Kyudo: Way of the Bow Weekend Intensive
with Dale Hinchey
Kyudo - the Way of the Bow
Centuries ago in Japan, archery was regarded as the highest discipline of the Samurai warrior. Then, as the bow lost its significance as a weapon of war, and under the influence of Buddhism, Shinto, Daoism and Confucianism, Japanese archery evolved into Kyudo, the "Way of the Bow", a powerful and highly refined contemplative practice.
Kyudo, as taught by Kanjuro Shibata XX, Sendai, is not a competitive sport and marksmanship is regarded as relatively unimportant. According to Shibata Sensei XX, Sendai, a master of the Heki Ryu Bishu Chikurin-ha school of Kyudo, the ultimate goal of Kyudo is to polish the mind - the same as in sitting meditation.
"One is not polishing one's shooting style or technique, but the mind. The dignity of shooting is the important point. This is how Kyudo differs from the common approach to archery. In Kyudo there is no hope. Hope is not the point. The point is that through long and genuine practice your natural dignity as a human being comes out. This natural dignity is already in you, but it is covered up by a lot of obstacles. When they are cleared away, your natural dignity is allowed to shine forth" - Kanjuro Shibata XX, Sendai.
Chogyam Trungpa , Founder of Shambhala, renowned Tibetan meditation master said, "Through Kyudo one can learn to live beyond hope and fear, how to be".
Kyudo - the Practice
The practice of Kyudo is deceptively simple. Students can receive instruction in the basic form, shichido, or seven co-ordinations, during a weekend intensive. After the initial training, practice begins by shooting at a straw target only two meters away. When a degree of proficiency is attained the practice expands to include 28 meter shooting.
Working with the precision of the form, a natural process gradually unfolds through which the practitioner has the opportunity to see the mind more clearly. The target becomes a mirror which reflects the qualities of heart and mind at the moment of the arrow's release.
This distinguishes Kyudo from archery where simply hitting the target is the goal. Kyudo is "Standing meditation", and as such, is a true contemplative art. Also paying attention to perceptive process is part of this path.
To practice Kyudo in this way, one must have a good teacher.
The head kyudo teacher at Kawako Kyudojo is Senpai (先輩 )Dale Hinchey who has been a student of the Shibata Family for over 30 years, and he is also a Shambala meditation Instructor in both Shamatha and Ngondro. Kyudo cannot be learned from books. The insight and guidance of a master or qualified teacher are invaluable as one progresses along the Kyudo path.
Kyudo teacher Dale Hinchey has been a kyudo student of the Shibata family for 30 years, and was the prime mover in organizing the construction of the kyudo venue at Karme Choling in 1991-1992.He has been a kyudo teacher since his authorization in August in 1992 and was the Chief Kyudo Instructor at Karme Choling's Seiko Kyudojo from 2008-2012,where he was taught Ho Sha ( offering shooting) by Shibata Kanjuro XX, Sendai.One of the fruitions of this offering practice was the manufacture and provision of Werma Arrows for the Kalapa Court and the Shambhala Sangha. Mr. Hinchey has also taught Kyudo at Concordia Language Villages Mori No Ike Japanese Language School, on the White Earth 1st Nation Community of Minnesota.
Mr Hinchey is Senpai ( 先輩) at River Tiger Kyudojo of Fredericton, and founder of Shibata Meadows Retreat Center of Greenhill, New Brunswick , also home of Niji Ko ( Rainbow Tiger) Iba, where Ho Sha is taught to qualified students. He is also a Meditation Instructor and Educator of Shambhala ( Ngondro and Shamatha).