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Thread: Zen Bow Zen Arrow - The life of Master Awa Kenzo

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    Default Zen Bow Zen Arrow - The life of Master Awa Kenzo

    I recently picked up John Stevens book Zen Bow, Zen Arrow about the Kyudo Master Awa Kenzo. Prof. Stevens book the Sword of No Sword on Yamaoka Tesshu, is also superb.

    I found the book, which I read in one afternoon over a cigar, way beyond what I expected. It was excellent. The book is divided into 3 sections - Historical background of the teacher with the second part a translation of some of Kenzo's writings and thirdly several zen stories concerning archery.

    What I would like to direct you to is a section in the notes. It is almost like John Stevens read the previous thread called “The myth of Zen in the art of Archery” wherein over a 5 year period people jumped on the Yamada Shoji bandwagon that basically ridiculed Herrigal and Awa. It is absolutely refreshing to get to the facts. For those who do not know Prof. Stevens background he is Professor of Buddhist Studies at Tohoku Fukushi University – Sendai where Awa Kenzo lived and taught Kyudo. Professor Stevens is also a 7th Dan in Aikido (aikikai) and has lived in Japan since 1973. He is often used to authenticate Japanese calligraphy.

    I hope this sheds some light on the mistakes made in Yamada Shoji article "The myth of Zen in the Art of Archery". If you have not read it I suggest you google it and read it before reading any further.

    Aloha,

    TLR

    Quoted directly from the book page 90 - 93:

    2. Recently, small-fry academics (the same pendants who claim that D.T. Suzuki did not really understand Zen) have criticized what they call the "Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery. They state that most modern archers in Japan practice archery with no reference to Zen. This is News?
    They maintain that Awa Kenzo is not typical of Japanese master archers. No surprise there either, and in fact most readers realize that Kenzo was the exception, not the rule for martial arts teachers. Of course, Kenzo was not at all representative of Japanese archers - he was one of a kind, someone who epitomized the best of the particular tradition. And of course, many would oppose his innovations - in Kenzo's case he had rocks thrown at him during demonstrations - just as they would oppose other great masters. But despite the many who opposed Awa, his organization eventually had more then fourteen thousand members all over Japan, so it was perfectly understandable for Herrigel to believe that Kenzo was teaching him true archery and to present him as perhaps the most important archery instructor in the country.
    More preposterous is the argument that Kenzo's understanding of Zen was faulty because it seems, Kenzo never did formal meditation or was certified by a Zen teacher. This is a gross misunderstanding of what Zen is meant to be. Right from the beginning of the Zen tradition, Zen as never been strictly a matter of formal seated meditation or certification from an "official" organization. Zen history is replete with examples of eccentric monks, zany laymen and women, Zen grannies, vagabond, and other outsiders who had intuitive understanding of Zen completely independent of formal meditation practices or study of monastic institution. It is ridiculous to contend that Kenzo did not understand Zen (or even archery itself) simply because he was not associated with any Zen teacher or organization. kenzo's understanding of Zen was as profound, and his enlightenment experience as eep, as anyone's during that period. Even more bizarre is the claim that Awa was not teaching Herrigel Zen in the art of archery. This is despite such explicit statements by Kenzo as "When the Bow and the self are one, that is Zen" and "In the full draw of the Bow your mind should be in the same state as in Zen meditation" Since Kenzo often brushed calligraphy that read "the Bow and Zen are One" (see page 28) and Laced his talks and writings with Zen expressions, it is perfectly natural that Herrigal would entitle his book Zen in the Art of Archery. What else would he have called it? Furthermore, Herrigel did not use the expression "Zen in the Art of Archery" just because he was a foreigner. Yoshida Yoshiyasu (1891 - 1985) perhaps Kenzo's most talented Japanese disciple opened a "Zen Bow dojo” and said about Kenzo almost exactly the same things as Herrigel. (Having said all this, Kenzo's interpretation emphasized Zen as meaning "complete integration" rather than "formal meditation” and he had quite a bit of samurai-flavored Confucianism included in his teachings.)
    The most ludicrous - and racist - argument is Herrigal totally misunderstood what Kenzo was saying to him because of the language barrier. (I half expect a Japanese researcher to argue that because Herrigel had a German brain, he was genetically unable to understand the words emanating from Kenzo's Japanese brain.) To be sure, Kenzo the philosopher of the Great Doctrine as Herrigal calls Kenzo's teaching in the book, was not easy to understand, even for his closet Japanese disciples, especially since he was not a very good speaker, plus he had a thick Tohoku accent. However, Awa's other students largely stayed away when Herrigel and his wife came to practice so that the master could give them his full attention. Herrigal was an intelligent man, and after 5 years he likely understood Kenzo's Japanese quite well. (Among foreigners in Sendai, there is a saying that the quickest way to learn Japanese is to study a martial art.) Kenzo learned a little German, so they surely communicated quite well, and both certainly understood one another's body language. Furthermore, Kenzo promoted Herrigal to 5th Dan, a very high rank for the time, and gave the German one of his bows, something Kenzo would never have done if he thought the person had missed the mark, literally and figuratively. As we shall understand from chapter 2 of the book, Herrigal, in general, presented Kenzo's philosophy well and accurately, and there was little misunderstanding or misrepresentation on Herrigal's part. It is his critics who are way off target.
    Herrigal's later Nazi politics are troubling, and there may be other problems with his overall approach, but the real hero in Zen in the Art of Archery is Awa Kenzo, and his teaching still serves us well.
    Last edited by TLR; 8th May 2007 at 10:57. Reason: added text
    Tracy Reasoner
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    Thank you for posting that review.

