Archive for September, 2010

AKR Seminar 2011

The latest word is that the 2011 American Kyudo Renmei seminar has been approved by the ANKF and will be held at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota. The closest airport is Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport.

The schedule is as follows:

Monday, August 1st……………Advanced Seminar (4th dan and higher)
Tuesday, August 2nd………….Regular Seminar Day 1 (all levels)
Wednesday, August 3rd……….Regular Seminar Day 2
Thursday, August 4th…………..Regular Seminar Day 3
Friday, August 5th……………….Rank Examination

Check with your sensei for more information as it becomes available and you may check the following link, as well:


I know we are all looking forward to getting together once again. See you there!

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More than grass and string.
It is heart,
It is connection.

The bow knows the Way.
The doing is in the not doing.
Do not interfere with the way.

Control and desire destroy beauty.
Striving for non-striving,
No trying.

Movement creating art,
Flowing as smoothly as time,
One second

to the next

at its own


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The truth of a thing is the feel of it, not the think of it.– Stanley Kubrick

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My usage of the word “try” was pointed out to me. Prior to this discussion, the word “try” made sense to me, mainly because I try to be accurate in what I say. I try to be true to my word. By using the word “try” I am covered if I fall short of my goal.

What I had not considered is that I am mentally setting myself up for the likelihood of failure before I ever begin. “Try” is not a very powerful or confident word. Think about the two following scenarios:

(I need to ship a very important package. “It absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” I am checking, making phone calls.)

Shipper #1:
Me: “I must have this package delivered tomorrow morning. Can you do this?”
Shipper: “Yes, we offer overnight service. We will try to deliver your shipment in the morning.”

Shipper #2:
Me: “I must have this package delivered tomorrow morning. Can you do this?”
Shipper: “Yes, we offer overnight service. We will deliver your shipment in the morning!”

Even if both of these shippers put forth the same amount of effort to get the job done, I am going with shipper #2. They exhibit the kind of confidence you can count on. Realistically speaking, there will be instances when we fall short of our goals, but we should not start out limiting ourselves before we ever begin. We have to have confidence in our shooting.

So, listen to yourself as you talk and think. How often do you use the word “try”?

As the wise Jedi Master Yoda said, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

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Kyudo: Breathing

In Kyudo, we are taught fairly early on how important the breathing is. I’ve heard more than once from Blackwell Sensei, “Don’t stop breathing, at least not in my class!” We are instructed to breathe from the tanden. Without focused effort, at least initially, it is easy to slip back into breathing from the chest.

In Don Rabska’s article, Breathing for Better Performance, (Archery Focus, July/August 1999), he points out that proper breathing will help:
1. regulate your shot timing
2. maintain focus
3. provide adequate oxygen for clear thinking
4. contribute to relaxation
5. sustain body stability

He goes on to explain that upper chest breathing causes the stomach to rise on the “in” breath, the ribs to move up, resulting in the shoulders moving, thus affecting the overall shot.

To practice your breathing he suggests sitting on a firm chair, half way back on the seat, having your back straight and chin centered over the sternum. Imagine an air tube running from the nose to the tanden. Focus on the air flowing in through this tube as you breathe. The “out” breath should be slowly exhaled taking nearly twice as long as the “in” breath, using basic meditation breathing techniques. With practice breathing from the diaphragm, there will be minimal movement in the chest. The shoulders will remain low and relaxed, while any movement will be confined to the abdomen.

Even if we can’t make it to the dojo to shoot every day, we can usually find simple ways to work on improving our skills for when we do. As Blackwell Sensei pointed out one day, if you are able to stand up straight, you are able to put your mind in the dojo.

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