Do not let a piece of paper, disturb your spirit…

7 04 2012

Another Monday practice at RSD. I guess it was productive but I was not pleased. I did get more hits, as in three , maybe 4 out of 20. I shot better two years ago. I’m not sure why. The problem with solo practice is you have to analyze yourself . Not an easy thing to do.

I guess at this level and with the target as a sounding board it can be done by trail and error. Not something one can do with shooting and doing tai hai, unless you tape yourself.

Yet even then useless you know what you are looking for you can not tell what is right or not. In this case it is about hitting the target. Which goes against what I was learning in the beginning with the Chikorin-ha school…in the beginning.

Even now it is said in the Kyhon it is not all about hitting…not all. Yet it is said in the test breakdown one should hit the target and it is better on the first shot. So now I’m thinking all about hitting…perhaps too much. I heard some have failed their test or lost points from being too focused on the hit and not the quality of the shot. There is that balance demon creeping. I supposed one should be more focused on the quality of the shot and let the hitting take care of itself but unless you hit at Yodan level and that is a must, you fail. I have heard at San -Dan some have missed yet still passed. In fact a guy I trained with was pissed at the Tokyo test because he missed hitting at the test before that one and failed. Yet in Tokyo some missed and still passed.

“Spirit and technique are one…Satake Mariko Sensei “The Queen”

Maybe their quality was better…or the judges were feeling generous that day because so many had traveled so far.

Side note just in: I was told I was the first to send in payment and lock in my place at the Summer seminar…Yosh!




3 responses

8 04 2012
Rick Matz

The picture says it all: you’re shooting the arrows to the wrong place.

23 04 2012

Yes, the photo looks like what happens when I try to correct the aim after each shot: always overcompensating in one way or another.

Maybe try this: forget about hitting the target. Really. Just focus on your form, all the way from taihai and breathing through ashibumi to the end, but especially daisan to kai, the expansion, nobiai… Do that without any concern for the target at all. None. It’s just there to make sure you’re facing the right general direction when you shoot. The goal is to develop consistency, so the arrows go reliably to the same place every time, or nearly so. Spend a few weeks at it. If consistency doesn’t come, then maybe something basic is going on. You could use video (sometimes it helps to slow it down), but your teacher’s eye is the best, fastest way to find out. Personally I find that in video I see too many things going wrong, whereas a teacher will correct the RIGHT thing. But since three arrows in the photo are high it may be something as simple as holding the arrow below the line of your mouth at kai, having the nocking point too high, the change of seasons affecting the bow, etc.

The thing is that after you have consistency it’s a trivial matter to adjust your aim so that the “place” where the arrows now all go anyway, with boring repetition, is the center of the target. Just beware that it’s easy to get attached to hitting, develop hayake, and have it all fall apart again. But that’s the joy of it, eh?… why it’s still interesting after 30, 40, 50 years…

Personally I think it’s best to focus on form. When I’m at shinsa I can barely think at all, about anything. Especially after uchiokoshi, the body takes over, and so it’s vital that you teach it to do the right things in the right way.

On the plus side, for what it’s worth, there are always waves (as you know better than most!), so you don’t want to peak too soon. Before each of our shinsa here there’s a tutorial day, and I usually do very badly in the tutorials. It’s almost a ritual. But as long as it comes together in the shinsa all is well. By contrast, some of my friends are great at tutorials but lose it at the shinsa. Obviously the best is to be calm and centered — heijoushin — and shoot the same in all circumstances, but being “everyday” is surprisingly hard!

Anyway have confidence. You’re there.

23 04 2012

Oh, sorry, that should be “having the nocking point too low.” I get them mixed up.

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