    If John Stevens is now stooping to name-calling of all who disagree with him, then I will not waste my money buying his book.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Brian,

    I guess you would be calling his reference to "small fry academics" as name calling. I don't know but maybe it is true I have always been of the opinion if the shoe fits well...

    However, please understand that this note is taken from the introduction directed surely at the uproar the article "the myth of zen in the art of archery" The book is actually a very good read and very well researched. There are several photographs of Awa along with a photo of a calligraphy fan that he brushed with the characters literally translated as "The Bow and Zen are One". He also translates many of Awa's poems and works that are at the very least interesting although I wish the book was even more in depth.

    However not reading it because of his reference would be taking it a bit to seriously. It is a good book none the less.

    aloha,

    TLR
    Tracy Reasoner
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    www.hawaiikiaikido.org

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    The mistakes are not in Yamada's paper, the mistakes are in Stevens' understanding of what Yamada is saying. I have yet to read the book in its entirely, but judging from the remarks that Tracy has appended, it seems that Stevens has misread Yamada in a very fundamental way.

    Stevens seems to think that Yamada's paper is an attack on Awa's status or abilities as a Zen master. This was not the purpose of Yamada’s paper, and he did not address this question at all. So complaining that he did not write a paper about the greatness of Awa, that is, that he didn’t write the paper Stevens wanted him to write, seems a little silly.

    Yamada was addressing three main questions, it seems to me:

    1. Is Japanese archery generally understood as a form of Zen?

    2. Was Awa’s Daishadokyo a mainstream understanding of Japanese archery?

    3. Did Herrigel understand what he was being taught and did he present it accurately?

    If I read Stevens’ comments correctly, it seems that he agrees with Yamada on points 1) and 2). Stevens does not argue with Yamada's assertion that Awa was unorthodox; nor does he take issue with Yamada’s contention that the masses of people in Japan do not practice kyudo as a form of Zen. Indeed he readily admits both claims but then dismisses both with a shrug. Stevens' subjective opinion regarding these facts does not make them any the less true, however. Yamada’s main purpose was to let his readers know that Herrigel’s interpretation of Awa’s idiosyncratic teachings is not the only way to understand kyudo. Stevens readily admits that most people do not practice kyudo as Zen, which is really all Yamada was saying, when you come right down to it. So he is fundamentally in agreement with Yamada, so far as I can tell. If so, then, what is the argument?

    Stevens seems to be starting out from the position that Awa was a great archery master as well as a great Zen master and faults Yamada for not recognizing this. While it appears that Awa's approach to kyujutsu was unorthodox, I have seen video of him shooting, remastered from some old pre-war footage, and there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that for all of his supposed eccentricities he was a superb archer. His skill is a matter of public record, and in spite of his differences of opinion with other masters of equal stature, he received his Hanshi (Master) ranking from the Dai Nippon Butokukai, the national martial arts organization of that time. So he was clearly no slouch, and I don’t recall Yamada calling him one.

