Image Training · Kyudo

At the Pace of Plants

Have you ever watched a flower grow?

That’s the pace of our progress in kyudo.

Look at a flower.

Can you see it growing?

Unless you’re on really good drugs probably not.

Does watching the flower make it grow faster?

Does wanting it to grow make it grow faster?

Does yelling at it make it grow faster?

Maybe we’re on the wrong track, instead of “making” it grow faster, maybe “allowing” it may work better …

Does praying that the flower grow faster allow it to grow faster?

Does not paying attention to the flower allow it to grow faster?

Probably not.

No changes.

We just give the plant the nutrients and placement it needs and it does the work on its own.

This is the same with our technique in kyudo. We put in the practice time, put ourselves in the right places to grow, and our techniques will arise in due time.

A long time ago my teacher told me that results we’re working on now will arise in 6 months. Recently I heard someone say that the really deep habits we seek to fix take 10 years. In practice I’ve thought that it will take until the next arrow, the next hour, the next day, the next week. Who really knows for sure?

But one thing that can change our practice with this understanding is …

first of all we can all just chill and enjoy our time even if we’re not perfect,

and second of all, we can put faith into the effort we’re practicing.

I can’t hold the full draw for 10 seconds like I want every time, but every time I try is a chance I may succeed, and is building my ability to surely do so someday in the future.

I can’t relax my hands like I want every time, but every arrow I try to do so insures that one day I will.

I may still blink at the release, but as long as I keep trying not too, one day I won’t even need to think to keep my eyes open.

Putting money in the bank.

Letting our bodies fall into the lowest points.

Flowers growing.

Many martial arts look to animals for inspiration. Kyudo can as well. But maybe we’re overlooking some of the deepest secrets in those that move to slow for the eye.

We are all plants.


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