Kyudo Notebook: Midcourse

There’s a lot going on but it’s hard to write about because things aren’t settled. The shoulder injury remains a factor but is improving. The takeyumi seems to be coming along nicely and I’m very thankful to have this rather than the fibreglass bow to work with. The recoil shock with bamboo is reduced, and should be even more comfortable once I can switch to hemp strings around the start of February.

But the big issue is hanare, and getting that properly set up from daisan through hikiwake. Some of the challenge is physical, some is mental/spiritual. The physical issue starts to become apparent around daisan, or maybe even uchiokoshi, getting the correct height, position, keeping the vertical line while moving my head enough not to get whacked, the slight twisting of the right, position of the right elbow…  Then in hikiwake there is this matter of remaining relaxed yet making effort… the right effort in the right way. I’m still working on this.

The mental/spiritual aspect arises as a “loss of faith” at the critical moment. I draw in to kai, expand into tsumeai, but then when I feel like I can’t expand any more physically, it’s like my mind says, “Well, that’s it! If you don’t let go now, you’ll just be standing here all day,” and I release with the right hand. Worse, the opening of the right hand seems to call forth an unconscious opening of the left hand, which my teacher can see in real time but is also evident to me from the dropping of the bow through the “tube” created by tenouchi. For the time being I just have to fight through this urge.

A third problem that occurs, and may be both physical and mental/spiritual, is that the left hand still sometimes pushes to the right at hanare before recoiling back to the left. Clearly I’m generating some sort of force vector pointing off to the right of (in front of) the target, but why? how? I’ve watched a lot of other people, hoping to catch someone else doing it, but it’s quite rare. I suspect it is tied to the left shoulder and the precise way I’m expanding in tsumeai, but I suppose I’ll just have to make video of myself.

Meanwhile, we had an unwelcome visitor, a burglar, in our house the other night. He (I assume it was a he) was a professional, highly disciplined, and apparently specializing in rural houses. Nothing was taken because there was nothing worth taking! But it’s still a creepy feeling to know some guy was in here, looking to take whatever he could find, and he did break a window getting in. The police response was fast and overwhelming… 6-8 people for hours, and the whole “CSI” treatment. If he left anything at all behind, they should catch him, or at least be prepared to tie this to other burglaries when he is finally snagged. It makes me uneasy, going to the dojo when nobody is home. Maybe I’ll have to start varying my schedule more. Or get a big dog.

This entry was posted in daisan, hanare, hikiwake, kai, kyudo, kyudo notebook, mind, uchiokoshi. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: Midcourse

  1. Robin May says:

    please keep up your blog. Take care & gambette ne.
    Thank you Mu.
    Robin May.

  2. Charles-Antoine says:

    Bonjour ‘Mu’,
    I would link your written ‘expand into tsumerai’ to the reaction of your hand, giving in.
    The little compression feeling you have in daisan in shoulder, would increase all the way you do hikiwake until you reach maximum compression (tsuneai) at maximum opening. Then nobiai’, ‘zanshin made’.
    For the visitor, it’s cold now, leave a 1-man en bank note for him next time, and go dojo with peacefull mind!

  3. Zen says:

    Well That really sucks to have your place violated. LZ and I were saying the other day how the good side of being in a small dead end street neighborhood like ours is everyone watches what is going on. Good nothing of value was taken. As for the dog, thing. Akitas, more than just a big dog! I still miss mine and would love to have another.!

  4. karamatsu says:

    I think you are right, Claude-Antoine. I can tell that something is unbalanced from daisan into kai, and that affects everything else. Yesterday’s practice was terrible so I ended up using most of my time at the makiwara, trying to see what’s going on. As for the visitor, yes, it’s a good idea. As it happened, just that day I’d read about a Buddhist monk who’d had a similar visitor that made away with something or other. The monk said he was so happy that he’d been able to give something to this person who obviously needed it. There is also a story about a nun, Rengetsu, who once caught a burglar. She said, “You must be having a lot of troubles to break into a place like this (her hut). Let me make you a bowl of soup.”

    So, having read those things before I was met by the police, I wasn’t too bothered as long as nobody was harmed, though I wish he hadn’t broken the window. Pity we can’t just leave 1-man in a box outside the window and mark it as a gift for unexpected guests! Or maybe we can, though it could get to be a habit!

    I do miss having a dog, but I’m not sure my partner here would get along well with one, and there are the neighbourhood dogs to consider. They all think our house belongs to them!

  5. Zen says:

    Ahh yes there is a Zen story about the owner of a hut giving the burglar his robe because he had nothing else. Then saying he wished he could him, the burglar this moon he said, because it is so beautiful . Nice thoughts. I have a kung fu brother who had a bike stolen from him once and he said “it is ok, the person must have needed it more than he did” great hearts! I am not there yet. It is easy to say be unattached, it is harder to live. It is good in this case, on several levels only a window was broken. _/|\_

    As far as dogs, an Akita is not big on sharing with other dogs outside the “wa”

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