The bird, the bridge, and the rabbit.
The bird is your left hand that grips the bow.
The bridge is the arrow that connects left and right.
The rabbit is the right hand that grips the string.
The left hand is the bird.
The bird closes his beak naturally, without unnecessary force.
Like an eagle perched on the tree looking at his prey (yugamae),
He spots his prey and takes flight (uchiokoshi).
The final plunge is made (hikiwake),
And at that crucial moment the prey is taken in a flash of synergy (hanare).
All the while the beak is softly closed just as it was from the start, connected to eyes of unwavering focus,
to not interfere, but merely play its part in the hunt.
The right hand is the rabbit.
She curls up, round.
In this crouched position, she waits,
Soft and round, eyes open, alert.
To touch it would seem a cloud of impenetrable suppleness.
Amid an environment of constant change, the rabbit waits,
Through the drawing of the bow (uchiokoshi, hikiwake, kai) …
At that moment of release (hanare), the rabbit jumps straight out,
As the string springs equally in the opposite direction.
Without hesitation. Without warning.
In one clear pounce the rabbit is released without a trace.
Your hand is like the paw of a rabbit.
Your thumb is the pouncing rabbit.
The arrow is the arch bridge that connects the two,
So that those disparate sides are not two,
Ever connected, ever straight, ever taut.
The bridge is made when the two hands are set,
And anchored by the soft expansion in opposite directions (hariai in the body in yugamae).
The bridge may rise (uchiokoshi),
And be pulled apart (hikiwake),
But it always connects the two.
The bridge is perfectly straight.
The bridge distributes the weight upon it evenly to the left and right.
Push apart the arch bridge from the center when drawing the bow.
Take the bridge to space,
Where things start to get really interesting …
Your left hand is a bird.
That bird is a phoenix.
That phoenix is the sun.
Your right hand is a rabbit..
That rabbit is the moon.
When drawing the bow,
push apart the cosmos.
Overcome the force of gravity between the planets,
and separate them with your might,
that bellows out from the depths of your belly (tanden),
and seeps through your half-open eyes,
turned white by your spirit,
calm amidst the revolution of the universe.
To harness the power one must put all of themselves into one thought,
It is all expansion.
Push the sun to left, and the moon to your right.
You are the supreme power at the center,
to which the gods are at mercy.
This post was inspired by a poem found in the book, “Kyusha ni okeru kokoro・waza no ki-ichi (ki-itsu?)” by Hisashi Murakami Sensei, Hanshi Judan (1902 – 1987)
弓道藩士 村上 久 十段著作集