Home > KYUDO Techniques > Shaho-Hassetsu




The Eight Stages of Shooting

The correct application of the criterion of shooting technique to the process of shooting is known as the Shaho (Principles of Shooting). For training in Kyudo, it is first of all, essential to have a good understanding of the criterion determined by the Shaho.
In olden times, the form of the Shaho was described as the " Shichido" (Seven Ways) and the "Gomi- Shichido" (Five Tastes of the Seven Ways). This was a division of the process for shooting one arrow into seven stages. In modern times, the stage called Zanshin (remaining spirit and remaining form) was included to make eight stages of shooting which are divided as follows:

Click below for more details on each step:

  1. 1.Ashibumi - Footing 足踏み
  2. 2.Dozukuri - Forming the Torso 胴造り
  3. 3.Yugamae - Readying the Bow 弓構え
  4. 4.Uchiokoshi-Raising the Bow 打起し
  5. 5.Hikiwake - Drawing Apart 引分け
  6. 6.Kai - Full Draw 会
  7. 7.Hanare -Release 離れ
  8. 8.Zanshin - Remaining Spirit (Form) 残心(残身)

In the performance of the shooting, this division into eight stages (shown above) should be regarded from the start to the finish as one complete cycle, in which there is no separation. The eight stages of the shooting can be likened to a bamboo pole that has eight joints, which on the one hand can be considered as eight separate joints, and on the other hand as interrelated to each other and united in the one pole.

flexible and  strong 強靭

Kyudo Glossary (Shaho-Hassetsu)

【1】Ashibumi - Footing

Method of Determining the Draw Length of the Arrow(Yazuka)

The draw length of the arrow is determined by the length of each individual’s arm.It should be measured from the centre of the throat to the tips of the fingers(This draw length of the arrow is called Yazuka).An additional 5-6 cm should be added for safety.

Method for Making the Footing(Ashibumi)

《1》Making the Footing with One Step

While looking at the target,take a half step towards the centre of the target with the left foot.Then, close the right foot against the inside of the left foot and with one step open the footing with a fan-like action.In this method,do not look down at the feet.

《2》Making the Footing with Two Steps

While looking at the target,take a half step towards the centre of the target with the left foot.Then,look down at the feet and make a half step with the right foot in the opposite direction to complete the footing.


Using your draw length(Yazuka) as the appropriate width, make the footing with an angle of 60°degrees between the feet,placing the tip of the big toes on a straight line to the centre of the target.

The upper tip of the bow(Urahazu)should be held about 10 cm above the floor and kept on a line to the centre of the body.

【2】Dozukuri - Forming the Torso

Set the fifth inner joint(Uwanaribushi)in line With the centre of the body.

Focus the gaze on the tip of the nose

Stretch the back of the knees(Hikagami)

Dozukuri-Forming the Torso

The centre of gravity should be placed in the middle of the body.Check the string position (Tsuru-Shirabe).Check the direction in which the arrow is pointing (No-Shirabe).Regulate the breathing.

Settle your spiritual energy in the abdomen(Tanden).The line of the shoulders and the hips should be place on the same plane,parallel to and above the line of the feet.

Place the lower tip of the bow(Motohazu) on the left kneecap.

【3】Yugamae - Readying the Bow

Yugamae - Readying the Bow

Facing to the front,nock on the right hand(Torikake),make the grip of the left hand(Tenouchi)and set the gaze(Monomi).

Monomi - Setting the Gaze

View the target calmly with the gaze of both eyes passing along the centre line of the nose. Focus the spirit and regulate the breathing.Up until the completion of lowering the bow(Yudaoshi),the eyes must not blink.

To make the space between the body and the bow(Yumifutokoro),stretch out and expand lightly both elbows as if embracing the trunk of a large tree.

Focus the breath and spirit into the centre of the feet,legs(Sokushin),hips,and the abdomen(Tanden).

1st Aim

Divide the target with the ridge of the nose.Sight to the centre of the target primarily with the right eye.

Tenouchi-Method for Arranging the Grip of the the Left Hand

The forefinger may either be bent or straight,but it must not be allowed to bend downwards.Do not let the middle finger separate from the belly of the thumb.Draw the root of the thumb and the root of the little finger together.

