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Seminar Reflections from Edwin Symmes, South Carolina Kyudo Renmei

Hanshi Teachings…

By Edwin Symmes
Godan Renshi
© 2013 Edwin Symmes, P.O.Box 49624, Atlanta, Georgia 30359 USA

It was mentioned at the recent International Kyudo Federation Kyudo Seminar hosted by the South Carolina Kyudo Renmei in Spartanburg, S.C., that Kaicho Yoshiko Buchanan and I are the only people who have attended every Federation seminar in America.

OK, I admit, I’m the one who said it.

People ask me, “Why do you keep going to those seminars? You haven’t been eligible to test at one for a dozen years.”

I was honored to be selected to be in the Mochi Mato Sharei for the opening of Wednesday’s seminar on July 31, 2013.

There were three Renshi godans and two Renshi rokudans in the five person tachi.

(A side note: All of those participants attended the whole seminar even though their ranking was above the limit for their being able to test at this event.)

The opening performance completed, the 5 of us gathered in front of the three Hanshi to receive their comments and suggestions.

Since the participants were among the highest ranking people in the Americas, I was very interested in what the Hanshi would have to say to us.

First, they said that they would not make comments about our individual performances. Then, they mentioned that they were pleased to see that the five archers had coordinated their kimono colors (we all wore black even though this was the middle of the Summer and most of the black kimono were Winter weight fabrics).

And then they commented that they know that we Westerners don’t wear Japanese clothing on a daily basis. Continuing, they said that it’s important for us to try as much as possible to wear them correctly.

After receiving their comments, I noticed that my under kimono was not straight, so I fixed it.

A few moments later, one of the Hanshi walked over to me, patted the area that was now looking properly and smiled.

Those are the experiences that keep me going to the seminars! I again learned first hand the graciousness of the Hanshi. And that you don’t have to tell an individual everything that is “wrong.” You can teach with generalities.

Also, when the individual makes a positive correction, one should give the positive feedback immediately, individually.

I have often said that this once a year opportunity to be with the Hanshi is a priceless opportunity for our Kyudo growth and I encourage everyone who is able to, to attend.