DETAILED DOJO NOTES
1.10 In general
-This is ZNKR training, which is based mostly on Ogasawara Ryu style (4.24.93); see 6.0 for Honda Ryu styles; Heki Ryu training differences include 2-step ashibumi, otoya held to weapon between little & ring fingers, & yugamae to L of body (5.8.93)
-The point, I think, of all the detailed preparation for shooting is to launch arrow from an identical site always, to always get it into the same absolute position relative to the target 28 meters away; so the positioning of everything, all parts of body & equipment, must be exact, from first step of ashibumi onward (7.10.93)
-Shots are poor if (1) you forget to concentrate on doing everything correctly, & (2) you are still concentrating on any one thing when you release – focussing on one point puts another one off (11.17.96)
-Keep power & center of gravity low (2.29.92, 2.21.95) but stand straight (4.16.93, 4.1.95). Breathing lowers center of gravity into tanden & stabilizes upper torso (5.15.93)
-Do not let shoulders become hunched up & tight; keep them down (2.29.92, 1.20.96)
-You should be able to keep a glass of sake balanced on your L shoulder from daisan to zanshin (2.12.00)
-Angle (in target plane) at which glove hand is held during draw depends on glove cut (3.28.92) & on sensei (10.31.92)
-Keep weapon vertical in both planes from uchiokoshi to hanare (1.23.93, 1.7.95)
-Keep L hand perpendicular to weapon always, from yugamae (2.26.95)
-Keep upper torso straight (5.29.93); don't lean toward target (5.8.93)
-5-count uchiokoshi, 5-count daisan, 5-count hikiwake, 5-count kai (8.5.00)
- When stepping to shai, already 'aim' at target (2.6.93)
- Keep legs straight as you make ashibumi: watch that knees don't bend in process of stepping (1.9.94). Don't sway the torso.
- Keep L foot unmoved after planting it (4.19.97).
- Spread feet widely enough to form a firm base (1.20.96, 6.6.98); foot spread should equal yazuka (actual length of arrow used in the draw) (12.23.92, 2.6.93, 6.25.94, 7.13.97). Open feet out to make 60-degree angle with each other (1.18.97). If ashibumi is broad, straight & relaxed, R fingers will not clamp down so much onto string & thumb (3.27.93); it is also important to get feet spread properly in ashibumi and set in dozukuri, so that tanden is not swayed & stability decreased later on (4.24.93)
- Be sure that both feet are in line with target; if they are out of line, shoulder & rest of the body will also be too open or too closed (4.25, 4.29, 9.19.92, 2.6, 3.10.93, 10.30.94)
- Big toe & other toes of each foot should press together, not splay. (4.11.92, 2.6.93)
- Knees should be locked but comfortable, body straight (2.6.93, 10.30.94)
- Tuck in your buttocks (10.30.94)
- Lower center of gravity into tanden (1.20.96). Center of gravity should be slightly in front of feet: thrust upper torso forward enough to accomplish this (4.29, 5.23.92)
- Don't look down at your feet before, during or after ashibumi (3.1.94)
- Arrow should be nocked on the string 1 arrow-width (1 cm) above the perpendicular from the top of the nigiri (togashira) in order to avoid cutting top of thumb with feathers (1.25.92, 2.6, 3.10.93)
- Axis or centerline of arrow should be placed to cross the weapon at togashira (the boundary between nigiri & kazurido), & tenouchi should be formed so as to keep it so (1.30, 2.6.93)
- There should be no tension on weapon from nocked arrow (5.29.93)
- Weapon should be settled so that arrow hazu is on centerline of body (3.7.93). Keep body upright & straight, do not slump as bowtip is placed on kneecap (8.13.97).
- The vertical upper torso is leaned well forward of lower body (1.25.92)
- Back is vertically straight, but back & arms form a sort of rounded arch horizontally (9.27.98), with R hand on hip, elbow forward (4.18.93)
- Turn heels in, but keep soles flat & solid to floor (2.12, 6.17, 7.29.00)
- Check your string, then let your gaze follow along arrow shaft to target & back to hazu again (10.28.95). Tsurushirabe should only take in a foot or so of string either side of nakajikake (5.29.93). Don't look at target before this first monomi (3.1.94)
1.41 In general
- Lead with elbow when reaching for otoya & starting yugamae (4.18.93)
- Form torikake, then tenouchi, exhale, then monomi (2.6.93)
- Slide thumb up string (or, hand goes directly to hazu [Honda only?] 3.18.00) to rest lightly against underside of arrow shaft, keeping thumb perpendicular to the string (1.18.97); don't arch hand or wrist, but hold string naturally and comfortably (3.27,11.20.93, 7.27.96,12.6.98, 2.6.99, 2.26.00). Grasp hazu from above (6.8.00)
- Sekimoto-sensei says that arrow notch must lie deep in mata (low against hinerikawa) (1.18.97), but Arai-san (5-dan, Fujisawa) says that it may rest higher to relieve pressure of forefinger on arrow (3.1.94). Sekimoto-sensei's method requires that I be more careful in raising & rotating R hand – & I can't rotate it so far – without dislodging arrow nock, but it makes shot more consistent (3.27.96). But I think that extent of forefinger contact with hazu is not important; it is that pressure must be minimal until end of daisan, when turn of hand to horizontal has finished (8.27.96)
- First joint of middle finger is lapped very lightly over thumb (3.28, 4.11, 5.9, 5.23.92, 8.13.94, 7.29, 8.12.95, 1.18.97, 2.6.99) while forefinger laps thumb higher up. Others say forefinger does not lap thumb but lies atop middle finger (12.17.92). This latter is what I recently switched to (11.19.96) as it seemed to make release easier & final backward extension of R hand more complete; but R hand can't be turned quite so much in moving to daisan. However, Sekimoto-sensei had me change back to index beside middle finger. In any case, the two fingers are kept together as a single unit (2.6.93, 7.29.95) & lap well over thumb (5.22.93, 10.19.96) but not too high up it (1.18.97), joint between first two phalanges of middle finger resting on thumb; only middle finger exerts any pressure at all, & that very lightly (12.21.96); fingers are just to assure set of tsurumakura on string (3.27.93)
- Turn R hand toward you slightly to keep arrow on string by slight pressure from base of index finger (3.7, 4.11, 6.13, 10.10.92, 11.20, 12.11.93, 3.1, 3.26, 8.13.94, 4.19.97, 12.6.98) while elbow is arched out (2.6.99); reinforced leather at base of forefinger should lie flat against string (5.14.95) but not push arrow nock (3.26.94). Do not press forefinger against arrow shaft & distort arrow, which will force it to fly off to R or force it into flesh of top of L thumb on release (9.15.93). After setting fingers, R hand is not swivelled toward body very much, but only enough to put index finger in contact with string; so at end of yugamae, weapon needn't be parallel to body, but L arm is more fully extended & straightened than R arm (10.19.96).
- Taniguchi-sensei (9.15, 10.25.08) has me applying MUCH MORE torque to the string and holding the R hand much more horizontal. Hand is turned strongly at torikake to bind nock to bow, and this pressure is maintained through uchiokoshi and increased through hikiwake. He also has me set my R forearm much straighter out from wrist, so that the 'barrel-lifting' arm shape at uchiokoshi is broader with both arms.
- String is fitted nicely into glove notch when back of hand lies horizontal in 'near-far' plane (as you view glove on string in front of you) & tilted slightly down toward L in the 'left-right' plane (3.7, 8.21.93) However, angle of hand in target plane is disputed by senseis (12.23.92)
- Keep thumb straight & relaxed inside glove (4.9.93); crimping thumb tightly around string puts tension in hand & causes drawing from wrist rather than from elbow (4.4.96)
- Check that R thumb is perpendicular to string (4.19.97) & elbow turned out (1.18.97). R thumb should be a straight extension of forearm; nevertheless, hand looks & feels 'cocked' (10.19.96) -You should feel draw from string in thumb notch, not from fingers holding thumb (1.18.97)
- Keep hand relaxed (1.9.94, 8.12.95) & do not move it again from its position vis a vis string until beginning of hikiwake after daisan (7.29, 9.23.95, 1.20.96, 1.18.97), when it is turned counter-clockwise (8.12.95). If it changes before that, it can be seen by weapon falling away from vertical (9.23.95) or arrow dropping off weapon (1.18.97)
- Hand's angle with forearm is set here & never changed (10.4.97).
