Kyudo Notebook: That Elusive Balance

So after much trial and error it turns out that I’ve mostly just been getting lazy. I’m still not sure about the clean release, but most of the rest seems to be a matter of putting everything into each shot, drawing while the bow is still high, keeping balanced, and waiting for “It” to happen.

The quirky “Tag Surfer” function here at WordPress came up with a post where someone describes several forms of martial arts and then finishes up with an argument about why Christians shouldn’t practice them. I didn’t really pay much attention to the last part, but one of the quotes he chose to illustrate kyudo was quite interesting:

Kaminaga Hanshi, a famous kyudoka, describes the process of shooting as follows: ‘If you consider shagi (shooting technique) in its individual parts, there is always discrimination and differentiation; but in order to perfect shagi, to unify it, and to give it life as true kyudo shooting, you must completely use up all of your energy, right down to the last ounce. When you reach the state of utter desperation where you are at the bitter end, where the bow has taken away your strength and where you can no longer apply any technique, the conviction that you yourself must take care of your own situation will come into being. That is, when your ego is stripped away, the kihaku (spiritual strength, guts, and determination) that makes the shooting crystal clear will grow like an explosion from deep within your heart and soul. It (kai) should be deep until everything quietly becomes clear and serene, since this will nurture the spirit of absolute certainty, where, no matter what the situation, there is no hurrying, no agitation, no fear, and no hesitation. In this way, you show your true Self, and then and only then will bright and open-minded sae be born. In kai, when spirit and technique merge, a spark is ignited and this becomes kai (meeting), that is, hanare (parting). The instant that kokoro and technique meet is hanare. In this instant, all idle thoughts are extinguished, and you enter the state of shinku muso, the Void of No Thought. Because you are in the Void of No Thought, the transition called hanare occurs…

The citation is the Kyudo Kyohon, vol. 2, pp. 55-56. I don’t have that volume but will check it out at the dojo. And then see what I can do. There’s another taikai tomorrow, so I end up sending the night in town so I can get there in time for the morning start. But that means I can stay in kyudo mode for two days, which is good.

Note: It looks like the quote above is from an unofficial, personal translation that can be found, along with interesting commentary, here

This entry was posted in hanare, kai, kyudo, kyudo notebook, mind. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: That Elusive Balance

  1. JM says:

    Good stuff! Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Earl Hartman says:


    May I ask where you got the translation of Kaminaga Hanshi’s words that you cite above? I’m fairly certain that it is a translation I did for my own private use that is up on my website (

    I want to stress that this was for my personal use and that the translation is not official and was not done with the permission of the ANKF.

    It appears that you saw this on another website, and I so assume that the person did not give proper attribution. In any case, please inform your readers that this is not an official or authorized translation. I have informed the ANKF of the translation and since it was for my own personal use they did not make an issue of it, but your readers need to know that it is not an official translation. The ANKF is quite touchy about unauthorized translations getting about. I also want to say that Kaminaga Hanshi’s words are more than a bit cryptic and are open to various interpretations. Someone else might translate them differently.

    So far as I know, the ANKF at present has no plans to translate the Kyudo Kyohon Vols. 2-4.

    Yours Truly,
    Earl Hartman

  3. karamatsu says:


    Yes, you are correct. The source that I referred to (see the link in my note) only cites the Kyudo Kyohon, with no indication of the translator. I thought he’d done the work himself, but given that the text is identical to your own work, it seems that the author owes you a citation. I’ll insert a note and a link to your own page, which is very interesting in its own right. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Pingback: Kyudo Notebook: Ren/Kyoushi Taikai | Mu

  5. Pingback: Kyudo Notebook: Tutorial | Mu

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s