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Yada !!!
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I wanted to add some of my own observations on Yumi and Ya (Bow and Arrow) but separate it from the Kyudo discussion.

After watching some Kyudo at the dojo before training I talked to a Shihan who showed me some of the stuff that Hatsumi-sensei had taught regarding bow and arrow. The movement seemed more like pushing the leading hand into ichimonji no kamae as opposed to the fairly even motion usually seen in Kyudo.

On Kyudo I commented that it was something that I had always wanted to try but the excessive attention to detail would probably have me saying "Just shut up and let me shoot some arrows !!!". Hehehe. The shihan said that the Japanese had a love of ritual and obsession with technique and really the best way to become a better archer is to move away from the basic form and really just shoot lots of arrows.

Kyudo is of course different as it was a pastime of the nobility in Japan and remains an important cultural treasure. I have heard from Hatsumi-sensei and other Shihan different things about archery which leads me to believe the combat method was very broad. For example ..
- firing from lying on your back with the bow braced by the soles of your feet (like a giant crossbow)
- firing in groups from a position with one knee on the ground rather then standing upright. One explanation for the asymmetrical bow used in Japan was that it is that shape to be used on horseback but another is that it allows the archers to take a lower position and make use of natural cover.
- firing up to allow the arrows to reign down on the enemy or over walls. Soke said that sometimes the arrow would be weighted at one end for this purpose.
- some archers would be designated as marksmen who would watch over a battle and pick off those who were doing well (so its important not to look too good in a battle or you will get shot)
- when the enemy closes the distance arrows can be thrown by hand - and used in taijutsu.

Also there is (from other sources)
- firing down from a height.
- firing while charging past on horseback (yabusame)
- the use of uchine (?) - thick arrows almost like short spears which are thrown by hand.
- firing several arrows in each shot.


Posted on: 2004/11/12 9:36
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Posted on: 2004/11/12 10:20
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Re: Yada !!!
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Danny wrote:
In kyudo, while it might have appeared an even motion, it is not. The leading hand does push the bow away first.
They say, "push two thirds and then pull one third."
Only after the bow is fully drawn does one seek balance between the two.


That's a very interesting point I didn't know.

Quote:

Danny wrote:
The thing about kyudo is that there is no sighting mechanism with the Japanese bow. Your whole body is what aims it. Your feet, your hips, your neck, you belly, all of that detail is what aims the arrow.


My thinking is that this is an interesting connection between all taijutsu. The ichimonji / seigan of taijutsu and weapons and the way the body is aligned seems to me to have a strong connection to archery - as you say aiming (aligning) with the whole body.

Posted on: 2004/11/12 11:15
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Posted on: 2004/11/12 11:38
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Hehehe...
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Kamae! The first thing I thought when reading this is that you aim with your Kamae. My family is Apache and hunting is a large part of the family, let's just say that when Bow hunting, there is plenty of competition. Most of my cousins are large followers of the Modern Compound Bow but I take them on with Simple Recurve Bows just to upset them when I out do them. Needless to say, it is impossible for my training not to influence my aiming and it shows as I win more than I lose.

I have found the same is true with Shuriken-Nage, both Hira as well as Bo'-Shuriken.



Posted on: 2004/11/12 12:11
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Taijutsu in Kyudo?
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Interesting stuff this as it connects the two arts I study.

When I'm working with my Kyudo instructor, we practice Kyudo as you can imagine but sometimes, out of interest, he'll give me a few minutes of free practice where I can try shooting the bow using my Bujinkan Taijutsu as the basis rather than the Kyudo movements. He's as interested in this as I am which is very pleasing to know. I've discovered that many of the Taijutsu kamae make appearances (if slightly adapted to the weapon) throughout Kyudo practice, especially Ichimonji no Kamae, Doko no Kamae and Hoko no Kamae. My instructor also encourages me (loaning me the equipment where necessary) to take my Kyudo training back to my own hall/students and to play with it. We've practiced using the arrows in a hand-held manner as part of our Taijutsu training and I've got plenty of ideas for further study although the Taijutsu hall isn't big enough for actual shooting practice (I could bring along a makiwara I suppose but it would be quite a pain to do so).

Danny is right about the draw too, the lead arm (left) does indeed push out first before the right arm joins in (can't remember the name of the section of the hassetsu that it's from which is embarrassing! Ashibumi, dozukuri, ummm... )

Thanks Duncan for sharing your points on traditional archery - fuel for future training.

