Image Training · Kyudo

Simplicity in Kyudo

1 is easy.

2 is hard.

3 is impossible.

The closer we can get to 1 the better.

And yet we live within 10,000.

How does this relate to kyudo and the practice of shooting a bow and arrow?

There are two ways we can go about this:

Technically, and mentally.

There are 10,000 techniques in kyudo (don’t take that too literally, it’s just an abstraction), and to do them all at once in the beginning is impossible, yet it is our task. In order to do this, we start small, and work on individual specific points. Eventually, we ingrain these into our subconscious and learn to map them together into one, or none maybe.

So we start with a couple techniques to focus on. In the beginning, it may just be learning to move through the hassetsu eight stages of shooting and be able to shoot a bow and arrow without impailing anyone around you. After that you may get more specific. Good teachers will help you to focus on specific points one at a time. Focusing on one point at a time helps you to learn that specific point, but it excludes others which will inevitably unbalance your technique.

For example, we learn to focus on our left arm that holds the bow, but by doing so we start to focus only on that, leaning forward, focusing on hitting the target. In doing so we forget the right hand that holds the string, and so eventually end up being able to do nothing. So we may need to start focusing on another point to balance, like our right arm in addition to our left.

So now we have two things, and I think that’s OK, just hard. But that’s kyudo, it’s not so easy.

Right now I’m working on expanding from my lats equally to both sides throughout the release, and on protecting the rules of my tenouchi, grip. I can do that, that is enough for now, and I think that is good. But if I try to add one more thing, my mind becomes too divided, and I shrink into old bad habits.

2 is hard,

3 is impossible.

How about mentally?

All technique aside, what are we doing in kyudo? It may seem simple at first, just shooting a bow and arrow, but if you take a closer look there’s a whole lot of other things going on:

-Creating and protecting time for shooting.

-Getting to the dojo.

-Maintaining equipment.

-Dealing with teachers and students.

-Achieving higher ranks.

-Attending seminars and tournaments.

-Writing and reading about kyudo.

-Being technically great.

-Spiritually progressing …


1 is easy.

2 is hard.

3 is impossible.

The closer we get to one the better.

We must learn to simplify our practice or it will become a delusional tower destined to fall. By attempting everything, we achieve nothing, splashing around crying in a mud puddle. Endless lashings out of the Ego.

But I suppose that’s part of the whole process.

Failure and success woven together like a rope,

winding together like vines up a tree.

1 is easy.

2 is hard.

3 is impossible.

The closer we get to one the better.

Good luck to us all.


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