Notes 6.00 ff
6.0 HONDA RYU STYLES
6.10 General Notes
- Honda Tochizane, d. 1917. Heki-ryu, Chikurin faction; Current head-senseis Taga and Oshima
- Some notes may apply to ZNKR ('Nikyuden', 'Zenkyuden') as well; however, they were taken in Honda training sessions
Notable differences from ZNKR:
- Upon entering, look at kamidana, not bowtip, before you bow to kamidana.
- Hands holding weapon and arrows are placed more toward the front of the body than ZNKR, more at the groin than at the hip (11.10.13)
- Main difference from ZNKR is that draw is designed for force rather than ceremony
- Raising of weapon is in front of body, like Ogasawara; However, ashibumi is 2-step and second arrow is set to weapon between middle & ring fingers, with key feather UP (ZNKR style places otoya key feather down) (11.16.03)
- Standing approach to hassetsu: otoya is propped tip uppermost within 2nd-from-L pleat of hakama
- Sitting approach to hassetsu: otoya is dropped to floor in front of archer
- Standing, feet are at a wider angle than ZNKR
- Kiza is wider (knees more spread); kneecaps are a double-fist to a shoulder-width apart, while ZNKR requires only a fist-width between them (9.21.08). To sit in kiza, splay the feet more; draw the knuckle of the R big toe to the inside heel of the L foot, at an angle (9.21.08)
- In assuming kiza, ZNKR slides the L knee forward to align with R knee, but Honda aligns the knees on the descent (9.21.08)
- Female archers do not tie up their kimono sleeves during taihai but beforehand.
Stance with weapon & arrows (Sugiyama-sensei, 4.26.08):
- Bowtip always in line with R big toe (Bowtip at centerline in ZNKR) (3.17.13)
- In seated approach, when raising weapon to set arrows, bowtip is raised to the right of the archer's head, not on his centerline (9.21.08).
- Hands more toward front of hips and based at lower hakama straps (ZNKR is higher)
- Weapon is tilted slightly so that bowstring is higher than weapon, touching forearm sleeve (weapon & string same height from floor in ZNKR) – to show respect for the kamidana, the string is toward it and the bamboo is down.
- In kiza, L knee in readiness is raised slightly higher than ZNKR and knees are spread wider, 2 fist-widths vs. 1 fist-width for ZNKR (12.14.03)
- Rising from kiza is always preceded by assuming the sonkyo (squatting) posture. To go from kiza to sankyo, start closing L knee to centerline of body as R foot is slid forward; then draw knees together.
- 'Yokohama' style: R foot slides forward first; 'Tokyo' style: rise is in one smooth move.
- Honda turn by placing opposite foot across in front of foot on turning side.
- Always carry arrows between R kimono sleeve & body, not outside the sleeve.
- Arrowtips hidden in glove, always, when carried.
- Bowtip is placed on floor every time the archer stops, and raised 10 cm every time s/he walks or turns. (9.06, 4.07)
- Seated bows to the target are always performed in kiza. Empty-handed sitting bows: palms canted forward, fingers of both hands as if in glove (thumbtips against inside first joint of index & middle fingers); hands move along thighs to beside knees (where Nikyuden style has hands move to the floor at the hips first, and then brush the floor to beside the knees in an 'ell' movement). Bow, looking at target; return R hand by the same path to hip. (7.6.03)
- Tsurushirabe & monomi once only, before otoya is removed from weapon.
These are the Honda 'dan' levels.
- Shoden, 'tell, report' (budo master's secret teachings passed to a successor)
- Chuden, 'matriculating, studying'
- Shomokuroku, 'first step, catalogue'
- Mokuroku, 'second step'
- Chuoh, 'king'
- Menkyo, 'admission'
A recent level test (9.21.08) was rather informal. It was offered during a training session, and the 2 testees were not wearing kimonos, but training gear only. A few odd notes:
- On entrance, 1st archer held weapon in R hand and shifted it to L hand before bowing.
- Archers crossed to sadamenoza and bowed, then crossed to above honza, down to below shai, raised on toes facing target, etc. (see details under 'sharei' below)
- After first shot, 1st archer turned L to face target, then backed up, assumed kiza and waited.
- After his shot, the second archer tapped lower bowtip to bring the 1st archer to shai again.
- After their 2nd shots, they returned to sadamenoza and loosened gloves before exiting (see details under 'sharei').
- Breathe in and out during each step of hassetsu (11.16.03). Walk 2 steps inhaling and 2 steps exhaling (10.17.05)
- In ashibumi, R toe is slightly ahead of L toe, but rest of body is on line to target from the hips up (9.27.98); set big toes equal as in Nikyuden style, then turn R foot slightly inward until its big toe is about 2 cm ahead of L big toe (9.21.08).
- Exhale (haite) on first step of ashibumi and inhale (sute) on second step (4.12.03)
- Keep each foot on floor in making ashibumi; slide them, don't raise them. Make it smooth (11.16.03, 3.29.09)
- Honda formal ashibumi distance between feet is shoulder-width; in ZNKR it is yazuka-width. Actual spread is individual: the distance where stretched knees, angle of ankle, and flattened soles of feet come to an optimal configuration. (4.19.03)
- Raise head to look at nock after ashibumi and before setting bowtip to knee (11.16.03)
- Wider footspread (Yamamoto-sensei 7.10.11)
- Honda tilts hips back more than in ZNKR, the tanden pointed more nearly towards the floor (Sugiyama-sensei, 4.26.08)
- In torikake, turn R hand strongly counter-clockwise against the nakajikake, and keep the pressure on through the rest of the hassetsu (10.7.12)
- In tenouchi, bend index finger, don't keep it straight (11.12.00). Bend fingertip into back of bowgrip, not around it (11.11.01)
- Set little finger first.
- Wrap 3 fingers farther around bowgrip, so that middle finger touches base of thumb (Yamamoto-sensei 7.10.11)
- Monomi occurs before removing otoya, and it is not repeated before otoya is shot; there is only one monomi – while both arrows are still set against the weapon (3.20.09).