The Tenmonsuji should be kept well in contact with the left corner of the outer bamboo of the bow.The skin between the thumb and forefinger(Koko)should be rolled downwards.

【4】Uchiokoshi - Raising the Bow

Uchiokoshi - Raising the Bow

From the bow readying position(Yugamae),wuth a scooping sensation,calmly raise both fists up to the same height until they are higher than the forehead.By raising the fists to this height the shoulders are not influenced.Focus spiritual energy(Kiai)into the legs(Sokushin),hips and abdomen(Tanden).Do not put power into the chest and shoulders.

【5】Hikiwake - Drawing Apart

Feel as if the nock extends out to here,and draw the string with the elbow(not with the wrist).

Hikiwake-Drawing Apart

Take the stage of the intermediate draw(Churiki or Daisan=Oshi Dai Moku Hiki Sanbun no and draw apart evenly to the left and right until you reach the full draw(Kai).

With all the stretching power of the left arm push the bow,as if pushing just below the Metsukebushi joint.

Establish the grip of the left hand(Tenouchi) at the intermediate stage of the draw(Daisan).

2nd Aim:The aim should be set in the area of the left elbow.

Feel as though drawing the lower tip of the bow (Motohazu)with the right elbow.

Intermediate Stage of the Draw(Daisan),(Churiki)

Let the line of the shoulders be drawn towards the arrow.

The Path of the Arrow (Ya-Michi)and the Path of the String(Tsuru-Michi)

【6】Kai-The Full Draw

Kai - The Full Draw

Unifying mind and body,wait for the release to come.Do not hold the breath too firmly in the chest,but gradually strengthen the power of the abdomen until the optimum moment which is just before the release.

Gobu no Tsume-Firming the Five Parts

Make firm the right and left hand and both shoulders. Through expansion make the chest firm.

Hachibu no Tsume-Firming the Eight Parts

In addition to Gobu no Tsume(firming the five parts),the legs,hips and abdomen(Hara)are included in this process.

The Five Crosses(Goju-Jumonji)

  1. 1.Bow and arrow
  2. 2.Bow and grip of the left hand(Tenouchi)
  3. 3.Thumb of the glove(Yugake)and the string
  4. 4.The centre line of the chest and the connection line of the shoulders
  5. 5.The line of the neck and the arrow

It is important to know the working of these five arrangements.

【7】Hanare - Release

Hanare - Release

Stretch the chest open fully and the arrow will be released-Upward and downward to the left and to the right,expand the body sufficiently(Nobiai).Settle 8 to 9 tenths of your spiritual energy into the abdomen(Tanden),and at this moment ,by the driving force of the will and spirit(Kiai),the arrow will be released.

【8】Zanshin - Remaining Form(Spirit)

Zanshin - Remaining Form(Spirit)

After the release of the arrow do not change your posture but observe intensely the place where the arrow has hit. Do not lose the focus of spiritual energy(Kiai)and maintain sufficiently the expansion of this energy(Nobiai)while lowering the bow(Yudaoshi).

Zanshin demonstrates decisively the results of the shooting through the remaining form of the vertical and horizontal cross(Tateyoko-Jumoniji).

Yudaoshi - Lowering the Bow

Regulate the breathing and bring both fists down to the hips.Calmly return the gaze(Monomi).

Kyudo Glossary (Shaho-Hassetsu)

Shaho hassetsu Shaho- Hassetsu The eight step process from Ashibumi to Zanshin as part of shooting the yumi.
Hassetsu Hassetsu An eight step process
Gominanadou Gomi-nanad? A term that expresses the five spiritual aspects (Metsuke, Hikikomi, Nobiai, Hanare, Mikomi) and the seven technical aspects (Ashibumi, Dozukuri, Uchiokoshi, Hikitori, Kai, Hanare) of Shooting.
Metsuke Metsuke Sighting the target before Uchiokoshi(Monomi)
Hikikomi Hikikomi Hikiwake
Mikomi Mikomi Zanshin
Nobiai Nobiai Expansions of the body during Kai
Ippon Ippon Literally meaning "one stick", "Hon or Pon" is a measuring word used when counting the number of arrows.
Ya Ya The Japanese term for arrow
Sha Sha Literally meaning "shot"; it is the moment from Dozukuri to the end result of the arrow hitting or missing the target.
Issha Issha "One shot"; shooting a single arrow with the yumi