So the good news is that by changing how I think about what I’m doing, certain problems have vanished. By seeking fulfillment through shooting my arms no longer drop at the release, and I’m now shooting more or less the way I was a year ago, only better now (I think…) because the force is coming from inside rather than just a technical thing.
I’ve also found that paying attention to zanshin in other movements is a big help in maintaining a proper form. Uchiokoshi, in particular, seems to have a very clear and almost pleasant sort of zanshin if I wait for it. That’s the interesting thing… it’s not something created but which comes if I wait. Maybe there’s a pattern there that will be of value, but I’m not sure. In any case what that does is sort of “set” the tatesen, which helps keep the draw balanced.
Nevertheless, as the title suggests, there’s a problem. If I shoot without subterfuge, so to speak… without thinking about what I’m trying to do at kai, the shot seems OK and usually hits, but kai is too short and the bow drops through my hand at the release. Presumably I’m releasing on purpose, but it’s so subtle that I don’t really feel it. If I try to extend kai, in order to meet the demands of my teacher and search for the kind of zanshin I want, then the bow doesn’t drop through my hand, but the arrow misses and the shot is unbalanced.
I seem caught between these two. My guess is that in the process of extending kai I’m twisting up… uh… something… too tight somewhere, so at hanare all that twisting and tightness has to uncoil, which throws everything off. Perhaps I need to work more on both relaxation and on breathing?
Meanwhile the All-Japan tournament is coming up. This year at Meiji Jingu. I wasn’t able to get a reservation in time so won’t be going this year, but on the plus side it means I’ll be able to save money and do more next year. Maybe Kyoto again? Well, unless I buy something. So much temptation in the world…