You need no prior knowledge or to start practicing kyudo. We will take you through from all the initiating stages and set you on the road to your entire future kyudo practice.
The club will lend you equipment during the first period of your practice. But after a few months it would be desirable to buy your own equipment, starting with clothing.
The practice is open to everyone, male or female, from around 16 years of age. It is structured according to the recommendations and rules set up by the ANKF (All Nippon Kyudo Federation) and the IKYUF (International Kyudo Federation). This means that we will take you through a program consisting of the following stages:
Attitude and etiquette in the kyudojo (shooting place), including relationships to others and security aspects. These are very important for your kyudo practice, in our own dojo or internationally.
How to stand, sit and bow and how move in the dojo and during the shooting.
The shooting technique, consisting of eight steps. (See Technique and practice) The instruction starts without equipment. It progresses through the usage of a gomu yumi (rubber bow) and finally to a proper bow and arrows.
Shooting practice on makiwara
A makiwara is a straw target, which is shot at from a distance of about 2 meters. The principal is that if you execute everything properly at the makiwara, you will have a good chance att hitting the target (mato) at full distance.
Shooting practice on mato
Mato is a paper target, 36 centimeters in diameter, placed at 28 meters. This is the traditional shooting practice in a kyudojo (kinteki). Our practice hall may not allow for the full 28 meters. In that case we practice at a slightly shorter distance. (tree is also a more unusual form of shooting at 60 m with a larger target—enteki)
These stages will ultimately be combined so that you will be able to do sharei (ceremonial shooting) by your self or in the traditional tachi (group) practice.
One or two times a year a national seminar is arranged, visited by our teacher and shidosha (group leader) from England; Ray Dolphin Sensei, kyoshi 6 dan. These seminars are open to all kyudo clubs in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and are great opportunities to deepen your practice.
During your practice you will be able to submit to shinsa (examinations). These examinations determine your level and experience into formal grades (kyu or dan). Kyu examinations are done here in Sweden in our club environment as we have members of sufficiently high levels. Dan examinations, however, can only be done in international settings, as they must be judged by hanshi (masters) from Japan.
These examinations are, of course, voluntary but examinations provide excellent opportunities for personal challenges as they are often quite stressful.