“Kyudo (Japanese archery) is the oldest traditional martial art in Japan. Although the bow was originally used for hunting and for warfare, it is now used as a tool for developing and polishing a person’s character. Beyond just shooting arrows at a target, the practitioner works within a ceremonial framework to master form, timing and awareness. Elements of Buddhism, Shinto and Taoism are all interwoven into the history and applications of kyudo.
The bow (called a yumi) is about eight feet long and traditionally made of bamboo, although nowadays beginners and people living in harsh climates often use yumi made of synthetic materials. Practitioners typically dress in hakama and gi or in kimono. While standard shooting distance is 28 meters (about 100 feet), ceremonial demonstrations can be performed at “makiwara”, or short range targets.
For our presentation Arizona Kyudo Kai will demonstrate and discuss the basic elements of kyudo, show the standing and kneeling forms of the hassetsu (the eight step kata that all shooting forms are based on) and then perform a formal three-person ceremonial shoot called “Hitotsu Mato Sharei”. Afterwards, the audience will get the opportunity to participate in the discussion and learn more about the hassetsu (without bows and arrows in hand).”