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What is Kyūdō?

Saito Tomoji Sensei shooting at the Falaise Verte.
Saito Tomoji Sensei

Kyūdō (“the Way of the Bow”) is also referred to as “standing zen”. It is regarded as one of the highest of the martial arts in Japan. Kyūdō aims at breaking the limitations of one’s ego, transcending the target and the bow in order to gain access to one’s true being.

Through the practice of the various stages that make up the act of shooting (hassetsu in Japanese) and concentration on natural breathing and the hara, new horizons will open up for the practitioner, ranging from personal liberation to control of self and one’s energies.

Kyūdō should then be considered not as the mere handling of a bow and arrow, but as meditation, a long process leading to individual maturation, as well as an increased level of consciousness. In my opinion, it is not really worthwhile practising a martial art or any kind of discipline for that matter, if it fails to have an impact on our everyday life. To follow a Path only with a view to acquire a skill and improve it through months or years of practice, without it creating reverberations in our daily life does not make much sense to me. All the effort put into mastering an art, a discipline, Kyūdō in this case, makes it correlatively possible to change the spirit in which we envisage events in our lives so that we can apprehend them as truly free beings.

— Taikan Jyoji, Kyudo, Tir à l’arc zen, Le Courrier du livre, 2014.

Straightforward Mind dojo

The dojo: view from the East.

The Straightforward Mind dojo is a unique site in Europe for practising Kyūdō. Its overall surface is 1500 sq. ft. and it is equipped with a gliding bay window on one side and a traditional 28-metre long shooting range. In the presence of thirty European practitioners, the dojo was inaugurated in November 1988 by sixty men and women Kyūdō masters who had come from Japan, under the lead of Tomoji Saito Sensei, who was then the President of the Japanese Federation.

The dojo is affiliated to the Comité National Kyudo (CNKyudo), which is part of the Fédération Française de Judo et Disciplines Associées (FFJDA).