Kyudo Notebook: Keep Going

No dramatic changes these days. Just continuing step by step. If I had to summarize what I’m working on now it would come down to:

  • Maintain good breathing from the start
  • Establish a stable base by leaning slightly forward before uchiokoshi
  • High uchiokoshi to set up…
  • High daisan
    • Arch the thumb toward target from here on
    • Relax right forearm
    • Keep arrow level or pointed ever so slightly down
  • Hikiwake
    • Draw high
    • About halfway down, roll shoulders down into kai
  • Aim a little in front of the target
  • Arrow reaches nerai point at the same moment that it touches the cheek and the chest
  • Nobiai to infinity
    • Mentally focus within, on the vertical line at the centre
    • Visualize arms straight out, left and right
    • Like a current of energy
  • Don’t think about hanare at all
  • Focus on the centre, but still a bit more than 50% on the right
  • The right hand should go back straight and fast, yet light, unforced
  • The vertical line doesn’t move at all
  • But wait for it to happen 無
  • Big expansion
  • Feel good
  • Take risks
  • Don’t let the teachers fall asleep

Some of this is highly experimental and could easily change. Also it seems like good giriko helps. I”ve started using some slightly finer, higher grade stuff that two friends had recommended. It’s from Koyama Kyuguten in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, one taikai on the 18th, another on the 23rd, and another on 9 October. The first is individual, the others are both team things. After that the cold will settle in and the season should slow down. Also The Unknown Craftsman arrived the other day from Amazon. It looks very promising. A friend who teaches Japanese history/culture said it’s not only essential as a central text of the folk art movement, but also notable as an expression of nationalism.

This entry was posted in ashibumi, daisan, dozukuri, hanare, hikiwake, kai, kyudo, kyudo notebook, uchiokoshi, zanshin. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: Keep Going

  1. ceterum censeo says:

    A lot of things to work on… ; )

    So you got the Unknown Craftsman…
    It does read like a manifesto… shows the time it was written in…
    It was a time of nationalism… national chauvinism, even…
    Budo as term stems from this era also by the way… the “Do” concept… before the tern “jutsu” was used.
    Anyway, you do have to understand the context in which it was written and just read past some of the naive pathos but there is a lot of worth while thought in the book I think.

    Yanagi, like Ruskin and Morris in England, felt humanity was slipping into a debased existence… they saw themselves as social reformers not art critics… hence the tone…
    There was a feeling industrialization was dehumanizing society, art was becoming elitist and detached from the people… a process we see continuing to this day…

    Yanagi was a spiritual man who saw the cure to society’s problems in spirituality… you spoke a while ago of a need for a spiritual awakening… you are a man to Yanagi’s heart 😉
    That is exactly what he felt…
    Folk art was where he felt human spirit and spirituality were just about still tangible and alive and if you could learn to see with your heart you could grasp them…
    Incidentally… your teacher watching exams, looking for kiai… she is doing the very thing – looking with her heart.
    Yanagi saw folk art as expression of spiritual and social culture… Buddhist influence and especially the lack of individuality, (which we can recognize in kyudo practice also), seems important… true form and natural ornament can not be individualistic… (as true shooting has to be selfless).
    I see a lot of merit in Yanagi’s ideas and I see parallels to kyudo practice which may help inform the study of it…

    It may be a bit of an effort to read if you are not interested in the applied arts… “folk art” has become a term that mostly just denotes tourist gift shop tat. We tend to think of “ethnic” souvenirs, chintz,… that is not what Yanagi writes about but the image of the “folk art” we now see around us colors our view of it.
    True folk art is honest and has purpose… much of what pro-ports to be folk art today is produced industrially and is neither honest nor does it have purpose.
    One of my eternal Bêtes noir in this context is the “gift”…
    The gift… an object the purpose of which is what?! To be given…?
    Look in any “gift shop” and see what evil tat is being offered there… there is something so inherently wrong and dishonest in producing objects the only purpose of which is to be given as a token of friendship, respect, love even, I can’t tell you.
    Folk art has been debased and relegated to the gift shop, I may one day write my own manifesto on the need for banning the “gift” as a product… ; )
    Anyway,… the point here is that we are talking not of ethnic or rustic looking gift products but of traditional hand-crafted artifacts for everyday use… objects that were not individualistic or abstract from their true self – like art is today or the gift-as-product – but an honest expression of human nature and culture.
    Anyway,… maybe I should let you get on and read it ; )

  2. karamatsu says:

    That does indeed sound very close to what has been percolating in my mind/heart for quite some time. I like very much your characterization as things not abstracted from their true self. Probably I should have left it at “mingei,” which is what she actually said, but I was too uninformed to realize the difference. Interestingly Ruskin, too, is on my list, via Gandhi. The book looks and feels very dense, full of promise.

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