More Badass Japanese Archery
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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 + 1.4X TC @ 420mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Serious Badass Look

During the Japanese-Archery event last week that I've been posting about, after the 2,000+ young adults did their thing, a few dozen instructors also got to shoot. I don't know how they were chosen to participate... perhaps it's only the instructors of the kids who hit the target?

Anyway, as last week's “Total Discipline: Anatomy of a Japanese Archer's Shot” describes, the goal is not simply to hit the target, but in mental and physical perfection with each step, akin to how the whole tea-ceremony thing not really being about having something to drink.

So, while on the shooting platform, some of the archers got into an intense mode, and the guy in today's post was even more intense than the instructor seen earlier in “Traditional Archery Like a Boss”. I noticed his intensity immediately, and tracked him with the camera more than the others.

(I was shooting the 300mm f/2 with a 1.4x TC with a monopod while standing on a chair among a bustling crowd, so these aren't all that sharp, but they're better than I expected.)


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 + 1.4X TC @ 420mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
First Look

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 + 1.4X TC @ 420mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 + 1.4X TC @ 420mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Preparing the Second Arrow

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 + 1.4X TC @ 420mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Stance

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 + 1.4X TC @ 420mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
More Intensity

Usually you see no reaction whatsoever to their shot, so unless you watch the arrow's flight you have no idea as a spectator whether they hit the target, but I know he did because he came back later for the playoffs to determine the overall winner. (It's not the main point of Japanese archery as a discipline, but there is a “sport” aspect to it, so they do determine and announce winners.)


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Playoff Arrow

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Final Round

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
All Done
slipping their arms back into the sleeves of their hakama

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Accepting the Return of His Arrow
to signify his third-place finish

I didn't quite follow how the playoffs went, but I believe the “Final Round” was actually to determine second place — I was never able to figure out who won first place — and the three seen above were the runners up My guy was 3rd, while the like-a-boss guy at right was second.

As I said, I was immediately drawn to the guy's intense presence, and he seemed to be the epitomy of a certain kind of traditional Japanese samurai masculinity. It was very cool to see.

But beyond that, something seemed oddly familiar about him that I couldn't place until I got home and looked at the pictures, and it hit me that he's the Japanese reincarnation of Geoff Ralston, a VP at Yahoo! from back in the day. It's probably been a decade since I talked to Geoff, but this intense archer really reminded me of him. (Geoff could be intense as well, in a good way; I sometimes had friction with Yahoo! management, but I recall Geoff being top notch all around.)

Any other Yahoo! alumni see the resemblance, or is it just me?

Continued here...


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