- Drop shoulder blades to level of hand heels and elbows (Sakamoto-sensei 3.29.09)
- Breathe in with uchiokoshi, then let out a bit of air before beginning daisan, in order to lower shoulders and drop breath into tanden; then always breathe out, through the nose, until the hanare (7.6.03)
- Push down tanden from this step onward (Yamamoto-sensei 7.10.11)
- Hollow the back and protrude the tanden (Sakamoto-sensei 11.6.11)
- Push up with L triceps (12.13.08)
- Keep shoulders down from the start and execute a slow uchiokoshi; don't take arms high enough to raise shoulders at all (Oshima-sensei 7.10.11)
- Raise arms high but don't raise shoulders! (Yamamoto-sensei 7.10.11)
- Yamamoto-sensei has me raising my arms much higher and closer to my body than does Taniguchi-sensei (10.7.12)
- Keep arms straighter out and don't let them draw in toward the body in raising them: this raises the weapon higher for fuller draw (Sugiyama-sensei 7.29.12)
- From uchiokoshi, drive L shoulderblade forward (toward kamidana), then in hikiwake spread chest to sight target (4.22.07)
- Old Honda style was to look at the weapon during uchiokoshi, then turn head to look at target as you go into daisan; we now follow the ZNKR style of monomi before weapon is raised (11.8.08)
- Stop daisan when tiger's mouth is straight to the target (11.16.03)
- At daisan, hands finish lower than in ZNKR; R hand appears like 'peering into the distance'
- Elbow farther back at daisan and be sure to keep it back during the draw (Sakamoto-sensei 3.29.09)
- Do not let R elbow move toward target in forming daisan (Sakamoto-sensei 7.10.11)
- Push L shoulder forward, but keep it down (Sakamoto-sensei 3.29.09)
- Feeling of R elbow going higher than L elbow (Sakamoto-sensei 3.29.09)
- L arm is not fully straightened at daisan, but last straightening is saved for hikiwake → kai (Shima-sensei 5.14.11)
- Keep drawing and keep arm high (Oshima-sensei 4.22.07)
- Start draw with R elbow high and feel like drawing it higher and back. Draw with the elbow (Sugiyama-sensei 7.29.12).
- Draw with R elbow high and get a feeling of lowering the R shoulder before the elbow descends (Sugiyama-sensei 4.26.08)
- Draw out and back to full draw (Sakamoto-sensei 3.29.09)
- If L wrist is still cocked, weapon will not spin around at release (Shima-sensei 6.5.11)
- I am still not keeping my R hand turned counter-clockwise enough as I draw into kai. (10.7.12)
- Stretch and point thumb to target at kai (11.16.03, 4.26.08); don't let hand drop on release & continue to think of thumb pointing to target through zanshin (Sakamoto-sensei 7.10.11)
- Keep turning R hand counterclockwise (10.7.12)
- Longer kai! (11.16.03)
- Last pulling with elbow, not wrist! (umpteenth warning by Taniguchi-sensei 6.5.11)
- Squeeze buttocks together in nobiai; think of both upper & lower crosses in nobiai (Yamamoto-sensei 7.10.11)
- At full draw, set the power of tenouchi (L hand) against the power of the R heel; lighten up on the L heel.
- L hand springs up and toward target, not down or back (11.16.03)
- R hand needn't spring back fully in hanare; some archers' hands barely move at release (4.19.03); Honda doesn't care about extent of spring-back; whatever suits the archer is OK (11.16.03, 9.21.08)
- Release should spread chest. Open out! (Sakamoto-sensei 3.29.09)
- Release down, not up or out (Taniguchi-sensei 4.4.12)
- drop weapon and R arm, tap bowtip on floor, then turn head away from target.
"Makiwara Jarei", by Yanagagihara Kousyun-shihan ['Grand Master'] (Seikyukai Bulletin No.103, Oct.10, 1980)
The makiwara (rice-straw practice target), or douzume, was originally a tool to acquire basic shooting techniques. However, it is said that it was added into sharei (ceremonial shooting) in about the Tokugawa era. After that, makiwara jarei (sharei), or makiwara shooting ceremony, became an important ceremony which a high status shooter performs before the yawatashi ceremony for go-shinji (a Shinto ritual), as an opening ceremony of a new dojo, or at a tournament.
In this school (Honda Ryu), a bow made of shiraki (unlacquered, unadorned bamboo) and a pair of tsunogi ('turnip-shaped', because of the oval tip – practice arrows with deerhorn arrowheads) are used.
The bow and the arrows are first stood against the makiwara. (The late Sanetoki-sensei said that this is done in order to sanctify them.) The archer appears at the dojo entrance with his kake (shooting glove) tucked into his kimono front, and it is donned after assuming seiza (sitting on heels) in front of the makiwara. The first arrow (haya) is shot into the upper part of the makiwara and the second one (otoya) into the lower part.
Kiai or yagoe (the vocalized exhalation of spirit at release) is expressed as an extended /eii:/ for haya and a short, cut-off /ja/ for otoya. For the New Year's shooting meet, nothing is said (kiai is not vocalized).
For the New Years meet, the makiwara is set in the direction of the new year's ooban (the name of the star by which the future is foretold; it varies each year). If the arrows are shot in this direction, good luck for the year is gained. However, this is not a requirement of the ceremony.
(translated by Noriko Takahashi, April 13, 2004)
MAKIWARA SHAREI (1.17.99)
Makiwara is set at center of dojo below shai. Shinto rope & papers tied around stand just below straw bale. String tied between 2 front legs halfway up to support arrows; cloth on floor for bowtip & arrow hazus. Kaizoe enters, crosses to makiwara & sets weapon & arrows vertically against its face & the string. Kaizoe leaves. Honda enters to sadamenoza, bows in seiza & we bow to him. Takes fan & paper from kimono & belt & lays them aside.