- Hold string lightly but surely (3.7.92)
- Set tenouchi so that bowgrip will be braced as it can be with open hand, fingers extended, supported only between tiger's mouth & heel at tenmon sen, stretched thumb & little finger drawn together strongly at their bases (2.15.01)
- Palm line (tenmon sen) is placed along outer L edge of nigiri, assuring correct perpendicular angle of hand to weapon (2.14, 3.14.93). L hand will remain perpendicular to weapon (3.14.93) & all of tenmon sen, including lower end, must be kept perpendicular to & pressed firmly against grip at all times through the rest of hassetsu (7.8, 7.10, 7.20, 7.27.93, 2.8.94, 1.7.95, 9.1.97, 6.15, 6.29.00). (Note to self: find an individual compromise between hand's perpendicularity to bowgrip & hand's heel butting firmly against bowgrip.)
- Set this line first with fingers extended & thumb flat against grip, so that V of tiger's mouth then lies on inner corner of grip (6.15.00); then draw lower half of hand toward thumb base (6.15.00) & place fingertips on grip (6.19.93,1.7.95), setting little finger firmly to bowgrip first & following on with other fingertips placed parallel to little finger (1.7.95). Line up tips of middle, ring & little fingers along R edge of nigiri, leaving a space between nigiri & lower joints of these fingers (11.7.92, 3.13.93)
- A rigid ring is then formed by stretching thumb strongly around grip (9.1.97) & overlapping it onto middle finger for two-thirds of a joint so that it lies at a 45-degree angle against it (7.20.93, 6.2, 6.23.94), pressing to form a circle of the thumb & middle finger, while the two lower fingers press tightly against underside of this ring, keeping 3 fingers together (3.28.92, 2.6.93). Wrap fingers loosely around nigiri, press side of ball of thumb onto first joint of middle finger, & press back against thumb with fingers to create a ring which does not squeeze nigiri (3.27, 6.5.93) This circle is kept rigid but relaxed (11.7.92, 3.13.93). The grip is loose on weapon (3.28.92,1.7.95) but firm within itself (12.23.92). The hand is relaxed (2.6, 3.13.93)
- Leave ample space between hand heel and bowgrip (7.19.09)
- Meanwhile, keep base of thumb squeezed against base of forefinger so that bowgrip does not wedge too deeply between them (1.7.95)
- The fingertips will remain in place as rest of hand rotates loosely about nigiri from uchiokoshi to daisan (5.16.93)
- Tenouchi should be completed at yugamae (5.9.93)
- After forming tenouchi, L elbow is turned out to match R elbow & arm line (4.18.93). L wrist is well broken & arm arched outward to match R arm (1.25.92). L inner elbow angle must be turned to face other arm; it should not face upward or at an angle (4.11.92, 7.27.93).
- L elbow must be kept turned out from dozukuri to kai, & keep turning it (6.29.00). Arai-san says that you cannnot turn L elbow clockwise and L wrist counter-clockwise at same time, so concentrate on wrist first, & then do elbow in hikiwake & kai (6.29.00)
- Others say that arms are symmetrical but not so bowed outward, more straight & extended (3.27.93, 7.27.96, 5.24.97).
- Extend L arm fully so that it will be raised up at full extension in uchiokoshi (3.28.92, 10.30.94 )
- Lower shoulders & shoulder blades in preparation for uchiokoshi: this will help place R hand in correct relation to forehead at daisan (1.15, 10.30.94)
- Keep spine straight (7.8.93) & chin tucked in (3.10, 4.9.93, 5.14.95)
- Spread bowstring slightly to free feather-ends from grip (10.13.01)
- Start sighting & keep your eye on target from here on out (1.25.92). Stand straight, not high, & turn head 90 degrees & keep it straight, vertical & at 90 degrees to body in monomi, looking squarely at target (2.8, 2.22, 9.5, 9.19, 9.26, 10.24, 12.5, 12.23.92, 2.6, 6.5, 6.19, 6.26.93, 5.26.94, 1.20.96, 8.13.97)
- Be careful not to turn torso toward target, just the head (5.18.96)
- Relax & keep both hands relaxed (2.22, 2.29.92, 3.27.93, 5.26.94, 7.19.09). Keeping R hand relaxed is key to full spring-back of R forearm in hanare (7.19.09)
- Relax shoulders; don't let them shrug up, but keep them down & back from start (1.25.92, 6.19.93, 5.31, 10.30.94)
- Keep arms relaxed & elbows turned out (2.21.98, 7.19.09)
- Tenouchi should be too loose for L hand to lift weapon alone; both hands lift lightly (3.24.01)
- Stretch head & neck toward sky
- Do not lean too far inward (6.5.93), but stretch calves forward as you lift (7.19.97). Do not let weapon get forward (targetward) of body (5.18.96), i.e. do not let hands drift toward target, but keep them in front of body (7.13.97)
- Raise & extend arms out away from body (11.15.97) as if 'presenting a certificate' (7.3.99), stretching in upper arms & shoulder joints (4.18.93, 10.30.94), keeping a broad, rounded arch of shoulders & arms, so that all of upper body feels stretched out, while keeping shoulders down (4.18.93)
- Keep arms fully extended (2.29, 5.17.92, 2.6, 3.27.93, 3.26.94) Try to straighten L arm completely as soon as possible in uchiokoshi (12.23.92). R arm should be extended as much as possible from its socket (10.30.94), keeping arrow tip always slightly down (mizunagare), uchikoshi through daisan (3.28.96), but do not let R shoulder rise higher than L (4.19.97)
- Arms ascend as high as possible (7.13.97, 3.17,12.6.98,6.1.00, 8.28.05) without straining shoulders (2.8, 2.22, 6.13.92, 4.16, 8.10.93, 6.25.94, 12.10.96, 4.15.97), to about 45-55 degrees above horizontal: this is more important than attaining 'fist's-length from forehead' at daisan, according to some (2.6, 4.18.93). Weapon is raised as high as possible, & then lowered as gradually as possible during draw (3.5.96), so that arrow gets only as far as hozuke (the mouth line) at same time as maximum draw reached by R arm; then you have left only the adjusting push by L shoulder & spreading of chest and shoulderblades during kai (4.29.92); this also allows full, rounded draw without R hand's crimping or over-arching at wrist (1.20, 3.5, 3.27, 12.10.96). This also results in correct monomi (inside the left elbow) at daisan (3.5.96)
- But don't raise the arms so high that they approach the body plane too closely. Keep them well out in front of the body (Fujita-san, 8.12.06)
- From yugamae through uchiokoshi, weapon must be kept on centerline of body, so that your face is framed between string & bowgrip when hands reach head-height (3.7.92). Keep weapon vertical (2.29.92) & away from body (2.8.92)
- There should be no tension on weapon from string until daisan begins (5.29.93)
- Relax L hand; the only finger gripping the bow is little finger (8.10.93). Base of thumb is separated from nigiri by a space the size of a small egg, which should be held carefully & not 'cracked' from uchiokoshi through daisan to kai (4.11.92, 3.10, 6.26, 7.8, 7.20, 7.27, 8.10.93). There is another space opposite, between back of the nigiri & middle joints of middle & ring fingers (3.13.93)
- The V of L thumb & index finger against bowgrip must remain horizontal from uchiokoshi through zanshin, & this is set up by a strong tenouchi (9.1.97)
- Until end of daisan, pressure on grip is 30% from thumb & 70% from base of index finger; through hikiwake & kai it changes to 50/50 (6.15.00)
- During uchiokoshi be sure not to change relation of glove hand to string, maintaining only the same (light? heavy? – senseis vary) pressure on hazu (7.29.95)
-At end of uchiokoshi, mato should appear above outside of L elbow (2.6.93, 11.15.97), L hand/wrist/arm should already be fully straightened (5.9.93), & L thumb should point at kamidana (6.7.94). R elbow should be high and back (10.25.08).
