Meaning the Way of the Bow, Kyudo is one of the oldest arts in the Japanese
tradition of contemplative warriorship. Working with the precision of the
form, a natural process gradually unfolds in which the practitioner has the
opportunity to see his or her mind at the moment of the arrow´s release.
This distinguishes Kyudo from sports archery, where competition to hit the
target is the goal. Kyudo is a long-term discipline of synchronizing body
and mind to ultimately connect with one´s warrior heart.

For every student, the Kyudo experience carries its own special meaning.
Some encounter their fear of confrontation, others the difficulty in letting
go. For many, Kyudo is a way of relieving stress by quieting their mind as
they focus completely on the meditative process of shooting the "ya," or
arrow. Zen Archery is a way to polish the mind and manifest natural dignity.

The only Zen Archery "dojo" in the state and one of only a dozen in the
U.S. It is the 22nd international Kyudo school of Kanjuro Shibata, Sensei,
whose Colorado- based school, Ryuko Kyudojo was founded in 1980. Shibata
Sensei was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1921 and began training in both Kyudo and
bowmaking at the age of eight under the guidance of his grandfather, the 19th
Kanjuro Shibata. At the age of 19 or 20 he received the highest level
teaching certificate. In 1959, upon his grandfather´s death, the title of
Kanjuro Shibata XX was officially conferred on the current Sensei Shibata.
Approximately 125 years ago the 18th Kanjuro Shibata received appointment
to the post of official bowmaker to the Emperor and since then, the 19th and
20th Shibata lineage holders have continued to function as Imperial Bowmakers.

We offer regular weekly Kyudo classes in meditation, equipment care and
several elaborate archery forms. They are taught in a simple and thoughtful
way to ensure that the student will become adept in the Kyudo forms and
well-grounded in the principles from which they derive.
Current Class Schedule and Locations
Upcoming Class Schedule and Locations

On a soft summer evening in Santa Fe, students sit quietly on red meditation
pillows in the "dojo" or practice hall, emptying their minds (or attempting
to) in preparation for lessons in Japanese Zen Archery. The gong rings at
the closing of the meditation. They kneel facing the instructor who is
wearing a white shirt and a crisp, black skirtlike "hakama." The instructor
talks for a moment about the meditative quality of this kind of archery. "As
my teacher once told me, if you shoot the arrow mushin -- empty heart -- that
is correct heart. That is Zen."

The students bow to the small shrine in the corner that honors all teachers
who have gone before them, then bow to each other out of mutual respect.
"Ha-ji-me-mas!" Their resounding cry echoes throughout the practice hall and
means "let us begin." Still kneeling, they put a leather glove on their
right hand, carefully wrapping the purple sash and tying it just right. One
by one the seven foot bamboo bows, called "yumi," are retrieved from their
resting place along the wall where they have already been strung and
inspected by each student before class begins.

It is time for the first shot of the evening. A beginning student stands
just two yards away from one of the "makiwara," or targets, and slowly goes
through the seven coordinations known as "Shi Chi Do." As the time for the
release of the arrow approaches, the instructor draws near to offer support.
The large bow feels unwieldy and the student tenses as the bowstring is
drawn. "One more pull. . . `Kai´ (hesitation). . `hanare´ (release)!" the
instructor coaches. The student lets out a shout and the arrow flies into
the hay bale. There is a look of relief on his face, and with it a sense of
Current Class Schedule and Locations
Upcoming Class Schedule and Locations

Tanya has been a student of Kanjuro Shibata, XX, Sensei
since 1991 and was given the title of Instructor in 1995. In 1996,
the Santa Fe group was given the title of "Jinko," meaning God-Tiger, and we
became a part of the Shibata lineage.

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