(Detail: Before entering, fan is inserted in R side of hakama top and folded paper is inside kimono front. Seated at sadamenoza, R hand removes fan vertically, carries it to above R knee, then to above L knee, where the L hand takes it and holds it. Then, R hand removes paper, carries it to above R knee then to L knee, where L hand takes it also (in front of fan). Both are together passed back to the R hand, which lays them on the floor to the front right of the R knee. Back at sadamenoza after the shooting, the items are picked up by the R hand, carried to above R and L knees, and taken with the L hand. R hand returns to R knee, then returns to take the paper, and inserts it into the kimono front. Then R hand takes fan and reinserts it in the hakama right front. Both hands return to thighs.) (10.11.03)
Rises, crosses up to center, sits, puts on glove, bows to makiwara. Rises, crosses to makiwara, sits, takes weapon & arrows & arranges them in L & R hands as usual. Rises, backs about 7 steps, then steps forward to honza, sits, turns R, doffs kimono sleeve. Turns head to look at makiwara, sets arrows to weapon. Rises & performs hassetsu. After 2nd arrow, sits & dons sleeve. Turns to makiwara, rises, backs, sits & lays weapon on floor to his L (then turns weapon with string so that string is inside). Rises & crosses to makiwara. Retrieves arrows, wedging tip of first one under hakama strap while drawing 2nd. Backs back to weapon, sits & retrieves it. Rises, crosses back to makiwara, sits & replaces weapon & arrows against its face ('offering' arrows first). Backs 'way back, sits & bows, removes glove (remove glove to one's R side if one is seated to the R of the sokei (grandmaster) or sensei at the kamiza; remove glove to one's L side if one is seated to the L of the sokei — Sakamoto-sensei 11.6.11). Rises, turns L & goes to sadamenoza (glove in kimono front). Retrieves paper (into kimono front) & fan (into belt), bows, & we bow. Rises & leaves. Kaizoe retrieves weapon & arrows.
SHAREI and KUMITACHI ('sharei' is defined by wearing of kimono, beginning at sadamenoza, and returning to honza between shots – 12.9.01) including YAWATASHI. (The latter is often performed with daiichi kaizoe only or alone.)
- Time on the rhythm set by breathing (11.16.03).
- Look 4 meters ahead, but keep head upright (11.16.03).
- First archer readies at entrance with bowtip on entrance line unless constricted space makes this impossible. Enter. ['Optionally', the first archer enters with weapon and arrows in R hand, weapon held horizontal at the side at its balance point, both arms extended down, L hand w/ fingers closed at L thigh. If so, transfer weapon to L hand (w/o moving L hand from L side—don't reach for bowgrip w/ L), tuck kimono sleeve between weapon and string (archer has already grasped sleeve as R hand brings weapon to L), then hands to hips.] When using sadamenoza, the first archer in is actually the last archer in the shooting line, because their order is reversed when they move from sadamenoza to honza (11.8.08).
- Entrance footwork is: (1) step out with L, (2) step to close w/ R, (3) turn L foot in front of R toward kamidana, and (4) close R to L, then lower bowtip to floor and bow (9.06) – Or (1) step out with L, (2) step onward with R, (3) close L to R, turning L foot in front of R... (3.29.09).
- Raise bowtip ('optionally', only the first archer bows, the next archer stepping out with his L foot as first archer's L foot steps toward sadamenoza (10.05)).
- Turn L foot then step out with R foot toward sadamenoza. Next archer steps into dojo w/ L foot with previous archer's next L toward sadamenoza (11.11.12, Oshima-sensei).
- Cross to sadamenoza with bowtip to R of calf of man in front. Bowtip should be about 30 cm behind previous archer's R heel (the two archers therefore the same distance apart as they will be when shooting at shai).
- Keep upper bowtip always in straight line ahead of R big toe, and always place the tip on the floor when waiting, while raising it 10 cm whenever moving.
- Lone archer positions himself on the sadamenoza opposite the middle of the kamidana or national flag.
- Turn R at sadamenoza ('Ochi', the first archer onto sadamenoza, should pause w/ feet together to allow others to catch up, then put L foot across in front of R , turn R foot and draw L to R to close).
- At beginning of actions at sadamenoza, the first archer onto the sadamenoza (who is actually 'ochi'– shooting last) leads the movements until the last raise of bowtips as the signal to move to honza; that and subsequent movements are led by 'omai' ( the first archer to shoot) (7.11.10, 10.7.12). Whoever is leading should take his movements particularly slowly and deliberately so that others can follow.
- Assume kiza (place R foot at angle behind L heel; draw L knee back to level of R knee [ZNKR slides R knee forward to level of L knee] on descent, then seiza. Upper bowtip moves farther R on descent.
- In kiza, always remember to sit with upper pelvis thrust forward and knees widespread (10.17.05).
- Lay weapon diagonally (at 45°) in front with grip at center line of body (11.8.08). Place it close to the knees (3.29.09). [NOTE: If this portion of the ceremony is performed at honza instead of sadamenoza, then weapon must be turned after it is laid down: grasp string at nakajikake and turn the weapon so that the string is inward – this is a respect-to-the-kamidana matter.]
- Move L hand down along weapon to in front of L knee, then withdraw it, open, to L thigh (10.7.12).
- Pivot arrows low, counter-clockwise & forward under R arm with R hand (R open-handed to avoid contorting R hand) & lay them perpendicular to weapon, feather-base binding just above and on the inside edge of the togashira of grip (at bottom of rattan), placing them down with flat L palm onto the weapon. (Press with L overhand below feathers while R hand opens over tips so that hands are flat & horizontal in opposite directions.)
- Pivot arrows from side of waist, keeping them low (tilt them up, DO NOT pull them in to center of body if very close to adjacent archer (9.27.03).
- If necessary, use hands to lift hakama at the knees to turn 30° toward the kamidana.
- Withdraw both hands (both as curled fists) to thighs.
- Bow, elbows slightly out (12.14.03), sliding hands (both thumbs to curled 1st & 2nd fingers – 2.29.09) along thighs to beside knees and turned 45° forward [ZNKR slides hands to floor first, then out to beside knees, in an 'ell' movement]; at initiation of bow, move torso slightly more upright and raise eyes to kamidana, then lower torso slowly and straight while exhaling.
- Note: an empty L hand is curled to match the R hand at hip and when bowing to kamidana; when bowing to the target, the R hand is open at hip and in the bow (3.29.09). However, this seems to be breached as often as followed.
- While inhaling, raise torso from bow and return hands to thighs (both still as curled fists).
