Image Training · Kyudo

Chisled by the Bow

It’s amazing what we can learn from this tool, the bow.

But what exactly is the purpose of this object?

To shoot an arrow?

Well, yes, but what does that achieve?

To catch food?

Welcome to the modern age where anyone reading this blog is most likely going to the supermarket for their meat.

To kill human adversaries?

If you want to go to prison. Plus, there’s a million better ways to go about such a task than using the traditional Japanese bow. But for most of us who don’t seriously think of doing such things, let’s just continue to rely on the legal system of courts and cops.

To hit a target?

What for? You’re just going to have to walk over and pull the arrow out. Sounds like a strange game to me.

No, no, no …

The bow is a tool for the soul.

We pick up the bow and begin working on ourselves.

We move our bodies around the bow and it teaches us right from wrong, as well as a lot of strange indiscernable grey areas between.

We move our bodies so the bow forms to us, and we start to teach ourselves.

Every arrow, every shot is an experiment, a kind of investigation into ourselves and how we interact with the world.

The bow is a tool manipulated by our bodies in the physical world. But that’s only the horn of the beast.

We use our minds like liquid to fill in the gaps between our bodies and the bow.

We use our imaginations to fuel the body with inexplainable hope.

It’s magic.

Or at least far beyond modern science and curent psychological understanding.

We hit the center of the target without proper technique.

We focus completely on proper technique only to send countless arrows to the outside of the rim of the target.

The answer is in the mind!

In the spirit!

But it can’t be done without the body.

Then again, what do I know?

I am a simple archer.

I’ve passed the sentry gates, been guided to certain paths, but have only just entered the forest.

Dust glimmers in a ray of light,

above this mossy log.


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