What is involved in taking up kyudo?

It is essential for those who have an interest in taking up the art of kyudo to understand that it is not simply a form of archery but a Japanese cultural practice. As well as learning how to shoot a Japanese bow, students must be prepared to learn the ritualised movements that are part of the tradition and cultivate concentration and awareness. As with any sport or recreational activity, there are physical and mental challenges which are part of the development of attitude and character. However, kyudo does not allow for self indulgence or a personal approach. In coming into kyudo practice, students must leave their own opinions and assumptions aside and accept the practice as it is.

Because kyudo requires the insight and realisation of the student to find the correct form, and because this is only found through practice, regular commitment to training is essential. In addition, all practice must be supervised and under the guidance of a competent instructor. Kyudo cannot be self-taught. Safety and the learning of correct form requires supervised practice and because training by oneself leads to erroneous practice and the forming of bad habits, it is not advised.

Although kyudo has amateur status and there are no fees for instruction, students must be prepared to buy their own equipment and travel to seminars, some of which are abroad. Students must have the means to fulfill this part of their commitment.

Students are advised not to buy equipment without the advice of their instructor. The selection of the right equipment requires experience and an understanding of individual needs. Students are also not advised to practise by themselves (apart from form training to add to the dojo practice) as this may be unsafe and again may encourage bad habits.


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