- During uchiokoshi, some archers inhale, others exhale; Sekimoto-sensei recommends exhaling as weapon is raised (4.24.93). Sekine-sensei says that breathing is regularized here (8.19.97). Oki-sensei says breathe in, then out (2.6.98)
1.61 In general
- Draw from end of daisan to end of hikiwake can be quite fast, as long as kai is held long enough (2.6.98)
- Keep body straight, do not lean into target with the draw (10.3.92, 5.22.93) nor turn body toward target (10.19.96). Upper body can be kept straight in part by insuring that power of draw is extended in both directions equally: don't let L arm overpower R arm during daisan (5.29, 7.3.93) In addition, extra strength in L arm will force the weapon down on release (6.27.93). Don't let L arm lag behind R arm in descent during draw (5.14.95), nor draw L arm down sooner than R (4.19.97).
- Beware of torisashi, i.e. drawing with arrowpoint pointed slightly up rather than downward; it is caused by L arm being a little higher than R (4.29.92) & by trying to pull string & secure arrow at same time with R wrist (5.9.92)
- Keep R elbow up & back (9.19, 9.26, 10.3, 12.19.92; 4.18, 6.19, 7.8, 7.20, 7.27, 9.7.93; 3.1, 5.26.94; 9.1.97; 4.25.99; 2.15.01; 9.15, 10.25.08). Think of lifting or keeping entire hand/forearm/elbow as a unit high & horizontal as long as possible (12.23.96). Draw with R hand kept high for as long as possible (5.27.95), so that it passes well above R ear. Keep R hand high by feeling a pressure upwards, a lifting from underside (2.6.98). R arm should not have to pull straight back at end of hikiwake; it should already be at maximum draw by end of high, broad & natural drawing arc (11.3, 11.15, 11.29.94)
- Draw high & long (12.6.97, 3.6.99, 6.1.00). Going from uchiokoshi to daisan, each hand spreads apart about 10 cm; then from daisan, both hands spread out 10 cm more horizontally before descent begins, & until R hand is above R ear (R elbow has definite feel of drawing high & away for these 10 cm, then changes direction to draw down & back (2.6.98)
- Don't let the power of the weapon make shoulders shrink, but always push out from shoulders (2.26.95)
- 'Un-round' (flatten) the back from its dozukuri position (9.27.98)
- L & R arms should push & pull along trajectory of arrow (8.22.93). Don't think about string at all – just think about pointing arrow at target with R hand, as if string weren't there (8.21.93)
- Keeping your eye on mato, follow it in monomi along top edge of L arm as you draw (? but mato is below arm at daisan – see ZNKR drawing of hikiwake).
- Weapon is drawn gradually toward body from daisan to kai (6.13, 10.24.92)
- Sekimoto-sensei wants a shallower (4.19.97), quicker draw with R hand gradually turned horizontal after daisan (3.1, 4.19.97); he says that a high uchiokoshi makes R wrist arch (5.24.97), & that turning hand to horizontal is only way to get longest draw ('moto, moto') with arching wrist (7.5.97). Sekine-sensei, on the other hand (& Kimura-san, 7.13.97), wants a high uchiokishi (4.15, 11.24.97) with little or no turning of R hand after it is set in daisan.
- Tanden pushes out from daisan through hanare (5.28.00)
- Daisan is the first one-third of hikiwake; in daisan, the important action is to only push with L arm, not pull with R yet (4.29.92, 10.18.94, 10.19.96). Push against inside R corner of bowgrip with inner face of thumb (10.18.94).
- Keep L hand high (3.17.98) & perpendicular to weapon as you turn from uchiokoshi to daisan (6.1, 6.8.00), L triceps continually pushing up (2.21.98)
- Be sure long axis of L hand always stays horizontal from uchiokoshi through kai. Angle of L arm to wrist changes continuously through draw in horizontal plane while remaining perpendicular to weapon (6.27.93)
-Straighten L arm completely & push out & straight (2.21.98), fully extending it at daisan (10.24, 12.19.92, 2.6, 6.5.93, 2.1, 6.23, 9.23, 10,30.94, 2.26.95, 1.20, 9.7.96, 7.19.09). Finish pushing at daisan; after that, extension is all draw (1.25.92) (NB: Sekimoto-sensei on 7.19.09 said 'DON'T push'!)
- Draw shoulder blades together (7.3.99, 2.26, 6.15.00)
- Lean in to daisan (11.12.00)
- L shoulder should be arched forward of chest (3.26.95) This is part of development of straight line of L arm, & with shoulder rolled forward, L arm will spring back only the proper distance at release (12.6.98)
- Turn L elbow strongly outward (11.3.94)
- Keep L hand & wrist in a straight line with L forearm from uchiokoshi to daisan; L arm finishes daisan outstretched like a swinging gate (11.7.92, 6.26.93)
- Roll L shoulder back but shoulderblade forward, and also push straight the whole length of the underside of the arm (don't worry about rolling elbow forward) (Fujita 8.12.06)
- Focus your left-arm push on the underside of the arm – the triceps, the under forearm, the lower part of the palm (10.25.08) – this keeps your arrow from biting the dust.
- In moving to daisan, straighten L forearm only; do not move upper arm/straightened arm toward the target (7.27.02)
- Don't push L arm too far toward target (Fujita 8.12.06)
- L arm's swing toward target must stop at end of daisan, when arm is about 45 degrees to weapon (10.30.94) in order to apply torque counter-clockwise to weapon; & weapon is not allowed to shift in this grip after end of daisan (3.29.94, 2.21.95, 1.20.96). Clamp down on grip at this point (7.29.00). L thumb should point 45-55 degrees, i.e. halfway between kamidana & mato (6.7.94); do not then change tenouchi from this angle (2.6.93, 6.7,10.18.94).
- Don't overpush with lower part of L hand (Fujita 8.12.06)
- Set tenouchi so that nigiri is bound between V of forefinger & base of thumb, & pad at base of little finger, with heel of hand at tenmon sen braced against nigiri (3.27.93, 5.28.94); weapon may be canted slightly to L to accommodate butting heel of hand against nigiri (6.8, 6.29.00). Middle & ring fingers should not take any strain (7.18.93). Be sure pressure is shared between basal joint of thumb & base of forefinger (7.30.93)
- If grip is not made firm enough here, or if tiger's mouth is set at an angle to grip in order to force yugaeri, weapon may reverse! (2.6.99). As bowgrip turns from uchiokoshi to daisan, 3 fingers are naturally wrapped around grip like a hook; at daisan, I should have a good firm grip with all 3 fingers opposed to tiger's mouth (2.20.99). At end of daisan, clamp down on tenouchi (7.19.09)
- In going to daisan, L thumb rolls up from its position against face of middle fingernail (remaining there would impart drag to middle finger & cause it to lag behind other fingers in revolving around nigiri) & rolls & presses against nigiri (6.5, 6.26, 8.10, 9.5.93) so that thumb binds it (6.27.93), skin between thumb & forefinger is rolled under (tsunomi o kiku) (6.2.94) & pressure of weapon comes to bear on dorsal face of 2nd phalange of thumb, which rolls in to form V. V is not in loose flesh between thumb & forefinger, but is formed of bone of forefinger's basal phalange & thumb's second phalange, when pressed together (6.21.94). Pressure of thumb on bowgrip is upward & leftward (2.8.94), & is continued through kai (4.4.96).