- With L hand reach straight out to weapon, then move first 3 fingers of L hand (9.27.03) along weapon to arrow feathers between weapon & string, and with pressure on the feathers raise the arrows slightly while reversed open overhand R hand grips them at center of shaft slightly (and do not let R elbow twist outward); use L thumb under arrows to support and control them (11.11.12).
- Slide L hand to center of arrowshafts.
- Slide R hand to arrow tips, then L hand to R, and draw arrows tightly to R hip as L hand helps arrows swivel clockwise under R arm to waist position (3.29.09).
- Place R kimono sleeve outside arrow shafts w/ L hand, then return L hand to L thigh (as a curled fist), drawing it across waist.
- Slide L hand down L thigh and reach straight forward to weapon, then slide L hand up to bowgrip.
- Draw weapon toward body while assuming kiza L knee raised, then grasp grip with R hand while L hand puts kimono sleeve inside bowstring.
- Take weapon with L hand and draw R hand across waist to R hip while assuming sonkyo (squatting posture).
- Rise (drawing knees together at beginning of rising movement). Turn R with R foot, step off with L foot (you should always step out with the foot farther from the kamidana, so turn, draw feet together, and then step out), cross to above honza, turn L (L foot turns in front of R), set bowtip to the floor. In deep dojos, archers take 1 or 2 steps down toward honza before halting (11.11.12)
- Raise bowtip, and then L foot first, cross down to 2 steps below shai (or until bowtip reaches edge of dojo floor), stop, look at target, raise briefly onto toes and back down onto heels, with the breaths.
- Continue to look at the target through completion of the kneeling yu (see immediately below).
- Take 2 steps back to shai, R foot first; close feet.
- Still looking at target, assume kiza, L knee raised; bow (yu) to target, placing R knuckles to beside R thigh and looking at target.
- Return R hand to waist.
- Turn R, simultaneously exchanging raised knees and grasping bowgrip near L hip with both hands. Keep both hands close to belly (11.11.12) and keep weapon low during the R turn (3.29.09), then carry it to upright position in front of R shoulder with both hands. While turning R, bring weapon, held at an angle, fully across body w/L hand to R hand; then slide L hand down to push lower part of weapon to vertical (10.7.12).]
- Slide L hand down weapon to lower curve and push it to upright position at R knee with first 3 fingers of L hand; R hand holds bowgrip with thumb and first two fingers. Bowstring should be in front of R shoulder (7.11.10).
- Return L hand to L thigh.
- Doff kimono sleeve [Honda uses first 2 fingers only at sleeve cuff, ZNKR uses all four]. Retract L hand into kimono sleeve and place thumbtip at upper crease where it meets the shoulder. Pause unless shooting alone. Slide thumb down inside of upper crease and reveal two fingers only out of sleeve end, as you turn to look toward target; continue to look at target [ZNKR follows hand movement] as you bend arm toward chest and slightly downward and then straighten it again (3.29.09). Turn head to front as arm re-enters sleeve. Slide entire L hand up UNDER R lapel [ZNKR places thumb only under lapel] to free elbow, then slide L hand back down OVER (thumb tucked under) lapel to neaten it after arm is removed. Sleeve is tucked inside hakama slit, as in ZNKR (11.16.03).
- Replace L hand flat on L thigh.
- Last archer in row taps bowtip slightly when he and those in front of him have finished doffing their sleeves (11.11.12, 11.10.13) so that omae can proceed.
- With R hand, raise weapon slightly off floor, tilt it to the right.
- L hand comes up to grasp bowgrip below R hand and weapon is set vertically in front of L knee with both hands. Set bowtip against L knee to avoid wobbling it.
- Shift from R knee up to L knee up.
- R hand is returned to R hip w/ arrows. Insert R little finger between arrows to spread them for upcoming haya selection (10.7.12)
- Check haya and otoya by turning head to right & swinging arrows forward with R hand until they are in body plane; spread arrows slightly at feather end so that haya can be clearly identified: as you check to select haya, use your little finger to splay the 2 arrows into a 'V' (7.11.10); do not swivel arrows back again.
- Carry R hand to bowstring at waist level & turn weapon 180° while kept in front of L knee, then set it at centerline of body, so that face looks between weapon & string (3.29.09, 10.7.12)
- Carry R hand to bowgrip outside the string, and set arrows to weapon. Each arrow is set in two strokes (1st arrow is set by grasping it w/ R first two fingers in the middle, sliding arrow halfway L; then slide R fingers back to hazu, finish setting and nocking 1st arrow); before setting otoya, tap nock once lightly on floor & shift hand so that first 2 fingers are covering arrow tip, then hold the ready arrow 10 cm to R of string; pivot arrow clockwise to the L till it meets the string about 25 cm away from the arrowtip, then slide it to the L to set in place with tip extending 10 cm from string (i.e. at the first bamboo node); second arrow is placed with main feather UP between middle and ring fingers of L hand (9.23.07) [ZNKR sets otoya between ring and little fingers with hashiriba downward].
- In initially setting arrows to weapon, last archer in line lightly taps his otoya to the ground when he is ready to set it to his weapon, so that all can do so simultaneously (7.6.03).
- Return R hand to R thigh.
- R hand is raised to hazu, both arrows gripped by thumb and first two fingers (11.10.13).
- Assume sonkyo (squatting posture) by raising onto R toes to match L toes.
- Rise by pressing knees toward each other and standing.
- Honda Ryu keeps weapon lower than ZNKR (arrows at shoulder height or at least well below eye level) when rising (11.11.12 Oshima-sensei).
- Perform 2-step ashibumi (as you slide L foot toward it, look at target, then follow line with eyes from target to L big toe, then on to R big toe as you set R foot (Sakamoto-san 9.06) [ZNKR uses one-step method].
- Turn R foot slightly toward center, so that big toe is about 2 cm ahead of L big toe.
- Turn gaze to arrownock.
- Set bowtip on L kneecap and return R hand to hip.
- Tsurushirabe and monomi [ZNKR has monomi after otoya is retrieved to hip and a 2nd monomi for otoya, but Honda has only one monomi for both arrows].
- Turn head to weapon, retrieve otoya by drawing it out rightward to one-half its length overhand (so middle of arrow is at string (9.27.03), then moving R hand carefully around point end, grasp arrow near midpoint from below (and underhand) and draw it completely off the weapon in a straight line.
