Kyudo Notebook: Do The Twist

S先生 was watching me shoot the other day and suggested more hineri in my right hand. The idea is that the back of the right hand should essentially be pointing straight up. This has turned out to be an effective move, combining many of the pieces of the puzzle that I’d been approaching from different directions, which means less to think about. The trick is to find the right amount of twist, otherwise I get complaints from my elbow joint, but when it’s right, the feeling at kai is remarkably different. I suppose I’ve been sort of fighting the bow, but now we’re on more friendly terms, which allows us to work together. Something like that. We’ll see how it goes tonight. There’s an informal mini-taikai, just among people who come to practice. The winners get a few kilograms of rice.

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5 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: Do The Twist

  1. Me says:

    The key is to not think of hineri simply as twisting the wrist, this is something that I’ve been told, but rotating the right arm, elbow, forearm, etc at yugaeri (as with everything, look to yugaeri to fix basics: scapula placement, shoulders, elbows, tatesen, etc).

  2. karamatsu says:

    Thanks! Probably you mean yugamae? When first setting the right and left hands? I’ve been thinking along the same lines, though: not just the wrist but more of the arm (or since everything is connected, more of everything!). It will take some more experimentation, but now that you mention it, it’s the same when getting into the lotus position for meditation: don’t twist the leg at the knee joint, but rather move the leg together as a unit, twisting at the hip joint, which has more freedom of movement (so likewise, maybe create the hand position with reorientation of the shoulder than pronation of the forearm and wrist?). But the good thing is that now I have an image of which direction to go, which makes the fine-tuning fun.
    Also, based on how I feel after yesterday, I think I just overdid it at first!

    • Me says:

      Ah yes, I meant yugamae (I wrote this late at night).
      But yes, everything: shoulders, shoulder blades, tatesen, it’s all set at yugamae. From yugamae through to zanshin I imagine one should have as little movement as possible: not letting the hands go off to the left or right during uchiokoshi, never letting the shoulders rise, never letting the shoulder blades pop out, not twisting the hands or elbows or torso, etc.
      –Reverse engineer from kai. I think sometimes yugamae is kai.

  3. karamatsu says:

    Very useful perspective. Sometimes I see the teachers, especially, making adjustments at yugamae but since I can’t see under their clothing (for good reason!) it’s hard to know all of what is going on, but I suspect you’re right. It has to be something more than just a formal move. I need to grasp the underlying reasons. Since your note I have been trying put everything together at that stage — it makes great sense to me, and would pull together even more points that up until now I’d been thinking of as separate.
    By the way I finished my first reading of the Yanagi book. Very high idea density, so I need to read it again. Today I was at the bookshop looking at Japanese versions. He’s sort of a folk hero himself, not least, I think, because of his personality. The next time I go to Tokyo I’ll visit the museum to look at some of the work he collected. The photos in the book are very good but no photograph can ever do justice to the real thing. Even photographs of photographs. Alas I doubt they let you pick up the pottery… I think I’d get more of a feeling from touching the pieces than from looking.
    It was interesting that he echoed many of the same points you’d made earlier about the bow, for example. It’s not clear to me if Yanagi actually produced the sorts of work he esteemed, yet for him express the same sort of ideas as someone who does (you) must say something about the depth of his understanding. I’m trying to look at the tools in a different light but it’s like I’m fighting my own genetics. I swear two friends from my university days stole my genes for appreciating objects. They obsess far to much, while I seem to respond far too little. But I loved the feeling of a bamboo bow.
    Come to think of it, maybe I just respond tactilely rather than visually. Hmmm…

  4. Pingback: Kyudo Notebook: Tutorial | Mu

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