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.