Monday, 16 July 2012

Asia Trip 2012: Kyudo Instruction in Okayama

Our time in Tamano was very informative. Each of us received unique and effective tips for improving our Kyudo from a range of perspectives. I've listed out the overall focus for each of us below.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that these are our interpretations of what was said to us. It may not be helpful to anyone else, nor can we say it is exactly what we were told. That being said, we all felt much more confident in our Kyudo following these two days of intense training and instruction.

For Patrick:

1) Must Aim! See the target. Place the target as your perform the technique. Release into the target at the conclusion of your technique - Only with this awareness will your Kyudo have meaning.
Up until this point, I've had lots of trouble aiming when doing Kinteki. I've had a lazy right eye since I was a kid, making it extremely difficult to focus or even use that eye when both are open. My left eye tends to take control. This was immediately noticed by the Sensei who could see that I wasn't aiming at any specific point for each shot. They suggested I close my left eye during Hikiwake->Kai until I'm able to use the right eye regardless, and this helped a lot. It will still be some time before I'm able to aim properly, but at least we've found a solution to work on.
2) Relax the hands and maintain the shape throughout. With a proper grip, left-hand on the bow and right-hand on the string, the equipment and body can do the work.
A lot of the tightness in my hands was due to trying to keep the bow and arrow level during Uchiokoshi. We worked on this for several minutes, gathering quite the crowd in the dojo. I think we came to a pretty good solution for this as well. ^_^
3) Hanare from the centre through to Tsunomi. Let everything flow through. Leave nothing behind. Even from a distance, the release will look beautiful.

For Michael:

1) Thumb for both hands must align with the target going in opposite directions.

2) To begin Hikiwake, must push the bow and allow the string to catch the groove of your glove and pull it. It is not initiated with the pull of the right hand.

3) At hanare, think about opposite motions. The thumb pushes forward, while the middle finger must pull in and the line of your arm extends toward the target.

For Hanna:

1) Relax body at Kai. Looking very tense. Use breathing: Before drawing, exhale everything and bring power to the lower body. As you get to kai, breath in to open up your chest. As you open up your chest, you open up your Kai.

2) Tsunomi needs to be correct. Her arrow has a tendency of going down because of incorrect use of Tsunomi.

3) Use entire body as a spring, especially at Hanare to allow for a natural release. The core of your spring is the middle of your body which is your heart. Physically and mentally you are releasing this spring. A spring expands both ways. If you're able to do it right, you will feel good about it, and the person watching will also feel good.


There was a lot of talk these two days on aiming and seeing the target. When asked how we can practice this aiming when using Makiwara, Sato T-Sensei was able to give this tip:

1) Find an aim point on the makiwara.
2) Arrow should end up 45 degrees to the top-right, about 4-5cm away.

If you can consistently hit that point, then you should be able to consistently hit the Mato.

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