Friday Fu, w/Kyudo thoughts – June

29 06 2011

I was on the way to Friday class with Sifu and Fong Sisuk It came to me whilst preparing mentally for the class it is the similar mind set as when doing Kyudo. That lead me to think, really it was more like preparing for Tai Chi Chuan (notice I am using the full name) and how doing Kyudo is not just like doing Tai Chi Chuan but rather doing Tai Chi Sword. Because with Tai Chi Sword not only must have that oneness on connection with your stances ( Ashibumi) , hips, spine, limbs, breath, eyes, (Dozukuri) connecting the flow of those with the sword.  It’s position, grip, tip, (Yugamae), a further extension of that blending of oneness, in your movements but use the sword (Yumi). Achieving the San mai itai. The real difference is in those moments of stillness that one has doing Kyudo (yet as in sitting meditation there is still movement within stillness).  At least when you are doing it as a group, the Kiza, the waiting time. Realizing of course that doing the Kyudo “set”, Kata it starts when you enter the Dojo floor, not just when you are shooting. I have heard it said by Jyozen-san that the shot, (the kata) starts when you pick up the Yumi/Ya. The Tai Hai is the Kyudo Kata…Hmmm, maybe I’m thinking to much about the seminar (-_-)

These are my thoughts whilst driving to Campbell for my monthly class session. The mind set of doing Kyudo is the same as Tai Chi Sword, different movements to the Kata but the same mind, the same connection to the weapon being held. The same extending of spirit and Chi. Got it!  Just more that Zen/Chan stuff.
The release if the arrow is the Tai Chi Fajing ( power strike) of Kyudo.

Once there at the school I joined in the conversation about dealing with a much larger opponent. Sisuk empazided the importance of making the person fight your fight. Part of the higher levels of training is “sizing” up your opponent. Understanding his weak point and his strong points and using those weak points against him/ her. We, he said are Mantis a little small insect. We have to use our mind to fight, to control our adversary. Part of that control not only comes from physical control but mental control as well. Praying Mantis is a complex art , Tai Chi Mantis is even a higher complexity.
Another point covered was the use of the elbow and forearms . The Mantis is a multi jointed insect do not restrict your thoughts, actions to just use of hands.

The rest of the time was spent on some technical aspects of some movement and some comparisons with Aikido on controlling. Sisuk again stressed that the higher level of our art was about control and the compassion of control to end a conflict over pounding someone to death or submission. Training is about controlling ourselves first, then the other person. There is a saying from the Tao Ching  something like.  Mastering others takes wisdom, Mastering ourselves takes Strength.

At one point while we were eating or almost there Sifu said “to be good with Kung Fu, you have to learn it, then forget it”. I have heard this “meaning” before but the first time in this context, this setting, so it clicked into several things all at once, Music, Kyudo, Ceramics, Sailing…

All is Chan, Chan is all.


One foot in the Loo…

18 06 2011

I had a dream, a vision or something the other night. It was like a Tenouchi enlightenment, maybe I was doing some Fu stuff, no matter. I told this to Sensei when he asked me something last night at practice. I do not recall what the reason was but no matter, It made me think of my dream. That was my thought for tonight’s goal, realize that dream awake.

There was a surprise when I arrived at the dojo. I was told the toilet was broke. My first thought was, whew good thing I went just before I got here. I can hold it for 2 hours, even though I just had that soy drink hmmmmm.  Then followed the words “not just here, as far as the toilet thing, this whole building unit”. Also because we are in the end unit they all backup into here! This place was a mess, noticed as I was looking closer. Lucky, the voice said; the mats did not get wet so we can still have class.

Hmmm, I had to watched where I walked and changed clothes. It worked out. The floor was dry, other than some footprint stains from when things were not so in control.

My other surprise for the evening was, Sensei had me learn standing shari so he could watch the “assistants”.  I need some tighting up on details but I do have the basics on how it works. The school is doing a demo this weekend. Sensei is doing a Shari for the ceremony.

As for the Tenogichi. The first shot was not so good, the second was better but I released too much, so the Yumi dropped. The next round was better. I did not get full turns but I did have half turns. I think if my Yumi grip was not overbuilt up, I could get a full turn or close to that anyway.  This is the grip I surmised is close to the one we use in Kung Fu for guiding the long staff. The “Chan” philosophy would be something like. Connected to the Yumi (life) but not attached.

I been at class the last three weeks and it has been good. I’ve corrected some small things I had forgotten, string placement to the face , eyes following when needed, shooting timing, Little things that may a difference at the showdown. I wonder now what the written test will be like. I have to give some balance to that part of the training as well, it is more than just looking good while shooting


Oohhhhhhh the big thing from last night. When in Osaka Dai-Sensei Nagome had told me about how to whole my left arm in Daisan. Straight was his words from Nagome Hanshi. When I said something to Sensei here about it, because he told me to bend it, he said this is the way because… Blah blah. I did a small statement on a blog post about this and my dilemma. I figure this way for here and that way for Nihon. Last night Sensei says oh BTW at the last seminar we were told to hold the arm straight in Daisan!!!!

