Home > Spirit of KYUDO > Shin Zen Bi

Spirit of KYUDO

Shin Zen Bi



In Kyudo, true shooting is that of no deceit. As in the expression "straight as an arrow", if arrows naturally fly straight, one might wonder how the shooting could possibly be deceitful?

Seeking the answer to this question is an essential aspect of Kyudo. The greater purpose of the act of shooting the bow is to seeking the truth. Every shot is devoted to getting closer to the truth.

The truth of the bow is measured by its sae (serenity), tsurune (sound of the string during release) and tekichu (hitting the target). The way of the bow is a process of seeking Shin by improving these skills, one shot at a time.


Zen is the manifestation of the ethical aspect of Kyudo. The ethics of Kyudo such as Rei (courtesy) and Fuso (non-confrontation) requires one to always stay calm and not lose their composure. In these modern times, it is natural for one to seek sophistication, introspection, peace and equality. Kyudo does not promote strife, hostility or vengeance. The crucial idea of Kyudo is to associate, bond and be at peace with others while maintaining serenity at all times. This discipline is the basis of Kyudo. Nowadays, the decline in moral standards is often considered a current dilemma. The ethics of Kyudo could be a key to overcoming this problem.


真弓 Beautiful Bow

Beauty is usually appreciated as something visually pleasant. However; in Kyudo, beauty lies in Shin and Zen. The Sharei (ceremonial shooting) is one way of expressing this concept. The Japanese yumi is exquisitely beautiful in its shape, but what really stimulates the sense of beauty is the dignity, the Shintai Shusen (harmony in all movements) and the rhythmical movement created by a calm state of mind. This aspect is original to the Japanese way of the bow. The German philosopher, Eugen Herrigel said "The English long bow is drawn with the strengths of the arms from shoulder height, but since the Japanese bow is raised high and drawn downwards it is only necessary to use enough strength to open the arms apart." The beauty of Kyudo is this force-free style of shooting.

Shin Zen Bi are the three fundamental ethics of Kyudo; a guideline for present-day and future Kyudo practitioners. Kyudo is no longer just a martial art. For Kyudo to continue on for many generations, it must keep its appeal to the modern world not to be lost and forgotten.


Kyudo Glossary

Kyudo Glossary (Shin Zen Bi)

Shin Shin The Truth which knows no deception
Zen Zen The Goodness which holds true with reason
Bi Bi The appreciation of Beauty
Tsurune Tsurune The sound made by the string during release
Sae Sae The state of being serene
Fuso Fuso Non-aggression, pacifism
Heijosin Heijosin Presence of mind
Bugi Bugi The Skill of a Martial Art