In kyudo there’s a lot of talk about one arrow, one perfect shot, and that is special, but if you get stuck in that obsession with the one perfect shot, then you’re in for a real rough time.
It’s also about pacing.
I thought about this while watching a baseball game.
The pitcher is there and throws his pitch. The ideal pitch should be a perfect strike. Maybe the pitcher even does throw that perfect one, that’s great, but he’s going to have a throw a lot more to win the game. He may be seeking that perfect pitch, but just doing one doesn’t mean it’s over. It takes a lot more than one pitch to win a game.
It takes a lot more than one shot to make a good kyudoka.
If we focus only on the one perfect shot, what happens when we actually get one? Mission accomplished and we just go home? What happens if we don’t get the perfect shot? Are we failing?
The truth is we never really shoot just one arrow anyway.
During tests or normal practice, we usually shoot two at a time. The whole ritual of it is based on shooting at least two arrows. So why do we always obsess over only one? In tournaments you shoot four arrows at a time, usually in two or three sets. In an average day of practice, one may shoot around 30 arrows. Surely each arrow is important, but so are all of the others.
Any archer worth a damn can do more than one good shot.
There’s also something about pacing.
A pitcher in baseball can’t put his entire strength into each pitch without collapsing before the end of his game. I think I’ve never really thought about this before, and I burn myself out early on in practice. If I could understand the bigger picture, all the arrows I’ve shot before and all those that will come after, maybe I can relax a bit more, and better understand what’s going on.
Escape your kyudo prison. It’s more than black and one shot.
It’s more than just one shot.