Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Old Time - New Time

Kyudo - the Art of Traditional Japanese Archery - is sometimes labelled as contemplative archery. I believe it is a good description. Because of Eugene Herrigel's book Zen and the Art of Archery, which I discussed in a previous post, Kyudo is often connected to Zen.

The essence of modern Kyudo as per the International Kyudo Federation is the pursuit of Shin, Zen and Bi:  truth, goodness, and beauty.

The video below is of a Kyudo demonstration at the Nippon Budokan 2011 Kagamibiraki. Kyudo at its best.

Concentration, beauty, simplicity. It is breathe-taking and impressive and one can easily understand why Zen and Kyudo are often associated.

Now this next video below is of a Russian "Fast Shooting" school of Archery

This is different... From time 20 to 39 s, this young lady shoots 12 arrows. One arrow every 1.5 seconds - less than 2 heartbeats between each arrow

Imagine she is shooting at you...

Is this young Russian archer's more accurate than a regular Japanese Kyudo archer ? She may, or may not be. But actually she is so fast that she does not need to be accurate. That many arrows, even if they don't hit accurately - will prevent the opponent from doing anything. 

This is simply more efficient.

When the Mongols invaders of Kubilai Khan attacked Japan in 1274 and 1281, their short bows were accurate at twice the distance of the Japanese long bow, and shot much faster. They shelled the samurai troops with clouds of arrows.  

Although I find the spiritual and aesthetic aspects of Kyudo fascinating my preference goes to the Russian school.

Fast Shooting Zen anyone ?