Kyudo Notebook: Diagnosis Confirmed

A while back I mentioned a weird phenomenon that had popped up at a taikai. What I didn’t mention was that we shot rissha there. Yesterday we had an impromptu competition just among the people who happened to be there, also rissha, and surprise! The same thing happened again. The first arrow was great, felt good, solid, hit the centre. I was primed, I suppose, by all the regular practice beforehand (zassha). But then second was the familiar weird situation where the string wasn’t touching my chest, I couldn’t get “inside” the drawn bow, and when the shot came it was wild. Same with the remaining two.

In the break between rounds I tried to reason it out, and remembered that earlier post, so resolved to intentionally bring my left shoulder forward (and also down) at kai. It solved the problem and the second round of four went much better. Thinking about it afterwards I suspect what was happening is that, when I brought the left shoulder down and back, I was also twisting my torso slightly. Because my head was still in the same place and the bow was still held at the same place (because of the aiming point) this meant that there was indeed more distance between me and the bow, especially on the left side, so that’s why the string wasn’t touching my chest, and why I couldn’t find the tateyoko cross.

So, in the end, I’m really happy to have figured that out. One more tool if I ever notice that phenomenon again. I’m not sure why it seems to pop up when I shoot rissha, though. That may just be a coincidence.

Another interesting data point is that my hemp string (2.0 monme Haru Kaze) broke and all I had ready to replace it was a #2 synthetic one (not sure of the brand because it was already on my tsurumaki), so I switched to that. People talk about the synthetics being thinner and faster, which means greater arrow velocity, and I believe it now. The first few arrows all went above the target, and eventually I had to shift my aiming point down by almost a full target width. So… also good to know. I enjoy the fact that I’m discovering all these little detail relationships but there sure are a lot of them.

LATER I forgot to note that the solution, when I find myself in that situation of not being able to get “inside” the bow, is just to expand left and right along the lines of normal tsumeai. It seems that will bring the shoulder into the right alignment even if it was misplaced on entering kai. I confirmed that today after intentionally creating the problem situation. So… just follow the Kyohon and all will be well. Or at least better!

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