This post is inspired by a quote given in the comments section in the last post from the author of one of my favorite blogs, Rick Matz at http://cookdingskitchen.blogspot.jp/?wref=bif.
It goes as follows:
When an archer is shooting for fun
He has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle
He is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind
Or sees two targets –
He is out of his mind.
His skill has not changed,
But the prize divides him.
He thinks more of winning
Than of shooting –
And the need to win
Drains him of power.
I’m not sure how much dear Chuang Tz pulled a bow and arrow, but his words hit right at the center of what I’ve been experiencing lately.
We can have skill and determination, but those two alone can be perverted to tiny shooting.
Focusing only on hitting the target we are divided, and weakened.
Technically, my teacher tells me to not worry about hitting the target at all. Shoot for good form and shooting itself, and you will definitely hit the target. I’ve found this to be true. I have never thought, “Alright this time I’m just gonna hit the target no matter what” and actually hit the target. Maybe I have, but I definitely would have been disgusted with the form, and so don’t remember it.
Generally, I suppose the great medicine and motivation for it all is as Chuang Tz says,
“When an archer is shooting for fun
He has all his skill.”
If we can enjoy shooting, I bet we’ll hit the target at our full potential. If not, then who cares cause we’re having fun. But like I said, if you’re having fun I bet you’re hitting the target as much as you ever had.
A lot of the time I follow this backwards; I have fun when I hit the target … but that’s a bit late, isn’t it?
But “fun” is kind of a weird topic in kyudo. Or maybe it’s just me.
If someone asked me to describe kyudo, I probably wouldn’t put “fun” at the top of the list. Kyudo is interesting, challenging, invigorating, torturing … and maybe a few more words down the line, fun. I’ve always kind of thought that fun can be a side-effect of shooting, but definitely not the driving force. However, such a disregard for fun may leave ourselves open to less agreeable feelings.
If “fun” isn’t important then what is?
Hitting the target?
I see problems in all of these.
Shooting for “fun”, though?
That may not be such a bad idea.
I searched to no avail for a quote I remember reading from Awa Kenzo on this subject, but the gist of it was,
What a joy it is to be able to wake up and shoot the bow and arrow everday.
We can shoot the bow and arrow everyday. Each arrow can take about 60 seconds, and in each shot we can experience great joy and expression. We can fully express ourselves in the shot of an arrow, it can be beautiful, and it can be fun.
When shooting without that element of fun, something is missing.
Shooting the bow an arrow is like making a big puzzle, and fun is one of the most important pieces.