Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery - Take II

This thread on e-budo is much better then my comments on the subject. Much, much better.

I suspect that in a way, Kyudo, is even more susceptible to dilution then Aikido. The cultural dynamics are the same though. Kokoro No Yoi was written by Saito Chobo, hitoharikyu menkyo of Ogasawara Ryu school of Kyudo. I especially liked the following:

"Among those who practice kyudo, there are those who say that in yumi it is not necessary to hit the target, or that all that is necessary is that your form is good; there are even those who say that form doesn't matter, that spirit is the most important thing. Of course, those who have a twisted spirit are a pain in the neck no matter what they do; and practicing yumi with bad form is not good. However, to have good form and to not hit the target is against nature. Do not be misled by nonsense. If your shooting form is good, accuracy will surely follow. I want you to not forget that missing the target means that something is wrong.

If you practice yumi diligently, you will gain some kind of spiritual benefit. However, kyujutsu is by its nature a physical activity, so if you want to engage in spiritual training, you will get faster results if you do something like zazen rather than archery."
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