What was that line from the Jaws movie? “Just when you thought it was safe?” My shooting is still working itself out in various ways, but for some reason (sum of errors?) I’ve been hitting well. Yesterday was my best ever at a taikai, [OO OOOO OOOX], but that evil X at the end spells trouble. Not only was I unable to keep my mind from jumping around, but I seem to have developed an attachment to hitting that is manifesting as hayake.
I never really understood that before. Why some people seemed to “just let go” so soon, but now I realize it’s more subtle than that, because as near as I can tell, that’s not what I’m doing. The release usually feels natural and unforced. In fact it often feels like considerable time has gone by, but in the external world, the clock ticks much slower. So it seems like unravelling this is going to be a bit of a mind trip, which could be very valuable indeed.
There have been a couple articles about hayake in recent issues of the Kyudo magazine, but I didn’t really get into them because I didn’t feel like it was a problem. Now, though, things have changed. One of my dojo sempai told me from her own experience that it’s like a terrible disease. Your body will learn it (just as it does with other things), and you will become unable to do anything else, even if you want to. It took her two years of shooting exclusively at the makiwara to overcome it. I’m hoping that by catching it early I can fare better, but you never know. I’ve seen some students who’ve shot that way so long that they release even before reaching kai. They hit (some of them), but nobody wants to shoot like that. Maybe not even them.
Even at the All-Japan tournament in Ise this year, they said that, out of 82 of the men, 28 were in kai less than two seconds.
So, this is going to be fun/challenging. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a day job!
PS One of the things that seemed to stabilize my shooting was exactly what was suggested, putting more effort into setting the right hand properly (the hineri thing) at yugamae and then, because I’m shooting shomen, making sure the left hand gets set properly (not letting the bow rotate too much in the hand) as I go into daisan. A balance of forces there, with equal effort left and right, seems to work best.