Today I would talk about yugaeri (弓返り) in Kyudo. I would describe this article only serves as a purely description rather than a teaching. Therefore, if you would like to learn about Tenouchi (手之內) or if you grip your bow too hard, please let us direct you to your dojo teachers or seniors for further learning.
Ok, back to the topic, yugaeri is a rotating motion of bow, inside the left hand grip. It is a result of an action and reaction pair, at the moment the arrow is being released. The string would finally go from the inner arm to the outer arm side.
In Japanese Kyudo, the arrow is set on the right of bow. If the archer cannot achieve yugaeri, the arrow would be pushed to to the right during release. Hence, yugaeri is not to make the shooting form look cool, but it keeps the arrow being shot along a straight track. It is also important to have yugaeri to prevent the string from hurting ourselves. Yugaeri helps to avoid injury of hitting and bruising inner arm; and even sometimes hitting the ear or face.
The beginners now reading till here may think, “Ok, I understand. Let me DO the Yugaeri then.” Well… it is easy to say, then DO. Although some beginners may consider Yugaeri is another milestone after they are allowed to shoot in front of mato (target), it is NOT something urgent and necessary for general beginners. (Still we understand their urge to master the Yugaeri )
(Some seniors say) We may need the Yugaeri to pass the 3rd grade (3-Dan) Kyudo exam, and ultimately we will be able to make it one day……I recall my early days of learning Kyudo. Immediately after I saw my senior’s demonstration, I could not imitate the same. It made me feel like a magic. I felt like my eye can see, but my hand could not follow.
To make it simple and clear, if you can manage a proper tenouchi (手の内), Yugaeri would naturally happen. Some may eager to achieve Yugaeri, by twisting the hand wrist or throwing the bow inside the grip. They may itimate something alike by appearance mistakenly. As time goes by, this would become a bad habit that takes future time to rectify.
One day, when you can achieve Yugaeri, it is time to tell you how it is a good one. A correctly-formed Yugaeri would keep its level, hence, your hand would remain holding the grip of bow (握り皮). In another word, a correctly-formed “Yugaeri” appears to mysterious to beginners. When grip is too hard, there is no Yugaeri; if grip is too loose, the bow drops too much.
There are a few video clips extracted from the animation, my own shooting and a shot by a teacher (Hanshi). You may click the image above to get directed to internet video source. You may observe the tenouchi of 8th grade Hanshi holder SHIBATA Takeshi sensei from the video clip below. Viewing all these, I would like encourage everyone towards further Kyudo advancement.
Wai Ming, Languages and the way of saying/listening are my way to heal my curiosity. As an architect, I had made enough reasons(excuses) to travel. Love to read books and read interpersonal atmosphere. Two shooting hobbies: Photography and Kyudo.