- Only further movement in L arm will be vertical movement at wrist & diagonal movement at shoulder (5.9.93)
- Relax all except L & R triceps (2.21.98)
- From daisan through kai there is a dynamic opposition in L arm: elbow turns outward (clockwise) while thumb forces hand counter-clockwise, thus creating a dynamic tension (3.26.95)
- Movement of R hand follows L in going into daisan, without itself beginning to draw until leaving daisan (12.11.93, 5.28, 11.15.94). If just enough tension is given to string by glove hand in going to daisan, then nigiri can be kept lightly against flesh between thumb & forefinger, & weapon will swivel freely within tenouchi (4.4.92)
- ACCORDING TO SEKINE-SENSEI, R arm should be kept neither too far back, nor should it follow L hand too far forward as you move from uchiokoshi into daisan (4.29, 6.13.92, 11.7.93, 2.21.98); do not push R arm to the left too soon (ahead of L arm movement), or it will push arrow off string (6.21.94, 9.1.97); L hand always leads R hand in moving to daisan (9.15.08). R upper arm should remain at same angle (in target plane) to shoulder from uchiokoshi through daisan – it should not move toward target when going to daisan – only forearm moves at elbow (5.22,12.11.93,1.18.97). But it must follow L arm as far forward as possible: this gives a much fuller draw (10.19.96)
- R elbow moves up & back as hand turns horizontal (7.3.99)
- From start of daisan, extend entire R arm (R hand, wrist, forearm are horizontal in line) from shoulder joint, & keep 'lifting' out from shoulder joint through draw, always taking R elbow farther back (in 2 planes) (9.18.94)
- R forearm should finish horizontal & triceps should finish vertical (7.13.97)
- (NOTE: some notes above suggest that R hand does not turn until after end of daisan. This is contradicted by further notes below. Sigh.)
- ALTERNATIVELY, ACCORDING TO SEKIMOTO-SENSEI, to form daisan, L arm moves first, and R hand does not so much follow L as stretch out to straighten itself (2.28.98), while R arm swivels up toward forehead & turns counter-clockwise so that back of hand is horizontal, as R elbow 'points to the sky' (4.18.93, 6.25, 10.18, 11.29.94, 4.21, 5.27, 8.12, 9.23.95, 1.20.96), directing R elbow up & back (2.6, 2.17, 8.10.93, 2.6, 10.30.94, 7.23.96). Be sure R hand is completely turned & set by end of daisan; it will not change again (7.29.95); further turning will dislodge arrow notch from string (7.23.93, 2.8, 3.1.94). Keep hand sufficiently turned counter-clockwise, keeping pressure on string by turning forearm counter-clockwise also through draw; failing to do so will lead to premature or faulty release (5.19.98) & flip arrow off weakly to R (3.5.96). Some say that back of R hand should be horizontal in near-far plane (4.18, 5.29.93), though different senseis have different opinions on angle of hand (8.21, 8.22, 9.11, 9.17.93, 8.12.95). String-wear on inside of my glove thumb shows that R hand should be turned more horizontally (5.14.96). Don't worry about deforming string (7.10,7.18.93, 7.29.95).
- ACCORDING TO TANIGUCHI-SENSEI (3.24.01), do not let R hand follow L toward target; roll it over to the forehead instead! (3-fingered glove rolls over more than 4-fingered glove)
- Finishing daisan, turn R glove slightly until thumb groove is vertical (7.27.02)
- R hand should finish a 'fist's-length' from forehead at 45 degrees above it (4.24, 6.12, 11.20.93, 9.3.94); no matter how high R hand rises in uchiokoshi, draw it down to fist's distance from forehead at daisan (5.26.94) – along with L hand of course; others say that it may be higher than a 'fist' above head but should be no more than a 'fist' in front of forehead (5.5.93).
- Wrist band of glove should finish on centerline of body; check position of R fingers over forehead out of corner of eye to assure position (8.13.97)
- A method of calculating and setting correct position at daisan:
a) on your arrow, mark with a pencil or chalk the mid-point of your yakuza (half the distance between the nock and the point where the arrow meets the outside of your bowgrip at full draw);
b) perform daisan until that mark is seen at the inside of your bowgrip;
c) note the position of your glove strap relative to your forehead;
d) remember this position: it is the correct ending for your daisan (7.27.02).
- Relax hands & R forearm (4.18, 5.15, 5.29, 6.17.93). Don't over-arch R hand (2.6.94); keep it relaxed (9.23.95, 1.20.96, 2.28.98). Relax R wrist (11.12.00)
- At end of daisan, strength of taut string should be felt in R upper arm, not wrist, & former should pull, not latter (24.29.92)
- At end of daisan, mato is above & outside L elbow (9.26.92, 6.12.93); some say, inside L elbow (2.6.93). Keep weapon away from body plane, then in hikiwake draw both arms at once toward body (6.8.00)
- At end of daisan through kai, arrow line runs through R wristbone (2.26.00)
- Through daisan & beyond, feel R elbow stretched in opposition to L foot (7.3.99)
- Do not adjust either hand further at end of daisan (7.9.94)
- Turn heels more to tighten buttocks (6.17, 7.00)
- Sekine-sensei says that breathing is re-regulated during daisan (8.19.97). Oki-sensei says breathe in during daisan, out during rest of shot and slowly during kai (2.6.98)
1.63 After Daisan
- Draw only with the R arm (1.19.09)
- Arrow must descend & also draw toward you, parallel to the ground at all times. R arm must draw in a straight, diagonal line as weapon is spread & drawn toward body (3.28, 4.18.92)
- Do not draw weapon toward body too quickly, especially L arm before R arm, in an effort to bear down on target (3.27, 7.20.93). Also, be aware that drawing back with R arm tends to pull R shoulder out of parallel with target (4.1.95).
- Keep both hands high (7.20.98). Start draw with feeling of keeping R hand & arm high (4.15.97). Your L arm should 'resist' draw, keeping weapon high & away as long as possible (5.26.94, 1.18.97), i.e. until breadth of draw itself forces you to lower weapon (1.25, 2.8, 2.22.92; 4.18.93; 5.27.95), & always maintaining its pressure towards target (10.30.94). But do not push with L arm after daisan (1.18, 3.1.97).
- V of L hand should be in center of nigiri, the 3rd, 4th, 5th fingers should be aligned firmly alongside nigiri (1.9, 1.23.93). Terminal segment of middle finger laps basal segment of thumb, & thumb should be straight or turned up, not pointed downward (2.6, 3.13.93). Weapon is opposed by V of forefinger & thumb, & pad at lower edge of palm (8.22.92). From daisan to kai, pressure of nigiri should lie along line between flesh pad at base of little finger & inside of basal segment of L thumb, & this line should be kept vertical (3.13.93)
- Maintain 'egg' between thumb base & nigiri (8.20.93, 5.24.97). In gripping nigiri, there is not only an 'egg' between heel of thumb & nigiri, but also a 'bubble' between thumb & nigiri above 'egg'; the 'bubble' is burst just at hanare by squeezing weapon, then releasing it to allow yugaeri (3.14.93)
- Tenouchi is gradually but strongly firmed up with draw (11.28, 12.5.92, 2.6.93, 3.1.94, 5.27.95, 5.24, 6.14.97) so that tip of middle finger gradually approaches base of thumb (5.23, 8.10, 9.12.93, 5.14.95) – that is, thumb slides toward target (10.25.08). Do not draw thumb base toward little finger, but direct its effort toward target (6.8.97). Inner heel of hand is gradually pushed toward nigiri from end of daisan through kai, to keep weapon from over-topping (5.9, 5.16, 11.20.93, 8.13.94, 6.1.97). Grip firmly & tighten with little finger only (3.1.94), & do not let other fingers tighten on nigiri (9.11.93), which will throw weapon off perpendicular with the hand/arm & throw tip forward (3.1.97). Be sure that bottom edge of hand remains perpendicular to bowgrip – hence the 'bubble' (2.16, 6.8.97).
- Do not draw with arrow too far away from body (this would be a fault in daisan); remember that position of R hand at end of daisan is only a few cm from forehead (4.29, 7.25, 8.8.92); if both arms are too far away from body then draw has too much horizontal component (4.24.93).
