Change, change, change. Since last week I noticed that my tenouchi had become strange. It wasn’t something particularly noticeable to someone watching but I could feel the difference and it bothered me even though the results weren’t so bad. Initially I attributed it to differences in the way I’d built up the grip on the 6-sun nobi bow. The width is the same as my trusty 4-sun, but there was some original rubber padding on the front of the bow that I left on there as an experiment. It makes the grip about 3mm thicker. Could that have been it? I resolved to take that padding out next time I change the nigirikawa.
But then during practice my teacher came over and told me that the line of my shoulders was way off, with the left shoulder up higher than the right. I think this is in part due to the differences I mentioned in the way the 6-sun draws. Anyway when I made the effort to lower the left shoulder from daisan into kai, the tenouchi problem completely disappeared, and I’d been so accustomed to struggling with it that I was left standing there in kai thinking, “What do I do now?” It felt good.
So as before, where uchiokoshi seemed to affect both daisan and kai, now the left shoulder is doing the same thing, and it’s fascinating to see how these changes in one place create echoes later on, and in ways I’d never noticed before. I really feel like I’ve circled back to the start of it all, with many directions to choose from at each point in the hassetsu, and unsure of which way to go, so I have to try them. I suppose the logical thing is to start from ashibumi and take them in order. Sort of “rebuild” the way I shoot from the ground up.
Even with the left shoulder there are options. Keep it down all the time or lower it somewhere in the the process? If somewhere in the process, then quickly or gradually? and when? Yesterday I tried just keeping it down all the time. It felt awkward, but from a “no unnecessary movements” perspective it seems like the best choice. The other attractive option is to use the shoulder as usual into daisan and then lower it gradually, along with the bow, into kai.
At the same time I need to make sure the arms don’t drop at the release. Need to keep them straight, though there remains that paradox that in the midst of all that effort the release needs to be “light” and “sharp,” yet lead to full extension in all directions. Once again I find myself appreciating points in the Kyudo Kyohon that I guess I’d merely glossed over before. So much in there…
Three more practice days before heading to Tokyo.