    So, one thing that is clear is that however much an oddball Awa may or may not have been, his skill was unquestioned. I don't think Yamada questioned Awa's skill; his only point was that Awa was unorthodox and that his understanding of kyujutsu, and his attempt to recreate it as something new and untraditional, met with opposition from the traditionalists. This fact, in and of itself, is utterly prosaic, it seems to me, and as I said, Stevens concedes this point.

    But here we come to it. It is precisely Awa's reputation as an oddball that Stevens considers to be the proof of his authenticity. If one is convinced from the beginning that kyudo must be Zen, and that Zen is a kind of “crazy wisdom”, as Stevens seems to believe, then Awa, precisely because he was not mainstream, must be the only one who really understood the true spirit of kyudo and everyone else was not fit to carry his fundoshi. Indeed, this seems to be Stevens' opinion, if I read him correctly.

    If one wishes to take this position one is free to do so, I suppose. However, it ignores the other masters, contemporaneous with Awa, who were his equals, in kyujutsu if not in "Zen". My teacher's teacher, Urakami Sakae, was one of these. The records of his skill as an archer are, so far as I know, equal to those of Awa. Based on what my teacher, his daughter-in-law, told me just a few weeks ago when I saw her in Japan, he scored a perfect 100 out of 100 shots certainly at least one time and achieved 99 out of 100 shots on any number of occasions (my teacher laughingly recalls her father-in-law saying wryly that "that last shot is really hard"). Urakami Sakae’s son Sunao, with whom I have had many a pleasant conversation, said that his father respected Awa’s spiritual insights and that Awa had a great respect for his father’s skill, which was, apparently, of an inordinately high order. Urakami Sakae received his Hanshi ranking from the Butokukai in 1927 (the same year that Awa did, I believe) when he was 45 years old and Awa was 47. So the fact that Awa was a good shot is not necessarily proof of his grasp of “Zen”, it is proof that he was a good shot.

    I say this only to emphasize that a third party viewing both of these archers from the outside would most likely be hard pressed to see any significant difference between them. Of course, what impressed Herrigel so deeply was Awa's phenomenal accuracy. I will leave others to ponder the apparent contradiction between Herrigel insisting that where the arrow flew was of no significance and being astonished to the point of immobility at Awa’s seemingly magical accuracy (again, Yamada did not question that “The Target in the Dark” episode actually happened; he only questioned Herrigel’s interpretation of it, introducing statements from Awa’s most senior disciple that Awa had dismissed it as “a coincidence”). At the risk of being thought coy, I will say that accuracy of this level is definitely gained through something that transcends what most people consider “aiming”. Kyudo people will understand this easily. But this facility is not gained through a complete neglect of technique and a blithe disregard of where the arrow is pointing, as Herrigel seems to say. Such a thing is simply not possible. I do not believe for a moment that Awa did not teach Herrigel technique; I think Herrigel simply chose not to talk about it. This gives readers an entirely mistaken impression of what kyudo is and who Awa was.

    All of this being said, the only question of any real relevance here is whether kyujutsu must necessarily be "Zen". Stevens insists that Awa was a great "Zen" master and had a profound understanding of "Zen". Yet at the same time he takes no issue with Yamada regarding the fact that Awa never once formally studied Zen. So, it is quite obvious that Stevens' understanding of "Zen" is different from that of most people's. Indeed, his notes indicate that one can be a great "Zen" master without ever once ever having had any formal training whatsoever (such a deal). Also, I don’t recall Yamada ever denying that Awa had some sort of “enlightenment” experience or denigrating that experience. His only question was what meaning should be ascribed to it.

    I have to repeat again that when one says something is "Zen", most people will naturally and automatically assume that it is part and parcel of the formal practice of Zen Buddhism. Writers in the West who have been influenced by garden variety commentary on kyudo commonly assert that it was invented by Zen priests for purposes of meditation or some such rubbish. And as I have said before, I cannot count the number of people who have come to my dojo looking for this kind of effortless Zen magic only to be crushed when I tell them they have to practice proper technique really, really hard for a really long time in order to understand it. To an experienced marital artist there is no contradiction between hard practice and the eventual attainment of effortlessness, but to people with no frame of reference these two things are mutually exclusive. In kyudo, teachers always say that one must “transcend technique” or “forget technique”. One cannot transcend or forget something that one has never learned. One learns it, then one forgets about it. But people who don’t know budo normally understand Herrigel to mean exactly what he seems to be saying: that technique in any form whatsoever has nothing to do with “real” kyudo. It is primarily this tendency to misunderstand kyudo in this way against which Yamada was arguing. He wanted people to know that Herrigel's kyudo was not the only kind of kyudo there is. Again, Stevens does not disagree with this.

