In the ceremonial sequence of a shot it becomes clear which skills the shooter has to bring: "The kyudoka kneels, greets the target and grabs the long kimono sleeve from the left shoulder." He gets up, goes determined step to the firing line, kneels there again, Turn to the Kamiza and insert the first arrow.
Slowly, he gets up, carefully sets his feet and checks his posture. First he grabs the string, then the bow with a firm grip, lifts it far over the head. From the middle of the body he pulls the bow open until the arrow touches the right cheek. His body becomes firm, his mind becomes calm. Both are focused on the goal. Exhaled, he increases his power to the maximum, before the shot is released and the arrow flies straight to the target ... "
Highest goals: Shin, Zen, Bi
Shin (Truth), Zen (Kindness) and Bi (Beauty) are the highest values in the "philosophy" of Japanese archery. Striking are the calm, concentration and serenity with which the masters perform their target practice. Very often one finds therefore in connection with the japanese archery the term "zen-archery".
But Zen, in which Zen masters agree, is not definable, it can be experienced and perhaps paraphrased. Zen, it explains the literature, can be described as an exercise to recognize the true nature of things, and so of my own. One of the most important principles is the mindfulness in all actions. Based on Kyudo, the student learns the shooting technique and will try to further refine it through consistent and precise practice.
If his technique is almost perfected (about the 5th master level), he no longer needs to concentrate on it and it may be that the (properly prepared) shot in a state of detachment on its own dissolves.
Zen in the art of archery
It was the philosopher Eugen Herrigel (1884-1955), who contributed significantly to the fame of Zen in Europe. His best known work is Zen in the art of archery . From 1926 to 1929 he taught in Japan, where he also studied Kyudo. But his portrayal is not a textbook, but rather a very personal, essayistic account of one of the first Europeans who came into closer contact with Kyudo and probably includes some errors. By concentrating on mindfulness one experiences Zen.
The Kyudo Union clearly states: "Kyudo is the path of perfect virtue, in shooting one must seek sincerity in oneself, with the sincerity of the self the shooting can be realized." In times when shooting fails, there should be no resentment Those who succeed are reigning, on the contrary, this is an opportunity for self-discovery. " (Codex Etiquette - Truth of Shooting).
Kyudo is suitable for everyone
Muscle strength is secondary to kyudo - sensitive movement coordination is just as important. If you start with Japanese archery, you learn a lot about yourself. For example, if you do not hit the target, you wonder why the focus is missing, which triggers actually cause the cramps.
You learn to eliminate worries and fears and focus on the essential, replacing ambition and impatience with serenity and perseverance. Conversely, the constant refinement and specification is a good school to meet even difficult everyday situations serene.
Kyudo can not be learned alone. It is a sophisticated technique that requires constant guidance and correction by an experienced master. Without instructions there is a high risk of injury. Kyudo can be learned by anyone, regardless of physical strength and age. The draw weight of the bow is adjusted to the strength and level of development of the student.
Many archers remain active until old age. Through practice, the whole body is trained symmetrically, especially the back. The exercises have a positive effect on posture, balance and coordination of movement. Many Europeans now master their bow like the Asians, because Kyudo works without an electronic target sight, only by accurate movement.