- Turn arrow vertical (tip up) and drop its nock end lightly to the floor 10 cm ahead of the R big toe, letting arrow slip through the slack R hand to do so. It should tap against the floor only once (i.e. catch it on first bounce! - 9.23.07)
- Hand should finish with index finger upon arrowtip, covering it (9.27.03); lean the arrow toward the target and drop it so that it falls toward the target and across in front of the feet. R hand should not pass midline of body to drop arrow. Swing arm in a slight outward arc so arrow falls to proper position.
- Return R hand to R hip.
- Perform torikake and the rest of the hassetsu.
- After zanshin, bowtip is placed down in front first, and then head is turned away from target (11.11.12)
- Draw feet together and slightly back, R half to L first, then finish by closing L to R.
- Assume kiza, L knee up.
- Draw second arrow to your R side by its hazu only (do not touch feathering – 9.27.03) until its tip is even with R knee; pick it up (push on tip with index fingertip to raise it), tip hidden in glove.
- [At this point, in most forms, we rise, swivel at the feet (turn R foot as you take a broad step back with it, then turn L foot and draw it to R foot) to face target, step back (R first) 3 steps, touch bowtip to floor to signal next archer's rising, then draw back R foot and assume kiza, wait for last archer to shoot his first arrow, assume kiza, retrieve his 2nd arrow & set up his weapon, and then the other archers rise from honza, return to shai, turn to face kamiza, assume kiza, raise weapon, & string their 2nd arrows. If the last archer in the file is shooting tatte (i.e. if he is unable to kneel), then rise & cross down to shai when he removes his 2nd arrow from his hakama pleat (7.11.10).]
- As previous archer backs from shai, next archer grasps his hazu in preparation to rise.(10.7.12, 11.10.13)
- On previous archer's tap of the bowtip, the next archer assumes sonkyo, and he rises as previous archer descends to kiza at honza (7.11.10).
- Raise weapon at L knee, reach R hand to bowstring at waist level, turn weapon 180°, draw it to centerline of body, and set otoya in two strokes as above.
- Return R hand to hip.
- Grasp hazu with R hand, rise to sonkyo, then stand, and perform hassetsu without monomi beforehand (look at target for ashibumi, of course).
- After zanshin, close feet.
- [Turn R foot to face target as before, 3 steps back, assume kiza; on next archer's torikake, turn half R (3.29.09) to face lowest corner of kamiza (11.10.13).]
- Assume kiza, RIGHT knee up, as you raise weapon to R knee and R hand grips it at togashira.
- Slide L hand down weapon and push it to vertical with 3 fingers.
- Return L hand to thigh.
- Don kimono sleeve. To insert L elbow, L hand slides under R armpit (11.11.12); keep elbow tight to side of body for ease of insertion. Honda straightens up underkimono while hand is still within sleeve. Straighten lapels and tuck L lapel snugly into waist, then return L hand to thigh.
- When donning sleeve, set weapon base right against R knee (7.11.10).
- If you are unable to don your sleeve after two attempts, (1) switch knees, (2) lay weapon across L thigh, (3) use R hand to help yourself into sleeve, (4) change knees and return weapon to R hand (11.10.13)
- [If you are not wearing a kimono but the previous archer is, wait for him to don his sleeve & turn to target, then bow together, rise & retreat to above honza together (7.11.10).]
- Raise weapon slightly from floor (DON'T move it L), cant it to the right as you turn left by switching raised knees; simultaneously, R hand carries bowgrip to L hand (which remains at L hip) then returns to R thigh. Weapon is always brougt to L hand at L hip, like sheathing a sword (11.10.13).
- Hold weapon with R fingers while L hand puts kimono sleeve between weapon & string.
- Take weapon with L hand.
- Ceremonially run R hand down both lapels to straighten them, pull top of R lapel over toward center of body with R little finger, run down L lapel to straighten it with R little finger, then brush mon (crests) at each shoulder (L to R) with R little finger, then pull L sleeve crease over to top of arm with R little finger (11.22.03). I think I have recorded this procedure in a different order elsewhere; there may be variation— and (11.11.12) I was told that straightening was in this order: down lapels, then L sleeve, pull L lapel, pull R lapel.
- Return R hand to R thigh.
- Bow (yu) to target, taking R knuckles to beside R knee, and return to upright position.
- Assume sonkyo, then rise, step backward (R foot first) to above honza.
- Assume kiza and wait for other archers, if you are shooting in a group.
[-As last archer backs toward honza at end, waiting archers stand and raise bowtips, so that last archer does not touch his bowtip down when he joins the line, but simply turns L.]
- Turn L (turn L foot then step out with R foot) and cross to above sadamenoza, then turn R, L foot first.
- Cross to center of sadamenoza & turn R, L foot first, to face kamidana.
- Assume kiza then seiza, then place weapon diagonally in front.
- Return L hand to L thigh.
- Moving L hand to R side (do not move glove toward front of body 9.27.03), undo glovestrap by unwinding three times around the immobile glove; then tuck folded strap between R ring and little fingers [or inside palm?]. Neaten kimono front. [NOTE: if shooting is 'tatte' (standing), then glove-loosening is not performed.]
- If required, lift hakama at knees with hands to move knees 30° to face kamidana.
- Return curled L hand to thigh and R hand to waist; straighten kimono lapels again if necessary, then bow (both hands curled) (10.7.12).
- Return to upright posture.
- L hand takes weapon to waist, R hand takes weapon at togashira with thumb & index finger, L hand puts kimono sleeve between string & weapon.
- L hand retakes weapon, assume sonkyo as R hand returns to waist.
- Rise, [do not step back; in ZNKR yawatashi, Ite steps back one step before turning] turn R (turn R foot R then step out with L foot), cross to exit, turn to face kamidana (always, opposite foot turns in front of turning-side foot), bow and leave (7.6.03). ('Optionally', only the last archer turns to bow at the end)(10.05, 9.06). R foot crosses exit line first (within 3 steps, as with ZNKR).
- Note re daini kaizoe in yawatashi: arrows are retrieved from target after 2nd arrow. Daini crosses to target, squats, take first arrow & places it point foremost into the backband of his hakama. He retrieves the 2nd arrow then places it also in the backband, then immediately withdraws both arrows together and carries them to his waist, rises, turns R & returns to dojo as with ZNKR.
