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    I was reading a book on Kyudo [Japanese archery] the other day. The author studied in Japan for around 6 years in between the wars. He mentions something that I would like your views on.

    During his training he goes through all the technical difficulties of learning to use the Japanese bow in the proscribed fashion. Eventually he learns to do everything with a certain degree of technical proficiency, except fire the arrow.

    The problem, as explained by his Master, was that he was not waiting for 'it' to fire the arrow. Rather, the author was firing the arrow.

    The author drew an allegory with a fruit that spends some time ripening before falling naturally from the tree. Likewise the archer should remain in kamae (the author calls this the supremely spiritual stance) until 'it' fires.

    Does this have any resonance in kendo for you? Or is it just pants?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Lucien
    The problem, as explained by his Master, was that he was not waiting for 'it' to fire the arrow. Rather, the author was firing the arrow.

    The author drew an allegory with a fruit that spends some time ripening before falling naturally from the tree. Likewise the archer should remain in kamae (the author calls this the supremely spiritual stance) until 'it' fires.

    Does this have any resonance in kendo for you? Or is it just pants?
    Maybe Kendo is too dynamic for this? You have to put pressure on your opponent to make an openig and unless you can't put it unconsciously you cannot wait for 'it' to use an opening, because you have to sense it consciously since your actions are dependent on your opponent's.

    But maybe on a certain degree one can achieve such a state?

    Comment


    • #3
      Possibly, this is an application of what we call "mushin" to a different art and different set of circumstances. It sounds as though they are trying to attain the same thing. When we attack with mushin, we don't do it on purpose, it just happens, the "it" takes control for a moment and *boff* you've hit your opponent and don't quite know why, simply knowing that "it" has happened.

      Same, different?

      Comment


      • #4
        I remember this book, I think. Zen and the Art of Archery, is it? I really enjoyed reading it too. I think in kyudo the idea is revolving around the moment of release of the arrow. I will do this without correct vocab because I forget. When you are in the form in kyudo where you release the arrow, you are pulling back on the bow string to the point where there is just the right amount of tension and arm extension in pulling the bow string, and the front arm pushing the bow, the separation of the body feeling in drawing, and everything where everything is just right. Then the arrow will release of its own will because the tension and everything is just right. You aren't letting go of the arrow, it is releasing at that exact perfect moment. I think the posture may be called "kai" (as in meet) and the idea of "meeting is parting" comes into play. Something like upon meeting that perfect balance of form and tension, the arrow parts from your grip and flies to the target. It's like working together with the bow instead of commanding the arrow to release when you want.

        It is hard for me to connect this to kendo. Kyudo is very geared towards a moving meditation. I see kendo as leading to a sense of "no mind" and meditation in its own way, but more in a calmness during conflict way but there is still lots of thinking/reacting/etc going on. Kyudo almost feels the same as a sitting meditation for me. Extremely calming and different from Kendo. The release of the arrow (done correctly) is the exact moment that everything is meeting at the right time the release naturally happens. In kendo we can try to create the openning and then go when the timing is right. We can apply seme and attack when the proper conditions are met. Maybe that instant moment when we see the openning and attack is similar to the release of the arrow in kyudo in a few ways (but not a lot). The meeting of certain conditions that trigger us to explode into our attack. However, it is really hard to draw parallels beyond that. The idea of "meeting is parting" involved in the release of an arrow is different in that it is working with the bow, while we in kendo are manhandling our shinai and trying to control our opponent. It is not a working with something in mutual action, but trying to overcome someone else who is working against you. We are actively manipulating so many things when we are doing kendo. The conditions in which a kyudo practicioner practices and a kendo practicioner practices are so very different though. I think the differences stem from working together with so many factors in kyudo where in kendo we are trying to overcome opposing forces.

        Just some rambling from an amateur kyudo practicioner before I moved and had to quit.

        Comment


        • #5
          That reminds me quite a lot of what I was rambling to you about in my email (or message or whatever) the other night. Waiting for the fruit is just like the idea of hanging tough and letting the moment come to you that Toda sensei keeps on telling me about (and laughing at my pathetic efforts). That's one of the things that I really feel separates his kendo from that of other people - some people might cut the tree down, others are skilful at hurling stones at the fruit to dislodge it - but he's just a guy who happened to be passing under the tree as it dropped from its station.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by The great I AM
            When we attack with mushin, we don't do it on purpose, it just happens, the "it" takes control for a moment and *boff* you've hit your opponent and don't quite know why, simply knowing that "it" has happened.
            Aha, so I have achieved mushin?

            I seem to get hit a lot without quite knowing why... "it" just happened...

            Comment


            • #7
              i think there's 'it' in everything. it has to do with right timing.. tempo.. what not. it's all about timing. sort of like debana waza.. has to be just right.. not too quick, not too slow.. just right timing. nuki waza is sort of like that too.. has to be just right..

              or so i think.. i haven't found that timing.

              pete

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ScottUK
                Aha, so I have achieved mushin?

                I seem to get hit a lot without quite knowing why... "it" just happened...
                No dude, you've been "achieved" on. Or all over.

                Comment


                • #9
                  That's the first time I've seen "shat" spelled as "achieved"...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Really? I thought he was refering to something else, you big old porn star!


                    Kinda sends shivers up yer spine dont it?

                    Comment

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