Kyudo Notebook: Details

In one way it’s hard to believe I haven’t written anything in three months, but in another it makes sense. Although I’ve been practicing regularly my mind has been elsewhere, either family or work. Time to get back.

What I’ve found is the importance of details and at the same time, very fundamental things. For example, checking dozukuri after each move to make sure I haven’t twisted or turned in some way. When you remember that, from 28 meters away, the difference between hitting the center of the target and missing it entirely is just a matter of shifting 4-5mm, it amazes me that I ever hit the target at all before. but I suppose we develop unconscious strategies and habits… errors compensating for other errors. These days I’m trying not to have so many errors!

One thing that seems to have helped is the decision that, after this many years, really, I’ve punched enough holes in paper, and instead of focusing that, what I’m going for, for lack of a better word, is fulfillment. I find that this changes the way I shoot to something larger and more expansive. I suppose it’s the difference between having a goal that is 28 meters away and having one that is huge. But still much to be done…

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3 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: Details

  1. Yuki says:

    Yes, very much so. Punching holes in paper only seems to go so far in being…fulfilling. It comes across as empty after a while. For me, pursuing the non-physical aspects, among them the peacefulness of shooting and the meditation of kyudo, more worth the time and effort.

    One interesting exercise that came out of the Minnesota seminar, the month before, was to close one’s eyes after nerai. Too many people were so focused on the target, that all the energy was “down there.” Closing the eyes was a way to bring the energy back to the shajo and re-center in the archer. I’m curious if you had heard that discussed in other seminars or teachings before.

  2. Yuki says:

    I should add that it was merely a teaching point, certainly not a way of shooting.

  3. karamatsu says:

    I’ve thought about that, shooting with eyes closed or in the dark so that I’d be forced (at a minimum) to seek my “aiming point” not by eye but by how the various movements feel within my body and mind. There’s that story in Zen in the Art of Archery, of course, and also that video of Ishikawa-sensei shooting in the dark. Most of the time when I shoot I’m not really all that focused on the target, but it is perhaps unconsciously there, keeping me me pointed in the right direction? Nevertheless the desire to hit can arise in many forms, least of which is the piece of paper. What others will think… winning… not losing… doing well… not doing badly… the team is depending on me… wanting to give the spectators something good… so much thinking!
    What I have seen suggested at times is for people with hayake to close their eyes from daisan through to kai, and do things by feel, and only open their eyes once they are settled. The idea is that, by reducing the amount of time people focus on the target, they won’t be quite so captured by it, especially if it’s bad, and ordinarily they can’t even get to kai without releasing.

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