Kyujutsu, the Japanese art of archery (long arch “yumi”), is traditionally considered as one of the most efficient methods to enhance the martial spirit. Herewith, the term «art” is applicable to archery to the highest extent than to any other traditional martial arts.
Kyujutsu is known to be the least “applied” of the martial arts. The art to shoot using the asymmetric bow is mastered through the years of advanced trainings, whereas the dimensions of the yumi, which is over 79 inches in length, do not give the advantage compared with the modern weapon. So, why is Kyujutsu so popular? How come that in Japan only `there are about three thousand rooms to train kyudo, and in the meantime the demand for Japanese long bows increases throughout the world?
First of all, at somewhat high level, it is not feasible to do Japanese archery as the outcome of mechanical improvement of skills and physical training. The shooter is not able to consciously and simultaneously control all and every specifications of shooting which are many of them, as well as body tension, the depth and rhythm of breathing, neuropsychic condition. A good shot made according to Kyujutsu laws requires something different and special state of mind including the precise observance of the relevant ritual. The bitter enemy of the warrior who aspires to reach the sophisticated spirit by means of Kyudo is the warrior himself. Though, it is practiced in every martial art. The archery is the inner “conflict” that is distinguished so much and so intensively.
The technique of yumi archery significantly differs from that of classic or sports archery. However, it is best to consider the structure and peculiarities of using the weapon. The Japanese yumi are still made by the ancient “recipe” using bamboo, wood and leather. Yumi is asymmetrical and its upper shoulder is twice as wider as the lower one in length. The general dimensions vary from 78 to 98 inches. The bow-string (tsuru) of such a bow is arranged (strained) with hands raised upward and lowered as the bow is braced. In the end position the hand that holds the arrow is put behind the ear, fixed in this position for a while and then the warrior shoots. Anyone who has some minor skills in sports or entertainment-based archery can prove that quiet and steady poses of the Japanese masters with the solid bows strained in hands just seem impossible. However, these masters show no tension in face and body, and there is only a half-smile in their faces.
The accuracy of target hit and appropriateness of the shoot are estimated in Kuydo. The major archery programme is quite varied: shooting by the fixed targets (14 inch) at the distance of 91.8 foot to 196.8 foot, shooting while riding the horse, shooting at the moving targets, shooting for the gun reach, for the term of pinpoint shooting with 5 to 6 arrows a minute, etc. For every condition the success is ensured when the shooter is absolutely concentrated and deeply in the process. When the scheme archer -arrow-target work to be the whole one.