(yugamae - starting position)
(tenouchi - hand position)
(kai - drawing of the bow)
What I've been experiencing with these problems is a kind of stacking of sorts. Problems that start at the beginning, build throughout the process of movements, triggering other problems, that make for a very poor form at the end of it all when you finally come to shoot. I have a lot of these problems, which is why it feels like a fiery red apocalypse raining down on me while I'm standing there just before releasing the arrow.
(zanshin - position of mind and body after the release)
With my mind on all of these things, I have totally forgot the other most important part of shooting in kyudo: hanare, the release. Sadly, that will have to wait until the intial problems at hand are tended to. But I'm sure hanare will be the focus of many future posts on kyudo.
I reflect on my kyudo, but perhaps it shouldn't be thought of so much. I can't help but criticize my progress. How is my progress anyway? Is it fast? Slow? Sometimes it can really be hard to tell. When you practice an art alone like kyudo, it can be particularly hard to gauge your progress because there's really no one to compare to. Do I hit the target often? Do I shoot without error? No. But not even masters do these things. I look at my sempai (seniors) and sometimes they hit the target and sometimes they don't. Sometimes Sensei praises them, sometimes he fills them with critique. The purpose of kyudo isn't hitting the target, and you really can't see a lot of the important things that affect shooting, so how can I gauge progress? Like I said, perhaps this reflection isn't so important as is. All that matters is, doing my best to see what's happening, doing my best to observe the kyudo around me, and doing my best to shoot as best I can. Concern without worry. It's like a taught line, not pulled too tight, but not slack.
I am the kyudo string!
I'm going to sleep now. I wonder what the dragon will do until I wake.
(The series of pictures above is from the website http://www.kyudo.org.uk/default.php?id=7&ad=1)