November 3 was Culture Day, probably my favourite holiday because it’s just the right time in autumn. When I lived in Tokyo I would go to Meiji Jingu and check out different martial arts demonstrations, including yabusame, though I probably didn’t appreciate it as much then as I would now. Mostly in those days I went to see the horses.
Anyway, I managed to be alone in the dojo in the evening so I recorded some video. I won’t be posting it (count your blessings) but have found it very useful. It’s fascinating that I can go through the whole process of shooting yet be so unaware of what my body is doing. Uchiokoshi is too high, arms too straightened out, which I’m sure affects how I’m using the bones and muscles in my back. Left hand too far to the left (behind target) at daisan (something caused by the way I’d been sighting the target next to my left arm). Right hand too far forward at daisan. Arrow is not kept level from daisan into kai.
I felt that some of the “bounce to the right” had crept back in at hanare but it’s not readily visible in the video. That could just be the camera angle, though. It’s hard to get the right placement now that the snow wall is up. Am I letting the bow rotate in my hand from daisan into kai? That might be part of it. I’ve wondered recently if the extra hineri in the right hand doesn’t need to be balanced by a stronger tsunomi on the left. All without “being” in the hands, of course. The advice to get all this right at yugamae (or at least at daisan, since I shoot shomen) seems intuitively like the right approach. That way I don’t need to think about what the hands are doing because they will have already done it.
So now I’m working on fixing all that. Meanwhile the roads (but not the forests) are filled with fake hunters. It’s hard to call someone a “hunter” if all they do is drive around people’s homes looking for deer in the open, which they then shoot from their car. The other day a Jeep full of guys in orange backed right up to our front door to shoot a deer across the road by popping up out of the sunroof with a weapon. It would be a joke except that they killed a man last year (and ran away).