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In « Kyudo », December 2014

Tenouchi and Best-Before Date:

U no kubi ya / Momiji Gasane no / Tenouchi wa
Shoshin no hito ni / Oshie isaseyo    (Yamato School)

“The Tenouchi formed like U-no-kubi and Momiji-Gasane
Should be taught to beginners※ as soon as they start shooting”

The form and work of the Tenouchi are of utmost importance in the shooting, and if you do it wrong when you start learning Kyudo, you will suffer the consequences long after and the bad habit that you will have will be very difficult to get rid of. This is why this verse teaches us that it is important to get good habits from the word go.
(Quote by Hisao Ishioka Hanshi Jûdan)

There is something that we would not pay attention to in the old days – the word had not been invented yet: I mean the notion of “best-before date”. We would hear the Sensei say: « Let’s leave aside complicate things like U-no-kubi or Momiji-Gasane, just grip the bow and shoot”, which shows how careless the teaching was sometimes.

Teaching Tenouchi correctly from the beginning is essential. The saying “Three years for Tenouchi” does not mean that three years are required to learn it but that if you don’t master it within three years, you will have to struggle with it for the rest of your life. Actually, I would not say three years but three months!

Teachers should watch over their students carefully and with patience so that they can master the Tenouchi by the “best-before date”.

The secrets are in the very first lessons.

※Bold letters added by the author.