KUMITACHI or GO-NIN MOCHIMATO (5-man, 5-target) SHAREI (REISHA). As with SHAREI/YAWATASHI except/plus/reviewing (6.19.99 ff):
SHORT FORM (Directly to honza instead of via sadamenoza (3.29.09):
- Enter L, R, then L crosses in front of R toes and bow
- Walk along above honza, turn and cross down to honza; bowtip down to floor
- Turn half R, assume seiza and bow (yu) to kamiza
- Turn half more R while changing knees (L to R)
- Remove kimono sleeve, turn back to target and wait
- On last tsurune of previous tachi, yu to target
- Stand, cross down to shai, turn R (L foot in front of R toes), assume kiza and set up weapon
- For the stringing of otoya, the first archer (omae) sets up his weapon on the 3rd archer's tsurune
- After the 2nd shot, walk off toward kamiza and exit.
CEREMONIAL & TEST STYLE:
- Previous archer shoots & retrieves his otoya. Grasp hazu when previous archer takes first step back from shai (7.6.03); assume sonkyo (squat) as previous archer taps down his bowtip, then rise (slightly raising weapon from floor before going to sonkyo – 11.16.03) as previous archer steps back to sit at honza. (If necessary, lean slightly on weapon to rise!) [competition style: squat then rise as previous archer turns to face target after his shot.]
- Hassetsu as in sharei/yawatashi above (6.03).
- After zanshin, assume kiza.
- Pick otoya up & squat then rise; close feet.
- Turn to face mato by R foot stepping half back at right angle, then 5 steps back (8.16.03) & assume kiza.
- Wait for last shooter.
- As 5th archer sets up his yumi again (tapping bowtip audibly), other archers rise together, cross to shai, turn R (L foot in front of R), assume kiza.
- Raise yumis together at L knee, turn yumi & place in center, string otoya (2 strokes).
- R hand to arrow nock & rise as previous archer sits at honza; hassetsu as before
- After zanshin, close R foot half to L, then swivel L (by R foot turning L) to face target, close feet (same as before).
- 5 steps back & assume kiza (L knee up).
- On next archer's torikake, turn R 45° (or to face kamidana), raising yumi & changing knees. Take yumi with R hand & don kimono sleeve. Take nigiri with L hand & turn back L, changing knees & lowering yumi to side.
- [If you do not wear a kimono, ignore previous step. Do not turn R, simply wait in kiza until next archer's torikake.]
- Bow to target, placing R knuckles at R knee.
- Rise & take 3-7 steps, depending on dojo depth (8.16.03) farther back to row of finished archers above honza, take kiza.
- [Last archer after zanshin: LEFT foot back & take kiza with RIGHT knee up as yumi is brought across to R hand. Don sleeve. (If no kimono, set up weapon at R knee, L hand to waist, then tilt weapon immediately & turn L without moving L hand from waist, placing weapon into L hand as you turn). Take yumi with L hand as you turn L to face target & change knees. Bow with R knuckles to knee. Rise & back all the way to waiting archers.]
- When last archer returns to this line, rise together, turn L (turn L foot then step out with R), cross to sadamenoza (turning R by stepping across with L foot), take seiza.
- Remove glove strap.
- Together bow, then pick up yumi.
- Rise. Turn R (R foot turns, step out with L) & exit.
RISSHAREI or TATTE (STANDING SHAREI) – 5-man Mochimato or Yawatashi (7.4.04)
- Enter, weapon in L hand (but first archer enters with weaponin L hand and changes it to his R at the entrance).
- Bow (yu) (optionally, first archer only) and cross to sadamenoza.
- Turn to face kamiza, bowtip to floor in front of R big toe, then standing bow in 'yu'.
- Raise bowtip, turn L and then R (usually; it depends on dojo dimensions), cross to honza, turn to face target.
- A FORM: [cross down to two steps below shai, looking at mato as you walk down.
- Raise onto toes with breaths.
- Two steps back to shai, bowtip down, and bow in 'yu']
- Or B FORM: [2 steps down to honza, bowtip to floor, 'yu', raise bowtip, continue down to shai.]
- Standing turn R to feet-together position before forming ashibumi.
- On first step of ashibumi, raise weapon toward target with outstretched L arm (string is up against back of arm, bowtip 10 cm from floor), look at target and assume ashibumi, then look forward as you carry weapon vertically to R side of body, string directly in front of R shoulder.
- Grasping upper bend of weapon R hand (with 2 fingers in front and thumb behind) at shoulder height, set its motohazu to even with R heel near front of foot. Keep R elbow high, so that whole R arm is at level of shoulder.
- L hand to hip.
- Remove kimono sleeve, and return L hand to hip.
- Slide R hand down a few centimeters, then tip weapon R by turning R arm 45° (in yawatashi, 90°, or horizontal), reach to lower curve of weapon with L hand, then slide it up & grasp nigiri.
- With both hands still on weapon, loosen grip to let weapon turn so string is down.
- L hand turns weapon to vertical as R hand to hip.
- Check haya, string arrows (otoya is set to weapon by swinging it outward (toward kamiza), then set motohazu on knee and return R hand to hip.
- All but omae then swing weapons 45° toward target from L knee as first archer takes otoya.
- Monomi in turn [2, 3, 4, 5 archers hold weapon at 45° toward target while waiting for previous archer to shoot. Pivot weapon back to in front of body when previous archer releases, then continue with hassetsu.]
- Remove otoya, tap on floor, & place its tip in 2nd L pleat of hakama, with feathered end on the floor & out from body plane.
- Perform hassetsu.
- Then take otoya (push tip into glove against bowgrip).
- (After their first shot, the first 4 archers turn to face target and back three steps to honza, then return to shai, turn R, and take ashibumi as before on last archer's yudaoshi. Last archer then raises his weapon together with the others.)
- [The turn after first shot: Close feet after shot (2-step); turn R foot in front of L foot; turn body L and close feet; step back with R foot first.]
- R hand to hip, then turn weapon, and raise it vertically in front of body to string otoya; set weapon onto L knee, and R hand to hip.
