Kyudo Video

Here are some more video links. This is a documentary on Kyudo that was done as part of a series produced by NHK’s English-language world service. The series was called Samurai Spirit, and you can find segments on several other arts (aikido, kendo, iaido) on Youtube as well. The kyudo segment won an award in Europe this summer, and is really quite good.

Although I’m pretty sure this was broadcast as a single program, it’s broken into pieces:

Ishikawa Takeo (hanshi, 8-dan) is particularly impressive in this documentary, not just for the superb skill he demonstrates (if you watch only one part, watch the first one), but in the way he carries himself. I liked just watching his hands while he is sitting, talking with Nick Pettas near the end of the fourth part.

Sakuma Tsuyoshi (hanshi, 8-dan) is impressive in the same way. I have to admit being ambivalent about the idea of measuring brain activity as a marker of mushin, but that kind of thing is popular these days in both Japan and the West. It’s as if, instead of looking at a Buddhist statue and trying to comprehend its meaning, the only legitimate way to appreciate it is as a material object, so they bring in generic “science guy” (you can tell by the white coat) to make x-rays and explain how it was built. I love Sakuma-hanshi‘s comment, though. “It proved to me that my training has not been for nothing.” Ha! But I doubt he needed a machine to tell him that.

Also kudos to Nick for having the courage to be a beginner again, and on camera. I watched him fight in the kyokushin World Open tournament in 1999. I’m pretty sure he won one round with a kick that hit the top of his opponent’s head. That is, came down from above.

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7 Responses to Kyudo Video

  1. Zen says:

    Good program I watched it twice (^_^)

    The kick we ( Kung Fu Folks ) call and also in Tai Kwon Do, the Axe kick. Hard to pull off, and to block, best to move out the way.

    • karamatsu says:

      Aha… That’s just the right name for the kick! The day I was there he only used that technique once, so I guess it was the right thing for the right opponent at the right time. I like the kyudo video, too, though. Every time I watch it, I notice something new, but that’s true of almost everything! Slow learner…

  2. Karolus says:

    Bonjour !
    Very nice blog.
    Unfortunately the video “Samurai Spirit Kyudo” has been removed from Youtube. I contacted NHK for a copy, but the reply was : “This is not possible”.
    The only hope now is if someone had the good idea to record a copy, may be when it was broadcasted.
    Anyone here ?
    Thanks.

  3. karamatsu says:

    Yes, unfortunately it seems someone at NHK’s legal department didn’t have any real work to do, so they decided to spend their time pushing media sites to remove copyright material from the Internet. For a television program that really doesn’t make a lot of sense… it’s not like the Internet copies are costing them sales. And then, more importantly, NHK is a tax-funded, government-controlled broadcasting service. Although legally they may hold some form of copyright, morally everything they produce belongs to taxpayers (like me) and should be in the public domain.

    But so much for how things should be. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who recorded it when it was broadcast. Given the way the Internet works these days, though, I imagine you would be able to find a copy of the video by doing a Google search on terms like “samurai spirit” and “kyudo”. Once something gets out there, copies usually multiply.

    • Karolus says:

      Bonjour Karamatsu,
      Yes, this is not fair on their side. It seems the video won a prize, so they might want to sell it and prefer to remove the copy. That’s the way our world is going.
      I did advanced search and checked dozains of pages, but all links I found are refering to the record on Youtube.
      When you realy like something on internet, do a copy yourself !

  4. karamatsu says:

    Bonjour! I saw that about the prize. Maybe you’re right and they are planning to release it on DVD or something. I hope so! It was a good series.

  5. It reappeared on the internet, I have a copy now…

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