Kyudo - The Way of the Bow
August 3 / 5:00 AM - August 10 / 6:00 AM
Introductory Kyudo Course
Centuries ago in Japan, archery was regarded as the highest discipline of the Samurai warrior. Then, as the bow lost its significance as a weapon of war, and under the influence of Buddhism, Shinto, Daoism and Confucianism, Japanese archery evolved into Kyudo, the "Way of the Bow", a powerful and highly refined contemplative practice.
Kyudo, as taught by Kanjuro Shibata XX Sendai, is not a competitive sport and marksmanship is regarded as relatively unimportant. According to Shibata Sensei, a master of the Heki Ryu Bishu Chikurin-ha school of Kyudo, the ultimate goal of Kyudo is to polish the mind.
The practice of Kyudo is deceptively simple. Students receive instruction in the basic form, "sishido", or seven coordinations. After the initial training, practice begins by shooting at a straw target only a yumi’s length away. When a degree of proficiency is attained, the practice expands to include ”hitote” or long distance shooting at 28 meters.
Working with the precision of the form, a natural process gradually unfolds through which the practitioner has the opportunity to see the mind more clearly. The target becomes a mirror which reflects the qualities of heart and mind at the moment of the arrow's release. This distinguishes Kyudo from archery where simply hitting the target is the goal. Kyudo is "standing meditation" and a true contemplative art. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the renowned Tibetan meditation master, and close friend of Shibata Sendai, said, "Through Kyudo one can learn to live beyond hope and fear, how to be".
“One is not polishing one's shooting style or technique, but the mind. The dignity of shooting is the important point. This is how Kyudo differs from the common approach to archery. In Kyudo there is no hope. Hope is not the point. The point is that through long and genuine practice your natural dignity as a human being comes out. This natural dignity is already in you, but it is covered up by a lot of obstacles. When they are cleared away, your natural dignity is allowed to shine forth" - Shibata Sensei.
The 2014 kyudo program will be attended by Kanjuro Shibata XXI Sensei, the son of Kanjuro Shibata XX Sendai, and onjumishi (the emperors bowmaker) from Kyoto, Japan. Shibata Sensei is the leader of the international Zenko school, founded by his father. Dechen Chöling is part of Zenko’s European branche Oko.
The Kyudo path is one of self-discovery and ultimately, self-realization. Although the path may be long, there are vast rewards along the way. It all begins with the first shot.
This programme is open to both beginners and experienced students. Men and women of all ages are able to practice Kyudo. Physical strength is not a factor. Children can begin from eight years of age on.
This programme starts on Sunday August 3 at 20:00 and ends the next Saturday evening. You can choose to leave anytime next day, on Sunday August 10.
All equipment will be provided. With the help of Oko kyudojo, Dechen Chöling has recently constructed an elegant “azuchi”, a traditional Japanese structure in which the targets are placed.
Clothing: Kyudo traditionally is practiced in ceremonial “gi”: a white kimono jacket and black hakama trousers or skirt. Students who do not have this, are advised to practice in a white or at least light-coloured shirt, and black or dark-coloured trousers or (long) skirt.
This retreat is taught in English. Translation into other languages is available at no extra costs. Please give us notice of your request as early as possible - about 2 months in advance -, so that we can provide translation services. In case you register short-term please get in touch with us in case you need translation into your language.
If you book both the advanced and the open Kyudo programs together, you get a special price:
Regular : 825€
Early Bird : 743€
Discounted : 619€
For Zenko and Oko members there is a discount of 15,00€ on the program price.