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Points of Focus: Kyudo

I need to be sure my back is straight and that my body weight is on the balls of my feet. I need to suck in my butt and hips so that they don’t stick out the back and contort my spine.

When I hold the bow with both hands before the uchiokoshi (raising the bow) I need to keep my elbows out so that I stretch my triceps and create tension.

When I go through uchiokoshi I need to keep my right hand slightly higher than the left.

When I move into daisan (turning the bow and spreading the arms a bit before the draw) I need to make sure I move my left arm before my right creating the right tension and preparing my tenouchi with the correct turning of the bow in my hand while keeping them connected at the appropriate line in my palm. In this position I must not bring my right hand too close to my head contorting my wrist, and maintain a slightly downward angle of my arrow to the target; so that water could just slide down the arrow.

When I start the kai (draw of the bow) I need to pull the string way over my head as far as possible, without bending the wrist too much at the full draw. In the full draw I need to touch the string to my chest and the arrow to my face at the level of my mouth. Then I must aim; see the target hiding behind the grip.

I must hold this position until I can’t anymore, then it’s all quiet; hanare (release).

There are many more things one is doing when they are doing kyudo, but these are the places my mind must be to ensure correct shooting at this moment.

Is this not the same in our daily lives? It’s as complicated as managing all of these steps, all of these steps which may be more than our attention can be given too; so much in fact we can’t get it just right. And yet there is so much more going on, but belonging to things we do which we need not put much conscious thought into.

Then it’s so simple. You just do it right, and you do it to the best of your ability, but you don’t worry about missing the target. This is kyudo. This is what my life feels like.

I have my first test this weekend for ikkyu. So instead of worrying too much about the actual shooting, everyone is concentrating on the approach; all of the ceremony leading up to and following the shooting. And that’s a whoooollllleeee ‘nother pile of cheese.

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