Kyudo - The Way of the Bow
Kyudo is the study of the Japanese longbow. However it is much more than archery. In addition to physical technique Kyudo has a strong mental aspect. In the mid sixteenth century firearms were introduced into Japan. The bow rapidly became obsolete as a military weapon.
However the samurai realized that archery had value in and of itself and retained it with a focus on spirit training. Today spirit forging (seishin tanren) is an important aspect of Kyudo.
Historically there have been two branches of Kyudo, a military branch and a ceremonial branch. Modern Kyudo combines aspects of both branches. We use the military style of draw but incorporate ceremonial aspects as well. In fact etiquette is an important part of modern Kyudo.
Kyudo can be practiced by almost anyone. It is popular in Japanese Middle and High schools. The most skilled exponents are frequently in their 70’s and 80’s.
The first thing you notice about Kyudo is the equipment. The style of the bow has changed little in 2,000 years. The bow is very long, over seven feet. Also it is the world’s only asymmetrical bow. The grip is about one third up from the bottom instead of being in the middle. Also a glove is used to facilitate the draw and release. The draw is along the line of the shoulders so the arrows are very long.
Equipment is available for beginners.
The South Carolina Kyudo Renmei (federation) is the governing body for Kyudo in South Carolina. We are a charter member of the American Kyudo Renmei and recognized by the All Japan Kyudo Renmei. We exist to promote and facilitate the growth of Kyudo.