So I’m finally crawling out of a deep hole of kyudo suckiness, and one thing that has really helped is singing.
Now, I’m pretty sure I could make children cry and grown adults drop their jaws in horror with my lack of singing skills, and I know next to nothing about singing technique. However, I’ve found a couple things about singing in the car with the windows rolled up that has helped me, and maybe they can help you too.
First of all, singing can help the muscles we use in kyudo. Specifically, singing with our bellies can help us to stretch and use the same muscles of expansion we use in kyudo. To make our voice big and powerful, don’t you sing from your belly? And to do so don’t you expand your belly while doing so? By doing so our bellies expand full of air and power as we exert strength that opens our wind pipe stretching all the way up and out of our mouth. In kyudo, we close our mouth and breath out of our nose, but isn’t it the same? And isn’t holding a long note with power just like holding the full draw to our very limit? Surely the affect on the audience is the same, in awe of the athlete or singer utilizing their skill with the whole of their bodies to the limits of their spirit as the singer does holding a long powerful note and the archer in a long powerful draw. Surely we’re using our bellies, but I can’t help but think there are a lot of other inner muscles in our core and around the spine that are activated as well while singing, just like in kyudo.
Secondly, singing can help encourage our spirit. Whether we like it or not, our moods and feelings have enormous effects on our shooting. If our world is in chaos and we expect to change it all once we stand at the mark and shoot, thinking we can have crazy lives and still hit the target like it’s no problem, then I think we’re making a huge mistake. If we are at all time lows in confidence and expect that all to change once we go to the dojo, then that’s also a big mistake. On the other hand, if we think we’re the kami’s gift to earth and are awesome at kyudo without even trying, then that’s also not going to work. Anyway, when we’re lost with the bow, it can make us feel 100% lost which means we really have no idea how to get back to where we want to be. Our training partners don’t understand. Our life partners don’t understand. Trying doesn’t work. Not trying doesn’t work. Drugs don’t work. But like Happy Gilmore once experienced, we have to find our “happy place.” So go and find that song or CD that you absolutely love at the bottom of your heart, play it, and sing it loud. How could I possibly be depressed in this moment? How could I possibly fail here? I love this song, I love this life, the world opens, not just in our minds, but in our bodies, and out through our mouths in song.
Kyudo is all about opening.
We open our bellies, our mouths, our eyes, our spirits, our chests, our minds.
Just open. Big.
When all is lost, find your favorite song and sing it as loud as you can.