Kyudo Notebook: The Heart

So the other day I was trying to figure out why my shooting had become so erratic. Eventually I hit upon one thing that seemed to help, a slight change in my tenouchi. Toward the end of the day I mentioned this to my teacher and he said this wasn’t the way. Or maybe I should say Way, with the capital letter? He said that when you get into a slump it’s because you’ve started thinking too much about technique, trying different things with the hands. Instead you should focus on drawing “large,” giving nobiai a chance to fulfil itself, and opening from the centre, left/right/up/down. “Of course,” he added, “it’s important to do that the kind of research and experimentation, trying different things and working on your technique, but you mustn’t forget the fundamentals.”

So I decided to shelve my fiddling with the hands and just focus on exactly those things, not caring, for the moment, about hitting the target.

Things seemed to get better, but at yesterday’s mini-taikai I was consistently hitting above the target, missing six out of the first six. What I finally realized was that, in the process of expanding left/right I was overdrawing with the right hand, which was pulling that end of the arrow down. Since the left hand stayed put (because I was aiming), that meant that the arrows would fly high. Simple fix: check where the arrow is versus the kuchiwari line. After that I hit three out of the last four, but with the added plus that (I think) some of the fundamentals were better. We’ll see.

No practice this weekend because the dojo is reserved for a university taikai and then there’s the shinsa for renshi on Sunday. Lots of time to work on the makiwara. Oh, and a bunch of us are going to Ise for the All-Japan Tournament in September, so if anyone’s going let me know! Ise is special.

Finally it definitely looks like the Zen is headed back to Ensenada. From the plot they’re using the motor now. I hope whatever has caused the change in plan isn’t too serious. But they were really out there, so I guess it must be something big.

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