- Swivel weapon 45° toward target on omae's torikake; pivot it back on previous archer's release.
- Form toritake on previous archer's backing away from shai. Archers return on last archer's taking up otoya; point weapon tip at target again.
- After 2nd shot:
- A FORM: [turn to face target, close feet, then back 2 steps (R first) – the reverse steps to forming standing ashibumi]. - Take ashibumi at 45° to kamidana by stepping out and back with R foot only while carrying weapon to R hand at shoulder level.
- Replace kimono sleeve.
- Close feet (L foot half in then close R to L) to face target while returning weapon to L hand at hip.
- Place sleeve inside bowstring, straighten sleeve and lapels, then bow (yu).
- 3 steps back to honza.]
- Or B FORM: [from zanshin, stand weapon to R hand & replace kimono sleeve. Turn to target as weapon is carried to L hand; ZNKR does not move feet from ashibumi position on turn, but Honda takes a half step toward target with R foot in turning. Three steps back, 'yu', three more steps back.]
- [Last archer:
- After zanshin, yudaoshi, keep ashibumi.
- Weapon to R hand.
- Replace kimono sleeve.
- Weapon to L hand while turning to face target, and bow in 'yu'.
- Step back to honza (to other archers). Touch bowtip down as a signal, then bowtip up, turn L.]
- Return to sadamenoza, then bowtip down.
- Standing 'rei' (ochi leads), bowtip up.
- Cross to exit, bow and exit.(Optionally, only last archer out bows, 'yu'.)
KURIOH OHMAE (3-NIN, HITOTSU MATO) (Note: procedure is the same for 4-nin – or even with 2-nin, which I tried once – you must be brisk, though!) As with sharei & 5-nin mochimato, but timing, variations and additional notes are:
- Enter as usual (first archer only bows), cross to sadamenoza.
- After bow at sadamenoza (not that even with weapons and arrows laid down, bow is with knuckles to knees, not open-handed), 3 archers cross so that first one is in front of target at honza.
- In seated bow to target at shai, all look straight ahead; only the first archer looks at target, which is directly in front of him (12.14.03).
- Turn R, doff kimono sleeve, string arrows.
- First archer executes hassetsu.
- After first archer has shot, assumed kiza & retrieved otoya, all 3 rise simultaneously (2nd & 3rd take hazu as 1st takes arrowpoint of otoya).
- First archer turns to face mato then steps back (3-5 steps or as many as next archer needs to reach shai), while other two step toward shai, the next shooter in monomi (head facing target, assumed as 1st archer turns).
- First archer taps down bowtip to signal start of ashibumi for archer #2 (for haya only).
- As new shooter assumes ashibumi, other two assume kiza. [As new archer moves L foot into ashibumi, other two slide their R feet back; as new archer moves R foot to complete ashibumi, other two go to kiza (12.14.03)]
- As shooter starts torikake, previous shooter rises & crosses to back of line (turns L foot 45° then steps off with R foot), turns to face kamiza (L foot turns R), assumes kiza & strings otoya.
- This routine is repeated for third archer, & then first archer's 2nd shot.
- After first archer's 2nd shot, he turns to face target (R foot turns L in front of L) & other two rise (they take hazu and assume sonkyo on 1st's yudaoshi, rise on 1st's turn to target, and next archer assumes monomi on 1st's first step back).
- First archer steps back slightly to the right (or straight back, depending on the dojo) 3-5 steps while other two step toward shai, next shooter in monomi.
- 1st and 3rd archers assume kiza on 2nd archer's ashibumi.
- 1st archer (turns 45° R – actually, faces kamidana (7.6.03) – upon 2nd's torikake & dons kimono sleeve if appropriate, then turns back & bows, then rises & backs a further 3 steps to honza (curving slightly to his right, so that 2nd archer can move straight back) & assumes kiza while 2nd archer shoots.
- 2nd archer backs away straight back from shai (or toward the L) while 3rd archer rises & crosses to shai.
- 2nd archer assumes kiza on 3rd archer's ashibumi.
- 2nd dons kimono sleeve, etc.
- After shot, 3rd archer assumes kiza (RIGHT knee up), dons sleeve if necessary, then turns & bows at shai, then rises & backs 3 broad curving steps L (back from shai and away from kamidana), then walks forward toward other archers (he has turned himself half around with these curving steps) & reassumes place in line (R foot crosses in front of L to turn 180° in kamidana direction).
- The 3 broad curving steps: (1) R foot steps backward, behind and to the right of L foot, so that they are roughly right angles; (2) L foot moves back to join and pass R foot (L is now facing almost directly away from targets); and (3) R foot steps out in a forward direction (toward honza). [I really have to figure out how to include graphics in these notes.]
- Others rise as he arrives (i.e. before he turns around to face target) & they turn L & cross back to sadamenoza.
- Laying yumi in front again (ochi leads), they loosen their gloves at their sides, straighten kimono again, bow, retrieve yumis, rise & exit. Optionally (that is, if only the first to enter bowed), only the last to leave bows.
6.30 Other Taihai Notes and Competitive Formats
- R hand to arrow nocks & rise via squat as archer in front squats at honza [ceremonial/test style]; rise as archer in front turns to face target after his shot [competition style].
- On hanare behind you, raise weapon at L knee (keeping upper tip on centerline of body).
A Variation (5-man, 10.23.99)
- Step in with weapon & arrow in R hand, weapon gripped above nigiri.
- Raise weapon to in front, take with L hand, carry both hands to waist, & bow.
- Cross to honza, face target, assume seiza.
- Lay down weapon at 45° in front, turn string inward by lifting string at nakajikake.
- Place arrows, feathers foremost, perpendicularly across nigiri (see 5-nin mochi for details).
- Hands to hips.
- Hands to hakama above knees, lift fabric, 'step' legs 45° to R, hands to hips.
- Bow (knuckles to floor at side of knees, palms up, thumbs to 1st two fingers).
- Hands to hakama above knees, lift fabric, 'step' legs back to face target, hands to hips.
- Retrieve arrows, then weapon, & assume kiza.
- Rise, cross down, & shoot as above.
- Wait in kiza for last archer to return & sit in line above honza.
- Assume seiza, lay weapon in front at 45°.
