Today K-sensei was telling another student that (as the word implies) everything comes together at kai. You don’t bring the arrow down into kai and then tilt this way or that, adjust this or that, to get the aim right. If you have to do that, you won’t be able to realize nobiai properly. Instead you everything should come together just right at kai, so that no technical adjustments are needed, and all you do from that point is nobiai.
He’s talked about that before, but it struck me particularly today because what I’ve been doing this week is drawing into kai, and then adjusting the orientation of my elbow. So in light of what he was just saying, I asked him about it. In fact I’d noticed that, when I would make this change in the elbow position, it would affect the bow, and so I needed to adjust, and even though I’ve been hitting well, it didn’t feel quite right. I’d been feeling like I lost the connection or the flow somehow, and I suspect it’s because of that distraction.
So what he said was that yes, the way I was doing it wasn’t so good (of course he’d noticed), and really I should make that change at daisan. So at the next tachi I did as he suggested, and the difference was immediately apparent. It was like I didn’t need to use any strength at all in my left arm, and the whole shot felt very good. Afterwards I started to think that maybe this is a hint of what Yoshimi-sensei means in the Shaho Kun when he says, “Shooting isn’t done with the bow, it’s done with the bone” (Kyudo Kyohon), because re-orienting the elbow at daisan must be aligning the bones of the arm just right, so I end up using the power of leverage rather than power of muscle.
Of course, that still leaves the right arm. I wonder what I need to do there? But this exploration is turning out to be really fun.