Just back from the seminar/shinsa in Nagoya. As mentioned, this year they divided the event into two halves, first a seminar/shinsa for people practising in Europe and the Americas, then a second seminar/shinsa for those practising in Asia, Oceania, and Africa. The teachers were top-class, five hanshi and three kyoshi. Students were divided into three groups based on our levels. In the 2-dan to 5-dan group (people testing for 3-dan through 6-dan), most of the instruction focused on shooting skill and a wide range of questions, answers, and advice. In the mushitei and shodan groups it seemed like there was also more emphasis on taihai and the shinsa procedure.
But before that came the yawatashi, with Ishikawa-sensei (hanshi, 9-dan) as ite and, I was surprised to learn, me as second kaizoe. There was no warning or notice… I only discovered it when, with nothing better to do, I casually read through the registration packet. First kaizoe was a friend from Taiwan, who likewise had no idea it was going to happen. So instead of relaxing before the seminar began, we each spent the evening before reviewing the kaizoe book and looking at videos (like this). Since I didn’t take my computer that meant watching and trying to do the steps in the lobby of the hotel, which was lucky because Sawada-sensei happened by, and offered some vital pointers. Preparation also required a fast taxi ride to a favourite kyudo shop to buy setta, which I hadn’t brought along!
All went well in the end, so now that it’s over the event has become one of those “good experiences” that everybody likes to have afterwards, but which are stressful at the time. Really I don’t imagine many people below kyoshi or even hanshi get to perform these roles with Ishikawa-sensei, who is one of the most gentle yet authoritative people I’ve ever met, so it was a unique honour.
Rather than try to cram everything into one post I think I’m going to split this up into a few separate items so the information is easier to find/digest later. I ran into a number of people at the seminar who said they’d read or heard about this blog, which is a little bit worrisome, but I hope some of this is useful!