Somehow last Tuesday I managed to injure my left hand a little bit, and so for the next two practice sessions things didn’t going very well. Probably I was subtly turning my hand in some way to protect it. But yesterday all seemed forgiven somehow. Things to keep in mind:
- Pay attention to the back of the right leg. For some reason it doesn’t seem to be firmly planted.
- In fact, I should pay more attention to ashibumi generally and be sure to have it stable and correct from the start. I seem to have developed a habit of shifting slightly just before uchiokoshi. It shouldn’t be necessary.
- Set the left hand correctly into daisan, as part of what I had been calling the “new” daisan until it’s become normal.
- Draw high and “large.” I was thinking on the bus that, again, this may be a point where shamen kyudoka don’t have so much trouble because they enter sanbun-no-ni with the draw already pretty far along.
- At kai, make sure both left and right hands are correctly set (including the slight pressure I mentioned in the tenouchi posts)
- Nobiai to infinity…
After hitting the target well for a while, my teacher came over and told me (with allowances for translation), “When you enter kai, don’t think about anything, focus on the tateyoko-sen extending out a long distance, and then just let the release happen.” He meant rather than forcing it, I think… He wants it to be light… not a dramatic release involving a lot of strength, but just すっぱっ! Also I suspect he may have wanted to head off the danger of getting too attached to mechanics, because as he walked away he gave me a significant look and added, “Don’t forget about the most important things.”
Meanwhile on the bus home I was also thinking about the ways I sabotage myself. For example, when there’s a sequence of arrows hitting, sometimes I find that I almost want to miss in order to release the tension that builds up, not only as I start to think about how things are going, but particularly if other people notice. Each arrow needs to be its own little universe.
In a similar way, if things are going well, I start to feel like I want to stop practising so that the results so far won’t be tarnished. I can get past that pretty easily by just focusing on stuff I need to improve on, but it’s there.
And then finally, someone asked me to help them restring their bow, and it was the first time I felt something special coming from (the only way I can describe it) a takeyumi. Even though I can’t afford such a thing, it planted the idea of yumi shopping at the Kyoto taikai. Maybe if I work a bunch of overtime hours…