The singing of the tsurune came to an end, all of a sudden.
And our bows are resting.
The dragon woke up and made it rapidly clear that our petty differences and pretenses meant nothing to him. We are reminded daily of the ephemeral nature of our human destiny.
For more than a month, a time of silence has developed, allowing us to hear other noises, other pulsations. A time when everyone has an appointment with themselves, a time for introspection, a time for latent questions to surface.
How can we continue to practice when the doors of the dojo close? What to do?
First of all, it is necessary not to lose one’ s physique, to maintain one’s musculature, endurance and flexibility.
It is about better understanding the meaning and purpose of each gesture. To reread the kyohon trying to see the naked words without reading what our prejudices project onto the page.
It is about moving forward with the support of our fellow travellers, checking up on them, feeling the bonds that unite us and not giving up.
To be bushi is to be ready; to be ready is to prepare yourself constantly. Like Lieutenant Drogo of the Tartar Desert.
As we are waiting to resume our practice, we must be patient and appreciate the simple and seemingly innocuous gestures punctuating our days. Creating beauty, goodness. If we do this we will live in the ordinary, rich in meaning and positivity.
HEIJOSHIN, the ordinary mind, habitual and quiet, the present that imposes itself to our lives provides us with an unexpected training, one which allows us not to give up.
The bird that is constantly being reborn, that does not die, is our great sign of hope.
We all hope to resume our practice, but it has to be only in the safest possible conditions.
As of today, I ask you to think about it. I have decided to change the shooting procedure in order to respect the physical safety distances.
For a sharei of five targets, we will use targets 1, 3 and 5 only, which will create a space of 3,60m between each archer.
For a sharei of 3 targets, we will use targets 1 and 3 only.
The way of entering the dojo, nyujo, will be adapted following the same principle.
Within hikae, the preparation and waiting zone, each archer will be asked to keep the physical safety distance.
These measures are temporary, until the pandemic situation has settled down.
I will inform the Japanese federation.
If you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate. Everyone’s safety is in everyone’s hands. This will allow us to look forward to resuming our practice with courage and serenity.
Measures will have to be established at the entrance and exit of the dojos, depending on the location and the group. Particular attention should be paid to the changing rooms, which are often rather narrow.
All this will have to be analyzed and developed by the dojo leaders in collaboration with each of the practitioners.
My dearest wish is that a new virus will be found in the laboratories, a hopeful virus, the virus of health.
Best regards, until we meet again, bow in hand.
Jean-Pierre Vlasselaer, President.