Thursday, February 23, 2006

Rethinking Kyudo

I have discovered that there are a number a public archery ranges in this area. I still find kyudo quite interesting and might still go into it, but perhaps as a sport, regular archery would fit my temperament better.

The more I read about kyudo, mostly books written by the zen-seeking, mystery-of-the-Orient believing, unique Japanese spirit loonybird crowd, mostly from Europe, Australia, and the U.S., the more I am turned off by it. As I wrote about below, that connection---especially with zen---seems to be a recent arrival, not an original Japanese idea. A supposed "bible" of kyudo for the mystery-of-the-Orient, unique Japanese spirit crowd is Kyudo: The essence and practice of Japanese Archery I am reading this book now, but it has started out with the mystical heeby-jeeby that I cannot tolerate. So if this is how kyudo is practiced, I want nothing to do with it.

However, of the Japanese whom I have spoken with about kyudo, none seem to take the heeby-jeeby seriously. At least not in the quasi-religious way that non-Japanese seem to. So how much it really infiuences the actual practice of Japanese archery, remains to be seen---for me. (When I mentioned that accurately hitting the target was less important that all rituals one must do before and during shooting, I was almost scoffed at. Admittedly, the folks I spoke with are not currently in kyudo. Some were in clubs in university, a few never actually participated, so my sources are not the most knowledgeable.)

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