Kyudo, which literally means The Way of the Bow, is considered by many to be the purest of all the martial ways. In the first volume of the All Japan Kyudo Federation Instruction Manual, it is written that the highest goal of kyudo is the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty.
Modern kyudo is practiced primarily as a method of physical, moral, and spiritual development.
Truth in kyudo is manifested in shooting that is pure and right-minded, where the three elements of attitude, movement, and technique unite in a state of perfect harmony. Truth means the search for truth and seeking a correct shooting method, striving to attain a correct hitting of the target.
Goodness encompasses such qualities as courtesy, compassion, morality, and non-aggression. In kyudo, goodness is shown by displaying proper attitude and behavior in all situations. A good kyudo archer is a person who maintains his or her composure and grace even in times of great stress or conflict.
Beauty both enhances life and stimulates the spirit. In kyudo, truth and goodness, themselves, are considered beautiful. Beauty can also be found in the exquisite grace and artistry of the Japanese bow and the elegance of the traditional archer's attire. It is also present in the refined etiquette that surrounds the kyudo ceremony. Etiquette, which is simply common courtesy and respect for others, is an essential element of kyudo practice.
It is said that kyudo begins and ends with rei. (etiquette, ceremony, politeness). This rei is not simply the etiquette and ceremony in entering and leaving the shooting area and preparing for making the shot. It is the larger meaning of rei as explained in the saying "correct comportment as humans should behave."
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