Kyudo

Kono Mama

Kono Mama.

Right here, just the way it is.

Not over there. Not then.

Right here, right now.

Right here, right now.

Kono Mama means “just the way it is” in Japanese, not referring to the Kona Coffee I’m drinking right now sent by my momma. Hahaha. It’s OK, my wife didn’t laugh either.

There’s a lot of “not-doing” in kyudo.

At a lot of times we want to do, or change, or go … but we are told to wait and sit still.

We don’t just step up to the target and let an arrow fly and hop on outside to go pick it up. We walk in the correct posture slowly up to the target in accordance with our breath.

When we want to continue shooting but it looks like someone’s going to pull the arrows, we wait for them to do so.

When we want to shoot but someone isn’t back from retrieving our arrows, we wait to say “thank you”. (Actually I usually settle for a thanks from the shooting area often, but I’ve been told it’s bad manners (>.<) )

Amid technique, if we feel like we want to change our grip, or move our shoulders, or our feet, we are told to resist and trust ourselves.

Amid the full draw (kai), we may feel like just letting it go, but we must wait … wait … wait for the arrow to fly in no hurry.

All of the times we’re told to wait have their own specific applications, but there’s strong undertone of this waiting, this Great Patience.

I’d call it zen, but then I don’t know much about zen.

It’s not about zen. It’s not about self-betterment. It’s not about what you want.

It’s not even really about shooting an arrow.

It’s this moment, in this place, just the way it is. “It” exists, and it doesn’t care about anything else.

We work for future houses and cars. We shoot for future tournaments. We fear for future battles.

What a small expression, rank with fears and hopes.

The greatest thing we can do in kyudo is to put our full focus into the shooting when we shoot.

That is all.

Just do our best with what we have.

It’s humble.

But by plumbing down into this small insignificant moment, we fall straight through the bottom, shooting through the sky, expanding in all directions, all from this very little spot we exist in.

It’s magic.

It’s all magic.

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