Home > KYUDO Techniques > Mental Attitude of Kyudo
The purpose of present day Kyudo is to enjoy and to enrich our daily life. For students, it is not only a way to train the body but an ideal way to train the mind as well. For others, it is a good way to stay fit and to acquire high spirituality at the same time. Although the way of Kyudo has changed throughout history, it has found a place in the modern world.
Kyudo is not like any other sport. The opponent is a target, not another player, and you can enjoy it by yourself. It is simple. It is accessible. It can be practiced by men or women of all ages as each individual can use a bow that is just right in size and strength. Furthermore, it is possible to practice in any weather and there is no specified rule on how long one should practice.
Basically you just aim and shoot at a stationary target. The result is judged not only by whether you hit or miss, but how the Shagyo (process of shooting) was carried out.
A good Sha (shooting) comes from good posture. You must stand with your back straight, pull your shoulders back to keep perfect balance and focus your energy on the Tanden (the lower abdomen). Then concentrate to the limit to release the arrow. If done correctly, this will lead to an accurate hit. As you wait and see that time right for you between the yumi and the target, you release the arrow calmly, accurately and boldly. Even though you might have done your best, you may still have missed the target. Take this time to reflect on what you might have done wrong. This process of reflection is a large part of our discipline and also the reason why Kyudo is so deeply appreciated by many.
As Kyudo practitioners depend solely on their senses, they are easily influenced by their surroundings or by the result of other archers and miss their aim even by the slightest disturbance. To avoid this, one must practice the fundamental movements repeatedly. It is of course important to improve hitting the target technically, but it is more important to cultivate Fudoshin (the unwavering state of mind) so that you can always conduct Gyosha accurately anywhere, at anytime and under any circumstances.
Kyudo is considered a sport in some respects. You have opponents to compete with, but not to fight against. There is victory and defeat, but competing is not the point. Any opponent must be respected. If you lose your calm by being preoccupied with the competition, you have abused the spirit of Kyudo. There must always be a clear distinction here. A practitioner who does not get carried away in competitions usually shows good sportsmanship.
As Kyudo has been increasingly recognized as a sport, it has gained wider attention and its popularity continues to grow. However, Kyudo has many other aspects that should not be overlooked. Kyudo is an ascetic practice. It is a quest for the ultimate essence of the art. In Kyudo, the competitive aspect grows through aiming and hitting the target. Along the way, there comes a point when practitioners learn that if you get too preoccupied in just hitting the target, you will most likely start to lose your calm. There is much to be learned from just the simple act of Kyusha (Shooting the yumi).