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Kyudo: The Art of Japanese Archery

The Japanese are quite well known for doing more than what is required, not just in their work, but in practically all walks of life. This “more” doesn’t necessarily mean more work, but could also mean more meaning, giving that distinct Japanese outlook, which the world has come to known.

In the realm of archery, Kyudo, Japanese Archery taken into an art form, is one solid example of just how far that distinct Japanese outlook could bring something “trivial” to. As a form of martial art, the Japanese Archery is classified to be modern. The name Kyudo literally translates to way of the bow, and is seen as an avenue for meditation to take place.

Like all Japanese Martial Arts, Japanese Archery is embodied by a philosophy, one which is calming. Approximate estimations to the number of Kyudo practitioners are known to reach half a million in population, with many getting actively involved into the activity. Japanese Archery holds no specific views towards the ideal age or gender which could define a Kyudo practitioner. Regardless of gender or age, the art of Japanese Archery could be learned and/or mastered by anyone.

As noted, Japanese Archery boasts to have a philosophical sense, attracting many practitioners into it for the moral and spiritual development which could be gained from the activity. But of course, many are into Kyudo not just for these factors, but also for the discipline involved in making more accurate marksmen out of a Kyudo practitioner.

In Kyudo, the nobiai or the action of expansion unique to Japanese Archery, is what many Kyudo practitioners strive for. The nobiai is known to result in the “natural release”, allowing accuracy to prevail in one’s bow and arrow skills. This natural release, comes from a conjunction between the spirit and balance of the actual shooting. If correctly done, the arrow will arrive to its aimed target, with no problems at all.

The spiritual goal would be that to give oneself to the shooting when talking about this for of Japanese Archery.

In terms of competitions and related events, the views towards such adherences for Kyudo practitioners are varied. Some work on the belief that through competition, the spiritual gains which Japanese Archery boasts could be achieved in full. Others, don’t see the value of competition, as spirituality is one which is subjective and is nowhere near competitive.

Bottom line, when talking about Japanese Archery, one is sure to notice tones of “being one”, definitive of all that is Japanese. Indeed, when talking about doing more that what is required, the Japanese have it made, with Japanese Archery being a good example.