- Loosen glove at R side & hold rolled strap in hand; hands to hips.
- Lift hakama fabric above knees & 'step' legs 45° to R; hands to waist, then bow.
- Turn back similarly, retrieve weapon, rise & exit.
STANDING COMPETITIVE TAIHAI (4-ARROW, 5-ARCHER) (7.11.09)
- Enter in line, bow, cross to above honza, turn L to face targets.
- Cross down to honza, standing bow to target.
- Cross down to shai, stop (feet together).
- Turn torso half R, setting L foot in ashibumi and pointing weapon's upper tip to floor in target direction, L arm outstretched.
- Set R foot, straighten torso to shooting line.
- Bend L arm toward body so upper bowtip touches floor to the R and in front of R foot.
- Bend over and set 4 arrows on the floor, tips at center line of body, in order of haya, otoya, haya, otoya.
- Select outermost arrow by its tip and stand erect, R hand at hip.
- Raise weapon in front, set arrow to string, and place bowtip on kneecap.
- First archer performs monomi (each archer will perform monomi on first arrow ONLY), and other archers swing their weapons outward toward their target, pivoting it from the knee, so that it is 45 degrees to the L from the body plane, L arm extended, lower bowtip still on knee, and at the same time placing R hand on hip.
- With previous archer's uchiokoshi, next archer swings weapon back to in front of body and makes dozukuri.
KUMITACHI (en masse) (8.26.01)
- First tachi (row of 5 shooters) removes kimono sleeve as part of shooting; others should remove their sleeves before entering.
- Enter, bow, cross to 2 steps above honza.
- Turn L (R foot first), step down to honza, kiza, knuckle-bow, rise, cross to shai.
- Turn R while standing (L foot first), kiza, set arrows (last archer taps otoya loudly before setting).
- Rise on prior torikake, drop otoya at feet.
- Torikake on prior hanare (?).
- Shoot, kiza, retrieve otoya.
- Set arrow to weapon (first 3 archers raise weapons on 4th hanare).
- First archer rise for 2nd shot on 5th's hanare.
- Close feet, turn L (R foot first), back to above honza, turn L foot L then R foot leads, walking directly off.
5-man Kumitachi for Installation Ceremony for 4th Honda Grandmaster (ryakushiki: simplified style) (11.02)
- Enter, bow, cross to 2 steps above honza, cross along honza, turn L, take two steps down to honza.
- Standing turn 45° R, assume kiza then seiza and bow to kamiza (R knuckles to beside R knee).
- Assume kiza with R knee raised and doff kimono sleeve.
- Turn L to face target, switching knees in the process, and bow again.
- Rise and cross to shai.
- Standing turn R, assume kiza and set arrows to weapon.
- 3rd through 5th archers rise on 2nd-previous archer's (2 archers before) tsurune (sound of the released string).
- First archer raises bow again on 4th archer's tsurune.
- After 2nd shot, leave line and cross to the exit (kimono sleeve remains off).
Notes on a Death Memorial Shooting (4.07)
- For the yawatashi and tachi shooting, the targets were covered with unmarked white paper. A small loop of black ribbon was affixed to the upper tip of each archer's weapon. Black-framed photos of the deceased were displayed at the kamidana.
For 5-man kumitachi:
- Enter, first archer only bows (rei).
- Cross to above honza.
- Turn 45° toward kamidana, kiza, bow to photographs.
- Turn a further 45° while changing raised knees (R for L) and doff kimono sleeve.
- Turn back to target (change knees again) and bow (yu).
- Rise & cross to shai; turn R.
- Kiza, string arrows.
- Rise on dropping of previous archer's otoya.
- After shot, assume kiza, string otoya.
- After second shot, exit.
Honda Ryu Memorial Shooting for Taniguchi Shoichiro-sensei, Kyoshi 7-dan (10 April 2016)
A small loop of black ribbon was affixed to the upper tip of each archer's weapon. Black-framed photos of the deceased were displayed at the kamidana.
1. Yawatashi by Oshima-sensei
2. Five-archer formal sharei (kumitachi) by 5 senior archers
3. Formal 5-archer shooting by other members with this taihai:
- Enter as usual, first archer only bowing.
- Cross to above honza, turn L and stop, bowtip down.
- Raise bowtip from floor and cross down to honza.
- Turn 1/2 right (45 degrees) to face deceased's photo at shinzen
- Assume seiza and bow, R knuckles to floor.
- Assume kiza, turn a further 45 degrees right, and raise left knee.
- Raise weapon to R knee and doff L kimono sleeve.
- Pivot left, changing knees and face target as weapon is received by L hand.
- Bow to target, R knuckles to floor.
- Rise and step down to shai.
- Turn right to face kamiza and assume kiza.
- Raise bow and string arrows together.
- Rise on previous archer's dozukuri.
- Uchiokishi on previous archer's hanare.
- Reassume kiza in place after zanshin.
- Raise weapon and strong otoya on 4 archer's hanare.
- After 2nd shot, close feet, leave shai toward kamiza R foot first
- Return to rear exit (no bow).
6.35 Miscellaneous Competition Notes
- In competitive yotsuya, after laying down 4 arrows, retrieve them one at a time, not two at a time; monomi before first arrow only.
6.40 Accidents (Shitsu)
DROPPED ARROW in tachi (2.13.2010)
- Assume kiza.
- If it is the 1st arrow, place 2nd arrow in L hand with bowgrip.
- Retrieve 1st arrow and place it in L hand with 2nd arrow.
- Take both arrows into R hand & carry to R hip.
- (NB: If it is 2nd arrow, simply retrieve it with R hand).
- Stand & retreat to honza; assume kiza.
- Drop 1st arrow to R side and helper will retrieve it.
6.50 Notes on gear
- Alternative method of tying hakama:
a. tie back ties as usual.
b. pull front straps around to front, fold each back on its underside, and pinch ends by pressure against the waist, doubling the strap.
c. Bring halved/doubled straps to front, crossing the L over the R just below beltline.
d. Tuck L one in front and under previous straps and bring up at the back; snug tight (L up, R down).
e. Tie half-hitch with L strap continuing over R.
f. Tease both protruding ends up.
g. Good luck trying to follow my directions.