Kyudo Season…Zanshin

22 12 2009

…The position after the arrow is released is called Zanshin. The shooting is not yet completed at the release ( Hanare), as there is still something remaining . Expressed as spirit, it is the remaining spiritual energy, and expressed as for, it is the remaining action.

Sunday the final day of the Kyudo Season. Seminars are over and it is my in a way my first real class of training with S. Sensei it was to be a full class day. We start at 11:00 am and run until 4 or 5. Half of the class is suppose to be at his house the second half at the shooting range. However since the range was close due to rain it was a all day Makawara Session. There were a couple of students visiting for the day from the  School in LA. So I was not alone as I expected.

I got to start off the shooting and got my corrections early. The big thing he pointed out right off was my shoulders were too tight, and raising up when I went from Daisan into Kai. S. Sensei came over and pushed down on my shoulder on the next shot I got to feel just how much I was raising up. I was surprised! That was my challenge for the day, dropping and keeping my shoulders relaxed and making a bigger draw. There were some small things of curse as well. but that was the main focus of my lesson. By the end of the day I had much improved and now I know what to Look/ Feel for.  Combining that with what M3 Sensei said made them both click.

I also asked about controlling my Ya at Kai, I was told to add just a bit of twist. Not enough to bend the ya, but just to control it, That way I could keep my left thumb in place. It took some doing but I got fairly good at controlling it.
We spoke also on breath, S. Sensei gave a demo on breathing, and combining that with the timing on Kyudo movements. We touch briefly on that at the Alliance Seminar, S. Sensei went into more detail. He also spoke of How Zen masters Breath and the use of Chi and Physical strength on holding Kali. How as Phyiscal strength fade , one spiritual Strength should rise. The point where they cross is the point of Hanare. We did a Breath drill on releasing air slowly from the Tan Tin ( Dan Tein) we control and sound. I did it the longest. Surpised S. Sensei says ahh, you must do Zen Practice! I said, yeah for a while, but did not go into my marital background. It was kind of funny to hear him say that. It was though most interesting and gave me pause to rethink my breath patterns adjustments  when doing Hikiwake, through Daisan to Kai.

We had a tea break and Sensei gave us a lecture on different tea as he is a Japanese/Chinese tea connoisseur. I was impressed with the depth of his knowledge,

One of the things on my agenda for the day was to inquire about getting into the NCKF/ANKF and attending the international Seminar in Japan next year. It has been a long strange trip to get this far. I took advantage of the Q&A time and a lull in his talk to ask what was involved with going to the seminar and testing in Tokyo. He freely gave me the full run down, then we went back to practice.

I put in more time focusing on my shoulder. Sensei said I had made good advancement in correcting that issue. I was also continuing my stretch, expansion when in Kai. I notice the side effect of my Yumi spin was better, on one shot it went completely around. I was shocked and pleased, now to find that right combo to have it happen all the time.

After another few hours of rounds of shooting, it was time to wrap up things as we had been at it for almost 6-7 hours. We put things away and had more tea. At that time I hit up Sensei on my joining the Northern Ca Renmei organization and going to Japan. Sure he says, we can do the paperwork after the Holidays. Sweet I thought, Yokatta! I was expecting it to be more complex than that, Yokatta. I got permission now I just need the money. I will depend on the Universe, the Tao that opened the path to bring forth the money. Time to get serious with the Kyuhon, April is not that far away…My job is to be ready, the Tao’s job is to provide the Way.

Kami-sama Tokyo ni ikitai desu onagashimasu!!!  (^_^)





5 responses

24 12 2009

Hi Zen,

you sound inspired – excellent! : )

I saw your shoulders – Thought it was just the cold ; )
(- well, thought that was a pic of you in the last post, wasn’t it?)

ok… I thought about this and I know I am in no position to offer corrections… as I am very junior myself.
still… having been through that recently myself…
… from one enthusiastic beginner to another…

This will be one of “those” posts… I fear.

