It is all done, the last event here for me. Well of sorts I will be going to a boat show in Oct. However that is not about me. It is for Aoki Yachts corp out of Osaka. As far as Kyudo, and Kung Fu it is done.
The seminar did not turn out as I hoped but, life sometimes is like that. It was still a worthwhile trip to attend. I learned a lot! It was good to see past aquatances and make new ones. I picked up some good points at the seminar which will help me later. I finally figured out and am fairly comfortable with the raising one knee thing in Kiza. That was huge in my book. Also established a connection with my dojomates we feel like a school now I think. I am not sure but i think it is the same for my Sensei. This maybe his largest class of Shodans. Speaking of my Dojomates, I think we are the most diverse Dojo in the Renmei.
I believe the connections I made with the Sensei there at the seminar will be beneficial down the road.
I went to class yesterday and shot with my new bow. It was suppose to be my Sandan bow, and I guess it still is. It is my training bow to get there.
I really shot with it for the first time in class tonight. It shoots well but right now it feels like a lot of effort to shoot. My old Yumi is 15k, this one is 18, I can really feel the change. It will help/force me to draw and shoot with my bones to get comfortable with it. Even with that I have one more bow coming. I am exchanging a 22k bow for a lighter one. 22k is ridiculously too much!
It will be shipped to Japan when our things get fully packed. I will be taking my old 15k bow on the boat with me. I hope to get to shoot some in Hawaii at one of the dojos there and perhaps I’ll find some place on the passage to shoot. Also I hope on some of the stops in Japan on the way to Osaka there will be some local Dojo I can stop at to shoot. That would be something interesting to start blogging about on the new Zensekai-Nihon blog. Maybe even a good couple of articles for the Kyudo mags.
For now it is the same if I passed, or not, back to training. I did not start Kyudo for the rank but for the training. My first style had no ranks I just wanted to learn, adapt and enjoy. Use some of the training and experiences in life and my Kung Fu teaching and training. I think I have been successful in some of that. The ranking thing came about because I wanted to continue training in Japan and heard it was needed. In traditional Kung Fu we have no ranks, no belts. Now I want to achieve Yondan, it will open a different level of training. Once that happens, we’ll see. Godan…Renshi…why…still, I will keep my mind open. One grows with an open mind and heart.
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Tags: archery, Health, Humanity, Internal training, kyudo, Multi-cultural, tao, Zen
Categories : archery, Japan, kyudo, Nippon, Zen mind
The final day arrived. I was not feeling confident. There was a open practice on Thursday night that helped some but I did not feel i was there yet.
We did our morning line up and thankfully no Shiza. We were told everyone will take the written test at the same time before the shooting test.
We went to the rear section for the written test. Those testing for Sandan, Yondan and Godan were all in the same room. We had different questions of course.
Unlike my Nidan test with three questions today we only had one this time. Explain Goju-jumonji. Ok cool I am ready for that. I wrote it out and was ready to leave, however they wanted to check the answer sheets for everyone first. That turned out to be a good thing. As I was sitting there waiting I kept reviewing my list of the five crosses in my head. Something did not seem right. Finally it came to me I had put the last cross as the neck and Yumi should form a cross. It was my sensei who wad checking the English answers, I asked for mine back and was given it. I changed the word Yumi to Ya. After turning it back in and having it checked and ok’d I was given permission to leave. Wheeww that was close and over. Now the hard part.
The gym had been changed so there was one shajo. I had heard the makiwara room was open for those who wanted. However that changed shortly after I heard. There were no backing nets in the makiwara room since they put them out on the testing area. Therefore no Markiwara practice before the test. That could have been a help, but was not meant to be.
My group approach me to get a couple more practice line up/ entry’s in before our turn. We practice again over to the side, watching our timing and steps.
My stomach was not happy.
I made my self busy taking pictures of my dojomates, stretching and warming up. I found an out of the way spot on the upper floor and did some tai chi practice.
After lunch it was my turn to line up. My stomach really really turned sour. As I sat I did Chan breathing drills to help calm things. Then it was show time.
Our entrance was good we were smooth and organized. My first shot was a miss. Just off the target to the left but center level. The bad part, my thumb came off my fingers in Tenouchi, ugh! Ok I thought I have another chance.
