I’ve been working on expanding throughout the process of “kai”, (the full draw) in shooting, and trying to expand the time as well, pushing through the desire to pre-release the arrow before its time. I usually count in the full draw to see how long I hold it because it helps me to know how long I’m actually holding it, and helps me to try and make it longer. In doing so, I’ve come across a couple images that seem to help by activating the creative side of the ol’ imagination in the process.
From daisan (two-thirds draw) moving into the kai (full draw), I imagine the area between my shoulders and neck as a vast desert plateau that expands infinitely into the horizon, pushing further and further out as I continue to expand my shoulders and the muscles in my back. It’s so vast, and dry, and empty. There’s only the sun beating down on me, my eyes clenched, and time slowed down. There’s nowhere to go, nothing to do, no water to be found. Just here, now, waiting forever, as the seconds slowly tick …
1 … 2 …. 3 ….. 4 …… 5 ……. 6 …….. 7 ……… 8 ……… 9 ……….. KA-PONG!
The sound of the tsurune (string as the arrow is released) and the hit.
If all went well 🙂
One other cool image is one I found in the 2nd or 3rd volume of the kyudo manual (I think?) where it talks about frost growing on and all around you while in the kai (full draw). I’m more of a cold winter kind of guy, so this one really works well with me. I imagine myself in a dark forest full of snow, and I sit in the full draw so quietly expanding, that frost slowly starts to build on my arms and body as each second passes. The more I wait, the more the frost builds, and the more I lock into the center white of the target … more and more frost … continuing to expand. KA-TSU.
Whoops, missed that one.
Open your imagination! Who knows what you’ll find.