Kyudo Magazine excerpt: 10/2016

posted Feb 12, 2017, 9:41 PM by Haitham Shammaa   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 9:43 PM ]

By : Yoshiko Buchanan

A belated Happy New Year! Time really flies fast.

I have found a good article for you from the 2016 October edition of the Kyudo Magazine. Time has passed but good things remain good!!
A high school kyudo teacher is introducing some fairly easy points to improve your shooting quality. I would like to introduce his suggestions to you.

”Habits” are hard to be corrected. If the habits are noticeably bad instructors could of course see them and try to correct. However there are some subtle habits that tend to be ignored or overlooked by instructors and friends. Such habits should not be neglected but they should be told and corrected to improve the shooting quality.

 “BE DECISIVE”. Particularly when you do ashibumi do not think you have a chance to correct or adjust the width and angle. You have no chance of correction. Do the ashibumi with clear mind and determination. 

“BE CONFIDENT” to do torikake. There are some people who do torikake repeatedly, take too long a time to set tenouchi and looking into his right hand with his head tilted. Such movements are evidence that you are defeated by the target already before shooting and the archer’s character is seen also. Be certain what you do and be confident when you do the job.

 “COMPLETE EACH STEP”. It is often seen that uchuokoshi is done without “monomi”. The last job of step three is “setting monomi”. Read the three major jobs of yugamae that is described in the Kyudo Kyohon.

 “UCHIOKOSHI WITHOUT MONOMI OR UCHIOKOSHI LOOKING AT HIS YUNDE” is sometime seen. It is absolutely incorrect. These kinds of habits should not be overlooked and instructors should be responsible to correct such wrong conduct of shooting. Refer to the yugamae in the hassetsu chart and read the description.

 “DO NOT SWING THE BOW” Keep the bow perpendicular to the floor and do not swing the bow to move to daisan. Such a movement to daisan makes the archers shooting look ill-conducted.

 “TORISASHI DAISAN” (shooting a bird style daisan) is often seen at daisan. The ratio of the strength between yunde and mete is 3:1. By making the yunde pushing strength greater than mete pulling strength hikiwake will be kept balanced. The arrow will be kept parallel to the floor or “mizunagare” but it should never be “torisashi”.

Mizunagare: The arrow head is slightly lower than the knock at daisan therefore a single drop of water would ran to the tip of the arrow. (YB)

 “LOW DAISAN This is also often seen after uchiokoshi: lowering both hands to form a low and wider daisan. Perhaps the archer feels that such a daisan is stable and comfortable close to “kai”, which possibly makes the archer feel safer. A higher daisan could be a little less stable however because a higher daisan contains 1⁄2 of the bow strength; so some adjustments, technically and mentally, do become possible:

(1) Assuring the tenouchi
(2) Inner rotation of yunde and to control the left shoulder
(3) Tension of mete and “hineri” of yugake
(4) Correct monomi and straighten the spine
(5) Confirmation of the 2nd “nerai”
(6) Do not choke the nigiri and prepare for hikiwake
(7) Double check ashibumi and dozukuri
(8) Feel the strength of tanden and the center of gravity of the body.
(9) Use clam breathing. Exhale slowly, which helps to calm down.
(10) Do not think hit or failure but use your spiritual strength to perform as usual.

 “SHOOTING FORM COLLAPSES AT HANARE” It is common that hanare is not smoothly done in spite of previous steps that are constructed carefully. One of the reasons is the aim. If the aim is low the yunde will be pushed up and if the aim is high then yunde will be pushed down. If the aim is toward the right then there is a chance to swing to the left to hit the target (Furikomi) and if the aim is toward the left then yunde moves to the right to hit the target.

Yunde and mete cooperate in a complex manner but such habits are not usually taught. Such habits naturally sink a boy over a period of time. It is hard to learn the “correct shooting” but we tend to make bad habits easily. We have to keep this fact in our mind.

To correct such habits is difficult. It is not only correcting the aim but it may have to reconstruct “hassetsu”. Aiming should be instructed correctly after the reconstruction of hassetsu. While correction after missing the target is natural. Hitting the target is not necessary while correcting and working on bad habits. Beginners have not spent much practice time, just 1-2 years or so.

Therefore the seriousness of the bad habits would not be deep. Listen sincerely to what the instructor says and learn correct shooting.

The following are suggestions to those who have been suffering from bad shooting habits:
(1) Return to the “beginner’s mind” and re-start from step one of the basic.
(2) Use a weaker bow.
(3) Do not wish to hit the target.
(4) Keep a firm will to get better.

Correcting bad habits requires “determination” beside regular shooting practice.
This is the end of this article and I will find interesting and useful article and send them to you.

Yoshiko Buchanan
Feb. 8, 2017