Kyudo Notebook: Taikai

An essay my teacher gave me early on had a line that went, “If you think, ‘I’m not going to let the target capture me’ then it’s already captured you.” I think that’s what happened today. This was an anniversary taikai for the founding of our dojo, so the morning was somewhat ceremonial, with no scoring. The shogo people did hitotsu-mato sharei, then the 4-5-dan people did mochi-mato sharei, and 3-dan and below just did the regular shinsa form. We took the winter snow wall down for that, which was great, if cold. We were shaking by the end.

Then in the afternoon we put the wall back up and had a regular taikai. I was OK in the first round, 3/4, but then in the second round I must have started to think about it, then caught myself and made the fatal effort not to be captured, and that was that. 3/4 went just under the target, and one went behind.

It was weird. I knew what I wanted to do… hanare was too fast, and the right hand wasn’t extending out fully… but somehow I just couldn’t make the right connection. This is kind of like what happened at practice yesterday: things going well at first, then just falling apart. I think it’s internal. But better to deal with it.

Practice on Sunday, where I hope I can work things out, and then Kyoto! It’ll be fun just going, no matter what happens. Well, unless we die or get injured. These days it seems like there is disaster everywhere.

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