- R arm should be pulling within a vertical plane (5.5.93); arms should always move in a straight line – the shortest distance between two points (3.27.93)
- Pull with just R triceps or elbow (1.18.97), keeping R fingers, hand & wrist relaxed, straight (6.14.97) & unmoving (1.25, 7.25, 8.8, 8.9.92, 2.6, 2.14.93, 9.23.95, 1.20, 4.4.96, 6.29.00); string is simply stuck to thumb, fingers aren't involved (1.18.97). DO NOT CRUNCH UP R WRIST (7.25.09 and many, many warnings from both Sekimoto-sensei & Taniguchi-sensei before this!)
- Have feeling also of 'lifting up' from R wrist/forearm to keep it high (7.23.96), higher than elbow (7.1.97). Do not let R hand descend too soon (7.8.97) or lower than elbow; lead with elbow in descent of draw (1.21.97) . Elbow stays below wrist level (3.25.01). Think of R elbow being drawn out to a far point along line of heels: this helps an open spring-back of arms at release (2.6.98)
- Through hikiwake, R hand should remain horizontal in 'near-far' plane (7.10.93) while R upper forearm turns counter-clockwise & elbow pulls back into body plane from daisan to kai (8.8.92, 3.7, 7.20, 11.2.93, 3.1.94, 1.22, 3.26.95, 7.13.97). R arm & elbow are stretched high & back toward shoulder blade as you draw (12.5, 12.23.92, 4.18, 6.5, 6.19, 8.20, 9.5, 9.17.93, 10.30.94)
- But according to Oki-sensei, R hand should continue to turn during hikiwake after daisan, until it is turned counter-clockwise beyond the horizontal; continue turning counter-clockwise to give final expansion in kai (2.6.98)
- R hand should pass above R ear (8.7.97, 33.6.99).
- Stop lowering of draw when arrowshaft at motohagi touches corner of mouth (hozuke); it must not drop lower (3.28, 4.18, 5.9.92, 7.9, 7.20.93) but further expansion must be horizontal once hozuke is reached (5.23, 6.5.93, 6.23.94, 7.13.97).
- Do not overdraw, bringing arms too low (66.27.93); don't overpass the target in sighting & thus have to raise weapon again – bring arrow & weapon slowly down onto target & stop with assurance (7.20.93, 2.8, 3.1.94).
- R elbow should not finish too high (8.13, 11.24.97) – that forces R hand to crimp; elbow should finish drawing well below shoulder level, while hand finishes at level of corner of mouth (5.14, 12.23.96). Angle at elbow should be very acute between upper arm & forearm (12.10.96)
- Draw R elbow down & back at end of hikiwake (2.10, 3.24.01). Repeatedly I am advised that my R elbow should start higher & finish lower, farther back (Fujita 8.12.06)
- R hand should be drawn to shoulder (4.18.92, 12.10, 12.23.96); this also keeps wrist from over-arching (12.17.96)
- R hand should not finish behind cheek plane, or arrow will go R (2.26.00)
- Do not draw with wrist, nor cock nor arch it, but keep it straight with forearm (7.25, 9.5.92; 7.3, 7.27.93; 3.1.94); there is a propensity especially to cock it at end of draw for a little extra drawlength – avoid the temptation! Draw with elbow (8.13.97). Glove hand must never be pinched & crabbed (9.26, 10.24, 11.14.92; 4.24.93, 5.27.95, 9.1.97).
- R hand, wrist & forearm form a straight line from end of daisan through kai (6.12, 6.19, 9.11.93). This position, feels to me, though, as if the hand & forearm were at a slight angle (vertex downward) at wrist (12.23.96).
- Do not change angle of R wrist & hand from end of daisan to end of draw (4.18, 5.23, 6.20, 7.18, 7.25, 8.1 92, 5.15.93); but Sekimoto-sensei wants me to turn R hand counter-clockwise until back of hand is horizontal, gradually from end of daisan (2.16.97) to end of draw (see notes above). Oki-sensei says to continue turning it strongly until thumb is at 7 o'clock & little finger is at 1 or 2 o'clock! (7.20.98) Taniguchi-sensei says to turn R hand to horizontal at daisan, and then to keep turning it counter-clockwise as you approach kai (12.4.04)
- Pull out along a line extended from arrow (5.14.95). Concentrate on thumb's perpendicularity to string (9.7.96). Be sure R hand & thumb are in line with arrow, so that arrow will not be affected by spring back at release (4.15.97). R arm must also be drawn back to such a position that upon release R hand will spring back along line of extension from arrow (11.23.93).
- Keep thumb groove vertical. Keep R hand at same angle as plane of the two arm bones (radius & ulna); both change in the course of the draw (6.27.02).
- Think expansive, spreading chest & all of your movements (8.8, 12.19.92); draw fully, openly (5.15.93, 1.22.95, 1.18.97); don't let chest muscles contract with power of weapon (5.14.95)
- Spread and open chest to the front; don't let L arm dominate (4.19.03)
- Open out R shoulder, too – it should be pulling out of its socket to balance L shoulder's pushing out (6.23.94)
- Feel strength of draw during hikiwake & kai in back & lower back muscles, drawing to a center at base of spine (7.23.93); draw shoulderblades down & together (7.27.93,5.14.95, 5.24.03,) then spread them at kai (5.24.03).
- At end, to set for kai, there is no extra backward pull, but instead a forward thrust with L upper arm & a general widening of shoulder span by spreading chest & leaning into weapon, thus at same time placing arrow at corner of mouth (hozuke) & nearly touching chest to string (munazuru) (3.28, 4.18, 10.3 92).
- Through hikiwake & beyond, think of power from both elbows crossing to opposite heels thru a center at backboard of hakama (6.17.00)
- At end of draw, think of last effort being made by R 'upper forearm' muscles, not upper arm muscles (3.1.94)
- Sekine-sensei says that hikiwake after daisan is accompanied by a slow inhalation (8.19.97).
- Be sure head is fully facing mato (3.27, 6.12.93), chin down, stretching back of neck (7.5.97)
- Mato should appear to sit between 3rd & 5th wrap of rattan above nigiri (5.14.95), or about one-third (2 cm) up (7.5.97). Sighting should ideally be ariake, i.e. with target showing completely to L of weapon (2.8.92). Others say most correct sighting is 'eclipse' (yami), but archers adjust among three approved sightings depending on conditions (8.20.93)
- Stretch spine & neck (tattesen) (4.16.93)
- Always a final spreading of shoulders & chest (nobiai), as sensei urges 'moto, moto' (1.30.93). Shoulders should be fully spread, even & down (4.18.93). Focus on closing lower ends of shoulderblades while spreading upper ends (9.27.98, 5.24.03)
- Push shoulderblades apart (7.3.99, 5.28.00) by pushing out with both shoulders & elbows, using both triceps (7.15.00). Push & spread shoulders (3.25.00) both at top & bottom, using force directed from shoulders to elbows at nobiai (6.17.00)
- Expand chest, stand straight & firm, L arm straight & hands relaxed (2.6.93, 3.26.95). Focussing on pushing fully with L hand & expanding chest to gain maximum bowspread will also lessen danger of crimping R hand at wrist (1.20.96)
- Extend with 'lower L elbow and upper L shoulder' (5.24.03).
- Point thumb & hand at target (11.12.00)
- Check straight line of L hand, wrist, arm (1.20.96). L middle finger (if it were extended) would point at target, continuing line of L arm; L wrist is straight, cocked neither up nor down; arm is fully extended & pointed straight at target (4.11, 9.26, 10.10, 11.21.92, 1.9,.6.12.93). Point L thumb at target (6.1,7.29.00) so that arm from triceps, through forearm, through V of thumb & forefinger, to thumb is a straight line to target; this also gives fillip to yugamae (8.11.93, 2.1, 3.1, 6.7,10.30.94, 1.18.97). Power from triceps (6.1, 6.17.00)
- Keep L wrist straight (perpendicular to weapon) (8.13.97), with force on base of thumb toward target (9.27.98); if L wrist is angled up, then L shoulder shrugs or crimps up instead of making final extension in kai & hanare (4.19.97, 9.27.98). Be sure that both L forearm bones exert equal force on tiger's mouth (50/50 power) (6.17.00, 2.15.01), & that all remain perpendicular to weapon (6.1,7.15.00)
- Make a final firming up of tenouchi so that hand does not break open with yugaeri (11.14, 11.21, 12.5.92, 2.26, 5.22, 9.23.95, 3.25.00). Without care, index finger can finish under thumb & thumb separated from middle finger on release! (11.11.01). Pressure should be exerted to squeeze 'egg' so that upper bowtip does not lurch forward on release (4.10.93, 5.26, 9.3.94, 4.1.95, 8.13.97). Thumb base draws firmly (7.29, 8.12.95, 1.20.96) toward target, not toward little finger base (6.8.97); crush 'egg' with bottom of hand, i.e. bottom of hand should be stronger force (7.3.99)
- Be sure thumb has rolled well toward weapon. Pressure of weapon or center of force is close to base of thumb on its upper face (there is a point there, if I get it right, that feels no pain) (3.29.94, 4.19.97).
