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
This was the second part in my series of stateside final events to handle before launch. The Kung Fu part is finished the tournament and banquet were done. Now it was time for the Chan retreat and seeing my Chan family and goodbye’s. It is all getting more real now.
It was to be another early start to the day on Sat, but not as bad as a work day rising. I was up and on the road by 5:30 am. It was 1.5 hrs drive to the Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mtns. Traffic was ok at that hour so it was an easy drive. I arrived shortly after 7:00am. Everyone was already doing their morning meditation, except my cousin who was approaching the meditation hall as I was approaching. What a surprise timing!
After our greeting I set about finding out what was going on. I was a bit thrown off by seeing the meditation sitting when I thought it was suppose to be Chi Gong time. As it turned out that was up next, I had read the schedule wrong.
I joined the Qi Gong session. It was lead by the visiting teacher, the person given the Buddha seal/imprint by our Shifu in Taiwan. He a Kung Fu person turned Spiritual guide and Chan Master. I wanted to have a talk with him. I would wait for my chance. For now I needed to settle in. After the Qi Gong was breakfast and the mass greetings, of “hao Jo bu jhin” (long time no see)
Before eating though I was able to sign in, get my badge, locate my sleeping room and greet a few others I knew.
Breakfast was ok. Some veggie stuff, plus fruit, cereal, bread. Afterward I put my stuff in the room then headed off to the first lecture on the weekend theme fulfillment.
On the way to the meditation hall, chapel I encounter Miao Ming, the visiting teacher , I walk up along side him and introduce myself. We chatted a small amount and said we would get together later to talk. That was easier said than done as he was always speaking with someone and answering their questions. I did not want to intrude and wanted just a couple private moments for my interview for my “Beyond combat series”.
The one time I saw him alone he was meditating, I did not disturb him.
The lectures started next. The first one was on fulfillment which is also the theme of the retreat. Then a break followed by a meditation period. It was a open meditation session. We could stay in the hall or go out on the grounds. I took the outside option and used the time to explore the grounds some before finding a spot to sit.
Then lunch time was upon us. About this time the clouds had burned away so I took a spot on the patio to eat my lunch in the sun.
Our next section was a short lecture, then a group exercise . I dislike this part, find someone you do not know and partner up with them. We were to sit with this person, talk with and or meditate with them for a few moments, then draw the impression you are feeling. We had to do this with three people. It was hard. It was not an art project so whatever it looked like was fine. It was about synchronizing with the person and showing/drawing your impression. I had a couple of interesting drawings one of which was very complex and correct, one other was simple yet also close to target. Afterward people were asked to share some of the drawing and their impression of the work. Many people thought their artwork was right-on correct to the point of being scary. Out of this I gained two new buds for the next days.
Time for another break, then Chi drills, then dinner.
After the last session after dinner we had a bonfire side Q and A session after singing a couple of Cha’n songs. I stayed with the group for a while by the fire listening to the questions asked of Mao Ming until it got too cold, then I headed to my room.
I had a basic shared room with two others and got the top bed on a set of bunk-beds. My roommates were non/Chinese and new to Chan. I used my iPad for a while, emails, FB, and a Naruto video before turning in for the night, ending the day.
The next day for the most part was a repeat of Sat. For the morning free meditation I found a spot to do some Tai Chi before locating a spot among the trees to do some meditation.
The interaction drill for the day was several groups discussion on the Heart Sutra and giving our impression of what it said. To me it said, it is all the same day!
I still do not understand how I got picked to be the spokesperson…again, what is up with that?!
The last session of the day before dinner was the “sharing ” and introduction part. This is where people get up in front of everyone and say whatever about their experience with Chan. This can be and has been in the past very emotional, lots of waterworks. I thought I was going to miss this part since it was listed for Monday. However since I was leaving on Sunday I was asked to come up and intro/share
I did a little talk on my Chan studies with Kung Fu, sailing and the Environment. I was on my way back to my seat when my cousin brings up I am leaving…oh boy, thx cuz!
Ok I had to come back and speak… This is where things got emotional. I do not know why I have such an attachment to these people, when saying my group goodbye I was very close to losing it to tears and emotions, and had to take a short pause and bring up some Chi to hold it together. I was getting so choked up I could not finish my last sentence, I hate when that happens. I guess my spirit really feels a sense of this is my spiritual family connection. Even thinking back to the moment seriously chokes me up…weird. I do not hang out with any of them much, yet … The Force is strong with the Chan Family.
Interestingly it is not just me. My cousin is also involved with this group. She also feels connected to the group. Even as a practicing Catholic with limited funds she with help made it here to Ca from Ga to attend the retreat. Also everyone who meets her in the group loves her. It is nice having her involved with the group so I can get her feedback on the group and see it is not just me trip’pn.
I never got to do the interview I wanted with the visiting teacher. I did find an article in the Chan mag that had some of the information I wanted. I was told I can find it on the Chan web site. I can use that to make the blog post. I also got his eMail so I can contact him if need be.
I sat with the visiting teacher for a short while after dinner for a brief goodbye. He express his regrets at not being able to spend sometime with me and invited me to visit him in Singapore sometime. This made me think, hmmm now I have a contact in mainland China and to further that thought…as a Heart Chan member I have several thousand points of potential contacts in Taiwan…there are over a hundred thousand members in Taiwan… One practitioner came up to me and said she is such n suches mother. When I come Taiwan she would be happy to show us around… cool or what. You never know what the future brings.