    So the issue here is: just what is "Zen", exactly? Unless one can arrive at a mutually agreeable definition of the term, no rational discussion is possible (or is a rational discussion about "Zen" a contradiction in terms?). Judging from Stevens' comments regarding crazy Zen grannies and vagabonds, it appears that anyone can understand "Zen". Tracy and I have been over this before, but when a definition gets this subjective, there is simply nowhere to go. It's "Zen" if you want it to be "Zen". Since Stevens seems to share this opinion, by his definition Awa was a "Zen" master even though he never actually studied Zen in any formal way. But what proves his understanding of “Zen”? The fact that he used a lot of Zen phrases or that he was a crack shot?

    It is true that Awa used a lot of Zen aphorisms in his lectures. To paraphrase Stevens: this is news? Regardless of what Herrigel may or may not have understood by this, Sakurai Yasunosuke, Awa’s disciple and the foremost authority on his life, states bluntly that Awa did not teach kyujutsu as Zen (from Yamada):

    "Awa did use the expression 'bow and Zen are one.' Nonetheless, he did not expound archery or his shado as a way leading to Zen. Regardless of how Herrigel acquired that impression, today when many Japanese have the same misunderstanding we should not place the blame on Herrigel. Rather the responsibility must be placed squarely on our own Japanese scholars who have failed to clarify the difference between the arts of Japan and Zen."
    What is one supposed to do with such a statement? The only conclusion to which we can come is that Herrigel was mistaken. While Awa may have used Zen terminology it must have meant something other than what Herrigel took it to mean. Or Herrigel was right and Sakurai was wrong. Take your pick.

    Again, I want to emphasize that believing that Herrigel misunderstood Awa and so presented all of kyujutsu as Zen even though it was not, which was Yamada's main point, has nothing to do with Awa and is not a statement denigrating Awa or his teachings. It is simply the assertion that Herrigel got it wrong.

    Personally, I believe that Awa simply emphasized certain aspects of kyujutsu that had always been there, bringing them to the foreground and explicitly making them the foundation of his teaching. Again, this is neither here nor there. Different teachers emphasize different things, and they often argue about it. But they all do it within the context of the art of shooting a bow, on the fundamentals of which there is broad agreement. The problem with Herrigel is that he gives his readers no context for understanding Awa’s apparently nonsensical statements (“do not aim at the target”, “the arrows do not carry because they are not spiritual enough”, “just wait at the moment of highest tension” etc.). These things can easily be understood for what they really mean by an experienced kyudo person. They are, in a sense, the psychological foundation of technique and can only be understood through technique. But people who do not know kyudo will simply have no idea what they really mean within the context of kyudo, which is the only place they have any value or meaning.

    Like Yagyu Munenori in the Heiho Kadensho, Awa simply used the vocabulary of Zen to elucidate certain things that are inherent in kyujutsu. That is, he used Zen as a metaphor to explain kyujutsu. But I do not believe for a moment that by doing so he intended to create the kind of “Zen” archery that Herrigel appears to be talking about, where this is turned on its head and kyujutsu is used as a metaphor for Zen. This is where most “Zen archery” devotees make their mistake. Once concepts specific to kyudo are decontextualized, generalized, extrapolated to other things, or used as disembodied metaphors, they can be taken to mean practically anything. This is why I put no stock in opinions about kyudo held by people who are not themselves practitioners of kyudo. For the same reason, I never discuss aikido. I do not know anything about it, and so doing so would be presumptuous.

    Finally, I find myself very perplexed and disturbed, to put it as mildly as I can, by Stevens' completely unjustified attempt to paint Professor Yamada, whom I know personally and with whom I have had many pleasant conversations (in Japanese), as a racist simply because his research leads him to believe that Herrigel did not understand the Japanese language. This is a grave charge. Yamada did not say anything as preposterous as claiming that Herrigel was congenitally incapable of understanding Japanese because of his race, and no matter how I look at it, I simply cannot understand how Stevens could come to such an astonishing conclusion. He seems to be projecting some sort of deeply felt resentment, but about what I cannot say. Indeed, I find the vituperativeness of his comments very disturbing, coming as they do from a prominent aikidoka and the author of books such as “The Way of Peace” and the “Art of Harmony”.

