Jul 1, 2018
It always surprises people when I tell them that I have practice Japanese archery for two years. While it is somewhat common or at least less rare for foreigners to study karate, kendo or aikido during their stay in Japan, kyudo is a lot rarer. To many, kyudo is less of a material art and more of a ceremonial practice, and honestly, it was all a coincidence that I decided to learn this art, and I wasn't sure what I was walking into at all.
On a peaceful Sunday afternoon, I was riding my bicycle around town as usual, venturing into other streets and roads that I hadn't been through. Somehow my ride towards the East brought me to this big park, and within the park, I saw a modest yet stunning building. Little did I know, it was the Saitama Prefectural Matiral Arts Center (Budoukan). I walked around the building until I got to this open field behind the glass wall. It was a clean wooden hall on one side, and a row of targets on the other.
"Ahh this is probably Japanese arche...."
Before I could finish my thought, an elderly lady in hakama walked into the dojo slowly with a bow in her right hand and two arrows in her left. She walked in starring down, then made a right angle turn towards the target. The bow was slowly risen with an arrow nocked, and her arms spread evenly as her attention all focused on the target right in front of her. The air froze. Time around me stopped, and before I could notice, her right hand opened and the arrow hit the target with a clean and sharp *thud*, and the sound allowed time to flow again.
I waited patiently for the second shot. Another clean *thud*, and right there and then, I thought to myself, "I want to make that sound with my own hands" and headed into the budoukan to inquire about beginner's lessons.
Nowadays, I don't have the time or easy access to keep practice, but I look forward to the time I start shooting again.