Things didn’t go so well at the taikai, but it was fun nevertheless. One lesson learned is that, if I’m going to stay overnight before one of these things, I should stay in a place where I can actually get some sleep! But I can’t blame that. The more important points are three:
- It seems that I do need to tie the kake high and tight to prevent it from slipping too far forward on my hand by the time I get to kai, but I think the tightness was one of the things interfering with a clean release. The middle way seems to be that, when tying it, I need to have the middle finger almost all the way on the tip of the boshi for the thumb. That is, have it in the position at the actual release. That way there will be just enough slack in the kake for the fingers to actually move that far.
- Before each round of shooting, check to find the right nocking point. What happened today was that, after the first round (four arrows) the string stretched so far that, when I was in the second round, nocking the arrow at what was previously the “right” place actually put the hazu way too high on the string. So, even though I felt like I was shooting correctly, the first three arrows hit beneath the target. At the time, there in the middle of shooting, I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong, even though I remember (now) that this same thing happened at a local taikai a couple of years back. Y mentioned that my tsurune wasn’t normal, and I suspect that was the reason.
- On the plus side, even though it was weird to be missing like that, I decided not to give in to the temptation to change something in order to hit the target, and I think that was the right decision. It would have meant doing something else wrong to compensate for the arrow being nocked incorrectly. Better to fix the root of the problem.
The second point is kind of interesting because I noticed that some of the teachers would actually nock an arrow in the waiting area well before they had to shoot, and I wasn’t sure why. Now I know… they were finding the right point again, because strings stretch. Or at least, that’s my theory!