- Don't let little finger slacken its grip. Base of little finger will draw away from sobaki if plane of the V, of L thumb & forefinger, tilts from horizontal (2.6.94). Middle & ring finger grip remains firm (6.8.00) but they do not squeeze; pressure is kept on grip by stretching thumb to target (6.15.00)
- Force of L thumb is to L, force of little finger is to the rear (6.8.00). Squeeze between base of little finger & thumb base (11.12.00)
- L elbow twists clockwise & L hand counter-clockwise (9.23.95, 6.8.00). L triceps forces clockwise torque onto weapon (to offset chest expansion?) (2.26.95). Push and turn L elbow (10.23.04)
- Some say that a final torque to the L should be applied to nigiri (12.5, 12.23.92). Others explain that this torque is a natural outcome of angle of L arm with weapon (set in daisan) & leftward pressure of the thumb.
- Pull strongly & always a little more (5.227.95), arrow grazing cheek at line of mouth (hozuke) (1.25.92). Arrow should meet corner of mouth at its hagiito (lower feather binding); don't pull it lower (4.29.92, 7.8, 9.5.93, 10.3.96) but it may be pulled farther back horizontally (6.23.94)
- Be sure R elbow & upper arm are (up &) back, & keep pressure on them pulled back toward body plane (8.9.92); don't let R elbow sag at the last: keep it high & back so that forearm is horizontal (5.5.93); any final drawing takes R elbow back, not down (3.26, 5.14.95 [or back & down, according to Taniguchi-sensei (10.23.04)]
- Don't draw R forearm too tightly against upper arm; there should be space in the angle for a finger to slide freely (6.8.00)
- R. elbow can be too high at kai; it should be below shoulder level & below R hand at the last (8.13, 11.17, 11.19.96, 6.8, 6.14.97, 6.6.98, 3.25.00)
- Arms must finish in same plane as body, not in front of it (3.14.92); R hand & forearm are tucked right into the body (5.5.93)
- Make 2 lines: between R elbow & L heel, & between L elbow & R heel, with tanden at center of each line where they intersect (7.15.00)
- Wait in kai for arrow to release itself (6.17, 7.8, 8.22.93, 9.7.96, 7.20.98, 2.6.99) for at least a 5/6-count (4.1, 7.13.97, 6.1, 6.29.00) after tachi, i.e. when arrow has been drawn to hozuke (7.13.99). One should not just be waiting, but doing tsumeai (checking important points) & nobiai (checking energy center in tanden) (12.12.93), especially tattesen, stretching neck & spine as you 'count' (4.1.97). Check first monomi (head fully turned); 2nd, power into tanden; 3rd, tattesen (9.27.98)
- Also in tattesen, shoulderblades draw together at lower end & spread at top; drop shoulders (7.3.99)
- Check two shoulders, then two elbows, then two hands (11.12.00)
- Oppose, spread & balance elbows at nobiai / tsumeai (10.13.01)
- Beginners should stop the breath at kai (it's easier), but experts should continue smooth breathing (4.24.93). Sekimoto-sensei first advised me not to hold my breath in kai (9.3.94) but slowly exhale until release (1.18.97). Sekine-sensei says that there should be a continued slow exhalation through the nose & down into the tanden (8.19.97, 7.13.99, 6.1.00); so does Taniguchi-sensei (Honda): from kai, exhale steadily with nobiai until release (2.12.00)
- Release should be at 80% strength, never after power has waned (1.25.92)
- The final opening and spreading of the upper torso happens now (5.5.93); think of chest spreading and splitting (8.10.93, 5.14.96, 7.13.97) in front, with equal power L & R (7.3.99): not hinged, but R & L halves of chest springing apart in opposite directions (2.8.94); front of chest spreads while rear of chest draws shoulderblades together (2.1.97). Chest should fully open up (5.27, 8.12.95, 1.20.96).
- L arm should spring slightly backward & shoulders should open out fully (12.23.92, 1.9, 1.23, 2.6, 6.19, 7.3.93, 3.26.95) I am often cramped & retracted (11.17.96).
- As arms spring back, chest springs forward into weapon (1.20.96). Both arms are pushed back, or spring back fully (5.5, 7.27, 8.20, 8.22.93, 5.28, 8.13, 10.30.94, 9.23.95, 5.14.96, 7.13.97), to compensate for weapon's pull. They must be pushed hard to accomplish this (9.15.93, 2.1, 2.6.94).
- Remember that L arm springs back over its full length (while thinking about the elbow (11.23.96), but R arm springs back from its elbow (9.2.95). Think of a plank tied to L arm & hand, so that wrist will not break when arm springs back (7.18, 8.10, 9.17.93); & think of pointing L arm at next target to the left upon release (7.27.93)
- However, anyone can spring his arms backward on release – what you must do is split chest by pushing out L & R arms to maximum (yokosen) (7.8.97)
- Push, & L arm should spring outward toward target. Be sure to balance push with pull, L arm fully extended, so that body does not lurch forward at release (5.26.94)
- DRAW FROM THE ELBOW, RELEASE FROM THE WRIST BONE (5.17.03)
- R hand must spring back along line of arrow (3.21.92) & by end of release, thumb should be extended in opposite direction from target along same line (2.8.94, 8.12.95)
- Softly hold thumb with middle finger; do not try to release string with fingers (3.27.93). Middle finger should slip slowly off thumb, everything else remaining stretched & stable (12.5.92, 1.9.93, 5.14.95). Release the string lightly: just open fingers by turning hand slightly (5.26.94). R thumb slides smoothly off string along flat of thumb, i.e. along thumbpad, thumbnail being vertical & parallel to string (5.28.94)
- Fingers & thumb are minimally 'snapped' at release, thumb thereby getting outside fingers as they close lightly onto palm (4.11, 6.13.92, 2.6, 3.27, 12.4.93). At release, fingers & thumb separate only slightly; fingers just slip over thumb, & are not extended as arm swings back (4.18, 5.23, 12.23.92, 6.5.93, 5.22.95) Two fingers act as one, just as 3 fingers of oshide act as one in gripping weapon (1.16.93)
- Fingers really release 'up'; forearm's swivel is upward so that palm is almost face up at end of release (8.13.92, 5.14.95). R arm springs back in vertical plane (4.18.93). Others say that R arm springs out & back, not up & back, 'in direction of arrow', which I take to mean in horizontal plane, to avoid arrow's flying too high or low (11.2.93)
- R arm must in any case spring back fully & freely (10.24.92, 1.23, 2.6, 3.10, 4.17, 6.5.93, 1.20.96) because forearm & hand are relaxed (4.18.93). Release fully after pulling fully, & R arm should spring fully back (3.27.93)
- Don't flinch at release! (9.26.92, 2.13, 3.27.93)
- Yugaeri (bowspin) is not caused by torque applied, but is because weapon is unfettered in tenouchi (2.8.92); do not cock wrist back to try to artificially cause spin (8.22.92, 2.6.93). Keep L grip tight – the little finger should tighten at release (5.18, 10.19.96). Some say tenouchi is relaxed then immediately re-firmed at hanare to allow yugaeri (12.19.92, 9.12.93), little finger relaxing momentarily to permit yugaeri, then taking hold again to prevent weapon from dropping (5.28.94). Sekine-sensei says no, the grip is not relaxed (7.26.94, 6.8.00)
- Don't let arms drop from kai position until zanshin is finished – keep the energy (4.1 8.93)
- Sekine-sensei says that slow inhalation into tanden should continue (8.19.97).
