Kyudo…the unsame conflicts

18 02 2010

Some random thoughts on training…

Now you maybe wondering what does the weird title mean…Well here it is. It maybe a write off to Chan training, seeing the likeness in all things, the oneness, the no duality thing. However, there are things that make up the individualness, like us. As much as we are the same in basics as as our brother, not the real one the spiritual one. No change that even the real one if you have one that is. If not then the spiritual one will do for this example…or sister…Hmm were am I… oh yeah

Sameness vs un-sameness. Lets start with Tai Chi, the principals of Tai Chi are the same, or it would not be true Tai Chi. The principals of Praying Mantis are the same no matter, Tai Chi Mantis, Seven Star Mantis, 8 Step Mantis, etc. Principal of Mantis are the basic same. Then there is the style differences that make up the Tai Chi Mantis, vs the Seven Star. Yang Tai Chi vs the Chen Tai Chi or Wu Tai Chi. Still with me? Ok, So Martial Art is in the foundation Martial Art, like Soto is Zen as Chan or Tibetian is Zen. Karate is Martial Art like Praying Mantis is Martial Art. Ok, ok, so I have been viewing Kyudo’s sameness with Tai Chi. However now it is time to view Kyudo as it’s own being. In polishing my study it is time to understand the duality of principals, in order to resolve the conflicts the rough parts of my training. In order to advance. For as far and fast as I have come I am reached the time to nurture Kyudo as Kyudo.

Balance; In Kung Fu and Tai Chi balance in a stance come from being centered. The weight is back over the heels more , more in the center of the foot, with the toes grabbing. Knees bend yet the feet are full grounded. In Kyudo the weight is over the toes more, leaning into the Yumi more, even though the frame supports everything, the sense of balancing the body to do so is different. Hmmm, like the balancing in say Drunken Style, is different, it is still in the TanTien, but different, looks out of balance but is not. I see the Kyudoka in Kai, leaning, but it is a balance lean…different. I have been keeping my center back, like doing a horse stance. I’m learning that is wrong. Right for Fu wrong for Kyudo. The Tan Tien part is right, but the sense, placement of balance is wrong.

Modesty & Humbleness; these are qualities, to be cultivated in Kung Fu , Tai Chi, it is the way of Shaolin/Chan and Taoist Arts. This is not the way of doing Tai Hai. One needs to emit “Ki”, attitude as it is said in the street. It is not about being humble modest, it is being proud, with presence, power and authority. It is not the way of the Monk warrior, the servant of the Tao. Kyudo is the Art of the Imperial Court. the one time elite. This is my lacking point in Tai Hai. It reminds me of when I practiced Karate, I felt the power and the Pride. One wanted someone to start so you could show your skills, kind of like the bully Sensei in Karate Kid, less the Jerk.

In Shaolin, we understand the power and the results of the power. We also understand the need to filter that with compassion and humility . We are able to rip  a beating heart out of a chest, but have no need to show it or prove it. Very general , Rough and dramatic examples of course. Shaolin walks on rice paper, Shotokanka crushes stones under his steps. Shotokan’s Knarly fist strikes break all the bricks in a pile to reach the bottom one. Shaolin’s soft palm breaks the bottom one and leaves the others whole. Mantis is a small insect that is brave and skilled enough to take on a larger opponent, yet humble and unobtrusive, Kyudo is a proud Tiger. I need to re-touch the Tiger when doing Tai Hai, show the Tiger though caged is still a Tiger. This is my challenge…Yet, in, demoing Kung Fu, there is that same need to show the controled Tiger, Spirit…back to the sameness…sort of.

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3 responses

19 02 2010
Val

Thats a really enlightening (!) post. I thought at first you were going to get caught up in the concepts of conventional and ultimate truth (first acknowledges things are different eg men, trees and mountains, but the second realises all is one)

But I loved the fascinating details of stance. balance and mental attitude of all those arts. Only knowing tai chi, I could see from the video that “weightedness” was different somehow.

I think on return to fencing, after the half term break, I shall start applying inner skills to it – so far I have been concentrating on renewing my links with the physical skills learned forty years ago, and seeing how my current body could adapt to them!!

22 02 2010
JM

Your martial arts skills and knowledge far outweigh mine, so I hesitate to comment and I may be going further than you intended with this, but I am having fun, so I hope you will humor me herein.

You are correct.
In regard to Kyudo, during tai hai we enter as a group and, yes, there is a martial presence… expansive… Ki… energy flowing outward… an immense spirit… the “tiger” within. This does not work unless we are “as one” and this is only achieved through ikiai, the breathing of the group as one.

Lest the non-kyudoka get the wrong impression, courtesy and respect are of UTMOST importance in Kyudo, but, as you stated there is more of a “grandness of spirit”. As one begins kihontai, the actual movements of the shooting, we are as an individual and at that moment we are “the center of the universe”, expanding in all directions… yet with heijoshin.

A hard concept to describe and harder to achieve. Maybe this involves the duality thing? The modesty, courtesy, respect and yet being grand, powerful… having the calm mind, an indifference to the end result and yet being the center of the universe and explosive.

Thanks for getting my brain rolling this morning… and on my favorite topic… Kyudo. It should keep me busy for hours on this rainy day.

22 02 2010
Zen

Very well put J!

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