Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Kyudo, the way of the bow

This is Uchinada's Kyudojo, it is connected to my school and i study kyudo there in the evenings. As you can see, the bows(yumi) are very long, most are over 6 feet and range in draw weight from 10 to 19 kilos, about 25 to 45 pounds, they are tough to pull back. But basically, you shoot from a raised wooden platform at small, usually a couple foot diameter paper target at a distance of 28 meters, or in some cases 40 meters depending on the range. but hitting the target is strangely the least important part of the sport.

The form of kyudo is the most important part of the sport. This picture displays 3 different steps of the form. The person closest to the camera is in 'kai', or fire/heat, this is one of the most delicate stages in kyudo, the arrow is in the fire position with the bow totally flexed, and basically this is a very high leve of buddist meditation, you do not aim the arrow with your eyes, but rather with you mind, seriously!, and you later your spirit guides the arrow after it has left the bow. I personally feel this step is named fire because you can feel the fire in your muscles holding the bow fully drawn and just waiting for 5 to 10 seconds. The person in the center is in ugamae, the forward preparation of the bow. The girl farthest from the camera is in daisan, big pull, when the bow is drawn, it is drawn in 2 steps, this is the first, the bow is raised up over the head, and the left hand pushes the bow out half way to fire position, the entire step is done with the bow up over the head without you looking.

each person who is part of this kyudojo has their name in kanji written in wooden planks and hanging from the wall. as of yet, my name sadly isnt on the wall. in a later post ill talk about what my name is in chinese kanji, i was very surprised.

this picture is to show the release of the arrow, see girl farthest away has just fired. This is called hanare, and she draws back her hand after the arrow has already left the bow in a particular motion and movement to guide the arrow. it is very strange to me, as i figured, well, the damn arrow has already left the bow and is on the way to the target, but my sensei has been very firm in me practicing, practicing, over and over the form of the hand motions after the arrow has left, as this determines where the arrow will go, somehow...


Blogger MsKansas said...

Hi Bart. Just wondering how you are since I haven't talked to you in a few days. Miss you lots!

4:30 PM  

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