It should be interesting visiting Taiwan. We will be visiting one of the main meditation centers in Taiwan when we stop there. A temple in the mountains of Taipei surrounded by a Tea Plantation.
So wrapped up this years retreat. It was good this was a good venue. I really love being in the Redwoods. They have so much Chi. We had another retreat in the past by the ocean. It was nice but the Chi here was stronger and the facilities better.
Meeting with like minds and strengthening, one’s practice from time with the Shanga is a good thing.
I will be seeing some of the Chan group again before we leave. A few of my local peeps I’ll hook up with. When we get to LA I will need three days to visit and bid farewells. My Cha’n, Kyudo, and Kung Fu peeps, this before we make our final Stateside stop and visit in San Diego.
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Tags: Buddhist, ch'an, Christian, Humanity, Multi-cultural, shaolin, tai chi, tao, Zen
Categories : ch'an, Misc, tai chi, Zen, Zen mind
At that time the word of a gathering lead by a Renmei teacher outside of the established protocol spread like wildfire. Even though no one in the student group was a Renmei, at least a welcomed Renmei student, feathers were ruffled…greatly. Someone needed to be blamed.
I will not go further in to history. It is a new day now and the “feathers” have been steamed and all is well. At least on the surface.
The original four Ronin were for the most part are parting ways due to life’s changes. The most senior member was moving back home and was to study with a main leader of a sub-independent Renmei group. That shot just outside the blessing of the NRA, but had one foot in the Renmei door since the head instructors are Certified Renmei Renshi. It is complex…
Another of the Four ( me) will be off shortly to Japan and will have new loyalties.
Number Three of Four will be giving up Kyudo at least for a while. He is not only taking a break but down sizing his equipment possessions. He put many of his things up for sale. I was able to pickup some spare equipment cheap!
The final sempai will still be around, yet now studying under the Renmei colors.
Added to this are two new seekers of the true Kyudo path.
This was as far as we knew the last gathering of the original Tanuki group.
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Tags: archery, Health, Humanity, Internal training, kyudo, Multi-cultural
Categories : archery, Home, kyudo, Misc, Zen mind
The biggest challenge right now, well, other than money, marriage, lack of sleep, the soon up coming boat passage is the even sooner Kyudo seminar.
Other than casting off this is the big outside challenge for the year. Yet, at the same time in the big picture it means nothing. The world will not change, I will not change, no matter if I get the new piece of paper or not, afterward it is back to another day of training.
The annual Tai Chi Mantis Kung Fu events are up coming. However they are not a concern as there is nothing I have to do, other than just be there. I do have two students competing this year in the tournament, doing taichi. That is kind of nice since it will be my last event for a couple of years until we get resettled.
My Kung Fu and TaiChi classes will be ending ether Aug or Oct. Kind of sad I do not have a student who can take over and keep the classes going. I have one long term student who helps teach now and then but she can not maintain a consistent attendance. So the Bay Shaolin school will be completely dissolved here and reborn in Japan like a phoenix.
Over the last couple of weeks I have put in some extra Kyudo time. Solo practice, gone to class and this last Sunday went to the range with Sensei. Then another solo practice yesterday on Monday. The results are showing. I feel like I made a break through on shooting I am back up to 50% or better on my hits. I am therefore feeling much better, sometimes, about testing in Aug. Of course I will not let up on the practice. I want to be very comfortable (hahaha) for the Aug trials.
I do need to watch how much I travel do these days, thanks to the increase again of the fuel prices. It is about 1 hour drive, some times more to get to the dojo. That adds up quick at almost 5.00 a gal.
I have discovered the truth of setting up the form correctly the arrow will hit. That set in over the last couple of practice sessions. The thing is to be 100% consistent on one’s foundation. That is the challenge .
One disappointment for Aug is the Chan retreat has been changed to July. I was looking forward to doing the Kyudo the intensive for a week then follow up with a few days of Cha’n to unwind.
Now the Chan will be two weeks before the Tai Hai. Can I carry that “space” for two weeks? I should not need to, it should be on-call… More training, yosh!
I have picked up a new goal for next year. It is doubtful I will be ready to test for Yondan in Japan next year. However I would like to attend the Kyudo event in Hawaii. It is outside of the ANKF program. It would be fun to get in about a week of Kyudo and Zen training, even better in Hawaii. After 6 mo on the water it should be fun…if i can pull it off money wise. I do want to get in a few days of practice when we stop there on the way to Japan. That would be cool. I wanted to get some shooting in on our last trip there but that did not work out. Sometimes things roll like that. Or in this case that is how the arrow flies sometimes.
Another thing that has opened in Japan…
I wanted to do some ceramic work again and I was hoping to find a connection once there. As it turns out Yoh Sensei is good friends with a potter who lives in the mountains there in Osaka. I will have an introduction and a visit to him once we relocate. So I have my Zen connection, ceramic, Kyudo, and sailing connections. A new life waits. These were the main things I wanted to do in Japan other than play with a band. Even there I have a small connection with a couple of musicians. Things continue to look up for the move once there…the thing is just getting there.
One step, one arrow, one mile, one moment at a time
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Tags: archery, blessing, ch'an, Health, hope, Humanity, Internal training, Japan, Kung Fu, kyudo, life, Multi-cultural, Photography, tao, Zen
Categories : Misc