Next shot I adjust a bit, but it was still a miss but the exact same spot as the first but on the right side of the target 😦
Also even thought really thought about keeping the thumb down and I did, the middle finger came loose. I was toast! I know they were watching closely since I knew they were taking note on my Tenouchi. It was disappointing but not unexpected. I exited my Sensei said you were fighting the bow. Most of your pull came from your arms not your body. Don’t give up hope but it is only a slim chance they will pass you with the two misses and they were not grouped together, along with the shallow draw. I said I was not expecting to pass, it was ok.
I went and changed clothes and hung out the rest of the afternoon and watched the rest of the testing. I was pleased to see my friend pass the first part her Renshi shoot then her oral. Finally it was time for her second shots. Messages were relayed from LA to Davis and over to north Carolina where her husband was updated about the status of things.
Sadly she missed both last shots everyone was disappointed for her. It was a sad ending.
Around late afternoon the results were posted. It was noisy as people rejoiced on their passing. I did not even bother to go look. I knew I did not pass. I came across a line up mate and asked how he did. He said no one in our taichi passed. In fact out of all the Nidans only two out of about at least 15 or more people passed. Things get real serious at this level. I saw that at last year’s test with the large amount of no passes. With such a large amount of company I did not feel lonely not passing. I had been prepared for the outcome.
All of those testing from my dojo for Shodan passed. Good for them as I had heard not all do, some only get 1 kyu.
As I was leaving I saw Kubota Sensei. He gave me his slight smile, I bowed…we will meet again.
PS: Thanks to those who took my picture. I nice treat for this blog. _/|\_
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Tags: archery, Health, hope, Internal training, kyudo, Multi-cultural, Nihon, Zen
Categories : archery, Japan, kyudo, Misc, Nippon, tao, Zen mind
After months of preparation and training it was finally time to head to the Kyudo Seminar. I was not feeling confident, I was hitting but it was inconsistent. The rumors were I needed to get at least one hit. I felt with enough focus and some luck I could pull off one clean hit.
The day did not start as planned. I was supposed to go to work as usual in the morning. I got up and went in only to find I was not on the schedule, but not told. My plan was to leave work and go to the Dojo for some practice before taking the hour drive to the seminar. Instead I was put in the position of a wasted trip and gas. The wasted gas money was a real irritant. 😦
After returning home, I went back to bed. That part was nice. After a nice rest I packed up and went to the dojo. I did a few shots, it was not great but I did get a few hits in, along with my regular meditation and training drills.
The traffic to UC Davis was not too bad, it was quite hot though. Unlike on our island, the temps were in the 90’s. Overall the traffic moved well. I stopped for a small bite to eat on the way.
I made it to the campus with no problems. However finding where I needed to check it was a different story. I drove and walked around fir an hour trying to find were to register. There were NO signs to be found! Not even signs with a campus map! WTH Grrrrrrrrrr . finally I was told I could get a campus map on-line. I did so and was able to finally make my way to the correct area. Still a group of co-eds walked and pointed me to the right place. After checking in and heading to my room I see a sign with a pointed arrow for Kyudo!
I paid the extra 50 bucks in order to have my own room. It was worth it, I was able to settle in nicely, later. For the moment I had 15 min to make it to the dining hall and grab some dinner. It was there in the Hall I started greeting the folks I knew. The food looked pretty good, it was a good election even of veggie meal.
It was good to see some of the old faces from other times and places.
After dinner I went back to the dorm. There I settled in for a quiet evening and prep for the commencement of activities in the morning.
I got up early on Tuesday the first day of the seminar. I did my morning Zazen then went out to look for a spot to do Tai Chi. After I returned I head to breakfast then change for the opening ceremonies.
There was the normal line up and opening formalities. The dreaded Shiza sit and reciting came with it. It was not so bad this time, the Shiza practice on my own paid off. It was still painful but I was able to deal with it.
There was an opening Sharei by the head instructor Akiyama Sensei. She was good of course, but she did not hit her shots. I found this comforting. Since hitting was heavy on my mind, to see a master miss made me feel a sense of relief.
Next up we broke up into groups. Here was my dread in my face. I was Omai!!! Just wonderful! 😦 On top of worrying about hitting I had to be concerned with my taihai and leading my taichi group. I was hoping to be #2 or 3 in line. I felt this was not a good omen. I was the first number in the Nidan group. This made my already weird stomach even more so. At least unlike Tokyo I had some experience being in that position now. Even though I did not like it as I would be right in front of the judges and have to keep track of the shooting sequence. Omai is out there for the shortest time, that can be good . So there is good and bad that goes with that position.
