Sunday, February 22, 2009

Today Level 3 Shambhala training students visited the dojo. They heard Alex Halpern give a brief explanation of kyudo and watched Carolyn Kanjuro demonstrate. This was followed by a question and answer gathering (pictured above).

One question was: "Sensei, what is the hardest part of teaching kyudo to Westerners?" Sensei: "Meditation heart. People so quickly give up when the weather changes. True meditation is based on perseverance, regardless of outer circumstances."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Calligraphy books ready!

After months of detailed work on Carolyn's part, Sensei's calligraphy books will be soon ready to ship! Above, Sensei signs the first copy. Below are a few more photos of the work that went into finishing the handmade books. To see more photos, see the post in this blog from December 24, 2008.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Stringing a yumi

On February 15, Sensei demonstrated the use of the dojo's newly installed wood block for stringing yumi. Thank you to Vajra Rich for designing, constructing and installing it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Eastern Sun Academy visit

Students, parents and teachers from the Eastern Sun Academy visited the dojo today. Shibata Sensei gave them a lesson in Japanese history, including some graphic descriptions of the 47 samurai who committed seppuku -- a strong diet for 8-year-olds, but it held everyone's attention. He described kyudo as completely different from sports or fighting forms. In kyudo one isn't working to perfect something (like getting a 100% on a test) or to beat someone else. Instead, it is a conversation with one's own heart. Through kyudo practice, we look into a mirror, but it's not like an ordinary mirror where we merely see our faces or fix our hair. It's something much deeper, a way to see not only our front selves, but what is behind and within. In practice, we can check ourselves to see whether we are on a clear path or if we are holding some tricky or mistaken ideas.

He told the children that loyalty is very important and one aspect of loyalty is to love your country. Only if you love your country can you offer help. Now, he said, America is experiencing a great economic downturn. The way to real recovery is through this conversation with our hearts and becoming strong from that clarity. He added that we are fortunate now to have someone in power in this country, Obama, who has a bit of the feeling of Abraham Lincoln (Sensei's all time favorite US president).

Vajra Rich and Bryant Lord (pictured above) provided demonstrations for the visitors who in turn expressed appreciation and gratitude after the warm gathering.

[From Carolyn Kanjuro]

Sunday, February 1, 2009

For 2009

Today Shibata Sensei was full of energy, and the day was clear and bright. His message to us was:

"We have a new slogan for 2009: Do not forget your beginner's heart! Also, do not think about quickly becoming good in your practice or trying to get good at hitting the target. In Kendo, Judo, or various budo forms, you have some kind of ambition for improvement in the form. In Kyudo, you are simply having a conversation with your own heart. That is the point of the practice. Kyudo is a long road, a long practice. My great hope is that you all will not forget your beginners' hearts!"