Please try this:

Take your gomuyumi (or rubber band) and do “tokikake” (no glove) with band held by the thumb – draw back.
Then do same but band held with index/middle fingers.
What you will see is that the forces distribute differently in the hand.
If you “grip” with the thumb the wrist bends outwards – hand effectively angled up.
If you grip with fingers and draw wrist becomes round on top.
If you pull with your thumb you CAN’T relax your shoulders. Wrist bends up – shoulder comes up.
The correction:
1. try to draw with fingers but beware of “clawing” – don’t do too much – just hold (- that is why you use giriko).
2. Straighten thumb actively to touch thumb nail to glove. Thumb is then straight and you can pull out with your elbows.
(nail contact in no actual requirement, just as “positive feedback” in the beginning)

To me this was of help maybe you can benefit from it.

Look at the pics you see it in some of the senior practitioners too.
It comes from the fear of an accidental release – the feeling that we have to “hold” the string. We all naturally have it unless we actively try to correct it.
It starts on day one of your training if no-one explains the dynamics of the right hand and just lets you draw “naturally ” with the thumb.

Anyway, I hope the Japan-thing works out for you.

Christmas may not be your thing but “Merry Christmas” to you and yours never the less.

Yours ever,


25 12 2009

Thanks for the Advise. Merry Christmas! _/|\_

26 12 2009

Hi Zen,

wasn’t sure weather to offer my “correction”.
Still, it is something that you can work at with a few minutes playing in front of a mirror. It may not apply to you but it does apply to practically every beginner I’ve seen (at least at some point or another) so I thought I’d mention it.
If you are shooting stronger bows this is particularly useful. The “holding” the string is more of a problem and the bow pushes your chest together if you let it. Unless your shoulders are relaxed you can’t align them to channel the forces into your chest. Anyway…

It is natural for the shoulders to move with the arms too, they go up as the arms go up. That may be all it is with you. It is kind of obvious and you (one) just has to learn to move arms and shoulders separately. That is the “standard” explanation for when shoulders come up – and it is true too.
Here one just starts by raising the arms and then very deliberately pulling the shoulders down and settling them into the correct position.
I’m sure you were told…
End of lesson…
I was just going to drop you a couple of lines saying sorry I interfered in your training. Now I’m lecturing again.
You have a whole collection of go-dans to help you it seems… so no need for me.
My enthusiasm got the better of me again…

Still while I’m here and as I saw your Christmas post…

I was given a book this year… signed by the man about whom the book was written.
He is Padre Pierto Lavini.
About 40 years ago he disappeared from his order,
people thought he was dead, or worse…
then a few years ago a walker, returning from a hiking trip in the Sibillinic mountains, brought back word from Padre “Pietro”…
he had been building a church… alone and entirely with his own hands.
After 40 years it is nearly finished (he is working on the spire as I write…)
He relies only on what god (or the tao) and the kindness of strangers provide for him. He is miles from anywhere, in the winter he is cut off for months.
My parents went to seek him out this summer – hence the book this Christmas.
The inscription says something along the lines of:
“if your heart carries happiness it is always possible to carry the cross”
Hard to read his writing and my italian is pretty poor…
still, it tells us all, regardless of denomination, that if the heart is filled with the right kind of “energy” we are able to do the impossible.
He is certainly proof of that.
Like the 80 year old stone mason we have to carry our burden non the less but it will not break us if our heart is full of happiness.

I wish for you that your heart will always be full…
…and that all you work for will come to fruition.

My best wishes for you and the Zen-Clan this Christmas and for the coming year (in the unlikely event that I won’t have cause to comment before the new year).

Yours ever,

28 12 2009

Mark, thanks for the training tips and the info on the book, that was interesting. I checked out the site. I need to run a translator on it, my Italian is limited to what is the same in Spanish 🙂 and a few misc words, like, Bella, and …


5 01 2011

And now a year later, I can look back and say , that worked out nicely.

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