ADDITIONAL - Here's a link to a little clip showing the hassetsu in action in case people don't know what we are talking about.

http://home.t-online.de/home/dr.haubner/kybilda.htm

Posted on: 2004/11/12 17:57
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Re: Taijutsu in Kyudo?
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MWDAndy wrote:
When I'm working with my Kyudo instructor, we practice Kyudo as you can imagine but sometimes, out of interest, he'll give me a few minutes of free practice where I can try shooting the bow using my Bujinkan Taijutsu as the basis rather than the Kyudo movements. He's as interested in this as I am which is very pleasing to know. I've discovered that many of the Taijutsu kamae make appearances (if slightly adapted to the weapon) throughout Kyudo practice, especially Ichimonji no Kamae, Doko no Kamae and Hoko no Kamae. My instructor also encourages me (loaning me the equipment where necessary) to take my Kyudo training back to my own hall/students and to play with it. We've practiced using the arrows in a hand-held manner as part of our Taijutsu training and I've got plenty of ideas for further study


This sounds like an excellent approach. Like soke says you can take any budo or densho and “bring it back to life” with Budo Taijutsu. I’m sure it works both ways too – Kyudo improving taijutsu.

Even so, I will be wary of you from now on though when you ask me “… just put this apple on your head for a minute.”


Posted on: 2004/11/12 21:38
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Re: Hehehe...
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Quote:

JamesGarcia wrote:
Kamae! The first thing I thought when reading this is that you aim with your Kamae. My family is Apache and hunting is a large part of the family, let's just say that when Bow hunting, there is plenty of competition.


I have been following this thread and thought I would chime in too.

I agree! I am an avid archer/hunter and I use the compound bow, but I enjoy the standard recurve as well. There is a definite relationship between kamae and accuracy. Additionally, as I read this thread, I realize that I draw pretty much how it was explained as 2/3 1/3 push/pull. I think that is important, otherwise one would get tired after shooting a few arrows. Also, I think it is easier to remain in kamae with the push/pull drawing. I have not had formal archery training such as they speak of here, just a basics class when I was a young teen and I have since spent a lot of time shooting arrows.



Posted on: 2004/11/13 2:32
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Re: Yada !!!
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Danny wrote:
... shooting from horseback.

In kyudo, while it might have appeared an even motion, it is not. The leading hand does push the bow away first.
They say, "push two thirds and then pull one third."
Only after the bow is fully drawn does one seek balance between the two.

The thing about kyudo is that there is no sighting mechanism with the Japanese bow. Your whole body is what aims it. Your feet, your hips, your neck, you belly, all of that detail is what aims the arrow.
It takes a long time to master the basic form. I'm sure the masters would agree with you that you had to move away from the basics, but I can't imagine that level of proficiency yet and I can't think of many kyudoka who could.


Modern kyudo is basically Heiki Ryu. Heiki Danjo defined the basic methods during the sengoku jidai. He was a man from Iga, by the way.

One of the secret surprises about kyudo is that, once you master the basics, you will be capable of accurate, powerful shooting without conscious effort to do so.


Hello All!

Just a few comments to add dimension to the discussion. They are based on my own experiences in Kyudo.

Archery from horseback is not a part of Modern Kyudo. It is called Yabusame and is practiced as an Art in and of itself.

The push 2/3, pull 1/3 may not mean what it seems to mean out of context. Balance is an important part of the draw from the its start. I attended a lesson recently, in which a Hanshi Hachidan stressed the importance of the balanced draw. When asked about the '2/3, 1/3' point, he replied that one third of the draw takes place a Daisan (preliminary draw, kind of), from there the draw must be as though the archer could be evenly split down the center in Hikiwake (the draw) and the expansion (physical and spiritual) continues into Kai (full draw).

Of course, body alignment is an important part of shooting arrows in Kyudo, but 'spiritual' alignment is equally important, if not more so. Let's keep in mind that putting and arrow into a target is not the purpose of Kyudo, but the method a Kyudoka uses to atttain a more valuable goal.

I have met many skilled Kyudoka. I would disagree with the suggestion that they have moved away from the basics. The idea that one has to 'move on' from this moment to find understanding seems to me to be contrary to the teachings of Kyudo (as I currently understand them . The Masters then are Masters because they are fully engaged in the 'basics' and not distracted by the need to 'move away from them'. Maybe

Modern Kyudo is not equivalent to Heki Ryu. Heki Ryu is indeed one of the three 'main contributors' to modern Kyudo, but most Kyudoka practice a form that differs in some notable ways from Heki Ryu.

For those interested, I strongly recommend "Kyudo-the Essence and Practice of Japanese Archery" by Onuma Sensei





Posted on: 2004/11/13 4:35
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Posted on: 2004/11/15 9:41
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