- Spread posture of release should remain (2.6.93)
- L arm should still be strong & straight (7.23.93) & arms should remain high (8.22.93). Two thumbs & R corner of mouth should all be in same straight line, thumbs pointed in opposite directions (2.8.94)
- L hand should finish straight, not cocked up or down (7.13.99)
- Target should still be in same sighting position as before release (3.1.94). Remain gazing at target; don't glance at bowtip or other things (2.6.94, 2.16.97).
- Exhale remainder of breath retained at kai before inhaling & lowering arms (4.24.93)
- Do not re-grip weapon after hanare, whether or not weapon has spun around on the shot; just bring it quietly & directly (8.12.97) to side in yudaoshi (4.25.92).
- Bring bowtip directly to centerline of body (2.12.00)
- Turn head slowly to face front (not down) after weapon is lowered to your hip (3.6.99); each movement follows another, never simultaneously (4.25.92, 3.6.99). Slowly lower weapon & glove hand to hip (7.3.99), turn head to front, & spin weapon if necessary to string-outside-arm position (8.15, 12.23.92, 8.29.93).
2.0 TAIHAI (Form & Etiquette)
2.05 In General
-No bare feet or casual clothes in dojo (8.3.97)
-Move slowly (8.3.97)
- Bow always with back straight (3.27.93)
- In shallow bow (yu) use upper body only; don't let weight go forward onto toes & thus raise the heels (4.24.93)
- Bow twice to flag over kamiza whenever entering & leaving dojo (3.7.92), using rei, a deep standing bow, going down until your fingertips touch your kneecaps, or 45 degrees.
- When entering Motomachi Dojo, we bow to azuchi first, then to kamiza, then to other kyudokas
- Exhale as you bow & inhale as you return slowly to upright (3.20.93, 4.13.97)
2.20 Rising & Standing
- When rising, L heel does not touch ground until R heel is beside it – they touch together (8.3.97). Press R heel toward floor always (10.4.97).
- Inhale when rising (8.3.97)
- Lead with L foot going forward & R foot going backward (1.23.93, 8.5.00). In some situations this rule seems to be replaced by: use foot nearer kamiza to go forward & farther foot to go back.
- Always make T with feet when changing directions (3.20.93)
- In file, keep your eyes on shoulders of person in front (5.14.95)
- Inhale for 2 steps then exhale for 2 steps (5.22.95)
- Do not lift toes from floor: slide them lightly along (5.22.95)
- Never step over another's weapon (5.16.93)
- 'kneel-walking' (Honda 3.18.00): forward, one leg up & slide forward with other knee; backward, reverse the process. This I've seen used by daichi kaizoe in Honda makiwara sharei only; I don't know if it is incorporated into other ryus or ceremonies.
2.40 Sitting (seiza) and Kneeling (kiza)
- Exhale when sitting or kneeling down (4.24.93). Others say, inhale (8.3.97)
- In kneeling, take half step back with R foot & lower slowly onto R knee, then slide forward with R knee to meet L as latter descends to floor. Do not draw L knee back to meet R (9.12, 10.26.93)
- Always try to press R heel toward floor (10.4.97)
- Vertical & horizontal angles of weapon & arrows with body stay equal as you walk or sit with them, so as you sink to kiza & bowtip touches floor, its vertical angle changes; while assuming kiza, adjust arrow angle to match. Then as you rise, steepen vertical angle of arrows to match steepening angle of weapon (8.27.96)
- Let bowtip touch & slide along floor as you lower yourself below 10-cm level (8.3.97).
- Bowtip stays on ground as you rise again onto knees, then rises with you as you stand (bowtip should remain touching ground until you are exactly 10 cm short of full stance, since it should be maintained at that distance from ground when standing & walking) (3.7.93)
- In kiza (sitting up on heels), keep heels together & balls of feet slightly spread apart (9.7.93, 12.00)
- Seated in kiza without weapon, thumbs kept flush to fingers, so that hands are straight when resting on thighs; but when doing a low bow in seiza, hands come together & forward to under forehead, & thumbs are spread with tips touching to form triangle with forefingers (2.6.94) [The 5 levels of seated bows are illustrated in the ZNKR handbook.]
- Rise to your knees from sitting on heels before either turning on knees or rising to feet (1.25.92)
- Rise slowly from kneeling (3.20.93)
2.50 Preparing to shoot
- Glove always put on & taken off while sitting in kiza, with R knee raised.
- To put on glove: (a) before wrapping strap, cock wrist to allow for free play while shooting; (b) wrap strap carefully to lap itself distad of wristbone; (c) after final wrap, lay wrist on R knee, slightly raised for the purpose, press down on strap about 3 cm out from wrist, then press wrist down on it to create a loose turn for tucking end into (3.7.93)
- Remove glove before any activity other than shooting (1.25.92)
- Doffing L haori sleeve: (1) enter with weapon & arrows, assume kiza facing target & bow, (2) turn to kamiza, raising weapon to be taken by R hand at toriuchi, then place L hand on thigh. (3) Withdraw L hand into sleeve, then grasp upper edge of cuff from inside & draw out sleeve to straighten it. (4) Withdraw hand into sleeve, to reappear at chest; use hand to spread L kimono (haori) lapel, making room for elbow to emerge. (5) Leading with elbow, bring arm & shoulder out, then straighten & re-snug collar, etc. (6) Reach to take upper edge of sleeve cuff & pull it forward, tucking it under L hakama bindings; (7) tuck rest of sleeve end into side-slit of hakama. (8) Take weapon again with L hand. (9) Turn to face mato while lowering weapon; then rise (see detail, 3.60) .
- At makiwara, bow (yu) before first shot
- Withdrawing arrow from makiwara, turn it counter-clockwise 3 times in the process (1.28.95)
2.60 Approaching shai & standard shooting sequence
- Always watch posture in taihai: straight torso, hands high on hips at right angle with elbows out & shoulders forward (5.29.93), equal angle of arrows & weapon (4.29.92, 5.15.93)
- When standing in shooting sequence, keep gaze on floor at point about 4 meters in front (when sitting or kneeling, at about 2 m), & maintain these distances even as you bow or move about; thus, as you rise or descend, it should be about 3 m (12.23.92)
- New line of archers starts moving to honza as third (of 5) archers at shai looses his arrow (5.23.92)
- At iriguchi, toes lined up at entrance, hands with weapon & arrows at your sides are curled up to rest on hips, knuckles inward & palms up. Bowstring presses against underside of L forearm. Bowstring & nigiri should be same distance from floor (6.26.93). Arrows gripped 10 cm (one fist-width) above points (3.7.93)
- With L foot, one large step into dojo (count one), then R step half toward kamidana & look up briefly (count 2), then L foot draws up to R foot (count 3). Bow (yu) (4), return to upright (5) – (first archer of line takes bow as 2-count down & 2-count up, & followers take one count down & one up, i.e. first archer steps away from bow on 7th count while followers step away on 5th count (3.29.94)), and succeeding archer enters on that same count (8.12.97) –, then 2 steps half L to honza (6, 7) & then move slowly along honza to position (actually, move along about 50 cm above honza, so that turning & kneeling will place knees on honza line) (3.7.93). If distance from entrance to honza is long, add 2 steps to count between entrance & 'yu' bow (10.6.94)
- Turn to face mato, kneel in kiza, raise L knee (3.2.97), & bow as last of previous archers releases his arrow & it strikes azuchi. Exhale on bow, inhale on return to vertical (4.13.97)
- Rise if you have knelt at honza ('tatte', standing style is done without kneeling)
- Exhale, then inhale (4.13.97) as, leading with L foot, take 3 steps forward (first is big & sure (6.3.93)) then draw R foot slowly up to L. Kneel & sit on raised heels, then rise onto knees while tilting bowtip to eye level. Turn R, keeping knees together (5.22.93), leading with L toes to avoid splaying heels outward after turn (9.7.93), & being sure L leg takes a full 90 degrees, pivot on L knee while sitting back onto heels gradually as you pivot, not afterwards (3.7.93)
- Keep bowtip on centerline of body
- If hitote (2-arrow shooting), weapon is raised vertically in front after turn (7.20.94), keeping urahazu on centerline of body (4.25.99)
- If yotsuya (4-arrow shooting), lower the upper bowtip onto floor before placing arrows in front. (Lay them away from knees so that motohazu can be placed between arrows & knees, so they don't interfere with rising & sitting (5.8.93)) Lay all 4 arrows down, sort them into otoya-haya-otoya-haya (from far to near), then extract outer pair by pinching them at hazu end & drawing them over others & down along R side until only the tips rest across 2nd pair (3.7, 3.14.93). After first 2 shots & return to kiza, draw 2nd pair to your side by hazus also (3.14.93). Pick up arrows with R hand & move hand to hip before adjusting them in your lap.
