Amid unseasonably warm temperatures at our practice session Sunday January 18th, Sensei offered his usual generous instruction to all who would ask.
One lesson related to the retirement of a ya whose bamboo had a split in the middle. Sensei explained that the weakness could fail if the ya were drawn under the tension of a strong yumi. In the worst case, a practitioner could be injured in the face, arm or hand by the explosion of bamboo splinters. Clearly it was time to retire this particular ya. Instead of simply discarding it, Sensei instructed that the end and tip be removed and saved for future use and the ya itself be set aside to become a flagpost for an upcoming ceremony.
We ended practice a bit early to stack wood and gather kindling. We burn through a fair amount of wood since Sensei likes the warmth, and the cinder block structure of the dojo (aka "the ice box") often maintains a colder temperature inside than out!