Godo Geiko - Hosted by SCKR (SoCal)
The Spring Godo Geiko was hosted by the SoCal group and held at Fullerton Union High School gym, Fullerton, CA the weekend of May 14-15, 2012. There were 39 people attending the event, including 14 from the NCKF. We were split into two groups by rank (mudan-nidan and sandan-up). Yoshiko sensei was chief instructor, and taught the senior group, with assistance from Junko san. Steve sensei taught the junior group, with assistance from Owaki san. After the opening 2-arrow shooting, we divided into the two groups for training. At the end of the first day, we practiced tournament timing and held a tournament (no teams, just individuals). Prizes were awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each of the junior and senior group.
During the training, the junior group focused on taihai, shooting technique, and shitsu recovery. The senior group received excellent preparation for the US seminar by Yoshiko sensei's instruction on the basics -- assemble quickly, take care to look proper when wearing a kimono, always wear zori (not western shoes) when in kimono attire, follow the lead of the instructor (if he or she is in seiza, the students should be in seiza). We also were cautioned to be prepared to do shitsu recovery quickly, and plan to have people ready to assist with re-stringing the bow, returning the bow, and attending to dropped arrows. We also experienced gensoku timing in mochimato sharei, which was a good experience in stamina training.
The SoCal folks with strong bows (20-24kg) helped us with a test of the azuchi and double-net to be used at the 2012 AKR seminar. The test helped us finalize the decision to borrow the SoCal styrofoam azuchi, as it is free standing and will make the best use of the limited space we have at UC Davis. We will cover the face with a layer of black ethafoam so the azuchi appearance will be much improved. Steve sensei, Miho san, and Eric Ruth all helped by transporting azuchi pieces, a 50-foot net, a 3-shajo maku and other essential components that we will borrow from the SoCal group. Jon will bring up the remaining azuchi pieces in June.
Also in planning for the 2012 AKR seminar, a sensei care committee has been assembled, comprising Japanese speaking women of the NCKF and SCaKR groups. Theis group met during the Godo Geiko to make plans for the upcoming 2012 AKR seminar.
Spring Godo Gieko May 14-15, 2012: From a Junior NCKF Member Perspective
As a junior member of the NCKF, attending the spring Godo Gieko (hosted by the SoCal group in Fullerton, CA) was truly an educational and memorable experience. The Godo Gieko consisted of a tournament and several learning sessions. Steve sensei, with the help of Owaki-san, took on the primary role of instructing the junior students. Steven sensei patiently described and demonstrated the fundamentals for proper taihai, shooting techniques and shitsu (mistake) recovery.
For taihai, we were taught the correct way to walk, sit, stand, turn and bow. Special emphasis was placed on proper breathing, posture and centering of our movements. In terms of shooting techniques, Steve-sensei focused on the importance of forming a proper tenouchi (arrangement of the left hand grip of the bow). While we were shooting, Steve-sensei and Owaki-san gave us one-on-one instructions on how to improve our individual shooting techniques. Finally, for shitsu recovery, Steve-sensei demonstrated and asked us to practice a variety of shitsu possibilities (such as dropping an arrow, bow or breaking a bow string). Steve-sensei reminded us that the three key points to recovering from shitsu are: to always maintain proper taihai, recover quickly and yu (bow) to apologize after shitsu.
During the two day seminar, we were encouraged to ask many questions. We were not just provided answers, but opportunities to have hands-on experiences that allowed us to comprehend and appreciate each answer. In addition to Steve-sensei's instructions, at the the end of Sunday, we had a "question and answer" session where we could ask any kyudo-related questions to the senior members. With Yoshiko-sensei and Steve-sensei moderating, this interactive session was not only informative, it also provided a fantastic opportunity for the junior students to interact and learn from our senpais regarding the fundamental teachings of kyudo.
The 2012 spring Godo Gieko was a fantastic opportunity for a junior NCKF member to learn, improve and be a part of this growing kyudo community in California.