- Lift L knee slightly (8.12.97) in tsumasakidashi (in a sign of readiness to spring to battle) by raising body & pulling back on L buttock (7.9, 8.29.93, 5.14.95), & keep it raised from the time you set lower bowtip on shai, until you stand up for ashibumi (2.14.93)
- Raise weapon vertically in front, placing lower tip on ground to form small triangle with knees (8.21.93, 7.14.94) with lower end about 10 cm in front of center of knees
- Reach low on string (same level as where hand was resting on hip) to turn weapon 180 degrees with R hand; each motion follows the previous, not two at once (4.25.92)
- Turn weapon so string is on R, then reach R arm around weapon until string touches inside of R elbow (7.20.93), far enough to carry arrows to L hand. When L forefinger has gripped first (lower) arrow against nigiri (5.9.93), glance slowly at feathers to assure haya (7.20.93, 8.12.97), then move R hand slowly out along arrow to hazu, eyes following it, (& keeping 2nd arrow horizontal also (7.20.93)), till hazu is gripped with R fore- & middle fingers & thumb, to be pushed L toward weapon in one smooth movement (7.20.93), eyes always following hand, until string rests at base of hazu; as two fingers support hazu so that nock is about 2 cm to R of string, arrow is gripped firmly with L forefinger, & string is pulled out with R thumb to nock arrow (3.7.93); arrow is not adjusted further, but is ready in place (8.13.92)
- However, supporting L forefinger & hand should ensure that arrows rest a bit high on nigiri until dozukuri – this is for show only, as it helps create illusion of horizontality (arrows are horizontal if notch looks lower than point to archer), & is necessary for good form (6.3, 7.20.93)
- Standing or sitting, arrow should be nocked at eye level (1.23.93), & hazu is kept on centerline of body from now until placing of bowtip on knee in dozukuri (5.24.97)
- While & after nocking arrow, L arm & wrist should already be arched outward, much as it will be in uchiokioshi (9.5.92)
- Do not raise buttocks from heels as you reach around weapon to nock arrows (8.3.97).
- In positioning 2nd arrow below first, it must not strike floor (3.7.93); but cf. Honda style 6.0
- Be sure to keep 2nd arrow parallel to first on bow (& both slightly angled upward) (2.29.92)
- Chest slightly forward while waiting 'in readiness' (5.28.96), hips down, stretching neck from back of head (7.13.97) – zazen posture – & keeping that posture on rising & through hassetsu (2.16.97)
- To rise from 'kiza in readiness': lower L knee, bring knees together, raise L knee to in front of R knee, stand with balls of both feet at once, & draw R foot to L as you rise so that they finish together (12.5.94)
- When 2nd arrow is retrieved from weapon during dozukuri, be sure that R hand moves directly to weapon & back, and that 2nd arrow assumes correct angle with body (same angle as at entrance) (11.29.94)
- When any arrows still remain after yudaoshi, close feet by stepping back & to center with first R foot & then L; this gives room to kneel in place (3.14.93, 8.12.97)
- 2nd arrow should not be adjusted in hand until you have knelt after shooting first arrow (2.6.93)
- In the case of 2nd arrow, L knee is raised in readiness as soon as you are seated after first shot, before raising weapon (8.12.97)
- After shooting first arrow & kneeling, first 3 archers (of 6) or first 2 (of 5) wait until 4th archer's hanare before raising weapon & nocking arrows for 2nd shot (8.15.92) (competition style)
- Do not glance at feathers when you begin to nock 2nd arrow (8.12.97)
- With 5 archers, rise from kneeling position when 2nd archer in front of you begins uchiokoshi (4.25.92) or when archer-in-front-of-you's hand returns to hip at end of dozukuri (8.10.93) Exception is for 2nd-target archer only, who rises as 1st archer's R hand returns to hip the 1st time, i.e. before taking otoya (3.6.99) (This injunction seems to vary if sensei wants to expedite practice)
- When shooting 3-and-3, (the usual procedure with 6 archers) your uchiokoshi starts on hanare of archer in front of you (6.7.94)
- With 5 archers, rise on 2nd-archer-in-front's hanare & set your torikake on first-archer-in-front's hanare (8.10.93) (This is ceremonial or examination timing; see 2.85)
- After final arrow, do not step back, but close feet directly together then step out diagonally to leave shai (8.12.97)
- After shooting, clear shai before bowing: a step toward honza, then walk toward kamidana & bow after you are past waiting archers (except at ochimato, where you step back & bow) (4.25, 8.13.92)
- Leave shai L foot first, stopping to turn to bow only when you are within 3 steps of deguchi (10.28.95, 6.1.97); turn, bow, then 3 brisk steps out, just as when you came in (3.7.93). In deep dojos 5 steps out may be required (10.28.95)
- Even if dojo is small, archer should leave himself room to maneuver about without altering position of weapon at L hip, as he crosses to kamiza, turns & bows, then turns & leaves. Archer should also maintain his form for several steps after he leaves (1.30.93)
- First two archers of a 5-man line, or first & 4th archers of a six-man ('san-nin, san-nin' or 'dai ichi, dai ni') line, retrieve own arrows or arrows for next shooters (2.6.93)
- When retrieving arrows, draw them from L side of leftmost target first (1.25.92), grasping them as close as possible to point end.
2.70 Variations in sequence
- 5-man competition timing: (1) stand up on start of uchiokoshi of 2nd archer in front; (2) start torikake on uchiokoshi of 1st archer in front; (3) first 2 archers set up their weapons on 3rd archer's release; (4) 1st archer stands on 4th archer's release (10.28.95)
- In standing shooting (tatte), the honza changes: bowtip should hover above shai as you stand on honza (so, honza is closer to shai). With yotsuya, 2nd pair of arrows are placed at feet with tips at center of body (farther away from mato than in sitting yotsuya). Legs must be kept straight when placing & picking up these arrows (6.7.94); draw pairs of arrows over R toes to gain grip on them (2.1.97). When arrow is to be nocked without kneeling, weapon is first released from its position by relaxing grip of L hand, thus allowing weapon to swing naturally string downward. Then it can be raised with L wrist cocked & weapon is in correct position to string arrow (3.7.93)
- Tsukubai (shooting while kneeling): after setting arrows in kiza, lean torso forward with lower bowtip butted against L knee (weapon cants forward also). Place R foot out flat, parallel to target line with toes pointed away from target. Then hassetsu as usual (7.00)
- A single-arrow, single-target competition is held in which winner is the one closest to center of mato. Person removing arrows withdraws winner's first, then runner-up's, holding it next to the winner's but with point a few centimeters below the first, 3rd-place arrow's tip a few cm below 2nd-place arrow's tip & so on (this is done in front of azuchi curtain so all can see), to be carried back & confirmed in dojo (6.13.92)
- If archers must doff kimono sleeves, 2nd line enters dojo with 1st archer's otoya uchiokoshi instead of 3rd archer's hanare. Cross to honza, kiza, bow, turn L, doff sleeves, turn back to face target. On last archer's release, do not bow; rise & cross to shai.