Offering ongoing classes for students of all levels.
Kyudo is the oldest and probably the most formal of the Japanese martial arts. It develops correct breathing, posture and energy which form the foundation for the correct use of the bow. It is very low impact, so it can be practiced by young and old with equal ease. It can easily become a lifelong pursuit.
The instructor hold the rank of Renshi, 6th Dan from the All-Japan Kyudo Federation and has been practicing the art for about 30 years.
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First I teach the Shaho Hassetsu which are the 8 steps of shooting a bow in Japanese Archery. This forms the basis for the student's technique that they will refine over time.
Concurrently with this, usually starting with the second lession, I teach the Kihon Tai and Kohon Dosa which are the fundamental postures and movements in Kyudo. This forms the basis for shooting harmoniously with others and adds a dignified beauty to the performance of Kyudo.
In both of these processes correct posture and breathing are emphasised which generates energy to power the shot.
Initially the student will work with a practice bow (gomu yumi) then with a real bow but no arrow. When the form begins to look stable an arrow will be added. After a period of shooting arrows into a straw target at close range (makiwara practice), the student will be invited to join in the full distance practice (28 meters) at a nearby Kyudojo on Sundays.
I have been practicing Kyudo since 1989. I have traveled to Japan to train 9 times, so far. I attained my first teaching credential, Renshi, from the All-Japan Kyudo Federation in 2003 and was promoted to 6th Dan in 2007. In addition, I served as President of the Northern California Kyudo Federation from 1999 to 2008 and as President of the American Kyudo Renmei from 2008 to 2010. I have been teaching at the Japanese Arts and Cultural Center since it first opened in 2010.
The first lesson is a free trial class. After that, if the student decides to continue, a punch card good for 10 classes can be purchased. The cost per class is: $18 for adults and $15 for children and full-time students. Without a punch card, the drop-in cost is $20 per class.
After my second Kyudo teacher retired in 1999, I began teaching out of my house and making use of nearby western archery ranges. This was less than ideal, but I wanted to be able to share this unique art form, so I made it work.
The director of the Japanese Arts and Cultural Center approached me about teaching there shortly before the center opened in May of 2010. Being Japanese and a teacher of Kendo, Karate, and Iaido, he considered Kyudo to be an important part of the center's cultural offerings.
I began teaching there as soon as the center opened and have been teaching there twice a week ever since.
Most of my students are of High School age or adults. I have taught students as young as 6 years old, but they usually do not have the patience and focus required at that age. Still, each person is a unique individual, so I am open to teaching all ages. My oldest students have been in their 60's.
Most are coming to Kyudo for the first time, but I also have had students who have practiced in Japan and already were ranked at 2nd or 3rd Dan.
I travelled to Japan in April and May of 2018. I attended an upper rank seminar for 3 days, then participated in the 3rd World Kyudo Championships held in the Chuo Dojo of the All-Japan Kyudo Federation at Meiji Jingu in Tokyo. Princess Hisako Takamadomiya was in attendence for the finals.
After that I took the Shinkansen to Kyoto were I did some sightseeing and participated in the All-Japan Kyudo Taikai before taking (but, unfortunately, not passing) my test for Kyoshi, the second of the three teaching credentials in Kyudo. Being a bit of a Japanese history buff, I really appreciated the temples and gardens in Kyoto.
Find someone who has formal training, preferably a teaching credential (Renshi, Kyoshi, or Hanshi) from the All-Japan Kyudo Federation. Choose a teacher with whom you have a good rapport and trust in their guidance. Bring an open mind and sincere desire to learn Kyudo on its own terms.
Kyudo is very low impact, but does involve kneeling and drawing a bow, so it does require some leg and upper body strength. If you have physical limitations, there are usually ways to work around them but discuss them with your teacher to avoid injury. Most teachers have equipment available for students to use, but it is best to check. You may also want to ask whether buying a uniform will be required at the beginning.
Kyudo does have competitions, but that is not the main emphasis of the art. If you are not interested in the ceremonial aspects of Kyudo, but only want to compete and learn to hit the target, perhaps western archery would better suit your needs.