Kyudo… as a ShoDan

5 06 2010

Not so much has changed since returning from Japan. Oh small things, helping teach a class is perhaps the biggest noticeable thing. Even then, teaching is learning, so it is still training. Just like in Kung Fu and sailing, most anything really, when one teaches, two learn.

I have been helping Sensei teach at the pre-opening classes for the new Dojo in San Jose. It is helpful to me to cement in some things, especially at my level :-), it is helpful. I also get corrected on somethings when I’m doing a demo for Sensei. So not only do I still learn, I stay humble 🙂

The kids in the class are good guys, they all take Karate as well. However one of the guys , although very nice, is loud, and blurts out things which I find disrespectful. I would not have it in my class, but it is not my class so I say nothing. Yet, as senior student maybe I should. Anyway, I only have one more class of helping which is next week and the official opening class. If he does it then, I will speak to him, on the side. Next week will be my last class of helping , not that I do not want to, even though it is almost 1.5 hrs of driving direct from work. I do have a commitment to my Chan group class first. We are on vacation now, so I said I would help Sensei with the Kyudo.

Now on the dark side of things, I will not say much because I said I was not go there again and sound hateful. I am though VERY disappointed in the behavior of a Kyudo group that has chosen re-open a unfounded grudge, not against me, but someone I respect who was helpful to me in my training. People with their pettiness is very sad, really comes down to ego. Ego is our biggest challenge as humans. It is said that when we do Kyudo, we shoot at the ego not at the target, or put another way, the ego is our target. Some people give this verbal service but not practice…

On another side note, I wonder whatever happen to Mark, who used to badger me about my training style and wasting my time trying to shoot like a master…



4 responses

10 06 2010


Mark, as you mentioned him ; ) is a little calmer and humbler himself.
Mark decided to see if you actually went to Jp and entered the competition etc. so he checked out your blog again a few weeks back.
He was pleased to see you went and that you did so well – even if it meant he had to eat his words…
Good for you Zen!
Well done!

Back whenever it was Mark thought you were concentrating too much on achieving the state of being master.
It is just you looked more like someone emulating what he knew a master should be like rather than someone just training and allowing his honest endeavors and the passage of time to make a master of him.
I am sure that assessment wasn’t entirely fair.
Mark thought you were going about your training the wrong way – training for being master rather than training for perfect technique – that kind of thing…
Nothing wrong with aspiring to mastering an art – very good actually! Good too to train the mind along with the body.

It probably just came across a bit skewed in the blog – and then Mark was on a dead-end journey all of his own and focused too much on that at the time.
Many kyudoka he was, and currenty is, training with (including this guy for example : lean very far towards real hard technical shooting. Just technique, power,…
In this style of kyudo even Mark feels a lack of spirit, of beauty and, ultimately, of purpose.
It is possible to be very accurate and proficient and lack any expressive quality, beauty or spirit… sad…

You and Mark are actually headed for a similar destination I think – at least he started on a similar quest originally… maybe he got sidetracked by the idea of kyudo as tour de force… and started thinking that was the ONLY road for a while…

Mark tries very hard to let his shooting just be shooting and is extremely wary of embellishing it with intentions and content other than just achieving correct form.
Still,… it can’t be just soulless technique, he knows that too – it is also about spirit and about beauty.
He needs to be reminded of that every once in a while.
And maybe he thought you needed a stiff reminder back then that it is not just about practicing spirit but practicing correct technique too.
Anyway, Mark is more mellow now.
And he was a pain in the proverbial only because he was fond of you and felt you had too many people encouraging your spiritual and that there was a risk your training might deteriorate into self-involved noodling.
Glad to see he could not have been more wrong…

As for the teaching… well, the opportuniy to teach is a blessing. Enjoy it.
Here beginners don’t teach kyudo. I actually believe that as you are closer to complete beginners there may be problems they face that you can relate to more directly and can help them with.
I am sure you are well suited to being a teacher.

Concerning disruptive students… I would recommend establishing a form of universal dojo etiquette, without it a rebuke from you will be viewed as personal. It will poison the atmosphere.
Most people conform if the whole group agrees to it and they know why it is in their interest (better training environment, concentration, discipline, mutual respect…)
Agree with your sensei a code of behavior and then speak to the students and inform them about what the form is rather than telling someone off.
Failing that just tell them of your time in Jp and dojo etiquette there and see if they WANT to train that way too – then you have a mandate to enforce it by consent.
Either way try to be on their side – helping not scolding.
Even if it is just one person, tell the whole group – preferably focusing on someone who DOESN’T need telling. That way your guy will get to hear it as a bystander and has the opportunity to modify his behaviour feeling good rather than feeling he was made to change because he had done wrong.
That is the fluffy friendly version – the other is to put him in his place in front of everyone. The only catch with version 2 is that you’ll have to step up and put 2 (or better 4) arrows solidly into the mato straight after humiliating him otherwise he won’t accept it.
And you won’t be able to slip up in front of the group after that day.

Be well Zen.
All the best.

12 06 2010

Good to hear from you M2. Ah yes, life is about growth and change ne! Training has many faces 🙂

I like to think we both grew from our encounters.

Best wishes on your training, thanks for checking in.

4 07 2010




5 07 2010

??? I do not have monthly newsletters!

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