And Yes, I do know about the underground they will never get it “right” mindset of some Japanese, or Chinese or whoever, people are people. However at least they are willing to humor, to let the “others’ fail and not close the door in their face before they even try, based on some word ( zen), other style, race, creed or color.
That is my point.

Shoot well Mark, best wishes. Thanks for the imput.

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