Yesterday I was able to talk to the S-sensei (kyoshi, 7-dan) who led the pre-shinsa tutorial two weeks ago, when the hazu on one of my arrows broke somewhere around daisan. At the time, she just picked the hazu fragment up while I was dealing with arrow, but I wondered what to do if it had happened during an actual shinsa. Her answer yesterday was that it’s always best for you to completely take care of any mistake or problem that you cause, but it’s not always simple, and it seems there are various factors that should be considered.
- If it happens with your haya, then before doing anything you should look over to the shinsa-in. Particularly in a rare case like this, they may ask you to shoot the otoya right away, in which case you should do that (rissha). Then after sitting back down, you would take care of the fallen arrow and the hazu fragment (but see below). This means you’ll be moving around while the next person shoots, so it should be done as little disturbance as possible.
- If it happens with the otoya, then you would deal with the arrow and, if it is nearby, the hazu right then, and the next person would resume the sequence after your apologetic yu. If the hazu is far away, what you can do is deal with the arrow as usual, yu, and then just pick up the fragment as you leave the shajo. So, there’s a judgement call there.
- The reason you might want to deal with the hazu fragment later is out of consideration for the other people, who will be waiting. From her body language, it seemed to me that “nearby” probably means within about three steps, or the standard 1.8 meter distance upon which so many things in Japan are based. Tekitou.
- The other thing to consider is the next group of people if they are entering, or have already entered, the shajo. That can get endlessly complicated, depending on your position and what they are doing, so my guess is that you’ll have to wing it.
Maybe the take-away lesson is just the first part, that you have to take care of it. I imagine that with a rare event like this, different teachers might do different things, and the question is just whether you are able to handle it calmly, efficiently, and with all due consideration for other people and the occasion.
All in all it might be best to take a very close look at your arrows beforehand, and make sure there are no cracks in the hazu that are accidents waiting to happen.