    In any case, it is a fact that Herrigel required the services of Komachiya as interpreter. If Herrigel and Awa understood each other, why was he there? Subsequent research by Yamada has shown that upon his return to Germany Herrigel submitted a statement to the Nuremburg police to the effect that his understanding of Japanese was quite low and that he could not read or write it. So Stevens’ insistence that Herrigel must have been able to understand Japanese must be discounted. He has no way of knowing this. Herrigel may have understood a few words of Japanese and Awa may have picked up a few German phrases (as Komachiya’s memoirs make clear), but it is a huge leap to assume that therefore Herrigel and Awa could clearly understand one other. I am sure that Stevens must know from his own experience that the real spirit of budo cannot be transmitted solely through pidgin and pantomime.
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 9th May 2007 at 19:47.
    Earl Hartman

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    Mr. Hartman,

    Is it possible to read Mr. Yamada's paper? The links in the (old) previous thread on this topic don't work for me.

    Thank you.
    'Leaves fall.'

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    Tracy Reasoner
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    www.hawaiikiaikido.org

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    Thank you. Interesting read.

    Quote Originally Posted by TLR
    'Leaves fall.'

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    Earl,
    Nicely done. Thank you.
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

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    Default Hard to debunk

    It's really hard to debunk ANY myth, or fable, or urban legend. Herr Herrigel got the myth of archery-as-zen started, and it's had a good run ever since. I just the other day found the five year long discussion thread about it on e-budo. It's closed but it's still up. Earl Hartman does as good a job of debunking Herrigel's myth as anybody possibly could of any myth; the short discussion by Earl Hartman in this thread is more than sufficient to summarize just why it's a preposterous mythological creation by Eugen Herrigel.

    Two thoughts: First, this is a situation of counterfeit. If you've ever dealt with a good counterfeit, eg a good piece of counterfeit art, you know what I mean. Herrigel's book was a good counterfeit, and remains so. The ONLY way to deal with counterfeit ANYTHING is to destroy it, and eventually people forget about it. As long as it exists, there will be people pointing to it and saying "See? Blah blah blah." Herrigel's book ain't going away, any time soon. We're stuck with it.

    Second, you can't explain archery to non archers. Why even try? But they'll be glad -- some of them -- to explain it to you.

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    Mr Katz,

    Welcome to E-Budo. The rules in this forum require you to sign all your posts with your full name. I believe you agreed to do this when you became a member.

    Happy posting.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
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    Default Zen Not in the Art of ARchery

    I forgot to add my name there
    Richard Katz richard808 At gmail daht calm

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    Default Archery: Right Hand, Right Angle

    from Richard Katz (his full name; novice e-budo member)

    I got so interested in reading the continuation of the Herrigel opera (soap supra, about Awa Kenzo and his counterfeit interpretation by the later Nazi, Eugen Herrigel; that Herrigel, he was like a blotter: he took it all in but got it all backwards) that I totally forgot to ask the question that brought me to find e-budo in the first place, couple days ago --

    for the archers out there, kyudo and otherwise:

    I noticed the other day, when I glanced at a picture of Awa Kenzo hanging over by where I hang my bow at night, that his right arm (he's a right hand shot) is straight back. That is, it looks like it's ninety degrees to his chest; inline with his body and what he's shooting at. I only have this one picture.

    The main thing I have emulated from the picture of Awa shooting is his feet. That's been a great thing to have been able to look at that stance now and then; it's a lesson, and an inspiration. Plus, now that we have YouTube, we can see Awa take a shot or two, which is somewhat less inspiring than I would have thought it would be, but with that there was no doubt a let-down factor; I expected it to be some great thing to look at, and it is after all just a movie of a great archery master :-))

    So here's the question: How do you know your right arm is "correct", or good, ie good technique? You can't see it, not at all. You end up in this Heisenberg uncertainty situation where you look back at it and you screw yourself around to see it; or you use a mirror, which is the wrong view.