I went through my evaluation shots with no problems, other than not being able to hear clearly from my group who was shooting because another group behind us was also shooting. Also other than my nervous tummy, which kept me up and down the steps…a lot over the week, things went ok.
The first Sensei for my section was Kubota Sensei. I did not get any correction from him. I do not recall anyone getting some from him. He did spend some time on some topics and discussion. I liked his style of shooting and also his teaching. He was fun to listen to as he was enjoying himself. He told us to make Hanshi he had been studying 50 yrs. He said the younger students could make it, but us older ones…
That evening after the seminar and dinner there was a taikai. I had designed the winner certificates for this, yet I had no plans to attend. I had been asked earlier since I was not in the taikai would I take the Sensei out to dinner. It was an easy task, however I wasn’t looking forward to it…nervous. I would need to speak with the Sensei in my poor Japanese, and be concern about using the correct respectful words.
I did nor have much time after the seminar. I had to rush to change, find their hotel and pick them up. I did not want to lose face by being late, it was stressful but I made it. There was a bit of confusion about were they were going, it took a while to get it all sorted out.
I introduced myself in Japanese. I found out later they were quite surprised at this. I also told them my Japanese name which they thought was interesting. I thought it maybe a wise move for the future to make myself known.
I got them to the Restaurant and returned later to pick them up. They wanted to go by the Taikai to see so I took them there next. Finally they had enough and I returned them to their hotel and went back to my room for the night. It all went pretty smooth for the first day.
Tomorrow, Day 2 , the real lessons started and the evening held the banquet.
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Categories : archery, Japan, kyudo, Misc, Nippon, Zen mind
New Years Eve 2011, it was great I had off for the weekend. I did plan it that way and turned down some work with the sailing school that came up. I needed to have a break, so I took it.
New Years eve was the RSD’s 3rd annual 108 Ya New Year’s shoot.
I was up on the early side for a day off. However since we wanted to be ready to shoot at 10:00 it was needed for me to rise early if I wanted to follow the training I had in mind.
I was up at 7:30 not 7:00 as I planned. I got my Zazen in first, then found a spot just behind the Aikido dojo on the property, and did some Tai Chi and Qi gong. It was a little in the cool side however I was dressed for it.
My breakfast for the day which I had afterward wad lite since I had planned on a simple fast. I had four or so nuts and a green drink. Other than some green Tea that was to be my meal for the day until sundown.
I arrived at the Dojo a little late but it was cool since my Senpai were not ready yet as well. After setting up the heater,
chatting , dressing we made ready to shoot. We did not do the meditation and chanting this year, so I’m glad I got my morning drills in early before leaving home.
We selected on going 8 shots to a set. I borrowed a set of four from a Senpai and we had at it.
It had been a couple of months since I shot so I had a few concerns. My left hand would it hold up or get cramps like last year. My right shoulder had been painful for the last couple of weeks , would it hold up? Would all those unused muscles for a couple of months, be pissed off and revolt the next day. I had the extra challenge of using mismatched Ya . So every two shoots I had to adapt the shoot to a different flying arrow. Four ya were bamboo and another four were aluminum. The bamboo were all one set and matched, they were borrowed. The aluminum were from two different sets since my set of four was not to be had due to a shipping malfunction from the past summer seminar, due to my lack of mindfulness and forgetting to bring home the ones I shot with for my test. I was too excited about passing.
I was not overly concerned about my hits but more mindful about my form and going the distance. I was very mindful of making sure all parts of the form were proper so as not to hurt myself it was to be a long day. My right hand had a bit if a problem. It felt a bit tingly when holding the ya. This was coming from my shoulder pain. I persevered and after a while the discomfort went away.
Most of my clusters looked good. Once I settled into shooting and adjusting to each pair of arrows I started working on my aim. With the San Dan test coming I need to start working more on hitting. I was averaging about one center shot per set, not bad but I need better for the test.
I was able to self correct some of the things I was slacking on. I still need work and practice but overall I did ok. Nothing to blog about, but ok.
We started about 11 and finish about 4:30 ish which include a couple of tea breaks. It was s good session for our final 108 as a group. Next year I should be on the way to Japan and one of the other two sempais will be relocated to the East Coast, so in a sense this was our last shot.
Akimashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!
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Tags: archery, Chinese new year, Humanity, Internal training, kyudo, life, Multi-cultural
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