It was a good day. 69 people registered. 66 participated. Five made it to the interview and sharei. Two were granted the renshi title.
Nerves seemed to play a big role and the effects of experience seemed pretty clear. The “youngest” (in Kyudo 5-dan years) to pass was #53 out of the original 69 (a friend — Omedetou!), and had received his 5-dan certificate ten years ago. On the other hand, it was very inspirational to see two 82-year-old kyudoka taking the test, still pushing forward, still improving. The younger among us have no excuse!
Unfortunately I was at the targets and so wasn’t able to observe Yoshimoto-sensei‘s yawatashi and the enbu up close, but they were still impressive, even from a distance. Even the taihai… Yoshimoto-sensei seemed rock solid, “like a Buddha statue,” unmovable. I’m hoping to get some video later from people who were able to stand closer.
And of course, having spent a day watching other people shoot, I’m looking forward to Tuesday’s practice. During one of the lulls S-sensei encouraged us to keep going. She said that once you reach the renshi level your kyudo world opens up dramatically… the things you can participate in, the teachers you can receive instruction from, the roles you can take on. A whole new world. But if today is any indication, it’ll be a while, and with many failures along the way.