    If you REALLY try hard (as in REALLY think about it, hence screw up your shot[s] just like thinking about anything) you can it seems always stretch a little more, maybe even go over ninety degrees, and the arrow gets a little more zip, and you have less control, but you think "I'll straighten that out; can't be afraid to try something better." The guy who set up my bow (it's a compound bow; like I said, I'm no kyudosha but I'm asking here on e-budo anyway) knew just what he was doing, and when I stretch that little bit farther the bow is sure enough overcam'd; just another hint that there's maybe no problem here, just a philosophical one.

    So the question remains how you deal with something you can't possibly see, but, at least for me, the real question is how you deal with this apparently untrivial part of shooting -- your right arm and back, for a right handed shot -- when I can't honestly say that I can feel -- proprioceptively -- what I can see pretty clearly in the full length portrait of Awa sensei Tohoku de. (I'd email him but he's offline.)

    Richard Katz richard808 aT geeeeemail dat commm

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard808 View Post
    ...So here's the question: How do you know your right arm is "correct", or good, ie good technique? You can't see it, not at all. You end up in this Heisenberg uncertainty situation where you look back at it and you screw yourself around to see it; or you use a mirror, which is the wrong view.
    A good question, but not really about meditation.

    I'd ask it again in one of the other sub-forums.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Richard:

    In kyudo, if the arrow releases properly, the arm will fly back naturally. I think this is true in any style of archery, but in the full draw, you are not just holding the string in place, you are pulling it gently so that the shot doesn't "shrink" and is naturally released at the point of perfect equilibrium. For this to happen, the finger and forearms must be sufficiently relaxed. Thus, when the string frees itself, the arm naturally flies back when the tension is released.

    You have to understand that Awa did not stretch his arm out like that on purpose, it went there because his technique was correct. In the beginning, of course, you learn how to do it, but once you know how it takes care of itself. The only way to know if it is correct is to have your teacher look at it.

    If you're shooting a compound bow, however, I'm not sure if any of this applies. I think it would be a mistake to copy kyudo technique with a compound bow. Every tool has the correct way it should be used, which is determined by its instrinsic nature.
    Earl Hartman

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    Default shooting; and meditation

    shooting and meditation, which came first, chicken and egg, but don't get me/us started. (reply to "this isn't the right forum supra)

    so what happened was that for days after I wrote that post, about Where does the right elbow go? I couldn't hit anything and even lost a couple arrows, something I haven't done in ... either years, or longer than I can remember.

    That went away after awhile, after I got that natural rebound idea that Earl Hartman refers to; plus I did make an arrangement to go over to the Bow Rack and talk to Norm Mallonee maybe, if he's ever feeling up to it -- the Teacher.

    back to the meditation thing, briefly: that's what the Herrigel controversy is about, whether shooting and meditation of the Zen sort have anything to do with each other, or any Zen or zenlike practice; so it ends up being questionable whether one can ask about technique where you can't see yourself, or feel yourself (proprioception), on, say, this forum. I don't know, I just got here. That's a good koan, right there, but the heck with it.

    more to the point, and much to my surprise, a copy of John Stevens's book Zen Bow, Zen Arrow arrived from Amazon, because my wife had ordered it for me. I said I would never crack its cover and would immediately start using it for a target; but instead I read it right away (it's REAL short) and it's worth taking a look at. that's because pages 5-27 have a biography of Awa Kenzo that sounds pretty genuine (sure, someday I'll make the trip to Sendai and read that stuff for myself, or have it read to me by my kid who can read, write, and speak Japanese.) The best story is about how over and over again people would come to see Awa Kenzo at his dojo, to pick an argument with him; and he listened without saying much; and then he'd say "Let's go down to the dojo" , and he'd shoot an arrow, and the person who had come to argue with him would right on the spot would become his student. Imagine that!!

    (the stuff about Herrigel is in the book too, here and there, at the very beginning and at the very end [in the Notes, actually]. You know, it sounds a lot like stuff an Editor would want the Author to add, to make a book more Saleable. Who knows. Who cares. Oh, and the middle of the book is page after page of deep thoughts that I guess Awa wrote in one of his notebooks; Stevens says there are over 900 pages in Awa's handwriting. People who have learnt their writing after WW2 have trouble, I've noticed, reading things that were printed or written from before WW2, so even if my kid could read Awa's handwriting [kanji's] it would be a slog. Hard to say; sometimes the kid gets real turned on by deep Japanese stuff.)

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