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"Counterintuitive thinking" is the key to victory
Great achievement for the first time in the history of the WASEDA University Kyudo Club!

Ms. Manami Iwamoto

At the 59th All Japan Student Kyudo Championships (Inter College championships,) three players were left at the stage to determine the winner of individual. Manami Iwamoto first shot an arrow and hit the target. The other two missed, and the venue was filled with joy. At that moment, for the first time in the history of the WASEDA University Kyudo Club, a female player won the individual championship. "In fact, we lost in the team qualification round and felt very vexed. As we are a team strong enough to be Japanese champions, I faced the game with a strong commitment that if I could win the championship as I was a member, I could prove the true strength of WASEDA."

Moment of releasing the arrow. Her serious gaze follows its flight.

Kyudo competitions have individual and team categories. At the inter college individual, those who hit three targets out of four in the qualification round proceed to the final round. At the final, each player shoots "itte" (two shots) and those who hit the two targets go to "idume" in which each player shoots at one target in order. In "idume," the targets get smaller and smaller, making it difficult to hit them. When a player misses a target, the player is disqualified. On the contrary, in the inter college team category, each team consists of three players, and each player shoots four shots (total of 12 shots per team), and the teams with more hits make it through the tournament. In team, there are also league matches lasting about a month.

In the match, you have to shoot an arrow in a highly tense situation. Just imagining it makes one feel tense. "Before the match, I make it a custom to believe that I will definitely miss the shot. By imagining the worst case instead of the best, I can calmly fire my arrow when facing the target." Her "counterintuitive thinking" led to victory in the inter college games.

Focusing on her "shot"

She entered WASEDA University because she thought she would be able to lead a student life fulfilling in the arts of both the pen and the sword. "My teacher and father told me this and recommended WASEDA. In fact, what I have learned at the class called, "Sports Shidoron" (Sports Instructions) by Mr. Eiichiro Fukami (Associate Professor, Faculty of Sport Sciences) who picks instruction methods by famous coaches such as Mr. Katsuya Nomura of baseball has been very useful in terms of Kyudo and guiding juniors."

Before the last season of her 4th year, she changed her form to improve her target-hit rate, but when the season started, the rate was less than 10%. "People were concerned. But I think it is meaningless hitting targets in practice but missing in matches. For this reason, instead of practicing before the target, she attempted to firmly establish her form and steadily repeated a practice to shoot an arrow at a rolled straw with no target. It was really "as good as her word." She reached best condition at the championships, and contributed to the team victory at the 41st All Kanto Student Kyudo Championships. In the inter college games in August, she made a great achievement of becoming the first winner of the individual in the history of the WASEDA University Kyudo Club, as mentioned earlier.

She has taken actions by objectively analyzing herself and has achieved steady results. She says that Kyudo means fighting with oneself, not with others. "After retirement, I want to continue Kyudo not to compete with others but to face myself." She will surely take advantage of her ability of "counterintuitive thinking" she acquired through Kyudo in life.

After the victory at the 59th All Japan Students Kyudo Championships. What a smile, different from her serious look during matches.

Members of the Women's Kyudo Club. Manami is in the second row, second from left

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Manami Iwamoto

Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1989. Graduated from Aichi Prefectural Toyoake High School. 4th year, School of Sport Sciences. Started to play Kyudo in high school. At the All Japan Students Kyudo Championships, she became the first female individual champion in the history of the WASEDA University Kyudo Club. Her favorite food is chocolate. She loves the Umizaru series movies. "I am crazy about Hideaki Ito, the protagonist. His 'muscle beauty' is just artistic!"
*Iwamoto also appears in "Shinsho," WASEDA WEEKLY (Extra Edition)!