After shooting for a while yesterday I was talking to my teacher and he recommended going back to the 13kg bow for now. Particularly in the cold weather the 15kg is too stiff, and it’s having a negative effect on the way I shoot. Better to go for quality and not be concerned about the strength of the bow.
Meanwhile I’m trying to work out some of the advice received over the weekend. Looking at myself in kiza in a mirror, I can see that I am indeed leaning back somewhat, so I’ll be working on that, but the standing posture, and correct alignment of the shoulders, are more elusive.
The shoulders in particular. For one thing, my teacher prefers a higher uchiokoshi and daisan than seem standard. He mentioned that if you keep your shoulders down at uchiokoshi you really can’t get more than a 45 degree angle (which is, of course, what the books recommend), but since he thinks it’s better to go higher than that, he does indeed raise his shoulders at that point and into daisan, then lowers them again in hikiwake, where the lowering is accomplished by extending the shoulders outward, to the left and right. The other thing is the alignment. The advice was to have the shoulders forward and chest somewhat farther back, but when I try to do that I generally end up twisting one way or the other and am not aware of it. So… need to find the right “feel” for all of this. One book recommends lying down on a hard floor and then raising your shoulders, as if in kai, while having someone watch to see that they’re raised the same distance, so I’ll try that and some other things.
I also got a warning from one of the more experienced people (after a particularly good round) that it can be dangerous to hit the target too often. I don’t quite know what to make of that. Obviously it’s not a recommendation to miss, but more a caution not to get too caught up in the idea of hitting. I can see how attachment would get in the way and set a person up for all sorts of problems, but what else can I do except forge ahead and try not to lose sight of my purpose? It would be ironic if my mind used this practice to take me in the opposite direction.
We have two taikai and then the dojo closes down for two weeks of repairs and some kind of city building inspection. Perhaps a good time to reaffirm just what my purpose in all of this really is.