I said only… “Hai Sensei”

to him;

to self:

“be the bamboo”




8 06 2011

First off, I hate packing, I hate moving! Now that is out of the way…

I started moving some stuff into the ZenKaze HQ yesterday after I got the keys. Basically though just emptying the back of the truck of so much just sitting there stuff today. So that I could more my first load of stuff which was mostly books to the storage/office. I have started packing my knik knack treasure collection at the apt. Moving is a hassle! I hate it! It is nice it has been two years since we moved. There was a time when LZ and I first started out we moved about 4 or more times in a a span of a little more than six months. What an ordeal that was. We have less things now than when we moved from our Condo, so that is nice. However we need to reduce even move for this move as it is a prep for the Japan move.

It will be me who needs to unattached from stuff more so than LZ. She is pretty good at throwing stuff away I am not. So in a way this move will be part of my Zen practice learning “to let go” I did a bit of exploring the office building yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find there are two community lunchroom kitchens in the building.

The upstairs one us the nicer . Bigger, with a view and and outside balcony with a table and chairs. One can see the Oakland hills and surrounding area.

Nothing like our Bay view now and not private but… The $aving$ will be nice! This move is all about saving money with a side not of getting use to living on the Zenamaran. We should be able to put away about 1,000 a month with this move. Much needed for the trip and relocation.

On a side note today at work is a good day, I get to drive most of the day. Right now I’m sitting in the car, blocking an entrance from being used to a parking lot. I get to write this blog post, listen to Jazz on the radio and just chill in general… How cool is that! I just needed to not fall asleep 🙂


2 06 2011

It is raining as I write this from work. This iPod is great, I have been able to do a lot of my blogging here while bored at work. I like the rain and this quiet morning is nice. Even though this is not a great job it does have its points. Like this, the quiet of the parking lot at dawn.

Another step toward moving came about yesterday I got the final approval on the office / storage space we need for our stuff once we move onto the boat. I even got half a month free rent. … Very nice!

When thinking about it seriously it is kind of scary this big move. I will miss our apt even though it is expensive it is nice and comfortable. I was watching the sunset yesterday thinking what a blessing it has been to view them these last two years.

Now burning each one into my soul as they are growing fewer from this place. Sometimes they are soft, sometimes passionate! We have three months to draw, appreciate every final moment of beauty from here. The view, the fireplace, the convenience of all the facilities in one place. The of course there will be those times of beauty on the boat. Yet different. It will also be nice to accumulate  some funds in the bank. This last year in this Apt has been really for LZ because I wanted to move before but she works hard and needed it for her spirit this year. It was also good to have her mother  visit us in this place and share the beauty.


I have stepped up my training routine to include daily KIZA (危座) practice so I can lessen the discomfort or at lest deal with it better for longer periods. I think that is one of the more difficult and painful aspects of Kyudo. Staying in Kiza while waiting for your turn to shoot. Then doing the form with grace, power, spirit or with as it is said “Shin Zen Bi”.

My details for the trip are ready. The big disappointment is after sending in my application form within a week of them being issued along with deposit money for a single room. Then having to resubmit new forms, then later finding out I still needed to summit yet another form to request a single room after already doing so from the beginning as stated. Did I mention these other forms I did not find out about until after the single rooms had been already issued. Sigh, very disheartening. It is not that it is big of a deal to share a room, I have done that on other retreats but I was looking forward to being able to do Zazen, read, perhaps play an instrument, talk on Skype, get up early without intruding on another or them on me. Like a mini vacation after the extra effort of getting the financial part done early. Oh well adapting is part of training. (Note to self bring sleepwear.) These type of things are always a challenge for a private type of person. There is a saying it is more beneficial to meditate in chaos than in the quiet. I will survive and enjoy, the venue looks nice. ” It is easy to be happy when you are happy, the test of Zen is to be happy when you are not” also on the bright side I save 50.00

Thinking of adapting to discomfort I wonder if there will be any consideration for vegetarians as far as meal. Better to ask (additional: note to self bring food) There is usually something I can eat then fill in from town later. It is more of that adapting thing. When you are a veggie-head it comes with the turf in order to survive. Hmmm so that 50.00 savings will come in handy.
*update the menu is vegetarian friendly yay!*

I have a training trip planned to LA in the works for July. I want to visit Jyozen Sensei for some Kyudo counsel and also see the Dark Knight of Kyudo, Darth the hated, to pick up a second and stronger Yumi. Additionally we will visit some Kung Fu connections he has, and I, a couple of my Fu Family.

…and speaking of Kung Fu (nice Segway ne)

Right after I return from the Kyudo seminar starts my annual Tai Chi Mantis events and I do mean right after. I return on Friday night and Sat morning the tournament starts. The good thing is I only need to do support, I am not competing, Saturday night there is our banquet, Sunday is our board meeting. Following that is our three day seminar, that I’ll plan on attending. Only because this time we will work on applications and technique not learn another form, that I will not have time to practice and then forget . It is far better to fully understand the basics , the foundations from many angles, than to learn something part way.

All the while moving out of apt by Sept 1.
With a little birthday treat for LZ and I with a day trip to Calistoga for a room with a Jacuzzi and dinner. This to wrap up our stay at the apt, celebrate our birthdays and my ( hopefully) Nidan promotion .