2 sets of 7 minutes.
Welcome to “kiza”, kyudo’s most dreaded torture sitting position.
This sitting position is required in “sharei”, ceremonial shooting performed during tests and special occasions, unless you perform “rissha”, the standing version. Rissha is performed if one cannot sit in kiza for the decided amount of times due to physical conditions (most often I hear of bad knees), but I will say here that doing rissha does not make one a sissy in any way, and I often hear that having to stand in the rissha positions can be even more tortuous than kiza.
Anyway, I don’t have much experience with rissha and that’s not what I’m focusing on here, so I’ll just move on to the topic of sitting kiza.
So, while I’m away with a bad shoulder, I don’t want to lose all the work I’ve made practicing sitting in the kiza posture, and in fact want to train it even more so that it can be a part of ceremonial shooting I don’t have to worry about in the future.
I used to just think kiza was just something to kind of dread and push through until I had my first experience with “mochimato” which is called “Ceremonial Shooting at Individual Targets” in the English verson of the Kyudo Manual. This type of shooting requires much more time in the kiza position, and after being the 5th and last person to shoot, my legs hurt so bad I couldn’t even focus on the shooting.
So, we must practice kiza because (1), we have to do it in ceremonial shooting and we can’t let it interfere with making our best shot, and (2) it can help teach us proper form.
I’ve heard from some people you should be able to sit kiza for 10 minutes. That sounds alright, and SUPER LONG! But when we really do kiza in our normal “za-sharei” test form, or in the dreaded mochimato, the sitting is broken up. This may sound easier, but having to sit for 5 minutes with only a short break shooting in the middle only to return right back to kiza for another 5 minutes is a whole different monster.
To research exactly how long we should practice sitting in kiza I looked up videos of the normal za-sharei shooting we do for normal tests with 5 people (person behind standing up at the time that the person in front of them goes to grab the string with their right hand), and then the mochimato often performed for the renshi test (person behind standing up at the timing of the monomi-gaeshi of the person in front of them). We could also look at timing for “hitotsumato sharei” (“Ceremonial Shooting at One Target”), but I don’t think the sitting times in kiza are as long as the mochimato. I also didn’t look up mochimato with the gensoku timing of standing which inherently takes more time than monomi-gaeshi, but I hear that it doesn’t often happen with 5 people, so I figured whoever has to sit the longest in mochimato with 5 people monomi-gaeshi will probably end up sitting longer than the longest person in gensoku standing timing if it’s performed with less than 5 people. However, I’m not for sure about that 100%.
For the normal testing za-sharei I took this video of 5 hanshi level teachers:(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIcEl-e9Ei8&list=PLRk4WRVlXEVISQTtvKc6foyh3eO5QtxZs).
Their form and movements are correct, but the thing about this example is that most of their times in the full draw is only about 1 – 3 seconds, whereas one is usually going to have between 4 – 6 seconds, which will throw off the timing I’m trying to make, predicting how long one will probably sit in kiza. So, I took the times, and then added 20 seconds to the 1st shooter, 25 seconds to the 2nd, 30 seconds to the 3rd, 35 seconds to the 4th, and the 40 seconds to the 5th shooter accounting for the times in case I added 5 seconds to everyone’s draw in each shot. This time may end up on the longer-than-average side, but for the sake of predicting how long we should sit in kiza, longer is better than shorter. (Also have to keep in mind that the time will be extended in the case of a “shitsu” mistake like dropping an arrow or bow or breaking a string). Also, we can add about 2 minutes for the first time we sit in kiza at the honza line while waiting for the group shooting in front of you to finish, but I won’t add that to the times below.
#1: :42 + 3:03 (+:20 for extra draw time of other archers) = 4:05 sitting in kiza total
#2: 1:22 + 2:51 (+:25) = 4:37
#3: 2:20 + 2:42 (+:30) = 5:32
#4: 3:09 + 2:55 (+:35) = 6:39
#5: 4:00 + 2:50 (+:40) = 7:30
Conclusion: Simply said, the farther you are in the back, the longer you have to wait in kiza.
Mochimato (monomi-gaeshi timing):
I took these numbers from a video of a special performance at a test:
Most everybody has a pretty long draw so I feel like these numbers are good as they are without adding extra time. There are 4 numbers below including the first time they all sit at the shai (shooting mark), the second number is when they return and sit at the honza line, the third number is when they come back and sit at the shai, and the fourth number is when they finally sit at the honza. The #5 shooter only has two times sitting because he doesn’t return to the honza after his first shot, and only sits for a matter of a second or two when he finally returns to the honza line with everyone else to put the kimono sleeve back on. I started the timing of the sitting during hiraki-ashi, because afterwards the won’t leave the kiza position until standing, though it’s not purely kiza sitting because they’re knocking their arrows.
#1: :39 + 6:22 + :27 + 6:14 = 13:42
#2: 2:21 + 5:36 + 1:49 + 4:27 = 14:19
#3: 4:04 + 3:06 + 3:32 + 3:10 = 13:52
#4: 5:34 + 1:38 + 4:54 + 1:50 = 13:56
#5: 7:06 + 6:19 = 13:25
Conclusion: Every one sits about the same amount of time, the difference is in how the times are broken up. The #3 has the most even spread of times, which I would take a jump and say is the easiest. #1 has a long time sitting twice at the honza which is super long, but at least he gets to do some movements between his shots, whereas #5 has to sit the longest at a time (twice) and immediately after has to stand and shoot, which I would deem the hardest.
There were a lot of numbers and variables involved (and very likely some minute mistakes on my part), but as far as this goes, I have decided that the best way to practice is to take the person with the longest and most difficult time with sitting which I deem the #5 person in the mochimato. By practicing his times, you should be ready for just about anything.
So I plan to practice sitting every other day at home in two 7 minute intervals. After each time sitting I’ll stand and practice making the shot like you would in the test. Every other day I’ll switch of the waiting position between the #1 (hands at the hip bones at the honza line) and the #5 (right hand at the hip and left hand holding the bow in front at the shai shooting mark).
Hopefully with this, I can conquer the kiza and move forward to a test in June being able to focus all I can on shooting and the overall feel of it all.