The Way of the Bow
When practicing Kyudo the hitting of the target is irrelevant; learn and practice the technique and hitting will follow. Again: ‘Try not to try’.
It is about concentration and full control of the body and mind. Kyudo is a form of meditation just like Zazen (sitting meditation) or Kinhin (walking meditation).
Kyudo is one of the most spiritual of the martial arts. The arrow is shot in a coordinated system of “spirit, bow and body as one.”
The Hassetsu (stages) of shooting the Yumi (bow) are:
- Ashi-bumi – positioning the feet and establishing a stable base
- Do-zukuri – checking the body, yumi, and nocking the ya (arrow)
- Yumi-gamae – setting the shooting glove on the string and viewing the target
- Uchi-okoshi – raising the yumi
- Hiki-wake – drawing the bow
- Kai – ‘meeting’: completion of the draw
- Hanare – release of the ya
- Zanshin – continuation of the release
- Yudaoshi – lowering the bow
Each stage must be completed in full concentration and as one fluent movement.