At practice yesterday I started out fast again, and my teacher made sure I knew it. “Your mind, your body, and the bow have to come together” (Sanmai ittai no kai). The method I eventually hit on was that, approaching kai, I would sort of withdraw inward, even softening the focus of my eyes so that I’m no longer focused “hard” on the target, but more inside. That seemed to help, and while in fact it didn’t feel like I was in kai any longer than I had been before (in terms of clock time), apparently the results were still closer to what my teacher was looking for. He still emphasized drawing “large” and a full zanshin, and either by accident or arrangement, we shot together twice after that, with him in front, so I would synchronize with his shooting and breathing. That was very good… I wish I could do that all the time.
As the day wore on, the placement of the arrows was not as tight as before, but perhaps it will stabilize. I feel I need to work on the right way first, and just have faith that shooting right will produce the right result. I have years. Unless I die first. But even if I did die soon, better to die shooting well.