Kyudo Season …Kai

21 12 2009

…in terms of form, the stage of the full draw (kai) is the point at which the drawing apart of the bow (Hikiwake) is completed

The final day was here, Sunday. We were back at the 28 meter venue of RSD, aka, Mare Island Tanuki Dojo. The weather was better still cool, but more of a normal Northern CA cool, we had the heater going, and tea on, but over all it was more comfortable. Ed Sensei lead the warm-ups for the day, remarking that he could not keep up with mine. He stated that doing some type of warm up or meditation before shooting was very important. It helped one center and release one self from the attachments of life outside the dojo. Here was a sacred space, sanctuary, those are my words but that is what he said with other words (^_^).

Today was working Renmei Tai Hai. From the first step entering,  through the last exit. We went step by step, inch by inch, first on just walking , and making turns. 90 degrees, 180 degrees. Entering over and over, also some drill to help with staying connected with other around you. Very Tai Chi, and much like group Tai Chi practice.  Where you need to be aware of your self but also connected with those in the group. Finally up to the shooting part. OMG that was painful. The reason being that if you were not the first in line you had to wait, on your knees while the person/people in front received corrections. Pain, pain, pain, and having on thick socks with Tabi’s did not make it easy for one’s toes to bend. What saved me from a total melt down was having worn knee pads. Awww yeah!

Anyway we went round and round with the Tai hai, entering , leaving, entering leaving. Down and up on the knees, Master Marcus explained how this was the physical training of Kyudo. Also how the Masters in Japan looked small and frail but under those robes they are solid. That came from doing the practice over and over, slowing down, slowly up, smooth, mindful. It was inner training as well as external training. Someone remarked how they thought Kyudo was perhaps the most “wimpy” Martial Art until he had to do these Tai Hai drills. Finally we got to the free shooting and the individual instructions. I tried to recall as much as possible from the days before and I finally was getting the keep the fingers together brain link working, also having the tip of the thumb up and the knuckle down help get the Ya something to rest and stay guided with.

After a Tea and cake break we had it it for the rest of the afternoon. Questions, shooting, questions, shooting. The Master felt at one point there were too many questions and not enough shooting. A case of too much analyzing and not enough doing. I thought that was funny, since I had said the same thing to this student on other occasions.

The final call came it was time for the final tournament. This time three targets, each smaller than the other, the grand target was a gold circle about 3 or 4 inch across. No one hit it, and only one person hit the next one up. Nope it was not me this time, I put too much mind into corrections, nor was it the Master. Oh well another day another time. It is not the target it is the practice… (^_^)

We went back to the Chinese restaurant for the Last Supper. In spite the bit of drama from finding out we were outrageously charged for a bottle of Shochu on the last visit, the dinner was good.

We had a lot of food, and once again put it all away with plently of talk and laughter. Our ‘fortune” cookie we thought were right on, even though they no longer put “fortunes’ in them they are wise saying.

Anyway we took our final group shot and parted ways, until the next go round…2010

So ended the Alliance Gathering but not the saga…

Hikanu-Yazuka ganbattemasho.



5 responses

21 12 2009

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overcoming procrastination

21 12 2009

Hi Zen,

Wow Kyudo Frenzy. Hope you had a good time despite the pain.

Tai Hai is a killer. Still love it though. Well, love and dread in equal measure – something always goes wrong.
My feet always try to flatten out so you slowly creep forward until you go “splat”.

Looks like you were having fun there.
I hope that wasn’t your arrow.
It just feels great to loose an arrow and watch it fly over a long distance like that.
The dojo is set at the edge of some playing fields. So, on a quiet day you can just shoot as far as they’ll fly. Just for the joy of watching.

Anyway, a question if you’ll indulge me:
How do you aim for Enteki?
What I mean is: do you tilt at the hip or raise the left arm? Wasn’t clear from the pics.
We (heki ryu) set the ashibumi a little narrower than usual (to allow the torso to move) and draw the bow as per usual, then, with the bow fully drawn, the whole torso tilts at the hip to give the necessary incline for the distance. Takes some getting used to.
Just wondering if that is universal (e.g. in Chikurin Ha as well) of just Heki.



22 12 2009

Hey Mark,

aiming 60 meters: same as you , position focus then tilt waist…

22 12 2009
Rick Beal

Wonderful Blog. Thanks for sharing.

22 12 2009

Happy shooting.
Yours ever,

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